House Approves a Permanent Ban on Permanent Bases in Iraq

Washington, D.C. – Council for a Livable World today applauded the House of Representatives for overwhelmingly voting, 399 to 24, to bar permanent military bases in Iraq.

John Isaacs, Executive Director of Council for a Livable World, explained: “Congress has now placed a permanent ban on permanent bases. Previous bans expired at the end of each fiscal year.�

A clear majority of Republicans, 172 – 24, joined in the final tally, a subtle repudiation of President Bush and his neoconservative advisers’ hope of establishing a permanent toehold near key oil fields in Iraq and the greater Middle East.

“The Bush Administration has been deliberately vague about its plans for a long-term presence in Iraq, providing fodder for anti-American extremists,� Isaacs continued.

In the Fiscal Year 2007 Supplemental Appropriations bill passed by Congress in May, a provision was included withholding almost $275 million from Pentagon spending until Defense Secretary Robert Gates certified that the money was not used for permanent bases. The text of the provision read:

“That of the funds provided under this heading, $274,800,000 shall not be obligated or expended until the Secretary of Defense certifies that none of the funds are to be used for the purpose of providing facilities for the permanent basing of United States military personnel in Iraq.�
[Chapter 5, Department of Defense, Military Construction, Army]

Isaacs concluded: “It is critical for the U.S. to communicate to Iraqis and others in the Middle East that it does not plan a permanent occupation. The passage of this bill helps achieve that.�