Pentagon Officials Privately Condemn Iraq Pact

While the United States seems determined as a matter of policy to see to its Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with Iraq passed by the Iraqi Parliament, even to the point of making direct threats of severe consequences if they refuse, privately some high ranking Pentagon officials are not nearly so happy about the pact.

Though they would never say so publicly, top officials are privately chiding the Bush Administration for making major concessions over the control of US forces in an attempt to get a deal passed before Barack Obama takes office in January.

Initially, it is reported that the Bush Administration sought a “semi-permanent” US presence in Iraq. By the end, it was making unprecedented concessions, promising not to use Iraqi soil to attacks its neighbors and giving the Iraqi government permission to search cargo and mail. They also gave Iraqi courts at least a hypothetical measure of legal authority over US forces.

According to the Pentagon officials, the administration felt more and more pressured to get the deal done as Obama gained ground in the Democratic Party primaries. This pressure increased even more when Obama was looking more and more like a potential victor. This motivation might also explain why the United States was, just days before the general election, mulling the option of seeking an extension of the UN mandate, and after the election was threatening to block such an extension.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.