Will Adm. Mullen Sink the SOFA? « The Washington Independent
This is exactly the sort of thing that convinces Iraqis the U.S. can’t be trusted. AP via TPM:
The withdrawal of US forces from Iraq, set to be completed by the end of 2011 under a proposed deal between Baghdad and Washington, should depend on the situation on the ground, US military chief Admiral Michael Mullen said on Monday.
“I do think it is important that this be conditions-based,” Mullen told reporters, referring to the eventual withdrawal of US forces from Iraq.
Congratulations, Mike Mullen! You may have just guaranteed the rejection of the Status of Forces Agreement by the Iraqi parliament!
Remember that the document says the U.S. has to be out of Iraq — irrespective of conditions — by Dec. 31, 2011 and out of Iraqi cities and towns by mid-2009. It faces a dicey parliamentary vote in large part because the Iraqi people, and by extension the Iraqi parliament, fear that the U.S. won’t honor that commitment. That’s the main reason why Moqtada al-Sadr opposes the deal.
For the senior officer of the U.S. military to publicly flirt with the idea that the U.S. shouldn’t have to honor the deadline is to give Sadr exactly what he wants. Why would you sign an agreement with someone who publicly muses about violating it? I have no idea whether Iraqis will pay attention to Mullen’s words, but if they do, don’t be surprised if Nov. 17 turns out to be the day the U.S. snatched a defeat on the SOFA from the jaws of victory.
Special Conspiracy Theorizing! Given that the SOFA’s deadlines for ending the war are the exact opposite of what the Bush administration intended, you don’t suppose Mullen wants to sabotage the SOFA, do you?