The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, chaired by Joseph Biden, had a hearing on Wednesday called “Iraq After the Surge: Political Prospects.” One of the witnesses was journalist Nir Rosen; you can read his prepared testimony here (pdf).
The best part of Rosen’s appearance is when he’s questioned by Biden. This exchange starts around 58:45 of C-Span’s coverage (realplayer):
BIDEN: Based on what you’ve said, there’s really no hope, is there? We should really get the hell out of there right now, right? There’s nothing to do.
ROSEN: As a journalist, I’m uncomfortable advising an imperialist power about how to be a more efficient imperialist power. I don’t think we’re there for the interests of the Iraqi people. I don’t that’s ever been a motivation.
However, I have mixed emotions on that issue. Many of my Sunni friends, beginning about a year ago, many of them who are opposed to the Americans, who supported attacking American troops in Iraq, began to grow really nervous at the idea of the Americans leaving Iraq because they knew they would be massacred. It could be Rwanda the day the Americans leave. The creation of these Sunni militias, the Awakening groups, militates against that kind of a massacre of civilians occurring because now there are actually Sunni safe zones…But I do believe that if Americans were to withdraw you’d seen an increase in violence at least temporarily, until some sort of equilibrium is reachedâ€”
BIDEN: But the good news is we wouldn’t be imperialist anymore in Iraq, from your perspective.
ROSEN: (smiling widely) Only elsewhere in the region.
BIDEN: Only elsewhere in the region. I’m sure glad we invited you, I tell you. [Bloviates for ninety seconds, then turns to other witnesses.] Gentlemen, to the non-imperialist side of the witness stand…
I think we can guess Rosen won’t be invited back anytime soon. After all, when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee meets, the last thing you want is for someone to start telling the truth about America’s foreign relations.
MORE UNFORTUNATE REALITY: This is from Rosen’s testimony:
Driving to the Amriya district in western Baghdad last month, my friend pointed to a gap in the concrete walls the American occupation forces have surrounded this Sunni bastion with. â€œWe call it the Rafah Crossing,â€ he laughed, referring to the one gates to besieged Gaza that another occupying army occasionally allows open…Our car lined up behind dozens of others which had been registered with the local Iraqi army unit and were allowed to enter and exit the imprisoned neighborhood. It often took two or three hours to finally get past the American soldiers, Iraqi soldiers and the â€œThuwar,â€ or revolutionaries, as the Sunni militia sanctioned by the Americans to patrol Amriya was called. When it was our turn we exited the vehicle for Iraqi soldiers to search it as an American soldier led his dog around the car to sniff it and I was patted down by one of the Sunni militiamen. Not knowing I was American, he reassured me. â€œJust let the dog and the dog that is with him finish with your car and you can go,â€ he laughed.