Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Over the past six months, the US has been trying to negotiate a Status Of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with Iraq to allow the occupation to continue when the UN mandate expires at the end of the year. At the moment they have a draft agreement, but it has to be passed by the Iraqi Parliament. Iraq's National Security Council is busy trying to find amendments which will allow it to gain Parliamentary support. Meanwhile, the US is upping the pressure, with Defence Secretary Robert Gates warning that there will be "dramatic consequences" if the deal is not approved.

What sort of consequences? US troops apparently would have to "basically stop doing anything". So, they wouldn't be able to harass Iraqi civilians on the street. They wouldn't be able to drive in enormous menacing convoys, pointing their guns at other drivers and occasionally shooting them up for kicks. They wouldn't be able to set up roadblocks, and kill anyone who doesn't understand their (English) commands to "stop". They wouldn't be able to call in airstrikes and bomb wedding parties, or massacre innocent villagers and then claim they were victims of a roadside bomb. They wouldn't be able to use their patrols as cover to abduct and gang-rape civilians. And they wouldn't be able to kick in people's doors in the middle of the night and drag them off to be tortured in Abu Ghraib.

If these are the consequences, they are entirely positive. The Iraqi Parliament should say "bring it on", vote down the SOFA, and end the occupation.