Lee: No Iraq security deal without Congress’ OK

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, isn’t happy with the U.S.-Iraq security agreement approved yesterday by the Iraqi Cabinet and now awaiting the Iraqi Parliament’s approval.

“Although a final version of the agreement reached by the Administration and the Government of Iraq has yet to be publicly announced and made available, reports of the content along with leaked copies of the agreement lead to the conclusion that this agreement will be unacceptable to the American people in its current form and should be rejected,” she said in a statement issued moments ago.

“For starters, the Bush agreement commits the United States to a timetable that could leave U.S. troops in Iraq until Dec. 31, 2011,” she said. “Aside from the fact that the America people are plainly fed up with this unnecessary war and occupation in Iraq and want to see it ended, occupying Iraq for three more years under the Bush plan would cost American taxpayers $360 billion based on current spending levels. That money obviously could be better spent digging our economy out of the ditch the policies of the Bush Administration has put it in.”

The proposal also undermines President-elect Barack Obama’s constitutional powers because subjecting U.S. military operations to the Iraqi government’s approval by giving operational control to “joint mobile operations command centers” controlled by a joint American-Iraqi committee, Lee said. “Throughout history, American troops have been placed under foreign control in peacekeeping operations only where authorized under treaties ratified by the Senate. No American president has ever before claimed the unilateral power to cede command of American troops to a foreign power.”

Lee noted her own H.R. 6846, the Iraq Security Agreement Act of 2008, would prohibit unilateral deployment of U.S. troops or spending taxpayer dollars to guarantee Iraq’s security without Congress’ prior approval. Vice President-elect Joe Biden introduced a similar Senate bill; Lee said Congress should act on them when it convenes this week.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.