Members of the United States military who were expecting a 3.5% pay increase(President Bush wanted 3% but finally gave in to Democrats) will have to wait because the president intends to veto the bill. His veto threat caught Congressional leaders off guard because until this point, he had never raised any objection to a particular item in the bill. The provision allows lawyers to have Iraqi funds frozen in cases involving the misdeeds of Saddam Hussein. Democrats argued the provision was meant to assist victims of Saddam’s cruelty to get compensation. The Iraq government now claims it would allow US prisoners of war during the Gulf War to sue for compensation! Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi made clear, “the administration should have raised its objections earlier, when the issue could have been addressed without a veto.”
The ongoing arrogance of George Bush can no longer be a surprise to any American. He initially opposed the 3.5% pay raise as “excessive,” and now finds a minor issue around which to create chaos. If the issue was important, why didn’t the president inform Congress anytime during the fall about his concerns? He runs an imperial presidency in which the president does as he desires and damn the rest of the government. It is also interesting that Bush is bowing before demands of American bankers who don’t want the Iraqi government to withdraw funds. As far as they are concerned, victims of Saddam come last.