Friday, December 02, 2011

Iraq: Two Short Clips Democracy Now

As Biden Visits Iraq Ahead of U.S. Withdrawal, Critics See Last Ditch-Effort to Preserve Occupation

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has arrived in Iraq for an unannounced visit to mark the withdrawal of U.S. troops by the end of the year. Shi’ites supporting Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr held an anti-U.S. protest in Basra to oppose Biden’s visit. Meanwhile, the Financial Times reports that numerous investment bankers are arriving in Iraq to secure potentially lucrative reconstruction and oil deals even though security remains a concern. We’re joined by Raed Jarrar, an Iraqi-American blogger and political analyst who just returned from Iraq two weeks ago. "Biden’s visit is widely seen in Iraq as the last attempt by the U.S. government to keep U.S. troops beyond the deadline and rename them as military trainers," Jarrar says. "Most Iraqis are worried [that] the Pentagon has not let go of its plan to leave behind 3,000-4,000 troops under the title of 'trainers', and that there will be one last showdown in the Iraqi parliament within the next few days." Transcript

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State Dept. Veteran Peter Van Buren Defies U.S. Censors to Recount Failed Reconstruction in Iraq

In "We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People," State Department official Peter Van Buren provides a first-hand account of the faltering and often misguided attempts at reconstruction in Iraq undertaken by the U.S. government. Van Buren published the book after rebuffing heavy State Department pressure to redact a number of passages. Van Buren joins us to discuss the failed efforts he witnessed in Iraq and his struggle to tell his story to the world. "The State department is very much like the Mafia," Van Buren says. Transcript

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