Top Leaderboard, Site wide
October 1, 2014
Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines
Help us grow by sharing
and liking Truthdig:
Sign up for Truthdig's Email NewsletterLike Truthdig on FacebookFollow Truthdig on TwitterSubscribe to Truthdig's RSS Feed

Newsletter

sign up to get updates


China and Its Challenges




The Underground Girls of Kabul


Truthdig Bazaar more items

 
Report

Permanent Disaster

Email this item Email    Print this item Print    Share this item... Share

Posted on Feb 4, 2008

By Marie Cocco

    WASHINGTON—There are no alligators in New York City’s sewers, and Paul McCartney is still not dead. There are those who wish the Bush administration’s plan to establish a long-term American military commitment in Iraq were just another urban legend, easily debunked if not dismissed as a joke.

    It isn’t. To see this policy taking form takes no conspiratorial outlook, just a clear-eyed reading of documents the White House has made public.

    The first is a “declaration of principles” that the administration agreed to with the Iraqi government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, an outline of which was made public two months ago. Among the pledges the United States has made is that it will “deter foreign aggression against Iraq that violates its sovereignty and integrity of its territories, waters or airspace.” In other words, we may be obligated to defend Iraq in much the same way we are bound to defend South Korea. 

    The second is a “signing statement” President Bush issued only last week on the day of his State of the Union address. Even as he signed a larger defense spending bill, Bush indicated he would ignore a congressional mandate that no funds be spent for establishing permanent military bases in Iraq. “Every time a senior administration official is asked about permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq, they contend that it is not their intention to construct such facilities,” an outraged Sen. Robert P. Casey, D-Pa., said on the Senate floor. Yet the signing statement, Casey said, “is the clearest signal yet that the administration wants to hold this option in reserve.”

    Iraq is not Japan or South Korea or, for heaven’s sake, Germany. The defense arrangements contemplated in the Bush-Maliki understanding could well lead to open-ended commitments for American intervention in the tangled and enduring conflicts that bedevil the entire Middle East. Take, for example, a U.S. agreement to defend Iraq against external threats. “There are any number of scenarios,” says Brian Katulis, a Middle East expert at the Center for American Progress. “It’s up for interpretation what that actually means.”

Advertisement

Square, Site wide
    It could mean we would be forced to act militarily to prevent Turkey, a NATO ally, from invading Kurdistan in order to roust Kurdish militias. It could mean the Iraqis would seek our aid in repelling foreign jihadists financed by, for example, Saudi Arabia. It could mean a U.S.-Iraqi alliance in a war against Iran or Syria. But all this may turn out to be the simplest part.

    A second pledge of the Bush-Maliki agreement is that the United States will support Iraq in combating “all terrorist groups, at the forefront of which is al-Qaeda, Saddamists, and all other outlaw groups regardless of affiliation.” Separate language would bind the United States to support Iraq in “defending its democratic system against internal and external threats.”

    What, exactly, is an internal threat to the current Iraq that the United States would be obliged to counter—and who would define it? This stipulation could have “major implications if political upheaval leads to the downfall of the elected Iraqi government,” Kenneth Katzman of the Congressional Research Service told a House subcommittee last month. Katzman testified that this could lead to U.S. intervention to “restore the elected government, or to oust a government, even a stable government that came to power through undemocratic means.”

    The United States has long taken sides in coups and at times has been in the business of engineering them. But who among us is aware that the Bush administration would contemplate the use of American military personnel to restore to power the corrupt and incompetent Maliki government?

    It is decidedly unfashionable to give Hillary Clinton credit for anything these days. Yet she quickly saw the danger in this template. A week after Bush released the outlines of this pact, the New York senator introduced legislation to prohibit funding for implementing any such commitment unless it takes the form of a treaty approved by the necessary two-thirds vote of the Senate. At a recent debate, she invited her opponent Barack Obama to join in sponsoring the measure, which he belatedly did. 

    Still, the Democratic nominating contest has been consumed with argument over a six-year-old vote authorizing the use of force in Iraq. The Republicans bicker over who is more supportive of the current “surge” in troop levels, conveniently forgetting that the surge was supposed to have been temporary.

    Meanwhile, the White House careens down an ever more dangerous course, secure in the knowledge that few are watching its recklessness.   

Marie Cocco’s e-mail address is mariecocco(at)washpost.com.

    © 2008, Washington Post Writers Group


New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

By Spyguy, February 8, 2008 at 8:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am not too worried about this agreement since it is not worth the paper it is printed on. Lets face it, Bush has already set the precedent that any and all treaties, agreements and what every else we say, can be unilaterally ignored by any future president.

If the Iraqis become unhappy with us bailing out, what are they going to do about it? Sue the US in some court some where? We can just ignore the court since there is also a Bush precedent for that. If the republicans get upset, we should just rub their nose in it and remind them that the policy was set by their own idiot.

Frankly I think we will be lucky to get most of our people out alive when Iraq implodes. The Iraqis are going to love stripping those bases of everything that has value after we leave in haste - sort of our parting payment for the “fun” we had.

As for the “moral obligation” argument, I have a simple response ... bullshit. In the end the folks in the US always do what is best for them, not what is “moral” (whatever that is). We really are just as selfish as the rest of the world.

Report this

By Expat, February 7, 2008 at 3:08 am Link to this comment

^ the fact many posters are not accurate in their information.  Huffpost has a propensity to shoot from the hip.  The key word here is verify, verify, verify.  On the plus side; I have been corrected by some posters and they were correct.  I discovered this by researching their information.  The benefit is distilling knowledge and cross checking information.

Report this

By Maani, February 6, 2008 at 10:31 pm Link to this comment

ejohn:

“These days even if a well meaning statesman (most anyone attempting to work within the govmnts of almost all nations - even with good intentions and high moral and social ambitions) will soon learn (or be taught) that opportunities exist to reap enormous financial gains simply by aligning and supporting the financially strong and successful organization (Corp., country, political entity, drug lord, gang, etc.).”

I finally remembered who Obama reminds me of: Eddie Murphy in “The Distinguished Gentleman!”

Peace.

Report this

By Maani, February 6, 2008 at 10:28 pm Link to this comment

Margaret:

“I listen to the news but the computer Internet gives more truth than the Networks because the Networks are a corporation.”

Google, Yahoo, AOL et al are ALSO corporations.  And although the Internet is an open forum, the Internet companies are among the largest contributors to political campaigns.  (This is because there is a great deal of legislation coming down the pike re the Internet.)

However, setting that aside, simply because the Internet is an open forum does not mean the NON-corporations do not also “spin” and provide “half-truths.”  Take LieDig, for instance…

Peace.

Report this

By Margaret Currey, February 6, 2008 at 5:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When the people refuse to listen to the negative spin, half truths, and words taken out of context the FOX news station is allready known as a station that leans to the right.

I listen to the news but the computer Internet gives more truth than the Networks because the Networks are a corporation.

Bush still has his sighning statements.

And to think he and Palosi think the soultion is to throw more money at the problem, thus putting out national debt just a litter higher.

Report this

By ejohn, February 6, 2008 at 12:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Good Stuff Here (above)... but missing the underlying cause…

That underlying cause is greed.

Personal and familial greed.

It has been around forever. If enough is good, more is better.

These days even if a well meaning statesman (most anyone attempting to work within the govmnts of almost all nations - even with good intentions and high moral and social ambitions) will soon learn (or be taught) that opportunities exist to reap enormous financial gains simply by aligning and supporting the financially strong and successful organization (Corp., country, political entity, drug lord, gang, etc.).

It seems understandable that most people would like the opportunity to set themselves (and their families) up for an eternity of “the good life”.
For most of us this requires a lifetime of hard and smart work. For some it comes through previous family success. For a few, the opportunity arises through connivance, position and sometimes oppression.

One of the underlying and root vehicles is the ever more successful and self-perpetuating Military Industrial Complex (MIC).

In 1961, Eisenhower warned us to “Beware the Military Industrial Complex”.  See:
http://coursesa.matrix.msu.edu/~hst306/documents/indust.html

Please also search on Sibel Edmonds, her experiences and essays seem accurate and enlightening.

The MIC evolves around and creates so much money that it invites graft and abuses. It has evolved from greed and sometimes (initially) from the desire to counter greed. It’s a slippery slope. Those who have benefited from it are pretty much coerced into perpetuating it.

Enter now the current U.S. political system, one of “the good ol’ boys clubs”. Many, if not most, have found (or been invited to find) the chicken that lays the golden egg. Once in the gravy train, do you think they are willing to give it up for the good of the people? Heck no… appoint their friends maybe (but only in secrecy should they know the way to the gravy train). The masses wouldn’t understand anyway.

As this snowballs, the “club” needs to keep the masses reliant on them… by any subterfuge if necessary.

Now re-read Maani’s quote from the DOI above.

Our Founding Fathers have given us the tool to break up the good ol’ boys club. There are only a few obstacles with regard to our taking our country back:

Firstly, we have given so much power over so much time that our gov’t has evolved into a self perpetuating, self serving entity that we will need to fire a huge percentage of them in order to change direction.

Secondly, with that power they seem to have gained control over mainstream media in order to keep the masses confused, misled and in fear of all the supposed problems that they are going to correct on our behalf.

Lastly due to the huge mess they’ve gotten us into, there seems to be no one left who has the guts, brains and persistence to lead us out of this slippery slope and is willing to get involved unless they are already on the gravy train. It’s a travesty that our last few elections have been between opponents who are the lesser of two evils. What we need is a successful businessman (woman) with ethics and no political or military alliances.

We seem to be cattle along for the ride.

Unless we can come together as a nation, fire most of our mis-leadership and get back to the basics of self-determination and goodwill I fear the road ahead is a very rocky one not only for the U.S. but our entire little planet.

I for one have the desire and a little time to promote this, I just haven’t found the right grass roots campaign to sign onto.

Any suggestions? Anyone else want to step up to the plate? There has to be a way. If not, I sure am glad I’m on the backside of my lifetime because it’s not likely to be as good as it has been.

If you’ve gotten this far, thanks for hearing me out.

Report this

By Judith Bello, February 6, 2008 at 8:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The pledge to protect the Iraqi Govt from terrorists and ‘internal’ threats could lead, not only to US action to unseat an ‘illegal’ but stable government in Iraq, but to unseat a legally elected one.  Al Sadr has alliances with a number of Nationalist Sunni groups and they are making plans to win the next election and take over.  The first thing they would do is kick out the Americans.  This law might be taken as permission to ‘resist’ and to reinstate al Maliki Consider the situation in Palestine since Hamas won the election.

Report this

By Tom Allen, February 5, 2008 at 10:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Who can and will stop Bu$h’es criminal treason.  The Supreme Court obeys Bu$h.  Congress obeys Bu$h.  Public marches and demonstrations are laughed at.  Somebody MUST stop, arrest, remove, and impeach criminakl Bu$h and his gang.  NOW!  The national debt is promised to get worse.  The U.S. dollar is worthless.  The only U.S. business anymore is war on all other countries.  Need to tear U.S. down and start over, before the rest of the world has had enough and gladly nukes the U.S.

Report this

By Maani, February 5, 2008 at 4:49 pm Link to this comment

Ocjim said: “I would say that Bush has no authority to commit us to anything. He does not represent the majority of people in the US…He did not win a majority of votes in 2000. He was appointed by a conservative Supreme Court…So on two counts he is illegitimate. He was not legally elected and he has never represented the interests of an American majority. Thus any promise he makes is null and void.”

Oh, if only it were that simple!  LOL.

Aegrus said: “It’s sickening how Bush is trying to destroy the next administration’s credibility preemptively. Luckily, Obama will be the next president, and is the only candidate with the courage to go against these wicked pseudo-legislations.”

Uh…actually, it was Hillary who first raised her voice against this outrageous issue re the permanent bases, and has also been vocal against “signing statements.”  So while Obama is, I’m sure, on the same page, he is not the “only candidate with the courage to go against these wicked pseudo-legislations.”

JS said: “Isn’t it funny - in a dark, Dickensian way - how relevant the Declaration of Independence is right now?”

It will get even darker if the VRHTA is signed into law.  If it is, it will make certain speech “treasonous,” including the following from the DOI:

“Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — THAT WHENEVER ANY FORM OF GOVERNMENT BECOMES DESTRUCTIVE OF THESE ENDS, IT IS THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO ALTER OR ABOLISH IT, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. BUT WHEN A LONG TRAIN OF ABUSES AND USURPATIONS, PURSUING INVARIABLY THE SAME OBJECT EVINCES A DESIGN TO REDUCE THEM UNDER ABSOLUTE DESPOTISM, IT IS THEIR RIGHT, IT IS THEIR DUTY, TO THROW OFF SUCH GOVERNMENT, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”  (Emphases mine.)

If the VRHTA were law right now, it is possible that I could be arrested for posting the above excerpt.

Peace.

Report this

By Maani, February 5, 2008 at 4:37 pm Link to this comment

Cyrena:

In answer to your question about the “belated” issue, Hillary introduced the bill on December 6, 2008.  Original co-sponsors were Barbara Boxer, Robert Menendez and Jim Webb.  Shortly thereafter, but prior to the 1/21 debate, Evan Bayh, Robert Casey and Sheldon Whitehouse joined as co-sponsors.

At the 1/21 debate, Hillary asked Obama if he would join as a co-sponsor.  He did so shortly thereafter.

Thus, from the point of view of the seven initial co-sponsors of the bill, Obama was the last to sign on, having not done so in December, nor prior to the 1/21 debate.

I am simply giving a timeline.  I am offer no “editorial” opinion.

Peace.

Report this

By jackpine savage, February 5, 2008 at 4:13 pm Link to this comment

Isn’t it funny - in a dark, Dickensian way - how relevant the Declaration of Independence is right now?  Even the names are right.  Well, Jefferson told us there’d be days like these.

I’ve read that there are clauses in the original Constitution ratification referendums (particularly in the big states like New York and Virginia) which reserve the right of the people to break the contract if things didn’t work out as advertised.

Report this
PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, February 5, 2008 at 3:51 pm Link to this comment

It appears our Judiciary is as feeble as our Congress in deposing this President who would be King.

Whatever happened to the separation of powers and the system of checks and balances?

We need an entirely new Congress, Senate, Executive Branch and Supreme Court.  It couldn’t be any worse than it is now.

Report this

By GW=MCHammered, February 5, 2008 at 2:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

After watching ‘No End in Sight’ and all the insider confessions, why isn’t all of BushCo in jail? Call off this faux campaigning, install another unaccountable dictator, and let’s get on with sham democracy!

“New reports show the U.S. economy grew at an anemic 0.6% rate in the last three months of last year. Sobering news for a country that must feed and employ 2.5 billion Chinese and Mexican workers.”
Jay Leno

Report this

By Aegrus, February 5, 2008 at 11:04 am Link to this comment

The issue of accountability more complex than people want to admit, yes. We are responsible for not holding our representatives by the throat just as they are responsible for not doing our will. The issue is, however, not just lack of action.

There is a divide between Washington’s America and real Americans living day to day. Our representatives spend months concerning themselves with re-election processes, lobbyist spin, unions and PACs all while trying to raise enough money to buy air time in the media. They have lost touch with the people.

Additionally, Americans have been subject to the echo chamber of mainstream media. Silly talking points somehow begin to have merit because of the repetition in which they are spoken. The public does itself in by fighting over these non-issues with our own people! All this, and there are still people who don’t even know how the election system works!

Yes, cyrena, we are to blame. Our people and our country have hurt our Republic. It is a much larger problem, and we’re all going to have to work hard to fix issues of indifference, journalistic integrity and congressional corruption.

Report this

By Stephen Smoliar, February 5, 2008 at 10:41 am Link to this comment

The real question, however, is whether our Republic still stands or whether it has been hopelessly undermined by practices in Washington that blatantly defy the “rule book” of our own Constitution.  (Alan Wolfe puts it another way in the title of his recent book, DOES AMERICAN DEMOCRACY STILL WORK?, which covers far more than what happens within the Beltway.)  Yes, “many of the Democrats in Congress were not forceful enough;”  but what irks me more is that we have two Senate Democrats putting all their force into their campaigns when that force is desperately needed in the Senate chambers as we face further legislation that will allow a purportedly “lame duck” President to blithely continue doing damage as he has done for the last eight years:

http://therehearsalstudio.blogspot.com/2008/02/work-first-campaign-in-time-that.html

Report this

By jackpine savage, February 5, 2008 at 10:23 am Link to this comment

You’re right, Cyrena, about the blame/Democrat argument.  I believe deeply that this travesty belongs to all of us and that it cannot be solved until we accept the responsibility and act on it.

But being a Republic, we must trust those we elect to represent us well.  I do think that many of the Democrats in Congress were not forceful enough in their opposition or even enabled the administration.

We needed them.  We should have been more forceful with them.  But we bestow upon those leaders great power and great responsibility, and they do not deserve the former if they neglect the latter.

Report this

By cyrena, February 5, 2008 at 10:08 am Link to this comment

I ditto Jackpine Savage. Your conclusion is much better, and I’m more than a little bit resentful that Marie decided that FEW have noticed. Matter of fact, it pisses me off, and is an insult to our intelligence, for those of us who haven’t lost our minds entirely.

And yes, his recklessness DOES go on unchecked, and I don’t know who or what the hell to blame. I understand, intellectually, Jackpine’s point of blaming the DEMS for ‘allowing’ it, but I mean come on. The entire Congress, as well as the entirety of ‘we the people’ are equally to blame, since one party shouldn’t be blamed for failing to stop the ultimate crimes of the group who has an equal responsibility to the Constitution, and the rule of law. That’s a little bit like blaming the police –alone- when they find themselves out gunned by the criminals. It’s the fault of the police, because they didn’t alone stop the criminals, when in fact nobody prevented the criminals from gaining the upper hand to begin with.

So, why has nobody taken out the bully? I mean how has this illegitimate, never elected little fake dictator been allowed to maintain this power for over 7 years? Are we as ignorant as Marie suggests here? Why do we feel so impotent when it comes to taking to the streets, and demanding more, NOT just of the democrats, but the repugs that have enabled him all along?

Then there’s this, which may seem minor, but still throws in the little dig (and an unnecessary one) to let us know that Marie is still a big Hillary supporter…

•  “….It is decidedly unfashionable to give Hillary Clinton credit for anything these days. Yet she quickly saw the danger in this template…”

And…she sponsored a bill…great. I have no problems giving her credit for that. Then she goes on with this…

•  “….At a recent debate, she invited her opponent Barack Obama to join in sponsoring the measure, which he belatedly did. ..”

So, why did it have to be that Obama “BELATEDLY” joined her in sponsoring the measure. Didn’t she JUST do it? Didn’t Marie say she invited him to do this at a ‘RECENT’ debate? So like, last week maybe? When did Hill put the measure out there for all to see, and join if they would, Obama included? So, how does it happen that HE ‘belatedly’ joined her? Who else has signed on to the measure? There are 100 Senators. Anybody else as ‘late’ as Barack?

The rhetoric and the partisan pettiness is not lost on me, and it’s annoying as hell, because there are far bigger things to concern ourselves with.

Report this

By Tahut, February 5, 2008 at 8:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m not fan of Bu$h or the repugs, however, I’m not one to make them a scapegoat for all the problem in the US today. I did find your article to be interesting, however, a little late in its timing.

First, it doesn’t really matter what happens today, next week, or next month. As long as the repugs can hog-tie the Senate and lock-down the legislative process, Bu$h can do as he damn well pleases; read up on signing statements. The Legislative Branch, while in the hands of the Democrats, are stymied at every twist and turn by the repug party hellbent on making the Democrats look bad while protecting Bu$h from an impeachment that would make Nixon’s look like child’s play.

Second, if you’re just getting the idea that military may set up permanent bases in Iraq, you’re a few years too late. One would have to be pretty naive to think that all the money spent by the Pentagon in Iraq was for temporary facilities. And they spent a huge sum of coin and are intent on getting the best bang for their buck…those temporary facilities are next best thing to permanent. Keep in mind, runways for jet fighters and heavy transport aircraft are expensive to build; these aircraft can’t land on make-shift dirt runways. Plus they need ammo bunkers to store munitions and protect them from mortar attacks.

Finally, without oversight by the Legislative branch, Bu$h has had a free ride for 7 years. Talking about “IF” here will be permanent bases in Iraq is futile; its already happened while no one was looking. Once oversight of the Iraq war spending is ongoing, there will be quite a few amazing things surface that will literally stun both Congress and the American people as to just how deeply we are entrenched in Iraq.

The problem is not and never has been about Bu$h so much as it is about the Legislative Branch, controlled by the repugs, that “allowed” Bu$h to squander the resources of the American people. And it was their job, Congress’s, to protect us from an such an overreaching Executive.

So the real problem the MSM should investigate is the Congress, both repugs and Democrats, and their neglect to place their responsibility to the Constitution and American people above that of their party.

regards

Report this

By jackpine savage, February 5, 2008 at 8:34 am Link to this comment

Boo, that title was supposed to read “A Byrd in hand is worth two Democrats in with Bush”

Report this

By jackpine savage, February 5, 2008 at 8:33 am Link to this comment

I hate the Bush administration as much as anyone; probably, i hate them more than many because i’ve pushed through thousands of sickening pages concerning the political careers of these people.

But, too many people are content to simply blame Bush.  From elected leaders to the man on the street.  He is so brazen because no one has been willing to stand up to him.  The Democratic establishment deserves the most blame; their strategy of letting him destroy himself has been weak and dangerous.  And they pursued that strategy for their own electoral ends when they should have been standing up for what was right.  When they should have been encouraging the people to take to the streets and make their voices heard…when they should have been walking at the front of the line.

Lincoln Chaffe has said that the proudest moment of his political career was when the voters of RI tossed him out of office for going along with the Bush administration’s march to war.  Toss them all out, they are all complicit.

Report this

By jackpine savage, February 5, 2008 at 8:25 am Link to this comment

Your conclusion is much better, Expat.  He’s like the middle school bully, and nobody’s been willing to take a chance on knocking a few teeth out…so he just keeps on bullying.

Report this

By Aegrus, February 5, 2008 at 7:44 am Link to this comment

It’s sickening how Bush is trying to destroy the next administration’s credibility preemptively. Luckily, Obama will be the next president, and is the only candidate with the courage to go against these wicked pseudo-legislations.

Report this

By Expat, February 5, 2008 at 3:24 am Link to this comment

Marie Cocco writes in conclusion:

“Meanwhile, the White House careens down an evermore dangerous course, secure in the knowledge that few are watching its recklessness.”

Finally, an article by Coco that isn’t fluffy.  But her conclusion is weak.  To wit (my way): the Whitehouse careens down an evermore dangerous course; secure in the knowledge that even though everyone sees this, he is secure in the knowledge of an impotent opposition, so his recklessness goes on unchecked.

Report this

By ocjim, February 5, 2008 at 12:07 am Link to this comment

I would say that Bush has no authority to commit us to anything. He does not represent the majority of people in the US. He is probably two-times illegitimate anyway. He did not win a majority of votes in 2000. He was appointed by a conservative Supreme Court. Enough Democratic voters were suppressed or turned away in Ohio to swing the election his way.

So on two counts he is illegitimate. He was not legally election and he has never represented the interests of an American majority.

Thus any promise he makes is null and void.

Report this
 
Right 1, Site wide - BlogAds Premium
 
Right 2, Site wide - Blogads
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 
 
 
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 

A Progressive Journal of News and Opinion   Publisher, Zuade Kaufman   Editor, Robert Scheer
© 2014 Truthdig, LLC. All rights reserved.

Like Truthdig on Facebook