All because our president wants to protect
the Iraqis from lawsuits
.

I am withholding my approval of H.R. 1585, the “National Defense Authorization
Act for Fiscal Year 2008,” because it would imperil billions of dollars
of Iraqi assets at a crucial juncture in that nation’s reconstruction efforts
and because it would undermine the foreign policy and commercial interests
of the United States.

The economic security and successful reconstruction of Iraq have been top
priorities of the United States. Section 1083 of H.R. 1585 threatens those
key objectives. Immediately upon enactment, section 1083 would risk the freezing
of substantial Iraqi assets in the United States –including those of the
Development Fund for Iraq (DFI), the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI), and commercial
entities in the United States in which Iraq has an interest. Section 1083
also would expose Iraq to new liability of at least several billion dollars
by undoing judgments favorable to Iraq, by foreclosing available defenses
on which Iraq is relying in pending litigation, and by creating a new Federal
cause of action backed by the prospect of punitive damages to support claims
that may previously have been foreclosed. This new liability, in turn, will
only increase the potential for immediate entanglement of Iraqi assets in
the United States. The aggregate financial impact of these provisions on Iraq
would be devastating.

What Mr. Bush has actually done by issuing a pocket veto is leave the troops
with a 3.0 raise instead of 3.5 percent.

The disputed section of the bill would reshape Iraq’s immunity to lawsuits,
exposing the new government to litigation in U.S. courts stemming from treatment
of Americans in Iraq during Saddam’s reign. Even cases that had once been
rejected could be refiled.

Bush’s aides warned of a dire scenario — a rush of litigation that
could freeze tens of billions of dollars in Iraqi assets being held in U.S.
banks. Money at the heart of the Iraqi rebuilding effort would be tied up
in court, potentially halting the very stabilization efforts that could get
U.S. troops home faster, the aides said.

Yet Democrats fumed that Bush could have worked out the technical fix sooner
if he had wanted, without rejecting an entire bill that contains extra help
and money for troops.

Bush
rejects defense bill by pocket veto

KagroX
runs the whole sorry mess down:

Because the bill has so much in it for veterans and active members of the
Armed Forces, Bush apparently doesn’t dare sign an affirmative veto. Instead,
he’ll pretend it… just went away on its own.

Also see Stubborn Facts.

Emptywheel
finds the whole action weird, which is an understatement, unless you think twice
about Mr. Bush, who doesn’t think Congress is a co-equal branch at all. Can
you just see Bush and Cheney talking this one over? I can hear them now: What
are the Democrats going to do about it. Screw ’em.

Evidently the pro forma sessions don’t seem to be registering on Mr. Bush,
which is set forth in his Memorandum
of Disapproval
:

… .. The adjournment of the Congress has prevented my return of H.R. 1585
within the meaning of Article I, section 7, clause 2 of the Constitution.
Accordingly, my withholding of approval from the bill precludes its becoming
law. The Pocket Veto Case, 279 U.S. 655 (1929). In addition to withholding
my signature and thereby invoking my constitutional power to “pocket
veto” bills during an adjournment of the Congress, I am also sending
H.R. 1585 to the Clerk of the House of Representatives, along with this memorandum
setting forth my objections, to avoid unnecessary litigation about the non-enactment
of the bill that results from my withholding approval and to leave no doubt
that the bill is being vetoed. … ..

Hear Cheney grunt: Who’s irrelevant now? We’re about to find out.