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May 03, 2006

Biden Triumphs
Posted by Heather Hurlburt

Today I'll cheer Joe Biden -- the Senate has just approvied his amendments to the Iraq military supplemental barring the USG from spending any of the money to either create permanent bases or (and this is really news) establish US control over Iraq's oil infrastructure.

You can find a description of the amendment -- and the many others put forward -- here.

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To that end, the Committee recommended, “approval of only those requested projects that immediately support operations ongoing in Iraq, rather than those requests which propose a longer term presence.” When considering this same bill, the House adopted by voice vote a comparable amendment.

As I understand it, then, a base will qualify as non-permanent so long as it supports opertations ongoing in Iraq. Doesn't that mean that once Operation Iraqi Freedom becomes Operation Border Assurance or Operation Desert Bunker or Operation Pipeline Guardian or Operation Persian Prevention, then bases that are needed to support those operations will be permissible under the law?

In Biden's speech yeasterday, he called for a residual force of 20,000 troops "near or in Iraq" following his proposed withdrawal. If they remain in Iraq, then presuambly they will need some bases. How long does a base have to last before it is "permanent"?

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for the Congress making statements of this kind to try, somehow, to send the right message abroad. But it strikes me initially as rather cosmetic.

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