Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Kerry Questions Permanent Basis in Iraq

Kerry Asks Pentagon to Clarify that America Will Not Have Permanent Military Presence in Iraq

Posted by Ron Chusid
February 8th, 2006 @ 3:32 pm

The following statement, and text of letter, was released by Senator Kerry’s office:

WASHINGTON – Today Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) sent a letter to General Peter Pace, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, asking him to clearly and publicly state that there will be no permanent American military bases in Iraq. Earlier this week, Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt said that the United States will “not maintain any long-term bases in Iraq.” Kerry’s letter calls on General Pace to clarify and back these statements, for the good of American troops and our long-term goals in the region. Kerry has long argued that announcing that the United States will not have a permanent military presence in Iraq is key to undermining the insurgency.

Below is a copy of the letter.

February 8, 2006

General Peter Pace, USMC
Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
9999 The Pentagon
Room 2E878
Washington, DC 20318-9999

Dear General Pace:

I was interested to see reports of Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt’s speech to the International Institute of Strategic Studies in London where he reportedly said the United States will “not maintain any long-term bases in Iraq. . . . Our position is when we leave we will not have any bases there.”

For some time, a number of us have argued that it is vital to the success of our mission in Iraq for the United States to make clear in public that we seek no permanent military bases in Iraq. We know from General Casey that the insurgency in Iraq has fed on the sense of occupation. A simple declaration that the United States seeks no permanent military bases in Iraq, I believe, will help undermine the claims of some home-grown insurgents who argue that the United States seeks to steal Iraq’s oil and dominate its people.

In the interest of clarity, can you state unequivocally that the United States will not maintain any permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq? If Brigadier General Kimmmit’s statement is accurate, I urge you to personally state it clearly in public. I believe that doing so would be a great service to those brave Americans serving so well in Iraq and to the goals of American policy in the region.

I look forward to your reply.


John F. Kerry


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