PEEK

Iraq, The Korea Model: A Bonus Track!

Jarrar and Holland: Just a few more words about permanent bases.
Many observers criticized the latest spending bill approved by the democratic led congress as nothing more than a blank check to continue the war for another 4 months, but the situation is even worse than this assessment suggests. In fact, the potentially damaging consequences of this bill are long-term and far-reaching: It opens the door for the open-ended military occupation of Iraq and other countries around the world.

The FY07 Supplemental Appropriations Bill allocates over $1.25 billion for building and maintaining large military bases in the U.S., Iraq, Afghanistan, and alarmingly, "Worldwide: Unspecified" (You can download this info from the Department of the Army Headquarters website by clicking PDF*).

Over a quarter a billion dollars have been set aside for "military construction" in Iraq alone. These funds will be used towards expanding and maintaining sites such as Al Asad base, Camp Anaconda, Camp Adder, Camp Speicher, Oayyarah West, Scania, Victory Base, a well as "Various Locations". Perhaps these "various locations" are the almost 250 bases listed on Global Security's website with photos and satellite images.

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It would be naïve to be reassured by SEC. 1311 of the supplement prohibiting the use the funds appropriated to "establish any military installation or base for the purpose of providing for the permanent stationing of United States Armed Forces in Iraq." After all, there is no legal definition for "permanent bases". The 53 year old U.S. bases in South Korea, for example, are not "permanent."

*This has been corrected. We had linked to the wrong version of the Iraq supplemental. Thanks to reader ksharp for pointing out our error in the comments.
Joshua Holland is an editor and senior writer at AlterNet. Raed Jarrar is Iraq consultant to the American Friends Service Committee. He blogs at Raed in the Middle.