Tell your U.S. representative to support Rep. Barbara Lee’s resolution declaring the U.S.-Iraq agreement merely advisory in nature
While we may have a new president dedicated to reversing some of the worst abuses of the Bush administration, there is at least one unconstitutional executive power President Obama is trying to protect. Congress must take action to ensure that the power to sign international agreements related to military activities does not rest solely in the hands of the executive branch.
As things currently stand, the Bush administration deemed the U.S.-Iraq agreement a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), a type of agreement that has always been used to establish basic legal standards related to the presence of the U.S. military in another nation. SOFAs do not require congressional approval. But the U.S.-Iraq agreement goes well beyond the traditional boundaries of a SOFA, dictating how long the U.S. military will stay in Iraq (up to three years at a possible cost of $10 billion per month) and even giving Iraq a measure of control over U.S. troops.
As the Obama administration seems satisfied with the current agreement, it may be tempting for members of Congress to leave well enough alone and move on to other matters. They might be driven by the feeling, especially among Democrats, that the agreement is the best we are going to get at this point so there is no need to reopen the debate. But this misses the entire point.
If nothing is done today, then President Romney, President Palin, or – god forbid – President Cheney may sign a far-reaching “SOFA” of their own with Iran in 2014 or 2018. That may seem far off in the distance now, but in the span of this nation’s history, nine years is nothing. This agreement, if Congress is not included in the process, will set a strong precedent for future presidents to cite. They will be able to say that congressional approval is not required for these kinds of agreements and will point to 2009 as their justification.
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) has introduced a resolution (H.Res. 72) expressing the sense of the House that the U.S.-Iraq agreement will be considered merely advisory in nature absent congressional approval. Such action is needed to force President Obama to seek approval from Congress. So please fill in the information below and click on “Send My Message!” to tell your U.S. representative to co-sponsor, support, and vote for Rep. Lee’s important resolution (H.Res. 72).