While the majority of the corporate media have been using the rather dubious phrase “return of full sovereignty” to describe the supposed handover of power to the interim Iraqi government, Todd Pittman of the Associated Press has done them one better by referring to the handover as the “end of the occupation“. Amazingly, he uses this phrase in the same sentence in which he states that 160,000 troops will be staying in Iraq: “Despite the end of the occupation, about 160,000 foreign troops — most of them Americans — remain in Iraq to provide security and train Iraq’s new security services.” In a speech Monday, President Bush noted “coalition forces will remain under coalition command.” According to the Miriam Webster Dictionary, “occupation” is defined as “the holding and control of an area by a foreign military force.” Considering that US troops were never invited into Iraq, are under US and not Iraqi control, and are daily using force to fight a local insurgency, it would seem that this is indeed an occupation according to the standard definition of the word.
Of course, maybe an easier way to determine the legitimacy of the US troop presence would be to ask the Iraqis. Consider comments in an Associated Press article by Iraqi artist Qassim al-Sabti “Iraqis are happy inside, but their happiness is marred by fear and melancholy. Of course I feel I’m still occupied. You can’t find anywhere in the world people who would accept occupation. America these days, is like death. Nobody can escape from it.”