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If Iraq is a Free and Sovereign Country, Why Does Bush Get to Decide What Nation Can Invade It?

Iraq is a sovereign and free country. That means it gets to decide whom to invite for  dinner and sleepovers. It was made free by George W. Bush. That means he gets to decide who can invade Iraq. He made the first decision before Iraq was a free and sovereign country and that decision is what turned it into a free and sovereign country. That was back in 2003.

Having nothing much else to do in 2003, Mr. Bush decided an invasion of Iraq would be one way of creating the kind of legacy every president is searching for. A good war seemed like an insurance policy for his reputation. Accordingly he fabricated some facts that, if believed by others he believed, would justify an invasion of Iraq. He presented them to the legislative bodies that needed to approve war and, the approval in hand, he proudly sent his armies to conquer Iraq and install a government that would be to his liking.

The war did not turn out exactly as he had hoped although he kept telling his people that it was going really well and that democracy was being installed in a country that had been subject to the whims of another ruthless ruler, Saddam Hussein. The war is still going on and no one knows how it will end but its ending is not what concerns Mr. Bush who is only concerned about his reputation. What is important to him, as to a small child pretending to be a great warrior, is that he be remembered as the president who led the country in a time of war even though it was one he had created.

With Mr. Bush’s invasion of Iraq completed, Mr. Bush approved an invasion of that country by another foreign power,  even though Iraq in fact has its very own leaders who probably thought that since they were in charge, they would get to decide when, if ever, another power would be given permission to invade.

The Kurdish Workers Party or PKK that lives in the northern part of Iraq has long been an annoyance to the Turkish government since it keeps crossing the border of Iraq to enter Turkey and engage in combat with Turkish troops. Since the Iraqis have been unable to halt the incursions, Turkey undertook to do that on its own.

Crossing the border with troops into a foreign country would under normal circumstances be defined as an invasion of that country even if the invaders said they had only a limited purpose. In this case it was not an invasion. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan personally told George Bush of his plans to invade before the invasion took place. Mr. Bush did not object.  Mr. Erdogan also let Mr. al-Maliki know. Mr. al-Maliki was less understanding. According to his spokesman he telephoned Mr. Erdogan and informed him of the “need to respect Iraq sovereign authority.” Mr. al-Maliki may have forgotten that George Bush said the invasion was OK. Scott Stanzel, White House spokesman said that: “We were notified and we urged the Turkish government to limit their operations to precise targeting of the PKK to limit the scope and duration of their operations . . . .”

The Iraqis may be surprised that Mr. Bush is the one who gets to give another country permission to invade Iraq. They shouldn’t be. As was explained by one high-ranking U.S. official to the reporter in a CNN broadcast in August 2007, “any country with 160,000 foreigners fighting for it sacrifices some sovereignty.” He got that right. The Iraqis still have some rights although they’re not quite as good as deciding who gets to invade it. They get to decide who gets to come on state visits aside from Americans and that’s how they happened to invite Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to pay them a visit. Mr. Ahmadinejad was able to freely travel around. He got to drive from the airport to the green zone unlike George Bush who, being a bit of a fraidy cat notwithstanding his bravado, always goes in by helicopter. It is rumored that Mr. Ahmadinejad will be bringing $1 billion in loans to Iraq to enable it to rebuild its infrastructure, something Mr. Bush has been trying unsuccessfully to do for many years.

Not everyone in the U.S. administration was happy with the visit. One senior Bush administration official told Reuters the U.S.  was concerned Iraq could cozy up too much to Iran. This official said: “There is still significant evidence of Iran’s illicit meddling in Iraq. . . This has to stop.” Nonetheless, said the same official: “[I] is important to remember that this is a sovereign Iraqi decision and we have faith that the Iraqis will be able to deal with his visit.” They were. They would probably have preferred to have the power to deal with the visit from the Turkish army.

They didn’t.

CHRISTOPHER BRAUCHLI is a lawyer in Boulder, Colorado. He can be reached at: Brauchli.56@post.harvard.edu. Visit his website: http://hraos.com/

 

 

 

 

 

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