Saturday, May 15, 2010

Who can answer the question?



The President’s vision includes investments in important technologies to diversity our energy sources and reduce our dependence on foreign oil, including: the renewal of our nation’s nuclear energy industry after a 30-year hiatus, cutting edge biofuel and clean coal technologies, and additional offshore oil and gas drilling.




Oh, the stupidity. The Status Of Forces Agreement is a contract (it's a treaty) and as such it can be extended. We've gone over and over that point while idiots who want to pretend they know something about the law gas bag to the contrary. They don't know what the hell they're talking about.

We will spoon food one more time. If the SOFA could not be extended (or replaced with another contract), then you would not have Nouri al-Maliki speaking of US troops ever staying beyond the end of 2011, right? If it ends the war and the US occupation, then that's that. That means, since Thanksgiving 2008, I have been wrong and I have wrongly interpreted the SOFA and I didn't know what I was talking about. Except . . . Let's drop back to the July 23, 2009 snapshot for this little detail:

Aljazeera reports, "The Iraqi prime minister has admitted US troops could stay in the country beyond 2011." Yeah, he did it today and it's only a surprise if you've never grasped what the Status Of Forces Agrement does and does not do. The Washington Post, for example, has one person on staff who understands the SOFA completely. That's one more than the New York Times has. Drop back to real time coverage (Thanksgiving 2008) and you'll see the Washington Post could explain what it did and didn't do and get it right. No other US outlet can make that claim. (The Los Angeles Times hedged their bets but did appear to grasp it in an article co-written by Tina Susman.) McClatchy Newspapers? Oh goodness, Leila Fadel made an idiot of herself over the SOFA. Even more so than the New York Times (Elisabeth Bumiller -- in December and January -- offered some realities but they were lost on the other reporters at the paper). The Times just got it wrong. Fadel got it wrong and sang praises of it. It wasn't reporting, it was column writing passed off as such. Today, Nouri declared, "Nevertheless, if the Iraqis require further training and support we shall examine this at the time, based on the needs of Iraq." Sound familiar? It should. This month you should have heard Adm Mike Mullen make the same statement, you should have heard General Ray Odierno make it over and over beginning in May and US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has made it many times -- generally he's asked when he's visiting a foreign country because US reporters don't really seem to care. One exception would certainly be Dahr Jamail who was on KPFA's Flashpoints yesterday and explained, "We still have over 130,000 troops in Iraq. Troops are not being withdrawn from Iraq. They are being relocated to different bases, some of the bases still within cities, but they are not being withdrawn thus far." Dahr's latest book The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan has just been released this month. IPA provides this context from Global Policy Forum's James Paul: "For all the talk of 'U.S. withdrawal' from Iraq, the reality on the ground is starkly different. U.S. troops still patrol the cities, in flagrant violation of the U.S.-Iraqi security agreement, while Washington remains hugely influential in the politics of the country. The gigantic U.S. embassy looms large in Baghdad, U.S. forces still hold thousands of Iraqi prisoners in the vast U.S. prison camp in the southern desert, dozens of U.S. military bases remain in place including the sprawling 'Camp Victory' complex in Baghdad and Washington continues to press towards its ultimate goal -- the de facto privatization of Iraq's vast oil resources."

Nouri spoke of US forces remaining beyond the SOFA's 'withdrawal' -- that firm, firm SOFA. Ooops. That's because it's a contract. Both parties can follow every detail on the page and still decide that they want to extend it. That's how contracts work. We'll be kind and not name today's idiot, but, oh, the stupidity.

Idiot wants to pretend he knows the SOFA and he knows the law. He gives no indication that he knows either. First, he's unaware that a contract can be extended by the parties involved the agreement or replaced with another contract. The SOFA only exists to replace the UN mandate (the earlier contract which provided legal cover -- post-invasion -- for the occupation). The SOFA could be replaced with something else. Blathering on like an idiot, Idiot writes about "the governing document here is the bilateral Status of Forces Agreement which calls for a withdrawal of combat forces by the end of the summer and all forces by the end of 2011."

I'm not in the mood kids. Idiot doesn't understand the law. And the quote demonstrates he doesn't understand the SOFA. The SOFA has no call, repeating NO CALL, for a withdrawal of combat foces by the end of the summer. Why would it have that? Bush didn't put it in. That's Barack. And that's not in the SOFA. The SOFA was pushed through the Iraqi Parliament on Thanksgiving day 2008. Barack hadn't been sworn in. So sorry, Idiot, you don't know what the hell you're talking about. Read the SOFA and find the end of summer reference. It's not in there. (If the SOFA's too difficult for you to master, you can refer to Karen DeYoung's Washington Post report from last March.)

On the topic of the drawdown, we'll note Brian Montopoli (CBS News) today:

As CBS News National Security Correspondent David Martin reported Thursday, "first the delay in the Iraqi elections and then the dispute over the results has forced Gen. Ray Odierno, the commander in Iraq, to slow down his withdrawal plans."

"Right now, it is still possible to move that many troops - but just barely," wrote Martin. "Any further delay in the drawdown will cause him to miss the deadline."

Justin Raimondo ( weighs in:

With a complicit Democratic majority in Congress, and a Republican minority all too eager to keep us bogged down in Iraq until Kingdom come, no one is holding the Obama administration accountable -- and the American public, which never hears anything about Iraq in the "mainstream" media, doesn't even know what's happening. They voted for Obama, in the Democratic primaries and the general election, in large part because he promised to end the war. That he now appears to be reneging on his firm pledge comes as no surprise to us foreign policy mavens, never mind observers of the Obama Method -- which is to strike an angular stance, and then come up with all sorts of convincing reasons for abandoning his position.
To the majority of Americans, however, the pledge to get out of Iraq is carved in stone, and the only way to erase it is to shatter the tablet on which the President's electoral mandate is written.
What the Democrats are counting on is the complicity of the "opposition" party, which is not going to make Iraq an election year issue -- except insofar as they see it as a "model" for how to win the war in Afghanistan. The administration is also counting on the silence of the "antiwar" left, in congress and at the grassroots, simply because these forces -- easily bought off, and/or intimidated -- haven't given them any reason to worry in the past.

Counter-insurgency is war against a native people. It's colonialism and it was used to trick and then attack and slaughter the Native Americans and it was used during Vietnam and at other periods. It has a long, long history and a long, long history of human rights activists calling this war on a people out. But that history sorts drops by the wayside in the last ten years. While some have called it out -- and certainly James Cameron's Avatar drove the message home on what counter-insurgeny actually is -- people have been grossly silent. Barack groupies, of course, have to remain silent because Samantha Power, Sarah Sewell, Monty McFate, all of those counter-insurgency 'gurus' are Barack boosters and groupies don't call out their own. There is a development on the counter-insurgency front. Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers) reports it is now under internal criticism, "The biggest spur, however, is a growing recognition that large-scale counterinsurgency battles have high casualty rates for troops and civilians, eat up equipment that must be replaced and rarely end in clear victory or defeat."

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