Get off the SOFA
Posted in: Iraq
The most lasting legacy amongst all the other detritus of the outgoing Bunnypants Administration will likely be how we fucked up the sovereign nation of Iraq. Briefly, it went like this…
We had a love-hate relationship with dear old Saddam, selling him weapons to use with no questions asked… then allowing him to almost sink a US Navy warship (no reprisals, no problem-o with the old Iraqi oil spigot) and finally he goes and invades Kuwait, pissing off the Very Good Friends of Daddy Bush, the Al-Sabah family of Kuwait and threatening Kuwaiti oil industry. Well, commit genocide, rule with an iron fist, shoot at a US Capital Warship… fuck with the oil, and baby you are going dowwwwn. Thus the basis for the an American Foreign policy was born that would likely have been cut from a Clancy novel by his editors as being completely unrealistic… until 9/11.
So off we marched to war (no, not that one in the Opium Triangle) and committed hundreds of thousands of American troops and countless (literally) dollars to prosecuting a war against former weapons client and all-around anti-Irani factotum Saddam. He got his ass kicked, as he did once before. Then began the occupation. Now the occupation is coming to an end… and the Bushies are getting worried, because the one thing that they need is missing, a "Status of Forces Agreement" or SOFA which basically guarantees US Forces access to the country as "guests" after the hostilities have effectively ended. We have had them with all the countries we were involved in WWII with, both as friends and adversaries (Japan’s was interesting in the way that it gave Japanese a modified jurisdiction over service members who committed crimes in-country). The Bushies seem to view obtaining a SOFA agreement as some sort of vindication of their misguided efforts in Iraq, and are loathe to leave office without something on paper.
Apparently, there must be some phenomenal pressure being brought on the Iraqi councils to approve a limited SOFA which might effectively tie the hands of incoming Obama administration…
The agreement sets June 30, 2009, as the deadline for U.S. troops to withdraw from all Iraqi cities and towns, Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said.
The date for all troops to leave Iraq will be December 31, 2011, he said.
So, we have a "date certain" now for the withdrawl of all the US Forces from Iraq. How defeatist, or have the Republicans been using other words for that? The fact that there are no details of this SOFA agreement beyond what’s been made public thus far seem to make it all about allowing The Worst Preznit Evah to leave office without much of a penalty for Dick and the NeoCons’ most excellent adventures in the middle east.
American troops who have never had any business in Iraq, are being asked to effectively be garrisoned (or so it seems) with no other responsibilities beyond sitting on their asses inside US bases and fortifications. Congress must take an active role in opposing this unless there are immediate reductions in troop strength beyond the slow draw-down that this agreement seems to imply. Leaving US Forces stuck inside the bases will make them little more than stationary targets for malcontents within the civilian population who see a chance to "strike a blow" against the occupiers of their country with no real consequences because by the time there is a reaction they’ll be long gone into the countryside. And the Iraqis are rightly not going to allow indiscriminate raids "just because", those days are coming to an end with the departure of Preznit "Bring it on".
This SOFA is nothing more than a band-aid, and President Obama does not need his hands tied by an agreement like this, after all, bad agreements/law/treaties have been the hallmark of Mr. Bush. Mr. Obama can make his own mistakes, he doesn’t need any help from an idiot with the popularity of jock itch and the public relations-savvy of the Mormon Church.
Return to: Get off the SOFA