You may only read this site if you've purchased Our Kampf from Amazon or Powell's or me
• • •
"Mike and Jon, Jon and Mike—I've known them both for years, and, clearly, one of them is very funny. As for the other: truly one of the great hangers-on of our time."—Steve Bodow, head writer, The Daily Show

"Who can really judge what's funny? If humor is a subjective medium, then can there be something that is really and truly hilarious? Me. This book."—Daniel Handler, author, Adverbs, and personal representative of Lemony Snicket

"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming

March 27, 2008

Spencer Ackerman On Bush Plans For Permanent Occupation

Spencer Ackerman has written an important and informative piece for the Washington Independent about how the Bush administration is attempting to lay the groundwork for a permanent U.S. occupation of Iraq before they leave office.

If you don't know the background, here's what's been happening up to now:

U.S. troops currently operate in Iraq under a UN Security Council mandate. The mandate has been renewed annually since 2004. It gives coalition troops the legal authority to use force there.

A majority of the Iraqi parliament wants the US to leave Iraq, and for several years has been trying to prevent the mandate from being renewed unless it includes a specific timeframe for us to depart.

The executive branch of the Iraqi government (ie, Prime Minister Maliki and friends) wants the US to stay indefinitely. That's because we want to stay, and Maliki is our puppet. Maliki therefore successfully got the UN to renew the mandate at the end of 2007, even though the Iraqi parliament opposed it and, under the Iraqi constitution, must approve all treaties. Maliki is exactly like Bush in this way; the legislative branch tries to assert its constitutional rights, and Maliki tells them: fuck you.

The mandate is now set to expire again at the end of this year. It would be near-impossible for Maliki and Bush to get another year's extension, because the Iraqi parliament has now gotten its act together. And even if it could be extended, it's undesirable from the administration's perspective, because it doesn't tie the hands of the next president.

Thus, Bush is attempting to create a bilateral "agreement" with Iraq via Maliki. It won't be called a treaty, because as noted that would require the Iraqi parliament to approve it; even worse, under the US constitution, it would require the two-thirds approval of the US Senate.

So what the administration tried to do was quietly institute this accord between itself and Maliki (essentially between itself and itself), and write it so it was a treaty in all but name, giving the US the right to "protect" the Iraqi government from foreign and domestic threats.

However, Congress has actually been doing its job and pushing back on this—holding hearings, asking questions—and the administration has been somewhat stymied. That's where Ackerman picks up the story.

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at March 27, 2008 10:20 AM

Is this anything more than the last desperate throes of a failing regime? If agreements were binding, we wouldn't need treaties. Rule of law, and all that.

And this "agreement", once it is even slightly undone, stays undone. How does Maliki retain power without us to help him out?

Posted by: dr2chase at March 27, 2008 11:37 AM

We could have won in Vietnam if George Bush had been President.

Posted by: buermann at March 27, 2008 02:01 PM

buermann: Well, maybe not won, but at least we'd still be trying!

Posted by: John Caruso at March 27, 2008 02:55 PM

This also lets congress and the Dems off the hook for continuing the occupation of Iraq if a Democrat gains the Whitehouse and if the Dems retain a majority in congress “Bush made us do it”. Clearly Obama wishes to continue with this stupid war on terror shifting the troops wherever his little heart desires such as to Afghanistan or even into Pakistan if he becomes president. How convenient for the Dems that people keep making excuses for them. And so it goes an endless parade of wars and imperialism on into infinity with an equally endless parade of excuses.

Posted by: rob payne at March 27, 2008 03:34 PM

The Iraqis WILL show us the door in much the same manner as the Vietnamese did on April 25,1975. (they are pointing the way today). I must throughly AGREE with rob payne as WE still have Iran, Pakistan, Nigeria, and, of course, South America. (Canada???)

Posted by: Mike Meyer at March 27, 2008 04:06 PM