News Release

The Ruse Over Bases in Iraq


Earlier this month, Jarrar accompanied two Iraqi parliamentarians in their meetings in Washington, D.C. and New York City; the parliamentarians testified before a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee about U.S. bases in Iraq. Jarrar said today: “The leaks we’ve seen lately that the U.S. government is seeking 58 permanent bases seem dubious. For one thing, even under current conditions, the U.S. doesn’t have that many bases. As these leaks were being reported, Iraqi government officials — who have been very cozy with the Bush administration’s policies — suddenly began pontificating about Iraqi sovereignty. It’s quite likely that the inflated numbers of bases the U.S. is seeking are a way to give cover to these Iraqi officials and then ‘settle’ on some lower number of bases and sell that to the Iraqi and U.S. publics.”

Jarrar, born and raised in Iraq, is Iraq consultant for the American Friends Service Committee. He was recently profiled in Mother Jones: “Where Is Raed Now? Meet the Iraqi exile (and former Salam Pax blogger) who could foil Bush’s plans for permanent bases near Baghdad.”
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Porter wrote the recent piece “Bush Pledges on Iraq Bases Pact Were a Ruse,” which states: “When Democratic Sen. James Webb asked the State Department’s David Satterfield, ‘What is a permanent base?’ Satterfield tried to avoid answering the question. But Assistant Defense Secretary Mary Beth Long was more responsive. She said, ‘I have looked into this. As far as the department is concerned, we don’t have a worldwide or even a department-wide definition of permanent bases.’

“Webb then observed, ‘It doesn’t really mean anything,’ to which Long replied, ‘Yes, senator, you’re right. It doesn’t.’ She added that ‘most lawyers… would say that the word “permanent” probably refers more to the state of mind contemplated by the use of the term.'”

Porter is an investigative historian and journalist specializing in U.S. national security policy. His latest book is Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam.
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167