"It's always reassuring to find you've made the right enemies." -- William J. Donovan
I read the OP and I think Panetta lost his mind. Its like I said, Maliki was presented with the terms and he admits to having rejected them. If a foreign nation wants the privilege of an American defense force then it must agree to our terms. There is no negotiating and Obama was clear on that from the beginning. Either an extension of our presence would come with full immunity for our troops or we would adhere to the withdraw date of the SOA that had already been agreed to.
As far as future involvement, it said nothing and the Iraqi's insisted it be that way. Many Iraqi's wanted us out in 2008U.S. and multinational forces have been in Iraq since 2003 under a UN Security Council mandate renewed annually. But because Iraq's government has requested that the Security Council not renew the mandate upon its expiration at the end of 2008, U.S. officials have had to accelerate negotiations on a detailed legal framework for the U.S. presence in Iraq.
You should at least understand the trouble Bush had just getting 3 more years in Iraq. They did not want us there period.U.S. officials, meanwhile, have repeatedly stated that neither agreement will tie the hands of the next administration. The agreements "will not establish permanent bases in Iraq, nor will they specify in any fashion the number of American forces to be stationed there," Ambassador David Satterfield, a senior adviser on Iraq policy, told lawmakers in March 2008.