Bring It On!

Would you buy this SOFA? Should the Iraqi people?

December 5th, 2008 | by Dusty |

Next year, thanks to Iraq President Jalal Talabani, the Iraqi’s will get to actually vote on the Status of Forces Agreement that was ratified by their government and finally their Presidential Council Thursday. All our troops must be out of Iraq by 2011.The Iraqi’s will supposedly vote on the agreement next year.

I say supposed to vote because we are now propping up one of the most corrupt regimes in the world, right behind Myanmar and Somalia, according to Transparency International. The irony is thick indeed, isn’t it? We took out Saddam and put in an entire government of Saddam’s.

The Iraqi’s could vote to reject the agreement. What that would mean is unclear at this point. Whether a vote will actually happen is the larger question. One thing is clear, the violence still continues with bombings this week that killed and injured scores of Iraqi’s. Two American Soldiers will also be coming home in boxes.

In addition to the official deadlines for troop withdraw, it gives Iraqi courts limited jurisdiction over American military personnel and eliminates immunity for US defense contractors working within Iraq. What does this mean for Americans? From a Jurist OpEd on the subject:

Earlier this week the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq issued a report that is highly critical of the absence of due process in Iraq’s criminal justice system. The UN Report notes that “many detainees have been deprived of their liberty for months or even years, often under precarious physical conditions, without access to defence counsel, or without being formally charged with a crime or produced before a judge. Continuing allegations of widespread torture and ill-treatment of inmates are of particular concern.” The report is particularly timely, given that as of January 1, 2009, U.S. citizens who are contractors in Iraq will be subject to the jurisdiction of Iraqi criminal and civil courts, according to the terms of the Status of Forces Agreement signed on November 17, 2009.

Nothing in this newly-signed Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with Iraq guarantees that a U.S. citizen contractor arrested in Iraq will get even the most basic due process protections. The SOFA doesn’t even permit the U.S. Government to detain U.S. citizen contractors who are awaiting trial in Iraqi courts. The SOFA requires that U.S. soldiers and government employees arrested by the Iraqi police will be handed over to U.S. authorities within 24 hours of detention or arrest. However, if the detained American citizen is a contractor, he or she is left entirely to the disposition of the Iraqi system, and will be left to sit in the Iraqi jail awaiting Iraqi justice.

In other words contractors, like the employees of Blackwater, will be treated similar to our prisoners in Guantanamo, perhaps even worse. Irony, thy name is SOFA…

Crossposted at Sirens Chronicles.

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  1. 9 Responses to “Would you buy this SOFA? Should the Iraqi people?”

  2. By Craig R. Harmon on Dec 5, 2008 | Reply

    Should Iraqis buy this SOFA? It’s entirely up to them, of course, but I’d say yes. Talibani’s no prize but he’s the prize Iraqis elected and soon they’ll have a chance to elect a hopefully better prize. We will have left Iraqis free from a President for life who, occasionally, for chuckles, would hold elections where he was the sole choice on offer and voting was compulsory upon pain of death and with a system where they get the government they choose and a system where they elect lawmakers who are responsible to them. If they or you are looking for a perfect system of government you cannot exactly be saying the Iraqis were better off with Saddam. Nor can you, I think, outside of some fantasy utopian world, come up with a better system.

    So I guess they can vote it down if they wish but from Obama’s most recent statements on his Iraqi withdrawal plans, we won’t be leaving any sooner no matter what they vote.

  3. By Dusty on Dec 5, 2008 | Reply

    With the level of corruption, having elections is not a given Craig.

  4. By Paul Watson on Dec 5, 2008 | Reply

    Craig,
    So Iraq isn’t sovereign and if it doesn’t do what the US wants, you’ll ignore it. What was this freedom thing you guys brought to the country again?

  5. By Craig R. Harmon on Dec 5, 2008 | Reply

    Dusty,

    No. I guess nothing’s a given but I give representative government a better shot now than under Saddam and Sons.

    Paul,

    Iraq is a sovereign as any country under occupation. Point is, perfection it ain’t but, in my opinion, if we’re leaving by 2011-12 or whatever, it’s better than what they had under Saddam, particularly from that freedom thing, no?

  6. By Paul Watson on Dec 5, 2008 | Reply

    Craig,
    Without SoFA being accepted, you become illegally occupying the country in January. That’s the point I’m making. So, sign this or we stay anyway. Very Godfather of you.

  7. By Craig R. Harmon on Dec 5, 2008 | Reply

    Paul,

    Okay, point taken. My point is still valid, I think. Whatever you may think of Bush or the Iraq war or the current Iraqi government or the occupation, it’s better than what they had under Saddam from the whole “let freedom ring” thing. With a parliamentary system of government, they have the opportunity to CHOOSE the gangsters they want running things for them, just like we do! And in any case, there’s no way anyone could withdraw 130,000 troops and equipment before Jan. 1, 2009 anyway.

  8. By Dusty on Dec 5, 2008 | Reply

    Um no Craig, I do not agree one iota that this government is better than Saddam. In fact, I would say it’s worse. So does various groups that keep track of corrupt governments.

  9. By Craig R. Harmon on Dec 6, 2008 | Reply

    That’s the great thing about this country: we get to disagree, Dusty. I believe I’ll leave it at that.

  10. By manapp99 on Dec 7, 2008 | Reply

    “So does various groups that keep track of corrupt governments.”

    Do you have links to these groups?

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