Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Thank God, I will not be a party to the Agreement against our military

What is a SOFA, Status of Forces Agreement? According to Wikipedia, It is an agreement between a country and a foreign nation stationing military forces in that country. That is the agreement that currently is being negotiated between The United States and the Iraqi Government.

I am certainly not privy to the workings of our government or any other government, but as with everything that we have initiated in Iraq. Our military seems to be getting the Sh.. end of the stick again.

I recently was looking at the bottom of the screen on Fox a couple of days ago and noticed that a draft SOFA has been completed for our military remaining in Iraq. Now some people might think that this treaty is a great instrument, but I for one do not think it is the best interest of our forces being stationed there against their will in many instances.

The part that seems to stick in my craw is our military will be tried by an Iraqi Civilian Court for offenses committed outside a military base unless it is in the line of duty.

Good God people. We have been and are still in a war in that country. People get killed in a war and we always have "collateral damage. One does not just wrap it up as being a casualty of war. They hold grudges. All one has to do to see what grudges can amass between the Sunni and Shia. They are currently in the process of ridding the country of Christians. How much more of an example do we need to terminate this outrageous process.

A justice will not administer justice as we see it especially if his relatives or friends have been killed or maimed by our forces. Their laws are not the same nor justice the same as it is administered by our system. my nephew was in Saudi Arabia and hit a pedistrian while driving on a very narrow road. He was jailed and stayed there for over a year while justice worked.

I have heard horror stories which our State Department is fully aware of concerning middle eastern justice and Americans caught up in it. I say no to our Militry being made available to Middle East Justice. One such story is if you are taking a taxi and the driver hits a pedistrian, throw the money in the seat and run because it is your fault. If you hadn't hired the taxi it wouldn't have been there and the accident wouldn't have happened. I'm not saying that is the case in Iraq but I doubt if its Blackstones'definition of law.

I say NO! to any agreement whereby our military is subjected to a foreign nations laws when we are stationed there for their protection and where we have given our most precious possessions, our young men and women to die for their right to have their own courts and not killed at will by their own people....

30 comments:

Law and Order Teacher said...

Tap,
I agree. It would seem to be basic decency to protect our service people when we send them into harm's way. Military should be held accountable for their conduct, but by their commanders and in our own system of justice. Those kangaroo courts in the Middle East and elsewhere would love to earn their spurs by ringing up some Americans. That is without a doubt a really bad idea.

WomanHonorThyself said...

amen...we cant praise and protect our Military enough eh!

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

tapline,

My emotions want to agree with you; but my head says, "I need to know more, before passing judgment". Just don't know enough to make an informed opinion, other than a knee-jerk reaction, echoing along the lines of what you just expressed.

Average American said...

Tapline, the Iraqis wanted a lot more than that. They wanted to have jurisdiction over our people anywhere over there! No way would any sane person agree to that! What the Hell kind of payback is that shit for all we've done over there?

Tapline said...

L&O teach, my sentiments exactly....

WHT, Thanks for stopping by...after seeing what they want and it has to be voted on by parliment and the Theocracy.????Wow!!

Word, Of course I was speaking emotionally, Death is always emotional. I'm talking about justice and see what justice has already been administered by our Military Justice System...Now think of Islamic Law, and the way it is administered. If that is what they administer there????I'm not sure, but. regardless unless things have changed drastically, our embassy will be the ones visiting and feeding the ones being tried and convicted by Civilian Courts... Thanks for visiting.....stay well....

AA, Thanks for stopping by, I don't think our people will go for giving the Iraqi's authority over them on our bases...Could be wrong, but I doubt it....We will see, I think many of our SOFA's for other countries, have that provision in them. Who cares they are nothing but Drop outs,,,right,,,,sarc off...

In_spired said...

Any response I could make concerning this subject would be entirely one of emotionality and most assuredly, uninformed. That's the reason I read you guys...to gain whatever knowledge possible of subjects so far from my realm of expertise. I enjoy reading your thoughts and the informed comments of your following.

Just wanted to say "Hi, Tap!" Like you, we'll be away for a few days (though NOT as long as yourself...lol)

Take care and God Bless...

Gayle said...

I agree with you, Tap, and believe whatever the facts may be, that this is wrong! Our government should stand behind our troops, period. If they have done something wrong, then it's our job to see that the punishment is doled out and not to leave it up to a foreign court!

crabby old man said...

Nice to see You back on. I say that they might not get a fair trial by a military court , but sure as hell would not by a Iraq court.

crabby old man said...

Nice to see You back on. I say that they might not get a fair trial by a military court , but sure as hell would not by a Iraq court.

Tony C said...

What's the chances of a US Military member getting a fair hearing in Iraq? ZERO.

We did the same thing is Japan, and US Military personnel have starved and died in Japanese jails for minor offenses. On Okinawa, a grown man will literally starve to death on the diet provided by the holding prison in a matter of months... a slow, agonizing death that the US Command can do nothing about because of the SOFA in place. Could it happen? It already has.

Jennifer said...

There are obviously different laws for different countries and for good reason. To leave our military at the hands of a Iraqi court would be unfair and a total mockery of justice. If a woman was convicted, they certainly don't have the same rights over there and would be treated differently. Like most of the others, mine opinion is coming straight from my emotions, but to think that men and women who serve our country should be tried in a foreign court, who may or may not have hatred for anything American in their hearts.

I've been seeing your comments around everywhere and just had to come and say Hi! Great post! Fight the good fight!

Tapline said...

Jennifer, Thanks for stopping by and commenting...I do not know where this process is currently, but I hope our negociators think long and hard about our sacrifice before signing asny such agreement....stay well.....

Mustang said...

Tap:

SOFA agreements exist between the United States and every host-nation where military and/or significant US government agencies exist. If we freed the Iraqis from the despotism of Saddam Hussein, then we must extend to them every aspect of governance of their own country. So at the risk of alienating your commenters, some of whom are my blog-friends, let me offer you this short discussion:

1. We do not want our “off duty” military personnel breaking the laws of a host nation with impunity. We do have military personnel “serving time” in Japanese prisons for crimes committed against the Japanese people, found guilty by Japanese courts for committing offenses during their off duty hours. On the other hand, a soldier who accidentally drives his truck into a small store, injuring civilians, SOFA provides immunity from prosecution because at the time of the accident, the soldier was “in the line of duty.” In such cases, the US government is responsible for torts.

2. We do not want American lawbreakers to escape prosecution within the jurisdiction in which a crime was committed. If the punishment for serious crimes is severe, it may in fact act as deterrence to serious crime. If we assume the crime was murder, deadly assault, or rape, then the perpetrator should expect capital punishment – just as if he would in his own country.

3. If we expect the Iraqi people to develop a law-abiding society, then they likewise have the right of protection from government excesses; search and seizure, for example. The initial, implementing period should cause us concern. As Iraq evolves from a “wild west” environment to an orderly society, our troops must be aware of, and conform to, the SOFA provisions. I envision US forces playing a supporting/subordinate role to Iraqi forces should it become necessary to exercise a search or arrest warrant. The importance of training our forces about the SOFA provisions is paramount.

4. What this all suggests (to me) is that US Forces should be withdrawn from Iraq as soon as possible. We should transform “combat forces” to “advisory forces,” and this will relieve them of direct culpability for “operations gone badly.” In such cases, the Iraqis will have operational control, not Americans. We will be simply “observers” rather than participants. Under such conditions, the SOFA should not concern us.

5. The SOFA may encourage civilian contractors to terminate operations in Iraq. We do not have such people operating in Japan or Korea; to the extent that they are training Iraqi police, fire, or paramilitary forces, SOFA will protect them. To the extent that civilian contractors violate the law, SOFA will require accountability to Iraqi law.

Should it be otherwise?

Tapline said...

Mustang, Thank you so much for the comments on this subject. I realize the full ramifications of this requirement, however I do agree with the point that it is their country and we should get out of there as soon as possible. The overall point I was addressing was the point of payback. It is human nature to feel hate for people who have done wrong to you or yours perceived or actual. Add Female who commit minor offenses, as we see them, into the picture and another element is brought to bear. Probably, as with other countries the American embassy staff of the individual countries would act as caretakers for Americans impounded or jail by that countries courts.
We have stated in the past that if Iraq did not want us there we would leave. I assume that is still true and that we would be there at their invitation, if that is the cass than we should hold that Americans under orders to that country will fall under the Law of our Military justice system and not Iraqi law. Just my opinion, I understand where you are coming from but I respectfully disagree as it relates to Iraq. As my title indicates I would hate to be a party to this agreement for the reasons I have stated.....stay well....

Donald Douglas said...

Nice posting, Tapper.

You're right, although the exertion Iraqi sovereignty's coming to the fore. If we can't get an agreement that protects the troops, then America should leave, and that's unfortunate.

Tapline said...

Donald, Thanks for stopping by....I agree with both you and to a certain extent, Mustang. In some countries where we are there at the request of the their governments. Because their laws are contrary to ours in both treatment of prisoners and severity of sentencing, we should insist for any infraction of law Americans will be tried under the UCMJ. The UCMJ under any circumstance is not the most lenient code of law in the world, but it is the one which we are familiar.....stay well...

Z said...

Hi, Tapline..and thanks for coming by.
It's astonishing to realize that WE have lost 4000 Americans in this war trying to bring peace and democracy in Iraq and THEY are telling us when THEY want US to leave, isn't it? And, by the way "we want more control over the Green Zone, and we want you to come back and train IF WE feel WE need it!"

WHEN IS AMERICA GOING TO SAY THAT'S ENOUGH??

Tapline said...

Z, Thanks for stopping by.....If you read Mustang's comments. He is right on as far as reality is concerned. Mainly, the Agreement is gone into because it is something in our interest, but I maintain yes it might be in our interest, but it is also in our interest especially if it includes a mutual defense pact. We should punish our own, with our laws not theirs'. Stay well......

Shah Alexander said...

In fact, legal status of US forces is a critical issue between the United States and its allies.

In 1990s, a crime committed by an American soldier in Okinawa provoked the debate on this issue. Since then, US-Japanese bilateral agreement was updated.

If Iraqi judiciary system is trustworthy, then, the coalition can claim that the regime change is successful. Politically, constitutional democracy has been introduced in Iraq. Are judges and lawyers well trained?

If the answer is yes, no problem. If no, this deal is too early.

Tapline said...

Shah, Thanks for stopping by. Thank you for putting into words what I have tried to do useing common sense. I do not feel that at this stage of independance the Judicial system has the experience in international Law that would be necessary to administer such law effectively to our troops. As you stated concerning Okinowa, That was how long after WWII that this incident happened and a new SOFA was completed. I'm sure it took years to erase wars devestating effects. I assume Iraq will come around but in Time.....stay well..

In_spired said...

Tapline:

Just stopped by to wish you a peaceful Sunday. Hope all is well...

Bob said...

Any government that does not stand behind their troops,is a government not worth spit.

Tapline said...

Bob, Thanks for stopping by. I just got through reading the comments on "Iraq the Model" and someone advised that the MP signed an Exectutive Order, (if I read it correctly) So it doesn't have to go through the parliment and it is my understanding the provision for ammunity is still intact. I certainly hope so.... We will see....stay well....

Victor's Voice said...

Did you see the Blog over at

http://requiemfordissent.com/

This is why John McCain hasn't got a chance.
Not when his own base is against him

WomanHonorThyself said...

Ah, my friend..we are down to the wire..PRAY for our Nation please!..hugs!

Tapline said...

WHT, I haven't made it to your blog for a couple of days....sorry,,,,I think we all should pray and maybe things will change...I have a feeling that it might....First time I've had it.... I think the bankrupting the coal industry and which will increase the cost of electricy is hitting a cord..aAbout time something did....stay well.....

AI said...

I with you on this Tap, it's an unfortunate agreement. I'll be thinking of you guys tomorrow; election day...God bless

Tapline said...

AI, Thanks for stopping by, and hopefully for the good of the Nation Mac will be our next CIC. I trust him with our military over OB who will not even fund them appropriately,but actually as Barney states cut them 25% in the middle of a war. God how stupid, yet they still vote him in.....I hope the investigations continue about all their involvements in this mess we are in.....stay well....

MUD said...

I think it is a wonderful thing that Iraq is finally able to start governing themselves. This way, there is a glimmer of hope that they will be able to stand up when we leave. As war is ending, it should be expected that doing illegal acts will get you in trouble with the local law if you aren't on duty. This may not be the end of our being there but it is at least the beginning of the end. After 30 years in uniform I have never broken foreign laws on or off duty so a SOFA doesn't worry me. MUD, COL (Ret)

Tapline said...

MUD, I finally am able to get back into this comment section......I thought it was permanently broken and I am computer illiterate....Thanks for stopping by. I addressed your point of not breaking the laws of a foreign countries. Unless the services have changed dramatically, The education received by the military on the laws of a particular country were not even broached, let alone briefed and in many instances, military families lived on the local ecomomy. Many attrocities are committed against the military and their families who, have chosen that life. I'm just questioning what a life is worth...stay well....