Our guest blogger is Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), a member of the House International Relations Committee.
Last Tuesday, the House took an important first step regarding the war in Iraq. It voted in favor of an important amendment to the Iraq supplemental spending bill that I introduced, along with my colleagues, Reps. Tom Allen (D-ME), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL). (Watch it here.)
The amendment we offered was very simple: it stated that no funds from this spending bill will be used to enter into military base agreements between the United States and Iraq. Stating this will clearly indicate that the U.S. has no intention of maintaining a permanent military presence in Iraq. I’m pleased to say that the House unanimously approved this amendment.
While differences exist over how and when we should leave Iraq, we should all agree that U.S. forces should not be in Iraq forever. The House is now on record as supporting that position. Unfortunately, the administration’s position is unclear.
On April 13, 2004, President Bush said, “As a proud and independent people, Iraqis do not support an indefinite occupation, and neither does America.” But last week, General John Abizaid, the Army general in charge of the U.S. troops in Iraq, told the House defense appropriations subcommittee that the U.S. could end up having permanent bases in Iraq. And today, the Los Angeles Times reports that Bush “continues to request hundreds of millions of dollars for large bases” in Iraq.