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No Permanent Bases In Iraq – Perception Dictates Reality

July 25, 2007

The House passed a bill (H.R. 2929) today that seeks to ban permanent bases in Iraq:

The Iraq Study Group recommended that the United States clearly state that it does not seek permanent bases or to control Iraq’s oil.  In its final report, in December 2006, the bipartisan Iraq Study Group recommended that the United States clearly state that our nation does not seek permanent bases in Iraq or to control Iraq’s oil.  It did so to help shape “a positive climate for… diplomatic efforts,” which are essential to ending the U.S. presence in Iraq and bringing greater stability to the Middle East.

A clear statement that the U.S. will not have permanent bases sends a strong signal of support for full Iraqi national sovereignty – and weakens the appeal of extremists.  The perception that the United States intends to permanently occupy Iraq and is planning to control Iraq’s oil aids insurgent groups in recruiting supporters and fuels violent activity.  A clear statement that the United States will not have a permanent presence in Iraq or control of Iraq’s oil would send a strong signal to the people of Iraq and the international community that the U.S. fully supports Iraqi efforts to exercise full national sovereignty, including taking responsibility for their own security.

Even with this bill, convincing the Iraqis is going to be an uphill battle.  According to a 2006 poll:

iraq_jan06_grph1.gifAsked whether “the US government plans to have permanent military bases in Iraq or to remove all its military forces once Iraq is stabilized,” 80% overall assume that the US plans to remain permanently, including 79% of Shia, 92% of Sunnis and 67% of Kurds. Only small minorities believe that the US plans “to remove all its military forces once Iraq is stabilized” (overall 18%, Shia 21%, Sunni 7%, Kurds 28%).

It would be interesting to know how so many of them got the idea that we were there as part of some greater geopolitical strategy.  Any ideas?  Could it be because the very people who were most vocal about invading Iraq in the first place had stated a desire for “retaining forward-based forces in the region“?  Would that mean that it isn’t the Democrat’s rhetoric that’s to blame for the fierce resistance that our forces face in Iraq (as just about every righty pundit in the country wants you to believe), but rather the past rhetoric of the neocons? Or, are poll results like this just a reflection of how deep the distrust for the U.S. runs in the country? 

Update:  DownWithTyranny! has the list of Reps that voted against the bill. 

Update:  Video

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8 comments

  1. I’m really trying to be intellectually honest in our conversations Chen. I would hope that you would afford me the same courtesy.

    I could give you dozens of quotes and sources of Democrats throughout the Clinton administration and into the first several years of the Bush administration that not only beat the drums of war but advocated a permanent presence on the region. I just don’t want to take up a buttload of room in your comment section.

    One thing I do remember hearing from most Lefties after they lost their stomach for battle, was that we SHOULD have continued containing Saddam INDEFINITELY! That containment would have been preferable to removing him (even though regime change was the official US policy under the Clinton adminisration). What does it mean to contain? It means maintaining PERMANENT military bases in the region (northern and southern Iraq)….that’s is what Democrats were and still are advocating.

    Be honest Chen. Courage…courage…


  2. I’m fully aware of all the Dem quotes about Saddam and WMD’s, but I haven’t seen too many blatantly calling for invasion.

    And you’re going to have to provide a link showing Dems advocating bases within Iraq. I thought the containment involved bases in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, weapons inspectors, no-fly zones, sanctions, etc.


  3. Here’s one (of many):

    “Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime …. He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation … And now he is miscalculating America’s response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction …. So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real ….”
    Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23. 2003.

    Chen, what is the difference between indefinitely maintaining permanent military bases in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, who are supposedly allies (as advocated by Democrats), or having permanent military bases in Iraq who will supposedly be an ally when they get their government functioning properly and they’re stable?

    BTW, I’m not in favor of maintaining any permanent military bases in the region. I hope that in the years to come this little exercise in Iraq will make it unnecessary because Iraq will be a stable democracy.


  4. Disarm ≠ invasion, per se.

    The difference? Well, for one, we didn’t claim the bases in SA or Kuwait by force. The idea the Iraqis have is that was one of the reasons for the invasion. And, if we already have bases in SA and Kuwait, why would we need them in Iraq as well? From their point of view, it seems like a imperialistic takeover of their country, especially when we went in there under the guise of disamament and liberation.


  5. “Disarm ≠ invasion, per se.”

    You’re right, it’s debatable, but he DID vote for the war.

    In a way we did claim those bases by force…we forcibly removed Saddam from Kuwait. We Forcibly kept Saddam from invading SA. Then we set up bases.

    Look Chen, you know my political leanings (libertarian) and you know my military background.
    I wish we didn’t have ANY military presence in the ME. I wish it was totally unnecessary. I wish we didn’t need oil. I wish that Islamic countries would just embrace democracy and we can all get along.

    The fact is that Democrats (the ones that didn’t vote for the war) advocated and embraced a policy of indefinite containment via permanent military bases in the region. That was ok with them, so they can’t argue against a permanent military base option now, be it inside Iraq or elsewhere.
    I can argue against permanent military bases because I’m in favor of staying in Iraq until their government can secure and sustain itself, virtually making those bases unnecessary. At that point I hope we can dismantle all permanent military bases throughout the entire region because they will all be unnecessary. A stable democratic Iraq will not want to invade Kuwait or SA. Then maybe Kuwait Iraq and SA can band together and confront Iran.

    Like I said before, one can always hope and dream…


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