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That Iraq Withdrawal We Elected in 2008?

Not gonna happen.

I have sent the enclosed notice to the Federal Register for publication, continuing the national emergency with respect to the stabilization of Iraq. This notice states that the national emergency with respect to the stabilization of Iraq declared in Executive Order 13303 of May 22, 2003, as modified in scope and relied upon for additional steps taken in Executive Order 13315 of August 28, 2003, Executive Order 13350 of July 29, 2004, Executive Order 13364 of November 29, 2004, and Executive Order 13438 of July 17, 2007, is to continue in effect beyond May 22, 2010.

Obstacles to the orderly reconstruction of Iraq, the restoration and maintenance of peace and security in the country, and the development of political, administrative, and economic institutions in Iraq continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. Accordingly, I have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency with respect to this threat and maintain in force the measures taken to deal with that national emergency.

Love, Barack Obama.

So even as Obama asks for more money for Afghanistan, he’s officially telling Congress the  national emergency with respect to the stabilization of Iraq Iraq War isn’t going to end anytime soon, either.

The Guardian reports the same, though from the perspective of Odierno, not Obama, missing deadlines.

Update: I was too snide when I wrote this. The fatigue of watching the President’s deficit committee argue that we need to cut Social Security just as we’re about to get a $30 billion supplemental (remember, we weren’t supposed to get anymore of those?) to fight a war in Afghanistan many think we can’t win really got to me.

At one level, this appears to be fairly nondescript: it simply says that certain financial arrangements in place today will extend out past ten days from now. So it’s not an indefinite extension, it’s a bureaucratic detail.

But this language does worry me:

The Iraqi government continues to take steps to resolve debts and settle claims arising from the actions of the previous regime. Before the end of the year, my Administration will review the Iraqi government’s progress on resolving these outstanding debts and claims, as well as other relevant circumstances, in order to determine whether the prohibitions contained in Executive Order 13303 of May 22, 2003, as amended by Executive Order 13364 of November 29, 2004, on any attachment, judgment, decree, lien, execution, garnishment, or other judicial process with respect to the Development Fund for Iraq, the accounts, assets, and property held by the Central Bank of Iraq, and Iraqi petroleum-related products, should continue in effect beyond December 31, 2010, which are in addition to the sovereign immunity ordinarily provided to Iraq as a sovereign nation under otherwise applicable law. [my emphasis]

That is, it’s not just a bureaucratic extension of financial protections for Iraq past the next ten days. It’s a formal notice that Iraq will have its financial training wheels on until December, maybe, or maybe longer. It seems like it’s for the interest of Iraq, but I worry that it’s for the interest of ongoing US control over Iraq’s finances.

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