"Enduring Bases" Fiction
Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who cast the only vote against going to war in Afghanistan, has written an opinion piece on her resolution to prevent the U.S. from entering into any permanent basing arrangement with Iraq. Let's see what she has to say:
"The circumstances on the ground, however, tell another story. On March 23, 2004, the Chicago Tribune reported on the construction of 14 “enduring bases” in Iraq. The May 22, 2005, Washington Post described the military’s plan to consolidate military personnel in Iraq into four massive “contingency operating bases.” According to the Congressional Research Service, Emergency Supplemental funds appropriated for military construction in Iraq for fiscal years 2001–2005 total more than $805 million, with the vast majority, more than $597 million, coming in the 2005 fiscal year."
Sounds pretty factual. Do you think she'll bring up PNAC next?
"Anyone familiar with the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) should be skeptical about the administration’s claims that it does not have plans for a permanent military presence in Iraq. PNAC, many of whose founders, including Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, went on to serve in the Bush administration, published a document in 2000 titled “Rebuilding America’s Defenses.” It plainly cites the objective of an increased U.S. military presence in the region as a rationale for invading Iraq: “While the unresolved conflict in Iraq provides the immediate justification [for U.S. military presence], the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.”
Of course -- a document written in 2000, in a section discussing American troop presence in Saudi Arabia, most assuredly is a secret blueprint for permanently occupying Iraq. Many liberals, including Cindy Sheehan (quoted at Rob's Online Magazine) see something especially sinister about these "permanent" or "enduring" bases. It just so happens that I was involved in some of the planning of these bases (on the coalition side) and here's something our liberal friends don't seem to appreciate: If you don't have what the military calls "enduring bases", you're living in tents, or thin-walled conex box. Mortar fragments can easily penetrate tents. Since our troops are going to be there for a while, they should have housing where they can sleep without getting shredded by incoming mortar rounds. As far as moving from fourteen bases down to four bases -- it seems that it would make sense that as the Iraqi army stands up, our troops can move from a "patrol with the Iraqis" role to a "give us a call if you need us" role, and would be able to reduce our self-defense requirements by going into fewer bases.
The bad thing is that as much as she attempts to prove otherwise, Rep. Lee is probably a very intelligent person, who gets briefed by people who can explain this to her -- and she probably understands all this. She's just playing to her constituency (Berkeley) and telling them what they want to hear. My conclusion: Liberal leaders don't want to explain what's really going on in the world to their followers -- they just want to feed their prejudices that America is always wrong.
Speaking of Cindy Sheehan quotes -- check out what Democrat Ed Koch has to say about some of them.