US diplomatic officials have been scrambling to contain the damage done by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia when he addressed the Arab League and complained of the "illegitimate" American "occupation" of Iraq. They now have a new headache! Iraqi President Jalal Talabani agrees with King Abdullah! The generally pro-American Talabani, a major Kurdish leader as well, admitted that the US presence had turned into a ruinous occupation for his country, when his turn came to address Arab League delegates.
The controversy is a little silly. As Al-Jeeran.Net notes, US officials have in the past repeatedly admitted that under international law their troops in Iraq fall into the category of occupation forces. ...Juan Cole, at Informed Comment.
And here's another slap in the face for surgistas:
The now widely discussed Lancet study of Iraqi "excess deaths" between the invasion of March 2003 and June 2006 offered an estimated figure of 655,000. Its careful, door-to-door methodology was vehemently rejected by both George Bush (not "a credible report") and Tony Blair. According to the British Broadcasting Corporation, however, recently obtained British government documents indicate that the study's methodology was indeed sound. ("[T]he chief scientific adviser to the Defense Ministry, Roy Anderson, described the methods used in the study as ‘robust' and ‘close to best practice'… In another document, a government official -- whose name has been blanked out -- said ‘the survey methodology used here cannot be rubbished, it is a tried and tested way of measuring mortality in conflict zones.'") ...Mike Davis at Tomdispatch.