Does the U.S. Intend to Honor the SOFA at All?
Over at Firedoglake, my friend and co-blogger Siun rounds up all the recent indications that the U.S. military command in Iraq is figuring out how to get around the Status of Forces Agreement’s restrictions of what it can’t do and when it has to get out.
Here’s what I’m wondering: The SOFA only passed because Iraqis have an overwhelming desire to end the U.S. presence. Given the million broken U.S. promises in the past, the Iraqis pushed the SOFA through the parliament on the condition that a referendum be held early next year as a mechanism to speed up the pace of a U.S. withdrawal. If Odierno is publicly saying that he’ll, at the least, walk up to the water’s edge of violating the SOFA’s terms, does he think that won’t have an influence on how Iraqis vote in the forthcoming referendum? And does he think that referendum won’t limit both his options and the president’s?
A lot of smart people have vouched for Odierno’s growth as a commander since he led the 4th Infantry Division in 2003-4, which was known for its harshness with the population. Violating the SOFA seems pretty consistent with an overall disregard for what Iraqis desire.