News Release

U.S. Bases in Iraq: The Meaning of “Permanent”


AP is reporting: “The House voted 399-24 on Wednesday to pass a bill proposed by [Rep. Barbara] Lee that would ban permanent bases in Iraq.”

Director of the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies, Bennis said today: “The bill states an important principle opposing the ‘establishment’ of new bases in Iraq and ‘not to exercise United States control of the oil resources of Iraq.’ But it is limited in several ways. It prohibits only those bases which are acknowledged to be for the purpose of permanently stationing U.S. troops in Iraq; therefore any base constructed for temporarily stationing troops, or rotating troops, or anything less than an officially permanent deployment, would still be accepted. Further, the bill says nothing about the need to decommission the existing U.S. bases already built in Iraq; it only prohibits ‘establishing’ military installations, implying only new ones would be prohibited.

“From its origins, the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq had two major goals: control of oil and expansion of U.S. military power. Creation of a network of at least 14 military bases throughout the country, including four huge ‘enduring’ bases, lies at the heart of this goal. It is interesting that the U.S. military bases in Iraq, Afghanistan, Qatar, Oman and elsewhere in the Middle East are NOT included in the Pentagon’s own list of overseas bases. And the Iraqi bases are only a small part of the 750-plus overseas U.S. military bases that constitute the infrastructure of this 21st century version of empire.” Bennis is author of Challenging Empire: How People, Governments, and the UN Defy U.S. Power.
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Grossman, a geographer and faculty member at The Evergreen State College (Olympia, WA) wrote the article “New U.S. Military Bases: Side Effects or Causes of War?” He said: “It used to be that military bases were built to wage wars, but increasingly it seems that wars are being waged to build bases. After every U.S. military intervention since 1990 … the Pentagon has left behind clusters of new bases in areas where it never before had a foothold. The new string of bases stretch from Kosovo and adjacent Balkan states, to Iraq and other Persian Gulf states, into Afghanistan and other Central Asian states. Together, they appear to form a new U.S. sphere of influence in the strategic ‘middle ground’ between the European Union and East Asia, and may well be intended to counteract the emergence of these global economic competitors.

“The Pentagon is using every crisis as a convenient opportunity to establish a permanent military presence in the strategic belt between Poland and Pakistan. The only two obstacles left to a geographically contiguous U.S. sphere of influence are Iran and Syria. This over-extension of U.S. military power risks increasing regional resentments, 9/11-type ‘blowback’ attacks, and a reliance on military power instead of respectful economic relationships.”
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For more information, contact the Institute for Public Accuracy at (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan at (541) 484-9167.