USA — Irak

No Per­ma­nent U.S. Bases Planned for Iraq, Bush Says

By Fred W. Bak­er III
Amer­i­can Forces Press Ser­vice

WASHINGTON, Feb. 10, 2008 — The Unit­ed States does not_plan to estab­lish per­ma­nent bases in Iraq, Pres­i­dent Bush said today.

Appear­ing on “Fox News Sun­day,” Bush told host Chris Wal­lace that the best inter­ests of the Unit­ed States and Iraq would guide any agree­ment on long-term U.S. pres­ence in Iraq, just as sim­i­lar agree­ments are in place between the Unit­ed States and oth­er coun­tries that host U.S. forces.

“We will be there at the invi­ta­tion of the Iraqi gov­ern­ment,” he said. “And we won’t have per­ma­nent bases.”

For the near term, Bush said, he’ll make deci­sions on the next steps in Iraq when mil­i­tary lead­ers pro­vide their next reports and rec­om­men­da­tions in the spring. Navy Adm. Michael G. Mullen, chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Navy Adm. William J. Fal­lon, com­man­der of U.S. Cen­tral Com­mand; and Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, com­man­der of Multi­na­tion­al Force Iraq, are slat­ed to present their rec­om­men­da­tions to Bush in April.

Bush said he met with Petraeus in Kuwait dur­ing a recent trip to the Mid­dle East, and that he urged the gen­er­al to base his rec­om­men­da­tions on what­ev­er is nec­es­sary for suc­cess in Iraq, which he defined as hav­ing enough secu­ri­ty and sta­bil­i­ty for rec­on­cil­i­a­tion to take place and for the country’s democ­ra­cy to take hold.

“My mes­sage to the gen­er­al was, ‘Suc­cess is para­mount. There­fore, what­ev­er you rec­om­mend, make it based upon the need to suc­ceed,’ ” Bush said. “I’m not sure what his rec­om­men­da­tion will be, nor am I sure what the rec­om­men­da­tion will be of the Pen­ta­gon. … They may be all the same; they may not be all the same.

“But I will lis­ten, give them care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion, and make up my mind,” the pres­i­dent said. “But it’s going to be based upon whether or not we can suc­ceed.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)