Friday, January 25, 2008

Don't Sign A Deal With The Devil

After years of occupying Iraq under a UN mandate that is now set to expire, the U.S. is looking to sign a new agreement with Iraq that will allow the U.S. to keep the rights it had under the old mandate far into the future. There are two big things very wrong with the new compact that the Bush administration is trying to get the Iraqi government to sign on to. One is that most Iraqi's don't support the U.S. staying in Iraq for more than a year (that was in September). The second problem is that the Bush administration is going ahead with negotiations with Iraq that are basically treaty negotiations, and yet it seems that they plan to forgo ratification by the senate, a move that would bring us a step closer towards an imperial presidency, which Bush has been trying to build all along. 

In articles discussing this new deleterious development in the Iraq war, the fact that the U.S. is going ahead with a plan for continuing military presence while 71% (see World Public Opinion article)  of Iraqi's are opposed to it is all but ignored. Instead, most articles focus on whether Bush can muster support in Iraq's divided legislature. The fact that Iraqi's are against the continued deployment of U.S. foreign fighters in their country is the most damning indictment of our continued presence there. 
Aside from the awkward fact that the new treaty the U.S. is trying to push through has no democratic legitimacy, there is also the other problem that hits closer to home: Does the president have the right to sign what he euphemistically calls an agreement without the 3/4 ratification of the U.S. Senate? That is what Rep. William Delahunt (D-Mass.) wants to find out in his scheduled subcommittee hearing. The problem as he and anyone else who has been witnessing the ballooning power of the executive branch can see, is that allowing Bush to negotiate and sign such a treaty with Iraq will undercut yet another function of the Senate. Now we can expect the Bush administration to do all in its power to do just that, but I hope that we also see the Democratic majority stand up and fight back. It's the least they can do and it just might turn into an opportunity to end this war. 

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