Thursday, March 06, 2008

In Iraq 'Indefinitely'

WaPo's Karen DeYoung today covers the important and revealing constitutional crisis brewing between the White House and Congress over incipient "security" treaties being discussed by the U.S. and Nouri al-Maliki's Iraq. The treaties, so the White House contends, are needed because the mandate for having foreign troops in Iraq will expire at year's end.

The article appears in the 'Reality Section' of the Post, which is to say deep in the interior between pages A-14 and A-19, where the truth usually is buried.

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.

The statement came in response to lawmakers' demands that the administration submit to Congress for approval any agreement with Iraq. U.S. officials are traveling to Baghdad this week with drafts of two documents -- a status-of-forces agreement and a separate "strategic framework" -- that they expect to sign with the Iraqi government by the end of July. It is to go into effect when the current U.N. mandate expires Dec. 31.

The Bush administration says Congress shouldn't worry. Mr. Bush really isn't "trying to lock in a U.S. military presence in Iraq before the next president takes office." He just wants "combat operations" to continue 'indefinitely.'

No comments: