In March 2007, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah raised eyebrows when he suggested that Iraq was under “illegitimate foreign occupation.” It was a charge that had been leveled at the administration before, but considering it’s source they felt a response or explanation was necessary. White House spokeswoman Dana Perino explained:

It is not accurate to say that the United States is occupying Iraq … When it comes to the coalition forces being in Iraq, we are there under the U.N. Security Council resolutions and at the invitation of the Iraqi people.

This has been the line of thinking for supporters of the war. Frederick Kagan has defended our military presence under similar lines. Suffice it to say, it is odd to see Kagan and other supporters of military unilateralism citing the U.N. as supporters of the invasion, especially when the then-Secretary General of the U.N., Kofi Annan, had this to say about the war in 2004:

I have indicated it was not in conformity with the UN charter. From our point of view and from the charter point of view it was illegal.

All that being said, surely the U.S. government will respect the wishes of the Iraqi people given that, according to Dana Perino, their invitation is the reason we operate by any means other than “occupation”. If the Iraqi government wishes for us to leave in a timely and orderly manner, we will abide. Anything less would be a forced, illegitimate foreign occupation. Right? Wrong.

This just in:

The United States on Tuesday rejected a demand from Iraq for a specific date for pullout of US-led foreign troops from the country, saying any withdrawal will be based on conditions on the ground.

“The US government and the government of Iraq are in agreement that we, the US government, we want to withdraw, we will withdraw. However, that decision will be conditions-based,” State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos said.

Iraq said on Tuesday it will reject any security pact with the United States unless it sets a date for the pullout of US-led troops.

The Iraq war or the Iraq occupation? What’s in a name, anyway?