Lanka is losing her friends
Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema
Kohona and Lakshman Kadirgamar
stance adopted by President Mahinda Rajapakse's administration
against concerns raised by foreign nations has caused much anxiety
among the diplomatic community.
the gross violations of human rights, suppression of the media and
other contributing factors and the government's lethargy in
addressing these issues, the international community has more or
less isolated Sri Lanka, says a senior Sri Lankan diplomat.
diplomat however said that all was not lost - Sri Lanka hasn't lost
all her friends in the international community. "We have
friends in the international community, but we are pushing them
aside with our short-sighted acts," he said.
great danger faced by the country according to him is the lack of a
proper foreign policy by the Rajapakse administration.
to him, the country has been pushed into this state of isolation due
to the extremist and shortsighted acts of several politicians,
government officials and several religious leaders including
Lanka is known to be one of the oldest democracies in the world. The
country also enjoyed a broad and open foreign policy with
international trade to boot, which was appreciated by the
international community. Sri Lanka was at one time accepted as a
country that adhered to the rule of law, and was governed by
politicians committed to the principle of good governance. The
country enjoyed full international support then.
any criticism was leveled against the country, Sri Lankan leaders
have accepted them with grace and made efforts to rectify the
for Sri Lanka, her identity as a pluralistic nation with liberal
socio-economic policies appears to have changed and been replaced by
a hostile and sometimes cynical approach. The present
administration's attitude towards the international community is
causing further isolation for Sri Lanka. It is a risk that a country
plagued by a protracted war cannot afford, at a time when the nation
is faced with serious concerns - socio, political and economical.
of a few
noted by another senior diplomat, it is the actions of a select few
that has pushed the country to its present state. "The
international community cannot dictate terms to us," the
government states frequently amidst cheers from a few extremist
groups who claim, "we now have a leader with a backbone."
is unfortunately the country and it's people who finally have to
bear the consequences of playing to the gallery, adds the diplomat.
the administrations that have governed the country have on different
occasions acted in contravention of their own stated country's
foreign policies - mainly due to petty political gains sought by
India was wrong. It holds tremendous power within South Asia and its
nuclear power has brought India closer to the US and even Europe.
Governments have in some instances isolated India when it came to
making key decisions," a diplomat said.
to the needs of former President R. Premadasa and the deadly
protests carried out by the JVP, the Indian peacekeeping forces were
sent back to India. The IPKF left after incurring losses in every
front, especially feeling humiliated. After all that, several
decades later, we now call for India's support to defeat the LTTE,"
he said, citing a lack of consistency in foreign policy.
diplomat noted that the war in the north and east has been entangled
with the country's foreign policies to suit the agenda of a few
individuals. Not only politicians but also several organisations,
state officials, religious leaders and Buddhist monks, sway foreign
policy for petty political gain.
is former President Chandrika Kumaratunga ably supported by her
Foreign Minister the late Lakshman Kadirgamar that brought about
some consistency and took the initiative in obtaining the services
of Norway as facilitator of the peace process.
instead of rectifying the minor hiccups and pushing the process
forward, the JVP and other extremist forces ganged up against Norway
and have virtually now destroyed the process.
UNP, after setting fire to the 2000 draft constitution, which
proposed extensive power sharing entered into a cease-fire agreement
with the LTTE and once again called upon Norway to facilitate the
Wickremesinghe when signing the CFA also sidelined India and
approached Norway. The present government due to pressure exerted by
extremist groups like the JVP and the JHU has sidelined the
Norwegians, but expects Norway to respond when the state finally
feels like calling them due to international pressure," the
to him, India now does not wish to get involved in solving the north
east conflict, but keeps a close eye on the process. The north east
conflict has a huge impact on the South Indian states, which in turn
would have an impact on the country's economy as a whole.
Sri Lankan government according to the diplomat urgently needs to
address concerns raised over human rights issues in the country.
Lanka has ratified the UN Human Rights Treaty and has prevented a UN
fact finding mission from entering the country. However, the
committee appointed by the President (Mahanama Thilakaratne
committee) has named several cases of human rights violations but no
action has so far been taken," he said.
rights violations have taken place in many countries and even the US
has faced allegations of such violations.
civilised nations face such issues, they take steps to rectify the
situation. "Sri Lanka too should follow the same lines and
address the issue rather than turn hostile towards the international
community," the senior diplomat noted.
Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera before being ousted from
government in February expressed concern on several occasions about
the diminishing image of Sri Lanka amongst the international
told The Sunday Leader earlier that until about mid last year, the
government had a very good rapport with the international community
mainly because of the good relations maintained by former Foreign
Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar.
a result, we managed to get the LTTE banned in the EU, which was a
major triumph. We got the US government to set up a special unit
only to monitor the LTTE. We got the Canadians to ban the LTTE
during this period. The Australians and the British also took a very
pro-active role to curb fund raising of the LTTE. But when support
was forthcoming I told the President and his brothers that along
with the support and the banning of the LTTE, there would also be a
lot of obligations on the part of the government," he said.
in his capacity as the Foreign Minister had then explained to the
President that the government when dealing with the LTTE couldn't
resort to the same tactics as a terrorist organisation.
argument that was always put forward by sections of the government
was that if the LTTE was doing it why can't we. The simple answer is
that the Sri Lankan government is not a terrorist organisation. It
is part of a civilised group of nations and we have signed many
international conventions, which are binding. We used to have a
well-established rule of law. The answer given by the present
leadership when anyone criticises the government is, 'why don't you
say the same thing to the LTTE?'" he said.
last July and August raised concern with the government over the
mounting pressure from the international community when five youths
were killed in Trincomalee followed by the killing of 17 aid workers
to Samaraweera, it came to a point that he was unable to find
excuses for the government over the deteriorating situation with the
met the President in November and I told him that the situation
internationally was deteriorating rapidly because many countries are
beginning to feel that there was a culture of impunity in Sri Lanka.
I told the President, Lalith Weeratunga, Basil Rajapakse and Palitha
Kohona that the blame was laid directly at the President's doorstep.
The international community, which came to like Rajapakse was now
beginning to say that either the President could not control his own
army or that he is playing a double game. I said that if we are to
take this country away from the impending disaster of international
isolation, we should do something immediately to show the Sri Lankan
government was seriously addressing the issues," he said.
Samaraweera's warnings had fallen on deaf ears.
Secretary Gotabaya Rajapakse according to Samaraweera felt that
addressing any of these issues would amount to admitting that the
government was guilty of human rights violations. "Nothing
happened. I wrote a letter to the President after our disastrous
visit to India. It really was a disaster and I don't want to go into
the details," he said.
explained that the Indian government felt cheated.
that visit, Dr. Rohan Perera who was the legal advisor of the
Foreign Ministry and a member of the committee which was asked to
draft the proposals to solve the ethnic conflict was asked to give a
presentation of the government's devolution proposals to Prime
Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and other Indian leaders.
Perera did just that and the Indian leader was pleased with his
presentation. However, once he came back to Sri Lanka, he was pulled
up by the President for coming up with the proposals.
can't deal with the international community with a forked
tongue," Samaraweera said.
of friends says Kohona
Secretary Dr. Palitha Kohona observed that the international
community has not isolated the country.
Kohona told The Sunday Leader that the biggest and the most
influential countries were all behind Sri Lanka and they
include the United States, France, China, Japan and India.
is a gross exaggeration to say the country is isolated,"
Kohona noted that Sri Lanka was working with the international
community as a responsible member of the community of nations
and was in possession of the same values as the world
is no basis to suggest that the country is isolated," he
for foreign aid to the country, Dr. Kohona said that there was
no withholding of funds by countries.
US has not withheld any funds and since no funds were
allocated for a specific purpose from the Millennium Challenge
Account, the question of withholding funds does not
arise," he said.
to Dr. Kohona, contrary to common belief, Germany has not
withheld any aid committed to Sri Lanka.
for other donor countries, Japan has increased its aid to Sri
Lanka while countries like China and India have continued with
their aid commitments to the country, he said.
asked about the sentiments of the international community with
regard to the human rights concerns, Dr. Kohona observed that
the international community meant 192 countries and that the
vast majority of the influential countries were not critical
of Sri Lanka, as demonstrated by the fact that Sri Lanka's
election as a co-chair to the Human Rights Council was
endorsed by the Asian group, which consists of 50 member
of the country's foreign policy, Dr. Kohona noted that
foreign policy is decided based on the interests of the
country and it is the needs of the country that form such
is won but not the war
fall of the LTTE base at Thoppigala is said to have ended the hold
of the LTTE over the Eastern Province. It is a great achievement by
the poor village and urban youths of this country who fought the
'most ruthless band of terrorists in the world,' who were thought to
be invincible by many a typewriter strategist and even some military
congratulations to the Army Commander, Lt. General Sarath Fonseka
who rose from his death bed to lead his forces. Fonseka had saved
the country from peril before, when after the fall of Elephant Pass,
he with Lt. General Janaka Perera led a back-to-the wall fight
against the LTTE to save a besieged, demoralised force cornered
in the Jaffna peninsula.
amidst all this euphoria, it has to be said that the 'Battle is won
but not the war.' Velupillai Pirapaharan is firmly entrenched in the
Wanni jungles with most of his forces intact.
had suffered similar defeats before but has made comebacks. It will
be recalled that the east was cleared of terrorists before, when D.B.
Wijetunge was interim president and Ranil Wickremesinghe prime
minister. But Chandrika Kumaratunga in her exuberance embraced
'peace' and the LTTE, only to regret her enthusiasm later.
result was that the LTTE came back to the east and had been firmly
entrenched till the latest events. Later the forces of President
Chandrika Kumaratunga swept out the LTTE from the Jaffna peninsula
along with Pirapaharan but the latter retreated in to the Wanni and
remains there with his forces.
challenge to the government and the armed forces is that having
driven out the LTTE from the east, to prevent their return. It will
be a tremendously difficult task unless the people in the east who
have suffered so much under the LTTE cooperate with the government.
consensus among military analysts is that the LTTE while resisting
the advance of government forces did not commit all its cadres in
the region to battle. Knowing the odds they faced, retreated into
the Wanni and would be regrouping there.
Rajapakse government enjoys an advantage this time which previous
governments did not have. It has a guerrilla group, led by Karuna,
the former military commander of the LTTE, opposing Pirapaharan's
LTTE. Part of the success of the armed forces in the recent
operations in the east is attributed to this factor.
who is from the east and has the support of the Eastern Province
Tamils could help in preventing infiltration of the LTTE. The
government forces by themselves will not be able to hold the east
nor develop good relations with the Tamil people and hope for
in this instance President Rajapakse's two-stance policy of
conducting military operations while proclaiming his commitment for
negotiations, comes into conflict with the international community
without whose assistance defeat or even control of the LTTE will not
be possible. Rajapakse it does appear wants to do the impossible -
eat the cake and have it.
will Pirapaharan want to recommence negotiations? Norwegians, the
peace facilitators, sent their Ambassador Hans Brattskar on
Wednesday to Kilinochchi for talks with the LTTE. Whether the LTTE
will want to negotiate now is the question.
or not Pirapaharan appears to be having his own plans. The discovery
of huge vehicles packed with powerful explosives such as CS-4 that
can blow up vast areas indicates his future intentions. So far the
government has been lucky in detecting these explosives laden
vehicles but the odds are that some of them will unfortunately get
rules and regulations
control of the east will no doubt be considered manna from heaven by
President Rajapakse. For one year, he has been carrying on merrily
doing things his way, ignoring rules and regulations of government
and financial procedures, forming political coalitions and breaking
them, buying over politicians and journalists, and not giving much
attention to what the big brothers of the international community
now has come the financial crunch. Inflation is spiralling and the
poorest of the poor are finding it difficult even to buy basic foods
such as bread. While military victories had kept his popularity
going in southern electorates, reports say that it is no longer so.
The crowds drawn to UNP rallies are an indication.
the temptation will be there to crown himself as the
commander-in-chief of the Thoppigala victory. Chandrika Kumaratunga
did so after operation Riviresa which swept the LTTE off the Jaffna
peninsula. Defence Minister at that time Anuruddha Ratwatte was
promoted Lt. General and declared 'Sapumal Kumaraya' after a
legendary Sinhala king.
all that glory soon evaporated as attempts were made to politicise
military victories that led to disasters. At times it appeared that
military operations were even timed for particular elections.
Questions asked by journalists why the 'Capture of Jaffna' was being
celebrated because Jaffna had always been a part of Sri Lanka fell
on deaf government ears of that time. Such questions on Thoppigala
remain valid. Is there a reason to go into song and dance over
driving out a band of terrorists from the hill top of Thoppigala?
temptation to make political capital out of the blood, tears and
dead bodies of poor soldiers should be strongly resisted.
days these are
all this talk of Thoppigala is making me reminisce about the good
ole days on the homestead. There I used to frolic as the resident
ayah clutching my left hand in her right palm marking time by
drawing imaginary lines in the air with her left index finger
chanted piffle about Themis.
if you care to know was the general keeper of the house, human look
out post and even in those days in the prime of his youth not
endowed with the Keratinous substance in his northern regions.
Follically challenged if you like or in a word, bald. Bald as a
bally eagle is what he was.
I remember right, pater would seat him at the far end of the garden
where he could keep a sharp watch on the road and alert my immediate
ancestor of any abnormal activity. In those days this would mean
either that Pottupala from next door was inebriated to a fault or
that Lassie Akka had again fallen into the well while sleep walking.
Akka's nightly perambulations were monitored with great interest by
the villagers. Be that as it may if I remember right, my ayah would
chant 'Themisge thattai dilisenawa Tokkak annoth pipirenawa.'
those days life was less politically correct but a good deal more
innocent and I would always inquire of my ayah why Themis wouldn't
wear a thoppiya so he could protect himself. To which she
deftly replied as if she had seen the question coming all along.
some reason darling, try as I would, all your propaganda on the fall
of Thoppigala couldn't prevent my mind from being transported to
this curious fairy tale narrated by my Rosalyn where I imagined a
thousand glistening pates in Thoppigala reflecting the sun and
producing a blinding light competing heavily with the rock face.
this romantic jungle terrain my general factotum had told me much.
Of foxes with diarrhoea who curved in and out of the thick trees and
rabbits who always got the better of the cunning red one.
only you had a thousand glistening pates now darling as you get
ready to celebrate with fanfare and public funds the fall of this
city of rocks and trees. Recall m'dear the place fell before as well
during the green party time.
good ever comes of grabbing land darling. Can't find anybody to
maintain the darn place. I find it difficult enough to employ a
gardener to potter round on my little patch of green do you think
you will be able to muster hundred thousand fellows willing to
handle 2500 acres of overgrown bush.
while you would be blaring hosannas and waving palm leaves and er...no...no...that's
from another good book, I mean reading ola leaves and
invoking blessings and shouting yourself hoarse from some propaganda
stool something else is going to be happening in the still of the
green party and the Mangy fellows will be staring into each others
eyes, tying the love knot and scratching away on the dotted line.
while the milk of human kindness is sloshing about in the bowels of
those in the south a large number of Paradisians at the other end of
the tether are just that. At the end of their tether.
nose twitched in delight darling when I saw that you intended to
bring back criminal defamation. I had my Cuban in one hand and my
Moet and Chandon in the other so I couldn't readily applaud your
efforts but let me tell you if he wasn't otherwise occupied the
Cuban may have applauded too.
nothing like a little slap to induce a little tickle sweetheart and
well you know it. You've been with the little woman long enough to
know the media is like a woman. Don't ask me what that means but
rumour has it, the implications are ominous.
why not dear. What isn't ominous these days, the spending is
voluminous, the economy is ominous and the cabinet papers are
hell of a hat no, as that 1950s beauty Wendy Van Rinderpest would
have said in moments of confused excitement. That Lankglish, if you
get what I mean, is a rather poor translation of the more racy
Sinhala sayings - thoppi vatila and thoppi daagena, which in
themselves mean one who has been put into trouble, and one who has
they mean two different situations, the one common factor is
is what is so tantalising about the Rajapakse regime. Trouble seems
to be second nature to the Rajapakse government, with or without the
Chinthana. Still it is a rare sight to run across a powerful cabal
that has not only got into trouble because of its apparent errant
ways but has actually done so with what appears to be masochistic
glee as if determined to self destruct.
sad part of all this is that it is not pure tragedy. It is not all
King Lear despite the rage and anger that seems to emanate from the
peak of power like some volcano suddenly coming alive. It has its
comic moments. The nation is then faced with a massive tragic-comedy
being enacted on the national stage.
the other day I was reading about all the hullabaloo over the
capture of Thoppigala and the grand celebrations to be held at
Independence Square to hail a great military victory.
citizens of Sri Lanka we should applaud our soldiers for fighting a
war they should not have been fighting at all had our worthy
politicians not made a right royal mess of ethnic relations.
whether between states or within states, are a tragic waste of life
- of combatants and civilians. Economists and academics would
perhaps call this a waste of human resources.
lack the emotional make-up of the average Sri Lankan who would no
doubt be pleased if terrorism, wherever it comes from and whatever
its manifestations, is defeated and exorcised from our land.
even they would be bemused by this inordinate hurry to 'fix a date'
to celebrate a victory even before the victory is achieved.
might be meaning in fixing a day for an offensive, for trying to
liberate your occupied land or somebody else's territory. When the
allies named D-Day during World War II, it was the day on which an
offensive would be launched at Normandy to rid occupied France of
Hitler's forces and start the liberation of occupied Europe from
if the British and their allies named V-Day, later called V-E Day
(Victory in Europe) even before victory was achieved and named V-J
Day (Victory over Japan) long before the armies of Nippon were
defeated in the Pacific!
in our blessed isle the date and venue for victory celebrations are
fixed and important persons invited even before the battle is won.
wants tamasha postponed
what happens. The army has reportedly asked the committee organising
the celebrations to postpone the planned July 19 event because the
army chief believes it might take a little more time for his
soldiers to evict the Tigers from their lairs in Thoppigala.
is nothing wrong in preparing to celebrate what the government
considers a military victory though there is a need to be cautious
about over-zealousness. "Well they seem to be jumping the gun,
if I may call it that," observed Puli Pachchathanni, the poet
laureate of Pungudavitu when the habitu‚s of Paradise Club
discussed the ensuing confusion when we met the other day.
of you might remember how a former Deputy Defence Minister Anuruddha
Ratwatte, a man who suddenly rose to the rank of a General, also
claimed military victory and raised the Sri Lanka national flag in
Jaffna suggesting that Jaffna had been cleared of terrorists. That
was over 10 years ago. Tigers are still roaming in the Jaffna
peninsula while Ratwatte is in hibernation somewhere having fallen
faster than Jaffna," reminded Kosala "The Fixer"
what is the moral of your story?" asked Hamid "Fast
Cash" Mansoor of Kehelmala.
moral my friend is very simple. There is an old English saying not
to count the chickens before they are hatched."
government has scored a great victory. Our forces have defeated the
terrorists and driven them out of Thoppigala. The east has been
freed from the terrorist menace," said Tissa Isakudichchi,
secretary to the Ministry of Ali Boru in strong rebuttal.
is not the point Tissa. If the east has been finally cleared and
Thoppigala has fallen that is great and the nation salutes the
heroic soldiers who made this possible, as your minister Dharshana
Diratchchalanu would say. But why did your leaders decide as early
as June to celebrate a Thoppigala victory and actually fix a date
prematurely? That is the question because after all the talk you
have had to postpone it," claimed Ravi Ratevedah, former MP for
is the wise guy who scheduled a date when the job was yet to be
done? That is what I'd like to know?" came in Kandiah (call me
Ken) Vinasapathi of the former Civil Service. "It is one thing
to have faith in your security forces. It is another thing to try
and force them into reckless action merely to satisfy the political
needs of some politicians. Because that is what it amounts to."
according to news reports the Secretary to the Ministry of Public
Administration sent out letters under his own name to invitees as
early as July 4," I said.
say Pachoris, that is exactly my point. Why this hurry? As I see it
those connected with the government were trying to bury other bad
news by celebrating the capture of Thoppigala. In ancient times
Roman emperors tried to divert the attention of their suffering
people by holding circuses and offering food," said the poet
offering a rationale for the local bread and circuses.
is the bad news that you are talking of?" asked Dr. Ananda
(Andy to foreign NGO types) Ansabage.
I might offer an explanation. This newspaper has carried detailed
articles about an alleged pre-election deal struck between the
presidential candidate Mahinda Rajapakse or those acting for his
benefit and the LTTE to stop the Tamils in the north and east from
voting. Normally those votes would have gone to Ranil Wickremesinghe.
By depriving the Tamils of their voting rights the LTTE ensured
Mahinda's victory," I said.
no I cannot believe this. Mahinda denounced the ceasefire agreement
and threatened to smash the Tigers if he wins. How could he have
done a deal with them as your newspaper says?" asked Pandu
Pusvedilla of the Notorious Peace Committee.
is all lies made up by the media," remonstrated the faithful
secretary to the Ministry of Ali Boru. "Minister Diratchchalanu
will reply to these lies when the time comes."
is a real thoppi. People are talking of this everywhere and even
diplomats are lapping it up like their daily soup. So when do you
think Diratchchalanu will say a word or two in denial, Tissa. This
year or next year?" Dr. Ansabage goaded the bureaucrat.
soon, very soon, we will put a stop to all this nonsense," said
a tormented secretary trying to defend himself.
what are you going to do to stop us from digging up political
dirt?" I asked.
defamation," he said. Then Isakudichchi suddenly clamped up
tighter than an oyster and hurried to the exit.
Bush save his face in Iraq?
a Third World observer far removed from the scenes in Iraq and
developments in Washington, but in close touch with them through
press and TV reports, parallels of what happened in Vietnam in the
'60s and '70s and what's happening in Iraq now keep coming back.
of US soldiers are causing immense concern among the American public
and their legislators - both Democratic
mounting pressure on the US President to pull back the troops,
despite some degree of optimism expressed by political and military
leaders, the American cause seems lost. The local regimes propped up
by the Americans then and the Iraqi regime now are at the receiving
end of the American ire. The only difference from the Vietnam
scenario is that the American campuses are still quiet and not
afire. Yet is has to be said that the magnitude of the problem
appears to be rather explosive.
once tough talking President George Bush who confidently went to war
against Saddam Hussein is
now on his knees, pleading with US legislators rebelling against his
war strategy. The Democrats want the troops pulled back on a fixed
time table which Bush is still resisting.
pleaded with Congressmen to hold their fire till September, the
deadline for a report called by Congress on the progress that is
being made by the Iraqi government.
this year Congress passed a bill with 18 targets which the Iraqi
government had to keep on political, security and economic reforms.
The bill required President Bush to certify that by July 15 and
again on September 15 the Iraqi government was progressing towards
these benchmarks. If not the bill requires that US aid must be cut.
has been reported that the Iraqi government had failed to make
progress in many refrom goals set by President Bush and Congress.
Inability to pass laws considered essential to national cohesion,
and major economic recovery are some of the observations made.
officials have also noted the failure of the Baghdad government to
enact legislation governing oil revenue sharing and organising
provincial elections which the US had considered as key
measures to quell sectarian violence.
reports said that Bush had urged
the legislators to wait
for the assessment of the US Commander in Iraq, General David
Petraneus in September. That would be the final report on the
benchmarks, he had said but stood firm on the reduction of troops
called for by Congressmen. Troop levels will be decided by
commanders on the ground and not by politicians in Washington, Bush
on Friday the United States House of Representatives had voted in
favour of pulling most combat troops out of Iraq by April next year.
The legislation calls for the Pentagon to begin withdrawing
combat troops within four months.
vote came despite President George W Bush's threat to veto any
surge of troops as demanded by Bush was granted by Congress
and now the effect of the increased number of troops to bring
the carnage in Iraq to a halt is being watched very closely by the
public and legislators.
happens if the sectarian violence continues as American casualties
too keep mounting? Can America afford to pull out of Iraq as a
defeated force as it did in Vietnam?
fear of pulling out of Vietnam was that it would lead to a domino
effect - the rest of the countries of South East Asia too going
under communist regimes. Some did go communist others didn't.
can the US pull out its troops leaving Iraq and the Middle East in
the present chaotic state? The world economy itself will be severely
threatened if chaos engulfs the entire Middle East and there is no
government in control of Iraq.
joint Congressional plan drawn up by former US Secretary of State
James Baker calls upon regional cooperation of both Iran and Syria
to bring about order in Iraq. While US and Iranian diplomats met in
May to discuss Iran, as present
US-Iranian relations stand,
Tehran has everything to gain by stirring up the Iranian pot.
would George Bush do at the tail end of his term with Iran, whose
nuclear programme he is determined to stall? Attack the Iranian
nuclear plants with missiles? Iran which too has missile capability
but with Israel within their range may
feel tempted to carry out its promise of "wiping out
Israel from the face of the earth."
though the consensus in
America right now may be to pull
out of Iraq it is likely that it would have to be a prolonged
and phased pull out.