Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The law is a bomb

This is an interesting development, one that will probably move exactly nowhere, just like all the other bills passed by the House and which remain floundering in the Senate. (via DanK is back at dKos). The House just voted 399-24 on HR 2929 against permanent military bases in Iraq:
It is the policy of the United States not to establish any military installation or base for the purpose of providing for the permanent stationing of United States Armed Forces in Iraq and not to exercise United States control of the oil resources of Iraq.
Of course, the meaning of this depends on the meaning of the word "permanent." The bases in South Korea are not now, nor have they ever been, called permanent. And the Bush administration has been careful to use the term "enduring" when describing these bases. This has a much more palliative flavour, almost as though these camps in the Iraqi desert are architectural gems that ought to be preserved for future generations.

Is this bill for show as some sort of conscience alleviation whereby the House will be able to say, see we told them not to do it and they did anyway. Since these bases depend on congressional funding, and we've see just how effective Congress can be in restricting funding for Bush's misadventures, don't be too surprised if this bill winds up meaning absolutely nothing.

The mention of oil resources is key here and indicates that the House is rather aware of what these garrisons would actually be used for once the major withdrawal of US forces does happen and those remaining decamp to the various FOBs. Nonetheless, the contentious Oil Law is more contentious than ever and Iraq's oil workers unions are threatening to "mutiny" over the passage of the law in its current form. Again, this aspect of the bill seems like window dressing, since Congress has already told the Iraqi parliament that the Oil Law is the number one benchmark they need to meet. But as the unions have said,
If the Iraqi Parliament approves this law, we will resort to mutiny. This law is a bomb that may kill everyone. Iraqi oil does not belong to any certain side. It belongs to all future generations.


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