Do Not Remove U.S. Uniform When Raping or Murdering

By David Swanson

People have started passing around and publicly posting English translations of the Arabic version of the treaty being negotiated between Bush and Maliki. (It’s also been published by an Iraqi newspaper. Who should teach whom about freedom of the press?) The U.S. Constitution requires that the Senate approve treaties, so Bush is calling this one a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA).

There is almost no chance that the Iraqi Parliament will approve it or follow the U.S. Senate in simply pretending it doesn’t notice. The treaty would extend the occupation for years, and even then not require that it end. The alternative to this treaty is asking the United Nations to extend its approval of the occupation, and even Russia has said it would approve. So, that may be the way all of this sorts out.

Nonetheless, it is worth taking a look at the issue that has been the key sticking point in negotiations between Bush and Maliki: the question of whether U.S. troops or mercenaries will be subject to Iraqi laws. Bush has led the Associated Press to believe that “examples of cases that could fall under Iraqi jurisdiction might include the 2006 rape-slaying of a 14-year-old girl and the killing of her family by American soldiers in Mahmoudiya south of Baghdad.” But look at the wording of the treaty:

“The U.S. authorities submit, in accordance to paragraphs 1 and 2 of this article, a declaration explaining whether the alleged crime occurred while suspects where off duty or on duty. In case the Iraqi authorities think the conditions require such a decision to be reviewed or changed, the two sides discuss that through the joint committee, and the U.S. authorities take into consideration all the conditions, events and any other information submitted by the Iraqi authorities that might have an effect on changing the U.S. authorities decision.”

And

“U.S. armed forces members and civilian members are authorized to carry U.S. government guns during their presence in Iraq based on the authorities and orders given to them and in accordance to the requirements of their task. U.S. armed forces members are also permitted to wear their official uniforms during duty in Iraq.”

In the case referenced above by the Associated Press, the soldiers took off their uniforms in order to rape and kill. In a future governed by a treaty like this one, they might be advised of the wisdom of keeping on their U.S. uniforms while raping and murdering people.

That sort of logic is only possible when an empire insists on one set of rules for imperial forces and another for the people of the occupied lands.

End this madness.

Bring our men and women home.

Demand that Congress assert its continued existence and reject any treaty to extend this crime against humanity.