Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 6, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

SECURITY GUARANTEES IN IRAQ....Apparently President Bush has abandoned his effort to unilaterally conclude a security treaty with Iraq by calling it a "Declaration of Principles for a Long-Term Relationship" instead of a treaty:

"It's not going to have a security guarantee," a senior administration official said Tuesday. [...]

The administration has maintained that the agreement would not rise to the level of a treaty. The "security guarantee" statement appeared in the announcement because Iraqis wanted it on the table, the administration official said. But, he said, the United States does not believe it to be necessary. "We say, look, if you want a security guarantee, that will be a treaty, and a treaty will have to go to our Senate," endangering the whole agreement, he said.

Some rare good sense from the Bush administration. Good to hear.

Kevin Drum 1:13 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (33)

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Some rare good sense from the Bush administration.

And thus a sure sign that familiar skulduggery is afoot.

Posted by: Boolaboola on February 6, 2008 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

Boolaboolaboola nails it with great prescience and precision.

It's high time people start using the phrase Enronian presidency for this administration a bit more frequently. Everything is sub-rosa with this crowd.

Posted by: gregor on February 6, 2008 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Agree with boola ......... best friends forever!

Posted by: optical weenie on February 6, 2008 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

Rare good sense? It's the best they can hope for at this time. They couldn't possibly get the Senate approval they would need otherwise.

Posted by: nene on February 6, 2008 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

Where's the foot note?

Posted by: Keith G on February 6, 2008 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

What is it that you don't get about that whole deal Kevin? The Bush administration circumvents the senate by this little ploy.

Posted by: Gandalf on February 6, 2008 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with Gandalf. Sounds like they trying to construct something that quacks like a treaty without calling it a duck to avoid Senate oversight.

Posted by: kis on February 6, 2008 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

What is it that you don't get about that whole deal Kevin? The Bush administration circumvents the senate by this little ploy.

Posted by: Gandalf on February 6, 2008 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

Come on Kevin, where have you been the last seven years?!?!

That's the same thinking that brings the abused spouse back every time, "..this time it'll be different".

Posted by: Neal on February 6, 2008 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Where is the foot [note]?

In the spineless Democratic leaders asses.

Posted by: gregor on February 6, 2008 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

gregor, you have a point there.

Posted by: Keith G on February 6, 2008 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

I have no doubts that the 'Security Agreement' will have some sort of ancillary 'Signing Statement' down at the bottom... in invisible ink.

Posted by: Buford on February 6, 2008 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe Americans should just turn over the military to the highest bidder ever four years. The private buyer could run their own wars and make their own international relationships without the trouble of democracy or Congress or the bureaucracy or whatever else gets in the way of their private plan. It would be even better if the military were privately owned; you could do away with the whole state monopoly on force all together. It is, after all, counter to the principles of liberty.

Dick Cheney could just call up the contractors and organized a little war for some oil somewhere, or hire some nuclear submarines to get rid of a pesky enemy. It would be like the East India Company and Cheney could be Clive of Iraq.

Posted by: bellumregio on February 6, 2008 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

It was caused by something equally rare: a revolt by GOP Senators. But, that said, Bush will try an end run.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on February 6, 2008 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

Did you notice Bob Gates described the DoD as "the world's biggest supertanker" to Congress yesterday? That guy has a dark sense of humor.

I'm as sceptical as the rest of the commenters above and think the security guarantee will be ushered in the back door, probably as a "de facto" rather than on-paper deal. Bush did issue a signing statement saying he would disregard a Congressional prohibition on funding permanent bases in Iraq.

Regards, C

Posted by: Cernig on February 6, 2008 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

Some rare good sense from the Bush administration. Good to hear.

Whaaa? Wait, a sec. It as ZERO to do with good sense and everything about political sense. How's about we read that one more time a bit more slowly:

"... and a treaty will have to go to our Senate," endangering the whole agreement, he said."

Congress is nothing more a nuisance to them. These jokers care about the Constitution insofar as it furthers their agenda. Outside of that: "Its just a piece of paper."

Additionally, the agreement is nothing more than a big eloborate business agreement subsidized by this administration.

But we already knew that, didn't we class?

Posted by: Simp on February 6, 2008 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Even the Roberts SCOTUS wouldn't roll over for this one. The Bush administration knows precisely how far it can push.

Posted by: idlemind on February 6, 2008 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

doncha think this was more face-saving than good sense? he was never gonna get iraqi ratification on the permanent bases, continuing arrest power and continuing troop immunity. he'd look like a shmuck pushing a bill for more war to us usa's when he couldn't even get it approved by the poor saps we're supposedly helping.

Posted by: dbreger on February 6, 2008 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

They are at war with the Republic, and with republican values in the sense of Res Publica or common wealth. This is what imperialism was about in the 19th century. Imperialists are expansionists who seek expansion for economic reasons. Their rhetoric pays homage to nationalism- it is in the national interest- but it is always for personal gain and private industry. Nationalism motivates the home population. The great struggle of the 19th century was between the people of the nation and the imperialists for control of state institutions and the state monopoly on violence.

Imperial colonies are ideal for money making because they have no form of national government that can resist the demands of the profiteers. The imperialists would set up an administrative order that would not be restrained by the cultural, historical or popular demands of the liberated people. This is something they could not have done back in their home countries where political institutions had been designed to include social demands beyond mere economics.

So at home the imperialists demand restraint of national government because it is coercive, but they do not shy away from coercion when they control the foreign colony were violence reigns free and 'capitalism' exists in a more pure form unmolested by intrusive parliaments and backward customs.

The thing that must be controlled is the national conscience- in the Congress and in a free press. If social demands for the common wealth are made, it could require limits on profit making. The Bush administration is trying to 'colonize' the United States itself and bend the national institutions into the colonial form so admired by Milton Friedman.


Posted by: bellumregio on February 6, 2008 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

2 things of note:
If Bush denied it... it already happened.
If Bush approved it... it already happened.
--

More importantly, where's Dick Cheney? That SOB has already cut a deal. Guaranteed.

Posted by: Jay in Oregon on February 6, 2008 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

A bit of unintended farce from the Declaration:

2. Respecting and upholding the Constitution as the expression of the will of the Iraqi people and standing against any attempt to impede, suspend, or violate it.

Yes, you newbies to democracy, no violating your country's Constitution. Unless of course you're a "war president" then by all means do what you must: torture, bypass your representative body, suspend habeas corpus, make all government information classified, and utilize secret courts with secret evidence. You have our blessing.

Maliki has already bypassed his own parliament's will regarding the extension of the occupation. He's on his way to becoming a "Decider" of his very own.

And then there's this:

1. Providing security assurances and commitments to the Republic of Iraq to deter foreign aggression against Iraq that violates its sovereignty and integrity of its territories, waters, or airspace.

Um, have they not noticed the Turkish air raids over Northern Iraq violating the integrity of its airspace? Has the Iranian bombing of Kurdish villages escaped their attention? Hello!

Apparently there are some exceptions to the principle of defending Iraq's territorial integrity.

Are there missing footnotes to this thing that might help explain the inconsistencies?

Posted by: trex on February 6, 2008 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

This is bad. I was hoping that if we were attacked again by terrorists, that Iraq would rush to our defense.

Posted by: AJ on February 6, 2008 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

The Iraqis should not quarantee the security of the foreign invaders.

Posted by: Hostile on February 6, 2008 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK
Some rare good sense from the Bush administration.

Really? No, look, they could do anything they want -- including security guarantees -- without making this a treaty. The impact of not making it a treaty and not submitting it to Congress is this: If it isn't ratified by the Senate, no matter what the content is, it is not a binding agreement of the United States government. Its a personal pledge by the present occupant of the White House, no matter whether or not it is phrased as a commitment by the "Government of the United States."

Without the advice and consent of the Senate, the President lacks the power to commit the United States Government to an international agreement, with or without security guarantees.

And its important to point that out, repeatedly, because the only use of this document is to serve as a PR prop, principally in the upcoming election, to support the argument that the US is already committed to continuing the failed policies of this administration in Iraq.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 6, 2008 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

Providing security assurances and commitments to the Republic of Iraq to deter foreign aggression against Iraq that violates its sovereignty and integrity of its territories, waters, or airspace.

How are 'security assurances and commitments' not a 'security guarantee'?

Posted by: kis on February 6, 2008 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

Good sense? More likely they learned that internal Iraqi squabbling would turn it down anyway.

Posted by: Rula Lenska on February 6, 2008 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

.......another way to look at this is Bush will start to CYA (actually CHA)as the clock ticks away on his administration. It's hard to know what bubbleboy really thinks, but he probably realizes, no matter who becomes the next president, the Iraq conflict is unsustainable in its present form.

I see him doing all sorts of things so if Iraq gets better, or turns into a bigger mess as we start to leave, he can say he made it better, or the other wasn't his fault.

Posted by: KYBob on February 6, 2008 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

bellumregio,

The Bush administration is trying to 'colonize' the United States itself and bend the national institutions into the colonial form so admired by Milton Friedman.

Very nice analysis but Bush is a figurehead, a pawn, a puppet and not ultimately behind all this.

Posted by: Tripp on February 6, 2008 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK
Very nice analysis but Bush is a figurehead, a pawn, a puppet and not ultimately behind all this.

That may be true, but bellumregio said "the Bush administration", not "George W. Bush".

Posted by: cmdicely on February 6, 2008 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

Good to hear that the GWB admin is once again instinctively avoiding congressional oversight?

I hope you're joking, Kev.

Posted by: Disputo on February 6, 2008 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

Bait and switch.....

Posted by: jdt on February 6, 2008 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

Tripp,
I often use "the Cheney administration" to indicate the real source of power and the historical and moral ethos of the administration. It is by every account a regency government. George Bush's personal inclinations, what he absorbed growing up in Texas, is a story of its own. For me the South is a colony of the government and economic order of industrial New England, at least until recent decades. The elites in that part of the world have more in common with the colonial planters of what we recognized as traditional colonies of the European powers in the Caribbean than the great democrats in the republican tradition. Their populism is of the herrenvolk variety. They are not great believes in the universal Rights of Man. They are our enemies.

Posted by: bellumregio on February 6, 2008 at 8:47 PM | PERMALINK

bellumregio wrote: "I often use 'the Cheney administration' to indicate the real source of power and the historical and moral ethos of the administration."

I use "America's Ultra-Rich Ruling Class, Inc."

Of which the Cheney Administration is a wholly-owned subsidiary.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 6, 2008 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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