After more than four hours of closed-door meetings, Iraq’s leading politicians emerged around midnight Tuesday and announced that they are officially laying the foundation for a continued US military presence in Iraq. While the 2008 Status of Forces Agreement between the United States and Iraq requires all US troops to be removed by December 31, 2011, the Pentagon has been pushing the Iraqis for months to allow thousands of soldiers to remain indefinitely. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi have reportedly put aside their differences and reached an agreement to “authorize the government of Iraq to start negotiations with the American side” on a continued military presence. There is no doubt in the outcome of these “negotiations”: US troops will remain in Iraq for years to come.
Our allies in Congress are already fighting back. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) recently introduced the Iraq Withdrawal Accountability Act of 2011 (H.R. 2757) calling on the US to stick to the December 31 deadline and requiring that any new commitment of US troops be approved by Congress. Currently, the Pentagon insists that the Iraqi Parliament authorize any continued US presence, yet claims it needs no such new authorization from Congress. Under the Pentagon’s plans, the Iraqi Parliament will have a greater say in US troop levels in Iraq than Congress. That is simply unacceptable.
It has been more than eight years since George W. Bush’s campaign of fear and lies helped launch the Iraq War. We have lost nearly 4,500 brave men and women and wasted trillions of dollars desperately needed here at home. It is long past time to finally end the Iraq War, not extend it indefinitely.
Please take a moment to click here and ask your Representative to cosponsor H.R. 2757, the Iraq Withdrawal Accountability Act of 2011.
Christian Science Monitor: Iraq signals willingness to allow some US forces to stay