By Tom Hayden – November 21, 2008, 6:22PM
The pact being negotiated between the US and Baghdad governments includes a direct rebuff to president-elect Barack Obama’s promised policy of withdrawing American combat troops in 16-18 months. The pact instead would leave those troops in place until the end of 2011, a doubling of the timeline to which Obama pledged himself. But that’s not all.
The most important things, some say, are the things left unsaid. If so, the unmentionable thing would be the police state America is leaving behind in Baghdad.
Finally, human rights observers agree that there are 40-50,000 Iraqis currently held in detention centers under either US or Iraqi control. Under terms of the pact, “we’re getting out of the detainee business”, says the US military spokesman in Iraq. The US-run camps, known as Bucca and Cropper, hold at least 17,000 detainees under a US-declared “security detention” doctrine that does not exist in either American or Iraqi law. According to Human Rights Watch, they are held “for indefinite periods, without judicial review, and under military processes that do not meet international standards.” Most of them – at least 12,000 – were mistakenly seized in American sweeps or played marginal roles the resistance. Those who are released are often killed by Shi’a death squads.