Democrats & Liberals Archives

No Middle East Beachheads

One reason - perhaps the main reason - for sending our troops to Iraq, is to establish a beachhead from which U.S. can exert its power over events in the Middle East. If this is so, it’s time for Democrats to enact legislation that states clearly: No Middle East beachheads in Iraq. In plain language, No permanent American bases in Iraq.

The Democrats passed a bill giving Bush his Iraq-war money. However, since the bill included benchmarks defining an exit strategy, Bush vetoed it. The question now is what to do next.

Some say that Democrats should offer a clean bill that gives Bush the money and does nothing else. If they do this, they effectively surrender. This makes no sense at all.

Others say the Democrats should send the same or a similar bill back to Bush. Why do this when we know he will veto it again and the number of Republicans upholding his veto will most likely remain unchanged?

There are many other suggestions, but most of the ideas rely on some form of timeline. I think timelines will get us nowhere. We'll be stuck debating details that are not that significant in the long run. What we must do is change Bush's long-run strategy of

building a Middle East beachhead in Iraq with permanent bases.

At this point, we all know that there are huge bases, made of tons and tons of concrete, in Iraq. What are they for? We do not need such monstrous bases to help Iraqis take care of their own security. They are the beachhead. Neocons believe, that after the violence subsides, however long it takes, permanent bases could then be used to place the American stamp on the Middle East.

Couldn't this be the reason Bush often repeats that his wisdom will be celebrated in the future?

Permanent bases, however, are fatally wrong. Permanent bases tell the Iraqis and other Arabs that America attacked not to help them in any way but to place Arabs under the American thumb, or rather, foot. Permanent bases stamp Americans as imperialists. Permanent bases scream to Arabs that they have a new boss: United States. Permanent bases enable terrorists to recruit more terrorists to fight America.

The new legislation should do 2 things:

  1. SUPPLY WAR FUNDS UNTIL SEPTEMBER - Since General Petraeus is supposed to report progress in September, this will be a benchmark. If the news is bad then, quite a few Republicans will be ready to join Democrats in snuffing out the Iraq war

  2. ASSURE NO FUNDS AVAILABLE FOR PERMANENT BASES - The bill should say that no money could be used to plan, build or maintain any permanent base. And this applies to what some may want to call "enduring" bases
If Democrats must argue with Republicans let's argue about what is of vastly greater importance. Republicans want permanent bases in Iraq. As far as I can tell, not one Democratic candidate for president favors having permanent bases in Iraq.

We don't want Middle East beachheads in Iraq.

Posted by Paul Siegel at May 4, 2007 12:15 AM
Comments
Comment #219294

C’mon, Paul. Democrats couldn’t even get Bush to sign a bill that required him to leave troops in Iraq to get al-Qaeda, train Iraqi troops and protect US interests — and all without a hard timeline to do it in.

And frankly, as long as America is dependent on oil, we’ll need military bases in the Middle East. That’s just a fact of life.

Posted by: American Pundit at May 4, 2007 12:41 AM
Comment #219312

Given our military’s penchant for bringing up at least a half dozen soldiers a month on charges of rape in foreign countries, I cannot think of a better recruiting tool for al-Queda and fundamentalist extremist Islamic groups than permanent American military bases in the Middle East. The propaganda value to our enemies would be beyond valuation.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 4, 2007 9:32 AM
Comment #219318

Paul,

“Some say that Democrats should offer a clean bill that gives Bush the money and does nothing else. If they do this, they effectively surrender. This makes no sense at all.”

Why does it not suprise me that, in your reality, Democrats surrendering to Pres. Bush is worse than the U.S. surrendering to the wishes of the terrorists.

Posted by: wkw at May 4, 2007 10:25 AM
Comment #219324

wkw, not worse. Just the same. You see, it is President Bush and his Republican supporters of demanding our troops fight another nation’s civil war for them, who are killing our soldiers for their face saving agenda. That puts Bush and Republicans on par with the terrorists as far as surrendering is concerned, in my book.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 4, 2007 10:37 AM
Comment #219389

This is a great idea because permanent bases is the obvious goal. So take that off the table and see Bush whip out the veto pen again. THAT will get more and more of the country and the Congress to see the light.

Posted by: EdB at May 4, 2007 5:01 PM
Comment #220534

Ok, so tell me what is the difference between a permanent bases and temporary occupational bases? How can you even tell? Will you have our troops stay in unfortified tents exposed to direct and indirect fires simply to avoid building force protection structures because they may represent permanence? Who would decide what is permanent and what is a temporary necessity to protect the forces? If that decision is in Washington, how long will troops have to be exposed before they can get approval conduct repairs and improvements to their bases? The measure makes no sense to me and simply adds a layer to bureaucracy to the already overburdened troops. No, I don’t buy this one.

Posted by: Ryan at May 16, 2007 2:24 PM
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