Friday :: Mar 7, 2008

Forever is a very long time


by Turkana

The Washington Post, yesterday, had more proof that the Unitary Executive Commander Guy War President has no intention of being anything else:

The Bush administration yesterday advanced a new argument for why it does not require congressional approval to strike a long-term security agreement with Iraq, stating that Congress had already endorsed such an initiative through its 2002 resolution authorizing the use of force against Saddam Hussein.

The 2002 measure, along with the congressional resolution passed one week after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks authorizing military action "to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States," permits indefinite combat operations in Iraq, according to a statement by the State Department's Bureau of Legislative Affairs.

This is a theme coming from many Administration voices. And when they say indefinite they mean indefinite!

In a letter to Ackerman, Assistant Secretary of State Jeffrey T. Bergner said that authority exists with or without a U.N. mandate. In addition to the resolutions, he wrote, "Congress has repeatedly provided funding for the Iraq war." Democrats have failed in several attempts to curtail funding for the Iraq war.

Yes. Congress has. Continued to fund it. With both Senators Clinton and Obama on board. And yes, the Democrats have attempted to curtail funding. With both Senators Clinton and Obama on board.

The Iraqi government said late last year that it will not agree to renewal of the U.N. mandate for foreign troops there beyond 2008, and the administration announced that it was opening negotiations with Baghdad on a new bilateral agreement to replace it. A declaration of principles signed by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and President Bush in December said the agreement would include "security assurances and commitments" to Iraq to deter foreign aggression.

Democrats, and some Republicans, maintained that any such agreement -- particularly if it includes a defense commitment -- would require Senate ratification. The administration has claimed executive authority, but has pledged that the agreement will contain no troop commitments and no promise to defend Iraq, and will not constrain the next president.

And as the Los Angeles Times reported, a few days ago:

The Bush administration believes a halt in troop reductions in Iraq after July is needed in part to ensure a large enough force is present to provide security for local elections, a senior administration official said Friday.

By tying troop levels to Iraq's provincial elections, officials in effect established a new milestone to guide U.S. policy during President Bush's last months in office. And by linking them to the elections, the administration is increasing pressure on the Iraqis to actually hold the balloting.

Another milestone. They used to be called benchmarks. And we know how consistently well those have worked out. And this one looks similarly promising.

Iraq's presidency council, consisting of three top officials, vetoed legislation this week that set plans for the provincial elections, which the U.S. regards as one of the benchmarks of political progress in Iraq.

As, I've previously made clear, Bush is trying to ensure that we will be stuck in Iraq forever. There's no further point in Congress discussing it, investigating it, or wondering at it. The only question is whether they want to do something about it. Don't hold your breath.

Meanwhile, things continue to improve for the Iraqis. Or something. As Reuters reported:

Violent civilian deaths in Iraq rose 36 percent in February from the previous month after a series of large-scale bombings blamed on al Qaeda, Iraqi government figures showed on Saturday.

A total of 633 civilians died violently in February, compared with 466 in January, according to figures released by Iraq's interior, defense and health ministries. It was the first increase after six consecutive months of falling casualty tolls.

And Agence France-Presse reports that this month os off to a fine start:

A twin attack in central Baghdad's commercial district on Thursday killed at least 68 people, a security source said, making it the second deadliest assault in Iraq this year.

The roadside bomb, followed by a suicide attack, ripped through Al-Atar Street in the Karada neighbourhood.

In addition to the dead, 154 others were wounded, an interior ministry official said on Friday, adding that among the casualties were several women and children who had gone out shopping.

But at least they have the comfort of knowing we may be there forever. Keeping them safe and secure. Or something.

Turkana :: 6:45 AM :: Comments (16) :: Digg It!