Wednesday, November 26, 2008

And we still have two months to go?

The Cheney-Bush administration is practicing its signature "virtues" of cynicism, secrecy, deception, incompetence, and reckless disregard for Congress and the American people right up until the end: U.S. staying silent on its view of Iraq pact until after vote by Adam Ashton, Jonathan S. Landay and Nancy A. Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers 11/25/08.

You know that status-of-forces agreement that the Iraqi Parliament is debating this week? Well, our public servants in the Vice-President's Office and the White House have been withholding the official English translation from the American press and public! McClatchy reports:

Officials in Washington said the administration has withheld the official English translation of the agreement in an effort to suppress a public dispute with the Iraqis until after the Iraqi parliament votes.

"There are a number of areas in here where they have agreement on the same wording but different understandings about what the words mean," said a U.S. official who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
McClatchy has posted an official translation, though not officially released.

And, as always, Cheney and Bush claim they can interpret the thing any dang way they please.

Which is their way of saying that for them, its not worth the paper its written on, at least written in Arabic somewhere. They think a Republican President can just do whatever he wants:

The Bush administration has adopted a much looser interpretation than the Iraqi government of several key provisions of the pending U.S.-Iraq security agreement, U.S. officials said Tuesday — just hours before the Iraqi parliament was to hold its historic vote. ...

Among the areas of dispute are:

  • Iraqi legal jurisdiction over U.S. troops or military contractors who kill Iraqis on operations. The agreement calls for Iraq to prosecute U.S. troops according to court procedures that have yet to be worked out. Those negotiations, administration officials have argued, could take three years, by which time the U.S. will have withdrawn from Iraq under the terms of the agreement. In the interim, U.S. troops will remain under the jurisdiction of America's Uniform Code of Military Justice.
  • A provision that bars the U.S. from launching military operations into neighboring countries from Iraqi territory. Administration officials argue they could circumvent that in some cases, such as pursuing groups that launch strikes on U.S. targets from Syria or Iran, by citing another provision that allows each party to retain the right of self-defense. One official expressed concern that "if Iran gets wind that we think there's a loophole there," Tehran might renew its opposition to the agreement.
  • A provision that appears to require the U.S. to notify Iraqi officials in advance of any planned military operations and to seek Iraqi approval for them, which some U.S. military officials find especially troubling, although Robert Gates, the secretary of defense, Army Gen. David Petraeus, the head of the U.S. Central Command, and Army Gen. Raymond Odierno, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, all have endorsed it.
"Telling the Iraqis in advance would be an invitation to an ambush," said one U.S. official, who said the Iraqi government and security forces are "thoroughly penetrated by the insurgents, the Iranians, the Sadrists (followers of anti-American Shiite cleric Moqtada al Sadr) and ordinary folks who just sell scraps of intelligence."
The Shi'a dominated Iraqi government is "thoroughly penetrated" by Sunni insurgents, Shi'a insurgents and Iranian agents? After the incomparable success of the exceedingly brilliant Surge, the greatest success every in the history of counterinsurgency?

This is yet another reason why Congress should review this thing before its approved. If the administration negotiating the agreement has no intention of complying with it - and maybe has good reason not to comply in some cases - then why are Cheney and Bush approving it at all?

This nightmare administration just can't end too soon!

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