Monday, December 31, 2007

Bush uses pocket veto against our troops.

News Item Friday:

"CRAWFORD, Texas - President George W. Bush on Friday used a 'pocket veto' to reject a sweeping defence bill because he dislikes a provision that would expose the Iraqi government to expensive lawsuits seeking damages from the Saddam Hussein era." [Canadian Press]

What's this all about? Just a few weeks ago W. was crying 'The sky is falling! The sky is falling! and blaming it all on the Democrats.

On the 15th of this month Bush complained:

"Congress has had plenty of time to consider the emergency funds our troops need. Time is running out, and Pentagon officials say that continued delay in funding our troops will soon begin to have a damaging impact on the operations of our military. . . Congress' responsibility is clear: They must deliver vital funds for our troops - and they must do it before they leave for Christmas." []

Well they did . . . but now he's slipped the bill into his pocket and he's going to let it die on the vine rather than allow a little noticed provision put in by NJ's Sen. Frank Lautenberg to become law.

What about the money in there for wounded vets and that 3.5% pay raise for our troops in harm's way? What about our ability to wage the GWOT? The Pentagon's broke, right?

The real story is that, according to the LA Times, Bush pulled this sneak attack on the troops:

"Because it could revive a lawsuit brought by American prisoners of war during the 1991 Persian Gulf War who say the Iraqis tortured them. Their suit sought to establish the principle that war prisoners tortured in violation of the Geneva Convention were entitled to sue the country that tortured them."

[Using the "pocket veto" tactic during the holidays also avoids the messy business of formally vetoing a bill that supports the troops.]

What are Bush's reasons for this extraordinary move?

LA Times:

"Bush described the new provision as being 'contrary to international legal norms.' [That's rich coming from him!] If signed into law, it 'would expose Iraq to new liability of at least several billion dollars,' Bush said in his disapproval message. It 'would attempt to revive a $959 million judgment against the new democratic government of Iraq based on the misdeeds of the Saddam Hussein regime.' Moreover, he said, the new law could trigger similar suits against the United States. "

That's the real rub, right there. We don't want people thinking they can go around suing the U.S. for kidnapping, locking up and torturing people.

Sen. Lautenberg says says the intention of his provsion would allow victims of the Iranian regime and the Libyans to sue. "My bill would provide victims of state-sponsored terrorism the justice they deserve," he says.

Suing the Iranians is all fine and well, but not he Iraqis and certainly not our newest buddy Moammar Kadafi. That would tend to complicate Condi's visit to Tripoli coming up this year.

Sure, Kadafi was behind a series of terrorist attacks against the U.S. and killed 189 Americans over Lockerbie Scotland in 1988.

But Condi says, all if forgiven:

"The United States doesn't have permanent enemies, we're too great a country for that."


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