No Permanent Bases In Iraq – Perception Dictates RealityJuly 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:
Asked 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.