House Votes to Ban Permanent Bases in Iraq
"The Democratic Congress will go on record -- every day if necessary -- to register a judgment in opposition to the course of action that the President is taking in Iraq. The Democratic Congress will go on record -- every day if necessary -- to fight for a redeployment of our forces as the central element of a New Direction strategy for Iraq."
- Speaker Pelosi, 7/25/07
Today, the House passed H.R. 2929, Banning Permanent U.S. Bases in Iraq. This bill states that it is the policy of the United States not to establish any military installation or base for the purpose of providing a permanent stationing of United States Armed Forces in Iraq. It also states that it is the policy of the United States not to exercise U.S. control of the oil resources of Iraq. The measure bars the use of any funds provided by any law from being used to carry out any policy that contradicts these statements of policy.
While the Bush Administration has indicated it would not seek permanent bases in Iraq, Administration officials have recently remarked that the President envisioned a continued military presence in Iraq similar to our presence in Korea, where U.S. forces have been stationed for more than 50 years. Speaker Pelosi explained that "today's vote can again make clear to the President, to the Administration, to the American people, to the people in the Middle East, to the people in Iraq -- that the American people are opposed to a permanent military presence in Iraq."
Yes, our colleagues are correct that this has been brought before the Congress before and has been passed into law. But the fact is that it may not have been heard adequately by the Administration and certainly not by the people in the region. This legislation clearly signals that the United States does not seek a permanent military presence in Iraq. This action is necessary to clarify confusing and contradictory statements from the Administration regarding our nation's long-term strategic relationship with Iraq.
Rep. Barbara Lee:
To those who raise objections or want to suggest that this is only a symbolic measure or raise semantic questions about what a 'permanent base' is, let me say this: This is a serious issue, and I think we all recognize how much is at stake. The question is simple: do we support an endless occupation, or do we oppose it? We may disagree on many things about Iraq, but I hope we can agree that that an endless occupation is not the answer. Let's make that commitment today. Let's put the so-called Korea-model to bed. Let's tell our troops that when they come home, they will all come home. Let's pass this legislation.