Monday, August 04, 2008

No Permanent Military Bases in Iraq

The Iraqi Parliament wants the US out of Iraq, and they have made it clear in a recent letter which called for US troops to be removed. The United States doesn't seem quite so inclined to oblige. Recently we learned that the Bush administration was engaged in secret negotiations to establish fifty military bases, control of Iraqi airspace and legal immunity for all American soldiers and contractors for an indefinite period of time. The congress must remain engaged and not give in to pressure from the military industrial complex or current administration officials from both sides of the aisle. If we are ever to step out of this quagmire there must be broad resolve by the American people to bring the troops home and close down the military bases.

As part of long term security negotiations in Iraq, Massoud Barzani, the head of northern Iraq's regional Kurdish administration suggested that military forces be permanently redeployed to northern Iraq. Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama has indicated that he believes it would be appropriate to deploy troops there in the near future. Permanent military bases of any sort will act as an anchor to keep us locked into Iraq for decades to come. The United States clearly intends to remain in Iraq and Afghanistan into the indefinite future. Pentagon officials have indicated as much in their long term and short term planning for the region.

The Iraqis have a different idea about what we should do. There is consensus in the Iraqi parliament that the United States needs to leave now and take our military bases with us. As a candidate for federal office, I do not support the permanent establishment of any military bases in Iraq or Afghanistan. I believe that it is essential that the anti-war movement in this country continue to pressure elected officials and run candidates who will remove the military presence from the Middle East. It is clear that political instability in the region is being fueled by a continued US military presence in the region. This in turn is creating uncertainty on the global oil markets and pushing up prices, weakening the US dollar and contributing to a global recession.

The current thinking on the part of military strategists and international policy experts is that the situation in Iraq is analogous to Korea or Germany, and that permanent military bases are a fundamental aspect of Iraqi and Afghan reconstruction. The problem is that the Iraqi people do not agree. The people of Iraq consider us to be agents of occupation, and fundamentally anti-democratic. They do not see the invasion of Iraq as being worth the hundreds of thousands of people who have been killed or injured. They do not like the long term economic, infrastructure and environmental devastation which was been visited upon their country.

The Iraqi people have spoken and it is time to honor our agreements. In a recent statement to the press, Nouri al-Maliki said that the US was making demands that would lead to the colonization of Iraq. If the US remains in the region, we will eventually use our presence in Iraq as a base for further military exploits in the region, especially into Iran. That is why it is time to withdraw all of our military forces from Iraq and Afghanistan, to close down our military bases and to bring our troops home now.

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