Sunday, November 30, 2008

Editorial: The Treaty

Thursday, the treaty masquerading as the Status Of Forces Agreement passed the Iraqi Parliament and some form of the treaty was also finally released to the American people. The next step in Iraq for the treaty is to go before the presidency council which will approve it or nix it.

While that awaits, the press continues their lying on the treaty and, as Ruth noted, the press is deliberately lying by going out of their way to ignore the same people they wouldn't have been jotting down stenography from mere months ago. They reveal themselves in their own reporting at times.

For example, how do you lie that the treaty means US troops out of Iraq by the end of 2011 and include that: ". . . the pact also allows the Iraqi government to negotiate with the United States to extend the presence of U.S. troops if conditions on the ground are not stable" or: "The pact allows for amendments if both sides agree to them. U.S. officials have indicated that they interpret that as permitting an extension, if security conditions in Iraq are deemed too shaky to leave Iraqi forces in charge. 'There is a provision for extension, by agreement of both sides,' one U.S. official said."

No, that is not TROOPS HOME BY THE END OF 2011!

As has been repeatedly explained at The Common Ills, the treaty is a one-year treaty with options to extend. As with the UN mandate that has been utilized so far to legalize the occupation of Iraq, the treaty only focuses on one year. 2009 is binding. Everything after that can be changed so there's no reason in the world for the press to reporting hypotheticals as if they were concrete, locked-in details.

From the version the White House released on Thursday, Article 30:

1) This Agreement shall be effective for a period of three years, unless terminated sooner by either Party pursuant to paragraph 3 of this Article.

What does paragraph three state? "This Agreement shall terminate one year after a Party provides written notification to the other Party to that effect." It is not a binding three-year contract. A binding three-year contract runs three years with no exceptions or modifcations. This is a one-year contract that may or may not be renewed for 2010 and, if renewed, may or may not be renewed for 2011.

Clause two of Article 30 explains how optional the 'three year' treaty is: "This Agreement shall be amended only with the official agrement of the Parties in writing and in accordance with the constitutional proceudures in effect in both countries."

The only year that is binding is 2009. After 2009, details can be changed or the entire treaty can be scrapped. That is reality. Reporting that the treaty guarantees all US troops out of Iraq by the end of 2011 is not reality. It does make for lying, however.

Barack Obama was the choice of Corporate America. Liars like Amy Goodman and Allan Nairn worked overtime to obscure and excuse that. Barack exists to put a big smile on imperialism and garbage like a one-year treaty passed off as "Troops Home!" exists to lull the American people into complacency the same way Tricky Dick Nixon's promise of a 'secret plan' to end the war always attempted to defuse objection to the earlier illegal war. Back then, people were either smarter or had a real independent media -- or possibly both: They didn't fall for the garbage.

Doubt how pathetic our 'independent' media today is?

The treaty got passed by al-Maliki's cabinet, then by the Parliament and now requires the approval of the presidency council. Despite the fact that the US Constitution demands treaties get Senate approval, the White House has no intention of sending it to Congress. American Freedom Campaign calls this the abuse of the week:

Iraq Parliament to vote on U.S.-Iraq agreement, while Congress has no input

During the Bush administration, the power of the executive branch has been greatly expanded. At times, President Bush has treated Congress like an inferior branch of government – and, to be honest, Congress has done very little to demonstrate it minds being treated that way.

Case in point: On November 17, the New York Times reported that the U.S. and Iraq had reached an agreement setting the terms of the U.S.'s presence in Iraq after the expiration of the UN mandate on December 31. Although the Bush administration is calling this agreement a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), a category of international agreement that does not require congressional approval, it is clear that the agreement goes well beyond a traditional SOFA. Not surprisingly, the Bush administration has no plans to seek congressional approval. What makes this even worse is that under the Iraqi constitution, this kind of agreement must be approved by the Iraqi Parliament. So we are left with a situation in which the Iraqi Parliament is voting on an agreement that will affect the lives of U.S. soldiers, but Congress has no voice at all in the process. And what is Congress doing about this? Very, very little so far…

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