Is it possible to sink even lower?
Bush, December 28, 2007:This was the bill that Bush claimed he was pocket vetoing, but really couldn't, because Congress was still in session.
I am withholding my approval of H.R. 1585, the "National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008," because it would imperil billions of dollars of Iraqi assets at a crucial juncture in that nation's reconstruction efforts and because it would undermine the foreign policy and commercial interests of the United States.
But the important thing to remember is that he was vetoing a bill that:
- contained a pay raise for the troops, and ;
- enabled American veterans of the first Gulf War who actually won court judgments against the Iraqi government for having been captured and tortured by the Saddam Hussein regime to recover against frozen Iraqi assets in this country.
Bush was willing to endure the horrible optics of both of those things (as though the Vestigial Media could ever be counted on to actually notice and present those optics) in order to protect those Iraqi assets he considered so critical to that country's "reconstruction." Well, that and the fact that it would have put his "administration" in the position of having to admit that people were entitled to compensation for being tortured.
The US is holding hostage some $50bn (£25bn) of Iraq's money in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to pressure the Iraqi government into signing an agreement seen by many Iraqis as prolonging the US occupation indefinitely, according to information leaked to The Independent.Yep. The same money that was so critical to long term Iraqi and regional stability one Friedman Unit ago that it couldn't even be used to compensate American soldiers who had been tortured by Saddam Hussein. Same money, now being held hostage by Bush to force the Iraqis to accept a perpetual American military presence in their country, all arranged without Senate approval by calling this treaty by another name: a "Status of Forces Agreement."
US negotiators are using the existence of $20bn in outstanding court judgments against Iraq in the US, to pressure their Iraqi counterparts into accepting the terms of the military deal, details of which were reported for the first time in this newspaper yesterday.
Iraq's foreign reserves are currently protected by a presidential order giving them immunity from judicial attachment but the US side in the talks has suggested that if the UN mandate, under which the money is held, lapses and is not replaced by the new agreement, then Iraq's funds would lose this immunity.
And what an "agreement," at that!