Saturday, April 05, 2008

Missing the Point

Law Professors Ackerman and Hathaway argue in WaPo that Bush Administration is ‘out of legal sanction’ to continue the Iraq war any further than end of this year and hence will need new legal mandate. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/04/AR2008040402581.html?hpid=opinionsbox1 )

Professors mention that Bush Administration is planning to overcome this handicap by entering a bilateral ‘force’ agreement with the Iraqi government to continue the presence of American forces in Iraq. Argument by these professors is such an attempt is legally inadequate and Congress will need to step up in extending the legal sanction of the war.

This is typical academic lunacy of laughable proportions.

Why would Bush Administration listen to Congress and abandon its plan to enter into an agreement which will effectively make it impossible for the next Administration to extricate sensible from Bush’s Iraq war? Professors argue ‘force agreement’ is not a legal way out. As Cheney would say, ‘so’? What is the point? Yah! Bush Administration is doing illegal things. But that is exactly not news.

The question is what Democrats and war opposing political forces can do. The fight against proposed ‘force agreement’ between Bush Administration and Maliki’s government is a political fight. Notwithstanding the big roar by Sen. Edward Kennedy, there is still not enough political uproar for Bush to back down. Not only Bush Administration is content by destroying America’s security and economy in last 7 years, it is hell bend in tying down America further into this quagmire for ever.

Any other Administration would have opted for simple a temporary arrangement of 6 months till say June 2009 and would have let the next Administration to decide this issue based on their fresh political mandate. But that is not so with this Administration. Bush knows that he does not have any legacy. His Administration in all probability will go down as one of the worst Administrations in American History. He has so much contempt and total disregard with people’s will (81% saying America on wrong path?) that all he wants to do is to ensure that the next administration is equally wedded to the ill fated Iraq war. He will argue that recent happening in Basra (not quite so victory for Maliki forces) indicate that American forces need to be there for longer period. Again, if few months back it was not possible for Democrats to stop money for soldiers on the ground in Iraq, why would it be so in coming months?

Stopping ‘Iraq war funding checks’ is just about the only leverage Congress has. But sadly that is unlikely to be used in waning months of Bush Presidency. So what is the political fight left to wage against impeding disaster of ‘force agreement’ with Iraq?

This may not be fully applicable, but can the campaigns of Obama and Hillary be one answer? Reality of American Politics today is such that, there are no traditional political forces left which can make ‘change’ in Bush’s Iraq war until next presidency. This brings us to the non-traditional strengths – presidential campaigns of Obama and Hillary. It will be kind of odd that you raise half Billion dollars in campaign dollars and still do not repay that by trying to address today’s burning issue.

Both campaigns need to make it ‘politically impossible’ for Sen. McCain to back proposed ‘force agreement’ between Maliki government and Bush Administration. That is the political fight, which can have some tangential impact as well as good electioneering. Definitely arguments by lawyers and law professors are not going to stop Bush Administration in continuing ‘harakari’ of America’s interests well beyond the legal term of Bush.

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