Wednesday, June 11, 2008

WHACKING IRAQ--"NOT DEFINED" AND "DOESN'T MEAN ANYTHING"

Iraqis Condemn American Demands Sides Negotiating U.S. Military Role
By Amit R. Paley and Karen DeYoung Washington Post Foreign Service Wednesday, June 11, 2008; A01
BAGHDAD, June 10 -- High-level negotiations over the future role of the U.S. military in Iraq have turned into an increasingly acrimonious public debate, with Iraqi politicians denouncing what they say are U.S. demands to maintain nearly 60 bases in their country indefinitely.
. . . "What the U.S. wants is to take the current status quo and try to regulate it in a new agreement. And what we want is greater respect for Iraqi sovereignty," said Haider al-Abadi, a parliament member from Maliki's Dawa party. "Signing the agreement would mean that the Iraqi government had given up its sovereignty by its own consent. And that will never happen."
. . . Iraqi officials said the U.S. government also demanded the continuation of several current policies: authority to detain and hold Iraqis without turning them over to the Iraqi judicial system, immunity from Iraqi prosecution for both U.S. troops and private contractors, and the prerogative for U.S. forces to conduct operations without approval from the Iraqi government.
The American negotiators also called for continued control over Iraqi airspace and the right to refuel planes in the air, according to Askari, positions he said added to concerns that the United States was preparing to use Iraq as a base to attack Iran.
. . . U.S. negotiators also said the agreements would not obligate the American military to protect Iraq from foreign aggression, Iraqi officials said, a promise they believe was a fundamental part of a declaration of principles signed by Bush and Maliki last winter.
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So, if I understand this correctly, Bush wants
  • to secure nearly sixty permanent U.S. military bases across Iraq,
  • keep the no-fly zones in place (and expand them),
  • exempt American troops and their contractors from Iraqi law,
  • grab anyone off the street at any time for any reason and detain them without Iraqi permission (or even knowledge),
  • conduct whatever military operations we dream up without permission,
  • refuel planes in Iraqi airspace
  • and generally Rambo our way around the country.
For all that leeway, we agree not to protect Iraq from any ongoing foreign aggressions.
Sounds like a hell of a deal, right? The only thing we didn't demand was their oil, but that's probably somewhere down the road--and not too far down. But permanent basing is the key. Permanent basing is what the invasion was mostly about, all those six long years and 4,000 dead American kids ago.
"In a Senate hearing in April, a senior Defense Department lawyer acknowledged under questioning by Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) that the Pentagon had no definition for the term "permanent base" and that it "doesn't really mean anything.""
And there you have it. Don't tell me the Bush administration is without a definitive foreign policy. It's merely undefined and doesn't really mean anything.
As if we (and the Iraqis) didn't know that.