Sunday, January 13, 2008

Iraq Mousetrap for the Next President

As Democratic candidates make promises to voters about troop withdrawal, George W. Bush is in the Middle East trying to tie the hands of his successor in office.

In November, he joined Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in a declaration of principles to negotiate an agreement to guarantee US troop presence for years. It would replace the existing Security Council mandate authorizing multinational forces in Iraq and become a sworn obligation for the next president. Yesterday, Bush announced in Kuwait that they are moving ahead with the plan.

According to Michael Hirsh of Newsweek, "The target date for concluding the agreement is July, says Gen. Doug Lute, Bush's Iraq coordinator in the White House--in other words, just in time for the Democratic and Republican national conventions."

The intention is to bypass Congress and commit the next president to Bush's agenda. "We don't anticipate now," Gen. Lute has said, "that these negotiations will lead to the status of a formal treaty which would then bring us to formal negotiations or formal inputs from the Congress."

Last month, Hillary Clinton urged Bush not to sign any such agreement without congressional approval since it would be difficult if not impossible for a future president to breach. White House silence has been deafening.

Touting the Surge's success, Bush said yesterday that "long-term success will require active U.S. engagement that outlasts my presidency."

If the Democratic Congress tries to head him off at the pass with legislation, its legality would be challenged and the Bush years would end where they started--in the Supreme Court.


Anonymous said...

You do know, of course, that even if the agreements reached by our president reached the level of requiring input from the Congress it wouldn't bind the next president. Surely you can recall that the current President had no problem rejecting treaties when he took control of the government. So why would the next president?

Anonymous said...

Hillary will just use signing statements like President Bush has done. He has created the foundation for the unitary executive for future Democrat presidents.

As mother used to say, "The chickens are coming home to roost."