Iraqi forces are taking over more and more responsibility for the nation’s security.
Iraqis gathered in the Hayyaniyah district of Basra, Iraq to answer a recruiting call by the Iraqi army May 29. More than 3,000 Iraqi men from the area turned out for the event though the Iraqi army only had 1,000 positions available. (MNF-Iraq)
President Bush squashed the hysterical rumors today that the US is discussing permanent military bases in Iraq.
He told a German audience that the current talks with the democratic Iraqi government will not involve permanent bases.
From the White House:
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Question: Speaking of Iraq, there are increasing controversy in Iraq over the security agreement that’s being negotiated. Some top Iraqi officials are calling for a dramatic reduction in the U.S. presence. Does this concern you that the direction of those negotiations are going in?
And Madam Chancellor, does this have any impact on your approach towards Iraq?
PRESIDENT BUSH: First of all, I think we’ll end up with a strategic agreement with Iraq. You know, it’s all kinds of noise in their system and our system. What eventually will win out is the truth. For example, you read stories perhaps in your newspaper that the U.S. is planning all kinds of permanent bases in Iraq. That’s an erroneous story. The Iraqis know — will learn it’s erroneous, too. We’re there at the invitation of the sovereign government of Iraq.
And I strongly support the agreement because I think it helps send a clear message to the people of Iraq that, you know, that security you’re now seeing will continue. And one of the lessons of Iraq is, is that in order for a democracy to develop or in order for an economy to develop, there has to be a measure of security, which is now happening. So I think we’ll get the agreement done.
And as I said clearly in past speeches, this will not involve permanent bases, nor will it bind any future President to troop levels. You know, as to — look, Eggen, you can find any voice you want in the Iraqi political scene and quote them, which is interesting, isn’t it, because in the past you could only find one voice, and now you can find a myriad of voices. It’s a vibrant democracy; people are debating. There’s all kinds of press in the Iraqi scene, of course to the benefit of the Iraqi society.
And I deal with Prime Minister Maliki. He appreciates our presence there, and he understands that we’re returning on success; as the situation merits, and the situation improves, we’re bringing our troops home. And I’m pleased with the progress. I don’t know whether or not it’s — the progress has made it here to Germany or not yet, but the progress in Iraq is substantial, and it’s going to help change the Middle East for the better. And I love the idea of having — giving people a chance to live in a free society. The blessings of freedom are — shouldn’t be just a regional blessing; I believe freedom is universal and I believe freedom yields peace.
Aswat Al-Iraq has more on the security rumors.
Hat Tip Bill Nelson
Muqtada al-Sadr followers have been holding weekly protests in Iraq condemning the security talks.
UPDATE: It looks like we can now conclude that Jeremiah Wright was wrong about this too–
Hugh Hewitt reported today on Wright’s looney letter to his flock in September 2005:
Pastor Wright’s bulletin letter of September 11, 2005 is posted below. It concludes:
Do you want to know why Mr. Bush has no intention of pulling out of Iraq any time soon? It is because the United States is building the largest CIA station in the world in Baghdad. It is also because Haliburton (Mr. Cheney’s company) is busily constructing 1400 U.S. military bases in Iraq. As stated above, these plans were laid out in 1992 and 2000 (long before 9/11).
There is no noble cause for Cindy Sheehan’s son to have died. There is only greed. There is only a grab for money amd for oil and there is only “business as usual” on the agenda.
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Reminder: This is the 20 year pastor/mentor/guru of the Democratic nominee for president.