Friday, February 01, 2008

Gary Hart: Bush quietly ensuring we will be in Iraq for decades to come

From Gary Hart, via the Huffington Post:

For the better part of a year before the gratuitous invasion of Iraq, along with others I wrote often about the real neocon plan, the secret one not disclosed to the American people. It involved the use of Iraq as the U.S. political and military base in the Middle East, dictation of terms to surrounding nations, protection of our oil dependencies, long term occupation, and the construction of permanent military bases. All of this would be administered by a proconsul of Roman proportions, safely sequestered behind a multi-billion dollar fortress now known as the Green Zone.

Yesterday, President Bush signed the Defense Authorization Bill, including Section 1222 prohibiting permanent military bases in Iraq, with the now customary "signing statement" declaring that he has no intention of enforcing the law of the land, including this provision, though bound by oath and Constitution to do so.

To seal the deal, with the expectation of binding future presidential successors, Mr. Bush and Iraq president Nouri al-Maliki are in the process of negotiating a "status of forces agreement" that would commit the U.S. military to combat any internal or external factions the Iraqi government deemed a threat. This represents a one-directional security treaty cloaked in the form of an agreement not subject to Senate ratification. And it guarantees U.S. involvement in age-old Iraqi sectarian conflict for decades to come.

Well, there's an easy answer for Bush's successor to any claim that this agreement binds him: "This administration is not bound by any promises made by previous administrations." In fact, whereas U.S. law now explicitly prohibits permanent military bases in Iraq, that is what the next President would be bound by, Bush's extra-constitutional (and legally meaningless) signing statements not with standing.

Hart acknowledges this, but then talks of campaign tactics. Does Bush actually think that his unratified agreements with Iraq will be legally binding to his successors, or his he just trying to piss in the punch bowl for future Presidents?

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