15 May 2005 at 1:49:08 PM
Building permanent bases in Iraq sends the wrong signal- At the very least, shouldn't Bush wait until after Iraq can decide on its own if it wants the US to occupy its country before buildiing more permanent military bases there?
A year ago, President Bush boldly said: "Iraqis do not support an indefinite occupation and neither does America." Yet Congress is posed to finalize the president's $82 billion request for the Iraq war that includes a half-billion dollars for permanent military bases and another half-billion for building the world's largest embassy. Despite the president's assurances, the United States is preparing for a lengthy stay in Iraq....
Without context, spending a billion dollars on new facilities seems rather insignificant given that the United States has spent more than $200 billion on the Iraq war so far. But the extent of the U.S. occupation in Iraq is often overlooked. Currently, the United States operates out of about 50 locations including 14 "enduring bases" in Iraq.
That's a huge presence in a country the size of California.
Adding new and larger facilities will serve as a daily reminder that Iraq is under a foreign military occupation. The U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia was Osama bin Laden's chief recruiting tool there, and the same dynamic appears to be working for Iraq's insurgents.
While Bush has been extremely vocal about promoting democracy for Iraqis, this new construction is decidedly undemocratic. There has been little role for Iraqis in approving U.S. plans for adding new facilities. Building these facilities sends exactly the wrong message about democracy to the Iraqi people, especially as the new Iraqi government is falling into place.
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