The Democrats have stooped to a new low:
CRAWFORD, Texas – President Bush plans to veto a
sweeping defense policy bill on grounds that it would derail Iraq’s
efforts to rebuild its country, the White House said Friday.
Bush’s action, which apparently caught congressional leaders off
guard, centers on one provision in the legislation dealing with Iraqi
assets. The legislation would permit plaintiffs’ lawyers immediately to
freeze Iraqi funds and would expose Iraq to “massive liability in
lawsuits concerning the misdeeds of the Saddam Hussein regime,” said
White House spokesman Scott Stanzel.
“The new democratic government of Iraq, during this crucial period
of reconstruction, cannot afford to have its funds entangled in such
lawsuits in the United States,” Stanzel said in a statement.
The provision that is causing problems would have allowed the
victims of the executed Iraqi dictator Saddam to seek compensation in
court, Democrats said. The Iraqi government has warned that former U.S.
prisoners of war from the first Gulf War might cite this legislation in
an attempt to get money from the Iraqi government’s reported $25
billion in assets now held in U.S. banks, they say.
Unless Bush vetoes the legislation, the Iraqis have threatened to
withdraw all of their money from the U.S. financial system to protect
it from the lawsuits, Democrats said.
The White House contends the legislation subject to the Bush veto
would imperil Iraqi assets held in the United States, including
reconstruction and central bank funds.
“Once in place, the restrictions on Iraq’s funds that could result
from the bill could take months to lift,” Stanzel said. In turn, he
said, those restrictions must not be allowed to become law “even for a
short period of time.”
For months, hell years, they have done their best to derail any progress in Iraq and now they’ve slipped in a provision they surely must of known would cause a veto.
Why would they do that?
To score political points. A pathetic attempt to say “hey, it’s not our fault, it’s his.”
Nancy and Harry say that the President should of said something earlier and then make this idiotic statement:
“We understand that the president is bowing to the demands of the Iraqi
government, which is threatening to withdraw billions of dollars
invested in U.S. banks if this bill is signed.”
Bowing to the demands? The freakin gall of these people. Iraq is on the right track, violence is down, and they are now doing their best to reconcile but Nancy and Harry want much needed money to be frozen in place….to score political points.
We cannot let the reconstruction of that country be stopped by hundreds of trial lawyers.
The Democrats who bowed to the trial lawyers and slipped this in should be ashamed.
The President issued this statement explaining this veto:
While my Administration objected to an earlier version of this provision in previous communications about the bill, its full impact on Iraq and on our relationship with Iraq has become apparent only in recent days. Members of my Administration are working with Members of Congress to fix this flawed provision as soon as possible after the Congress returns.
Section 1083 would establish unprecedented legal burdens on the allocation of Iraq’s funds to where they are most needed. Since the fall of Saddam Hussein, I have issued Executive Orders to shield from entanglement in lawsuits the assets of the DFI and the CBI. I have taken these steps both to uphold international legal obligations of the United States and to remove obstacles to the orderly reconstruction of Iraq. Section 1083 potentially would place these crucial protections of Iraq’s core assets in immediate peril, by including a provision that might be misconstrued to supersede the protections I have put in place and to permit the judicial attachment of these funds. Iraq must not have its crucial reconstruction funds on judicial hold while lawyers argue and courts decide such legal assertions.
Moreover, section 1083 would permit plaintiffs to obtain liens on certain Iraqi property simply by filing a notice of pending action. Liens under section 1083 would be automatic upon filing a notice of a pending claim in a judicial district where Iraq’s property is located, and they would reach property up to the amount of the judgment plaintiffs choose to demand in their complaints. Such pre-judgment liens, entered before claims are tested and cases are heard, are extraordinary and have never previously been available in suits in U.S. courts against foreign sovereigns. If permitted to become law, even for a short time, section 1083’s attachment and lien provisions would impose grave — indeed, intolerable — consequences on Iraq.
Section 1083 also includes provisions that would expose Iraq to increased liability in lawsuits. Contrary to international legal norms and for the first time in U.S. history, a foreign sovereign would be liable for punitive damages under section 1083. Section 1083 removes defenses common for defendants in the United States — including res judicata, collateral estoppel, and statutes of limitation –upon which the Iraqi government has relied. And section 1083 would attempt to revive a $959 million judgment against the new democratic Government of Iraq based on the misdeeds of the Saddam Hussein regime.
Exposing Iraq to such significant financial burdens would weaken the close partnership between the United States and Iraq during this critical period in Iraq’s history. If Iraq’s assets are frozen, even temporarily, that could reduce confidence in the Iraqi dinar and undermine the success of Iraq’s monetary policy. By potentially forcing a close U.S. ally to withdraw significant funds from the U.S. financial system, section 1083 would cast doubt on whether the United States remains a safe place to invest and to hold financial assets. Iraqi entities would be deterred from engaging in commercial partnerships with U.S. businesses for fear of entangling assets in lawsuits. Section 1083 would be viewed with alarm by the international community and would invite reciprocal action against United States assets abroad.