Saturday, June 14, 2008

Temporary Permanent Bases

The issue of the United States constructing permanent bases in Iraq has been of discussion since the beginning of the invasion in independent media outlets and has now captured limited headlines in the corporate media. Certainly construction of such bases re-enforces the fact that the United States is an occupying force and aims to continue this occupation with no end in sight.

Currently the United States and Iraq are negotiating terms about the presence of such bases. Bush Administration officials have continually claimed that they are not seeking a permanent presence within Iraq and that bases which are constructed will not serve the purpose of providing a "launching pad" for attacks against Syria and/or Iran. Gareth Porter's recent article published by the "Inter Press Service", outlined how Administration officials have continuously spoken out to counter the idea the United States is working to occupy Iraq permanently. These public statements run completely counter to what is contained within the proposal the United States is attempting to submit to Iraq. The proposal outlines U.S. control of Iraqi airspace and provides wording that would justify "defensive" actions against other countries that could pose a so-called threat to the country.

Perhaps most alarming is the deliberate attempt to mislead the public through ambiguous language contained within the proposal. The phrase "permanent bases" are not used, but as Porter points out in the article, no timeline is given on the presence of the U.S. in "temporary bases". So the word "temporary" is used, but no language is used to distinguish the difference from a "temporary" base with no timeline and a "permanent" base.

The most telling quote in the piece, is from Assistant Defence Secretary Mary Beth Long where in testimony before the State Department she states:

“I have looked into this. As far as the department is concerned, we don’t have a worldwide or even a department-wide definition of permanent bases.”

She adds:

“most lawyers… would say that the word ‘permanent’ probably refers more to the state of mind contemplated by the use of the term”.

There you have it, there is not a department-wide definition of "permanent bases" and the word "permanent" probably refers more to a state of mind. This is not an example of stupidity on the part of the Department of Defense, but rather calculated Orwellian doublespeak to attempt to justify the continued illegal occupation of Iraq to establish a permanent presence in the Middle East.

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