Today’s media has conditioned us to view “official” denials of events as proof that the story is true. Whether it is the latest celebrity gossip (so and so are breaking up- no they aren’t- oops, yes they did) or news from the government (The U.S. does not torture- wait, yes we do), whenever an “official spokesperson” comes out to deny reports in the press, it’s almost a sure thing that the reports are in fact more close to the truth than the denials. If we learned anything from the Bush White House and it’s spokespeople, it’s that this is an administration estranged from the truth in just about every instance.

Most of the world has known, and accepted, that the Bush Administration “cooked the intel” with regards to Iraq and forced the United States into a war of choice that has cost far more in money and lives than we were expected to accept. In proving that they are only several years behind the curve, the U.S. Senate today issued a report that blames the Bush Administration of leading the nation into war under false pretenses.

The long-delayed Senate study supported previous reports and findings that the administration’s main cases for war — that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and was spreading them to terrorists — were inaccurate and deeply flawed.

“The president and his advisors undertook a relentless public campaign in the aftermath of the (September 11) attacks to use the war against al Qaeda as a justification for overthrowing Saddam Hussein,” said Sen. John Rockefeller of West Virginia in written commentary on the report.

At the same time, a British newspaper is today reporting on a secret deal between the Bush Administration and the Iraqi government that, if agreed to and signed, would keep the United States in Iraq indefinitely with more than 50 military bases, allow the US to conduct military campaigns against “terrorists” without Iraqi authority, keep control of Iraqi airspace, and offer immunity from Iraqi law for all Americans working in that country, whether employed by the US government directly or through one of its mercenary contractors.

The terms of the impending deal, details of which have been leaked to The Independent, are likely to have an explosive political effect in Iraq. Iraqi officials fear that the accord, under which US troops would occupy permanent bases, conduct military operations, arrest Iraqis and enjoy immunity from Iraqi law, will destabilise Iraq’s position in the Middle East and lay the basis for unending conflict in their country.

Under the terms of the new treaty, the Americans would retain the long-term use of more than 50 bases in Iraq. American negotiators are also demanding immunity from Iraqi law for US troops and contractors, and a free hand to carry out arrests and conduct military activities in Iraq without consulting the Baghdad government.

Of course, immediately on the heels of the article in The Independent, the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq comes out with the denials. Which is why we know that this “secret plan” as revealed is more truth than not.

“I’m very comfortable saying to you, to the Iraqis, to anyone who asks, that, no indeed, we are not seeking permanent bases, either explicitly or implicitly,” Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker said at a State Department news briefing.

Translation: Yes, this is exactly what we’re trying to do, and if it weren’t for you darn kids and your stupid dog we’d have gotten away with it.

Iraqi politicians and Iraqi’s in general seem to be opposed to any such deal, and US officials fear that if the plan is put to a general referrendum it will fail.

Public critics in Iraq worry the deal will lock in American military, economic and political domination of the country. Iraqis also widely view the U.S. insistence that American troops continue to enjoy immunity under Iraqi law as an infringement on national sovereignty. (

Which could explain why the Iraqi government is being put under great pressure to finalize this deal in the coming months. With a signed accord in hand, Bush could not only claim (once again) Mission Accomplished, but he could tie the hands of the next president by agreeing to a long term treaty.

Or would he?

Although almost every precedent Bush has engaged in has been unsavory at best and un-American at worst, he has initiated a precedent for ignoring treaties signed by past US administrations that could be useful in this case. Clearly, following the lead set by Bush, our next President could duly bypass any Bush-signed treaties that would bind us to Iraq for several generations. We already know what McCain thinks-he’s happy to keep us embroiled in Iraq for another 100 years. But a President Obama might just decide that any Iraq treaty engineered by Team Bush and coerced through a reluctant Iraqi government isn’t worth the toilet paper its written on. He’d be right too.

(cross posted at Bring It On!)