So has been the mantra of the Bush Administration since at least 2004 : that if the Iraqi Government wanted the United States to leave Iraq the United States would comply. Or so the statement suggest. Even Colin Powell claimed America would leave Iraq if asked by the new leadership.
The most recent occurrence I can find of the Bush Administration "we'll leave if the Iraqi's want us to leave" myth is May 24, 2007, when President Bush again repeated the empty slogan when addressing reporters when he was still battling Congress about “arbitrary timetables” in the Iraq spending bill.
"We are there at the invitation of the Iraqi government. This is a sovereign nation. Twelve million people went to the polls to approve a constitution. It’s their government’s choice. If they were to say, leave, we would leave." Bush claimed.
Invitation huh? Did the invitation go something like "Hey you! American guys!! Come over here! Come occupy us, we invite you!! Please, steal our oil while your here!" I must have missed the press conference in which the Iraqi government that didn't exist yet invited us to occupy Iraq.
But in all seriousness here is what happened...
According to IraqSlogger :
"Iraqi Parliament voted on Tuesday to approve a decision that gives it the upper hand in deciding any future extension of the presence of foreign troops in Iraq, according to Sadrist MP Nassar Al-Rubai'i.
Al-Rubai'i said that 85 legislators, out of 144 present, voted in support of the bill. "The vote came after a bill submitted by the Sadrist Bloc to the parliament, which stated that all decisions to extend the presence of the occupying forces in Iraq should be referred to the parliament," al-Rubaie told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).
Some Iraqi parliamentarians, most notably Kurdish MP Mahmoud Othman, had stated weeks ago that the vote would be regarded as a non-binding petition rather than a law that would require withdrawal." (Emphasis is mine)
So in other words, over half the Iraqi government that voted wants us to leave YET the Iraqi government is unwilling to pass a law saying so, they can only manage a non-binding petition. Sounds like they have about as much spine as some of the politicians I know ... However, it is a statement so is Bush listening?
I wouldn't bet on it.
The Sadrist Bloc only holds 30 seats in the 275 member Iraqi parliament and doesn't even make up the majority of the votes cast in support of the petition, blowing the whole "only the extremists want us to leave" line right out of the water.
We have also known for quite some time that the majority of the Iraqi people want us gone and feel their lives are worse now than under Saddam Hussein. I don't think anyone needs to remind anyone else that the majority of this country is opposed to the war as well.
The petition is non-binding but is a clear indication that the Iraqi government is going to ask us to leave for real sooner than latter. What will George Bush do when the Iraqi government asks the United States to leave? Will he respect the wishes of a sovereign government?
Again, I wouldn't bet on it.