Or something like that...
Speaker Pelosi proudly hails House passage of legislation to bar the establishment of permanent bases in Iraq:
Today, the House passed H.R. 2929, Banning Permanent U.S. Bases in Iraq. This bill states that it is the policy of the United States not to establish any military installation or base for the purpose of providing a permanent stationing of United States Armed Forces in Iraq. It also states that it is the policy of the United States not to exercise U.S. control of the oil resources of Iraq. The measure bars the use of any funds provided by any law from being used to carry out any policy that contradicts these statements of policy.As I pointed out over here -- and as Ms. Pelosi implicitly concedes in this victory statement -- this legislation is frivolous and pointless.
While the Bush Administration has indicated it would not seek permanent bases in Iraq, Administration officials have recently remarked that the President envisioned a continued military presence in Iraq similar to our presence in Korea, where U.S. forces have been stationed for more than 50 years. Speaker Pelosi explained that “today’s vote can again make clear to the President, to the Administration, to the American people, to the people in the Middle East, to the people in Iraq — that the American people are opposed to a permanent military presence in Iraq.”
The United States has no permanent military bases; they all exist subject to agreements with the host nation, which can be terminated. So the House legislation does not affect the potential establishment of long-term bases in Iraq. Ms. Pelosi mentions Korea as a negative example; if she wants to avoid a long-term presence such as that one, then the House ought to have considered legislation to bar bases that will be in place for 50 years -- or 40, or 20, or 10 years. But to ban permanent bases won't affect our position in Iraq any more than it would our position in Korea.
Meanwhile, Mr. Murtha says that the House may soon consider legislation to require troop withdrawals. Good for him. That measure could not pass the Senate, so whatever the House does with it is pointless.
This all goes to prolong the fiction that Democrats are seriously trying to end the Iraq war. Had they wanted to do that, they would have denied funding for it. As Dennis Kucinich (of all people) pointed out in the debate the other night:
The answer to your question, ma'am, is: Yes, it is politics. The Democrats have failed the American people. When we took over in January, the American people didn't expect us to give them a Democratic version of the war. They expected us to act quickly to end the war.
Take it from our next President: this is all about politics, not about the war.
It's beginning to seem as if the only issue that this Congress is interested in is Iraq. And while that's clearly our nation's primary concern, it will be resolved one day. What will the Congress have then? God help the Democrats if it is resolved one way or the other before the election; there'll be nothing for them to talk about or take credit for.
Update: Looks like the House might not vote on Murtha's measure, since it would represent 'a step backward' on Iraq. Ironically that's right, but not for the reasons the opponents believe.