Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Well look what Bobby Gates is saying

Anne Gearan (AP) breaks the news this morning that US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates stated publicly today in Kuala Lumpur that the US military may stay in Iraq beyond 2011. She quotes him stating, "We're ready to have that discussion if and when they want to raise it with us."

B-b-b-but the SOFA! That Status Of Forces Agreement says the Iraq War ends!!!! It must be true, little Jar-Jar Blinks said it was.

He didn't know what the hell he was talking about. He never did. And that's on him. It's on Democracy Now!, Free Speech Radio News, Flashpoints and assorted other outlets that they repeatedly allowed that idiot to yammer away about things he knew nothing about.

Jar-Jar Blinks, of course, has slammed me repeatedly and rudely for noting -- since November 2008, since the day it passed the Parliament and the White House finally released a copy of it -- that the SOFA was a contract and, like all contracts, it can just be for what's covered in it or it can be extended or it can be voided. The SOFA never meant the end of the Iraq War.

It replaced the United Nations mandate for the occupation. As then Senator Joe Biden pointed out in 2008, without a renewal of that mandate or something to replace it, all US troops would have to leave Iraq by December 31, 2008. That's all the SOFA did.

Nouri twice went around the Parliament to renew the UN mandate. The first time, Parliament expressed extreme outrage and he promised he wouldn't do it again. Then came the fall of 2007 and he broke his word. The UN mandate was yearly. The SOFA was three years. That was the big difference.

The UN mandate declared the occupation of Iraq legal yearly, the SOFA did so for three years.

The SOFA could be followed -- even now -- to the letter and US troops could leave at the end of 2011. That is a possibility. That is not, however, what has to happen. And yet so many damn liars have told you to look elsewhere because the Iraq War is over and the SOFA says so. That's not how contracts work.

In the future, people who don't know what they're like talking about -- like Jar-Jar Blinks -- need to be held accountable. He has done so much damage in the last two years with his ignorance. That includes working on his Congressional resolution in support of the SOFA.

The SOFA is an illegal treaty. It should have gotten Senate approval as it outlined in the Constitution. George W. Bush refused to get it. Hillary Clinton joined others in Congress in calling that out. Because Hillary said it was wrong, Barack decided he needed to say something. (That was the pattern for anyone paying attention in the primaries. Barack waited for Hillary to take a position before he could -- you could even see that in any of the individual debates.) Joe Biden and Barack swore -- at their campaign website -- that if Barack was elected, this SOFA was challenged because it was unconstitutional.

It is unconstitutional. But after the election, mere weeks after the election, they changed the website -- we called out in real time.

If there was any Congressional effort to be taken on the SOFA, it was to declare it void because the required process outlined in the US Constitution was not followed. We do not need -- as a country -- more Nancy Pelois, people who will not uphold the Constitution.

Pelosi took impeachment off the table in 2006. The Constitution really didn't allow for that. But Nancy wasn't worried about what the Constitution said. Jar-Jar? Just another Nancy Boy. Wasn't worried what the Constitution said -- probably couldn't even explain the Constitutional issues involved to you if you presented him with flash cards and diagrams, but damn well wanted to insist that he have his say.

What Gates has stated may shock some people because they believed the loony birds like Jar-Jar that the SOFA meant the end of the Iraq War. That was never correct. We have spent two years hear pointing out how that is incorrect. We have had exchanges -- Dona, Ava and myself -- with Jar-Jar and he has continued to repeat his false claims which he appears to know are false. At the end of the day, he's more tied up in Barack Obama than he is in ending the Iraq War.

Ben Birnbaum (Washington Times) reports, "Meanwhile, in the northern Kurdish city of Irbil, top figures from Iraq's major parties met behind closed doors Monday in a bid to break the political deadlock that has gripped the country for eight months. The three-day talks begin as the Iraqi Parliament prepares to resume work Thursday, following an order by the country's Supreme Court."

March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. The Guardian's editorial board noted in August, "These elections were hailed prematurely by Mr Obama as a success, but everything that has happened since has surely doused that optimism in a cold shower of reality." 163 seats are needed to form the executive government (prime minister and council of ministers). When no single slate wins 163 seats (or possibly higher -- 163 is the number today but the Parliament added seats this election and, in four more years, they may add more which could increase the number of seats needed to form the executive government), power-sharing coalitions must be formed with other slates, parties and/or individual candidates. (Eight Parliament seats were awarded, for example, to minority candidates who represent various religious minorities in Iraq.) Ayad Allawi is the head of Iraqiya which won 91 seats in the Parliament making it the biggest seat holder. Second place went to State Of Law which Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, heads. They won 89 seats. Nouri made a big show of lodging complaints and issuing allegations to distract and delay the certification of the initial results while he formed a power-sharing coalition with third place winner Iraqi National Alliance -- this coalition still does not give them 163 seats. They are claiming they have the right to form the government. In 2005, Iraq took four months and seven days to pick a prime minister. It's eight months and one day and still counting.

Today, meetings continue. Jomana Karadsheh (CNN) reminds, "
Leading up to Monday's meeting, officials had said they were close to completing an agreement, but remarks made by a number of the leaders indicated that they have yet to address key sticking points that remain unresolved ahead of this week's parliament session." And Raheem Salman and Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) point out, "If they fail to strike a deal, the stalemate could drag on for months."

We'll close with this from David Swanson's "To Armistice Day, Past and Future" (War Is A Crime -- and so is silence, by the way):

We learn a lot about the real motives for wars when whistleblowers leak the minutes of secret meetings, or when congressional committees publish the records of hearings decades later. War planners write books. They make movies. They face investigations. Eventually the beans tend to get spilled. But I have never ever, not even once, heard of a private meeting in which top war makers discussed the need to keep a war going in order to benefit the soldiers fighting in it.
The reason this is remarkable is that you almost never hear a war planner speak in public about the reasons for keeping a war going without claiming that it must be done for the troops, to support the troops, in order not to let the troops down, or so that those troops already dead will not have died in vain. Of course, if they died in an illegal, immoral, destructive action, or simply a hopeless war that must be lost sooner or later, it's unclear how piling on more corpses will honor their memories. But this is not about logic.
The idea is that the men and women risking their lives, supposedly on our behalf, should always have our support -- even if we view what they're doing as mass murder. Peace activists, in contrast to war planners, say the very same thing about this in private that they say in public: we want to support those troops by not giving them illegal orders, not coercing them to commit atrocities, not sending them away from their families to risk their lives and bodies and mental well-being.
War makers' private discussions about whether and why to keep a war going deal with very different motives. They only touch on the topic of troops when considering how many of them there are or how long their contracts can be extended before they start killing their commanders. In public, it's a very different story, one often told with smartly uniformed troops positioned as a backdrop. The wars are all about the troops and in fact must be extended for the benefit of the troops. Anything else would offend and disappoint the troops who have devoted themselves to the war.
Our wars employ more contractors and mercenaries now than troops. When mercenaries are killed and their bodies publicly displayed, the U.S. military will gladly destroy a city in retaliation, as in Fallujah, Iraq. But war propagandists never mention the contractors or the mercenaries. It's always the troops, the ones doing the killing, and the ones drawn from the general population of just plain folks, even though the troops are being paid, just like the mercenaries only less.

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.