Friday, June 13, 2008

SOFA deal dead

By Libby Spencer

This is just a bare statement and I think it's unlikely that talks will be suspended forever, but Maliki says the status of forces agreement Bush is trying to foist off on the Iraqis before he skulks out of DC, is dead in the water.

He says the initial framework agreed upon was to have been an accord "between two completely sovereign states." But he says the U.S. proposals "do not take into consideration Iraq's sovereignty."

The prime minister said Friday "this is not acceptable." The American demands "violate Iraqi sovereignty. At the end, we reached a dead end."

Indeed, if you've been following the posts at Newshoggers, Iraq's sovereignty is the last thing on Bush's mind. I hope Maliki sticks to his guns and refuses to sign anything until after the US election when, Goddess willing, we'll have a smarter president in charge.

But this takes me back to almost four years ago. Remember how clever Bush thought he was being by allegedly turning over sovereignty two days early?

Mr Bush said the world had witnessed "the arrival of a free, sovereign Iraqi government".

He said that after "decades of brutal rule" the Iraqi people "have their country back".

And who could forget that really cute note passed between himself and Condi?

Bush, whose Iraq policy has drawn criticism abroad and, more recently, at home, was passed a note from National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice that put it this way: “Mr. President, Iraq is sovereign.”

Bush wrote “Let freedom reign!” on the note and passed it back, according to White House spokesman Scott McClellan.

If you're feeling especially gastrinomically strong, you can also read the White House press release from that time. I don't have the stomach to even excerpt it myself.

It was clear then, as it is clear now, that Bush never intended for the Iraqis to exercise any real sovereignty. The whole charade was designed to give Bremer an excuse to skulk out of Baghdad after he totally screwed up the provisional governance and to provide cover for the administration's befuddlement over the insurgency they never expected to encounter. By allegedly turning over sovereignty then, they could posit that the insurgents hated freedom, instead of us.

Four years later, we're still hearing the same basic excuses for our failure to foster any real lasting security in Iraq. Only the details and the scapegoats have changed. And it's still us, the foreign occupiers, that nearly everybody hates.

(Cross-posted at The Impolitic.)


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