Contrary to what the media are telling you, Barack Obama is not in any real sense visiting Iraq. He is visiting a US base which, under the Status of Forces Agreement, is US territory under US legal jurisdiction. He is not visiting Iraq any more than a vist to Guananamo Bay (Good Lord! Is that still open? What happened?) would be a visit to Cuba.
Which is a point worth making as he delivers an almighty snub to the Iraqi President and Prime Minister. For a visiting Head of State to come officially to your country and not meet the host President or host Government is an almighty breach of protocol, a gesture of supreme contempt. We are told he is going to telephone them.
The visit has the look and feel of an exercise in Imperial hubris, an entirely militaristic display. The Iraqis lost hundreds of thousands killed and saw the deliberate destruction of their water, electricity, sewerage and other civilian infrastructure. They are being visited by a new leader of their occupiers who made a virtue of opposing their invasion and their suffering. They might have expected him to walk on foot and say sorry to the Iraqi people, not glory in the power of his military and hand out medals.
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