Patrick Coburn has a chilling piece in the Independent about what Bush is trying to push through the puppet government of Iraq. The subhead gives a nice summary:
Bush wants 50 military bases, control of Iraqi airspace and legal immunity for all American soldiers and contractors
The deal would effectively tie the hands of the next administration unless the Iraqis can muster the political courage to reject it. Since the Bush administration has done everything possible to keep the terms secret to ward off an Iraqi backlash, the least we can do is make sure the leak spreads to flood proportion.
Since the story has now broken on the DD front page, courtesy of Mishima, I thought I would focus on a few key contradictions based on quotes from the article.
1. The United States has talked about Iraq being on the path to democracy.
The US is adamantly against the new security agreement being put to a referendum in Iraq, suspecting that it would be voted down.
We don’t want the people of Iraq to have a say on an agreement that guarantees the long-term occupation of their country by a foreign power, including the ability to wage war on Iraq’s neighbors.
2. The United States went before the UN in 2004 to declare Iraq a sovereign country.
Mr Bush is determined to force the Iraqi government to sign the so-called “strategic alliance” without modifications, by the end of next month.
America currently has 151,000 troops in Iraq and, even after projected withdrawals next month, troop levels will stand at more than 142,000 – 10 000 more than when the military “surge” began in January 2007. Under the terms of the new treaty, the Americans would retain the long-term use of more than 50 bases in Iraq. American negotiators are also demanding immunity from Iraqi law for US troops and contractors, and a free hand to carry out arrests and conduct military activities in Iraq without consulting the Baghdad government.
Immunity from Iraqi law, control over the airspace, control over military operations within and across Iraqi borders without consulting the Iraqi government, the largest concentration of US military bases outside the US seems at variance with territorial control by the people and government of Iraq, but sovereignty is in the eye of the
3. The United States has claimed its actions benefit the people of Iraq.
The signature of a security agreement, and a parallel deal providing a legal basis for keeping US troops in Iraq, is unlikely to be accepted by most Iraqis. But the Kurds, who make up a fifth of the population, will probably favour a continuing American presence, as will Sunni Arab political leaders who want US forces to dilute the power of the Shia.
The only benefit to the people of Iraq is that it prevents the Shia from tyranny of the majority. I am sure the world will applaud our generosity.
4. The Bush administration has claimed that the Iraq occupation makes us safer.
WASHINGTON – At the same time the Bush administration has been pushing for deep cuts in a popular crime-fighting program for states and cities, the White House has been fighting for approval of $603 million for the Iraqi police.
The White House earlier this year proposed slashing the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program, which helps local law enforcement officials deal with violent crime and serious offenders, to $200 million in the next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.
In 2002, the year before the Iraq war, the program received $900 million.
Feel safer yet? We will fight crime over there so we will not have to fight it here…
5. The Bush administration claims it acts in the best interests of the American people.
I searched for some way the Iraq war and occupation have benefited the American people, but could not come with anything. It has already cost 20 times more than the Bush administration promised. The Middle East is less stable. The price of oil has quadrupled. The dollar has become worthless. The National Guard no longer can respond effectively to domestic disasters.
6. We cannot impeach Bush or Cheney because it would be politically unwise.
But by perpetuating the US presence in Iraq, the long-term settlement would undercut pledges by the Democratic presidential nominee, Barack Obama, to withdraw US troops if he is elected president in November.
The Iraqi government wants to delay the actual signing of the agreement but the office of Vice-President Dick Cheney has been trying to force it through. The US ambassador in Baghdad, Ryan Crocker, has spent weeks trying to secure the accord.
Immunity from prosecution is a bad idea in the United States or in Iraq, unless of course you oppose the rule of law.