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White House Says There Will Be No Permanent Iraq Presence

The White House.
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Jun 16, 2006
The White House said Thursday that the United States would have "no permanent bases" in Iraq, because keeping overseas military facilities open always depends on the host government and US planners.

At a morning exchange with reporters, spokesman Tony Snow said it was "wrong" to say that the United States planned to keep troops in Iraq forever, even after Iraqi security forces are up and running.

Prodded about the construction of permanent military facilities in the war-torn country, Snow replied: "No permanent bases. Don't have permanent bases anywhere."

Later, Snow explained that "the decision about how long to maintain a military base overseas is made by the sovereign government" as well as by US military planners, either of which could close a facility. "It's up to them."

The US ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, told Iraq's Ash-Sharqiya television in March that Washington had "no goal of establishing permanent bases" in Iraq, according to a transcript obtained by AFP.

And US President George W. Bush said in March that a future US deployment in Iraq "will be decided by future presidents and future governments of Iraq."

Bush, his poll numbers sagging under the weight of the unpopular war, has come under heavy political pressure to bring home at least some of the roughly 133,000 US soldiers in Iraq.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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US Military Death Toll In Iraq Hits 2500
Washington (AFP) Jun 16, 2006
The US military death toll in Iraq climbed to 2,500 Thursday with the combat death of a marine as Congress approved another 66 billion dollars for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The White House lamented the toll, calling it "a sad benchmark," but said President George W. Bush believed they did not die in vain.

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