Debate:Should U.S. troops be subject to Iraqi law if that allows our continued presence there?

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Contents

Background

The current presence of the USA and its coalition partners in Iraq is based on a United Nations authorization which expires at the end of 2008. The United States is currently in negotiations with the Iraqi government to develop an agreement directly between our two nations that would allow a U.S. presence and continued operations without requiring United Nations approval.

Negotiations towards such an agreement have stalled in June, 2008, with each side insisting on requirements that are considered unacceptable to the other. One of these issues is that the leadership of the Iraqi Parliament is calling for a American troops operating in Iraq to no longer be immune from prosecution as they are under the U.N. authorization.

For the Iraq government, this is an essential safeguard against abuses against its citizens that have been carried out by American soldiers or contractors like Blackwater operating under U.S. government authorization. For the U.S., this puts our troops at an unacceptable risk if they need to question every action based on whether it may or may not violate Iraqi law.


Yes

This question is oddly phrased, and therefore I would have to answer Yes and No. Yes, if we are to continue our presence in Iraq, we should be subject to Iraqi law. But if I respond Yes, it seems to imply that I believe we should be subject if it allows our continued presence, which I am against.

But taken as a separate debate, whether or not U.S. troops should be subject to Iraqi law under a new security arrangement, I think it is a definitive Yes. To operate outside the realm of Iraqi law will continue to foster an insurgency that sees the U.S. forces as Occupiers. Look at the response by the Iraqis after the Blackwater fiasco. Not only did it inflame tensions between the citizens and the military, but the Blackwater forces aren't held responsible under U.S. law either. To continue to place ourselves outside the realm of the law of the country we are occupying would just continue to fan the flames of American discontent and would lead to a worsening of relations. --Jareddr 17:35, 14 July 2008 (EDT)

I agree with you in principle, but in practical terms a military force can't be effective if they need to be concerned with the civilian laws of foreign nations as well as the military laws and rules of engagement they are bound by. This is one reason that the training, missions and constraints of military and police forces are different, and why the former is not a substitute for the latter. --DinsdaleP 17:43, 14 July 2008 (EDT)
You are absolutely correct in your last statement concerning the differences between a military and a police force. But, I would follow with our current situation requires a police force that adheres to the law of the nation, as opposed to a military force--at least the size that we have in there currently. If we were to have a minor military force, then I could understand your reasoning. But the majority of the occupation time-wise has been engaged in police force activities for which they are NOT trained. That is yet one more reason for anti-american sentiment. Ergo, I would argue for a transition in forces and an abiding by Iraqi law. --Jareddr 18:13, 14 July 2008 (EDT)
The sooner they get their own police force working well enough to stop their citizens slaughtering each other, the sooner we can withdraw our own troops. Until that point comes, marshal law rules. - NewCrusader

No

This is an unacceptable condition, and while the Iraq government has good reason to insist on it in order to maintain sovereign control of what happens within their nation, our military cannot operate on that basis. We are better off leaving if we can't agree on a waiver of immunity. --DinsdaleP 17:29, 14 July 2008 (EDT)

And let the Iraqis who dislike America harass our troops with frivilous legal actions and false accusations? No. Out troops went there for one reason: To kick a part of the anatomy of our enemies which I would be banned for naming. Let them do their jobs. They beat the sand out of Saddam's army, they are doing the same to the reminants of Al Quaida right now, and to be un-PCly honest I don't care how many Muslims they kill if they are defending America and it's allies. They are not our citizens, we have no duty to protect them. Our own safety and interests have to come first. -- NewCrusader

I hope you're just a parodist, because if you're not it's not very comforting. We've allowed the Iraqi's to re-establish themselves as a sovereign nation with their own elected government, and after the end of the year we'll have no right to be there unless they invite us, or we re-invade them. If we can't agree on the terms of being invited to stay, then we need to get out. --DinsdaleP 18:38, 14 July 2008 (EDT)
If we need to choose between keeping the newly formed Iraqi government happy and the well-being of America then, well, tough on Iraq. -- NewCrusader
How does our continued presence there, outside the law of the land we occupy, help the "well-being of America"? We would be occupying a sovereign nation, strike one. We would be operating outside the laws of said sovereign nation, creating antipathy amongst the population, strike two. Assuming this is a law passed by the Iraqi government, we'd be violating the laws of the nation we were supposedly invading to free them from dictatorial rule...strike three. --Jareddr 10:44, 17 July 2008 (EDT)


SOFA

While still being the invited guests of the Iraqi government we are not an occupation force. To the lunatic fringe the military forces in the United States are an occupation force. To our enemies we will always be an occupation force. To any American serving in the Armed Forces of the United States of America who has been deployed by their government to a foreign country there is a little thing called a "SOFA" agreement. This Status Of Forces Agreement (SOFA) is an agreement that the host and sponsor countries agree upon as to the legal status of the sponsor while in the host country. This usually affords the sponsor the legal authority to prosecute legalities onto its own forces without the need for legal action by the host. There are sometimes exeptions made to especially heinous crimes such as rape that allow the sponsor to give over the legal responsibility to the host. This will mostly only happen when there is a legal system in place that can reasonably dispense with a certain standard of justice that is equitable to the sponsor. This system has already been in place for decades. As a person who has been under it while deployed to foreign lands by order of the Commander in Chief, I am grateful for its provisions. I find it not an amusing fact that there are those Americans who would wish me and my fellow service members fall victim to an archaic and backward system of kangaroo courts that would leave Americans stranded in barbaric conditions to be tortured by their captors unto death. I can only hope that such people will never be in a position of authority over anyone.--Roopilots6 10:06, 8 September 2008 (EDT)

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