Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Proof Madame Secretary Rice Reads CAAFlog

Today's Washington Post featured an article written by Sec State Rice and Sec Def Gates . The article, titled "What We Need Next in Iraq," makes the Executive Branch's case for negotiating a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with the Iraqi governemnt, something we discussed here at CAAFlog last year, and assures the American people that a standard SOFA is the subject of negotiations, nothing else. In what I think is an unprecedented step, the Secretaries go so far as to say:

Nothing to be negotiated will mandate that we continue combat missions. Nothing will set troop levels. Nothing will commit the United States to join Iraq in a war against another country or provide other such security commitments. And nothing will authorize permanent bases in Iraq (something neither we nor Iraqis want). And consistent with well-established practice regarding such agreements, nothing will involve the U.S. Senate's treaty-ratification authority -- although we will work closely with the appropriate committees of Congress to keep lawmakers informed and to provide complete transparency. Classified briefings have already begun, and we look forward to congressional input.
In short, nothing to be negotiated in the coming months will tie the hands of the next commander in chief, whomever he or she may be. Quite the contrary, it will give the president the legal authority to protect our national interest -- and the latitude to chart the next administration's course.

On a day when we pass our sympathy to Sec Def, we know exactly how his shoulder feels today, I think we should also give a BZ to Sec State and Sec Def. The idea that our leaders actually tell us why they are doing what they are doing and explain their actions is . . . a great idea. BZ to the Secretaries!

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