Critics of a permanent presence in Iraq blasted Bush’s effort to cut Congress out of the process, saying the President had “absolutely zero credibility” to “unilaterally negotiate an agreement with Iraq on security.” Bills have been introduced in both the House and Senate that would bar the White House from making any such deals without Congressional approval.
UPDATE: During a Senate hearing today, Defense Secretary Robert Gates confirmed that “any strategic framework agreement” with Iraq “will not contain a committment to defend Iraq.”
Look, we know we cannot trust Bush to abide by written agreements, but what he normally does with his “signing statements” is to claim that “this agreement/law does not apply to me.” My sense is that even he will not be able to introduce language into the bill with a signing statement.
This is definitely a win: for Congressional Democrats, for whomever becomes President next year, and most importantly, for our soldiers in the field and at home. This agreement could have been a stone around the neck of the new Commander-in-Chief. Instead, there will be nothing to prevent the next President from immediately beginning the withdrawal from Iraq (and I hope, although this is not brought up much, either putting up or shutting up in Afghanistan).
I hope Congress continues to add cartilage to its collective spine. If this keeps up, we may actually have some accountability for the Bush Crime Family’s lawlessness.
If we keep after our Congresscritters, such a thing may indeed come to pass.