Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Tuesday brushed aside suggestions that the United States wants an indefinite troop presence and permanent military bases in Iraq.
"The presence in Iraq is for a very clear purpose, and that's to enable Iraqis to be able to govern themselves and to create security forces that can help them do that," Rice told the House Appropriations Committee's foreign operations panel.
"I don't think that anybody believes that we really want to be there longer than we have to," the chief U.S. diplomat added.
However, Rice did not say when all U.S. forces would return home and did not directly answer Rep. Steven Rothman, D-N.J., when he asked, "Will the bases be permanent or not?" Read more.
Do YOU think there should be permanent U.S. bases in Iraq?
E-mail us at email@example.com and jump into the debate!
Here's what people in the news are saying:
"I can't foresee the future of whether or not there will be some need for American forces for some period of time. But I can tell you that our discussions with the Iraqis are about getting them capable to defend, not just against their internal insurgency and internal enemies, but also to be able to be a responsible and defensible state within the region." — Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
""One way to help bring confidence to the Iraqi people that those few will not be able to determine the future of that country is for there to be unity government that steps up and says, 'I'm willing to lead.' " — President George W. Bush
Here's what FOX Fans are saying!
"Only if we've been asked by the Iraqi government to do so." — Michael
"We need more Americans in Iraq as much as we need more politicians in Washington. Bring home our kids." — Marco
"No way should there be permanent U.S. bases in Iraq. The Iraqis need to stand up and choose democracy if they want it, and to fight for it like our forefathers did. They cannot eternally rely on U.S. forces to bail them out of their troubles. There should be fewer U.S. bases overseas, not more." — Jeffrey (Tampa, FL)
"With the cooperation of a legitimate Iraqi government it would be in our best interest to have a permanent base, if only to offset Iran. Our basing privileges in Adana, Turkey will be more and more restricted now that the 'Russian bear' is not a threat. Uzbekistan is showing us the gate. Prince Sultan, originally built for Saudi AWACS, has always been mission restricted. That leaves Sheik Esa BDF Air Base in Bahrain, Qatar, and Omani facilities all to the south. We need a base in the north." — Montey (Capitan, NM)
"No, I don't think we should leave Iraq until their own security can handle all of their security and law enforcement needs, but once they are able, then bring our men and women home. There will plenty of work for them to do here and in other foreign lands. Having a permanent military presence there would contribute to instability in the region, giving our enemies a 'cause' for action." — Tim
"There is no leaving now, we are over there for good. I foresee a troop buildup in the next several years, not the other way around." — Robert
"Yes, at least one base. We have invested too much cash there to let them throw all of our hard work away." — Marc (Duluth, GA)
"Without a doubt there should be an American base in Iraq. This is an extremely important and volatile part of the world. Therefore, it would be in our best interests, logistically, when and if trouble breaks out in the region. It has helped out in other hot spots: Korea, Bosnia, etc." — Wayne (Oakton, VA)
"There has to be a permanent base, to keep our ears and eyes on the Arab nations" — Larry
"I feel that having a base in Iraq would help to ensure the continued growth of their fledgling democracy. The only way it should be done is if they ask us to stay after the war on terror, which we are fighting over there now, is more under control" — Kelly (Nebraska)
"Revoke their country status, declare them a business, a wholly owned subsidiary of Exxon. They are the only ones with enough money to deal with the situation." — John
"Yes, we have had decades of anti-American education happening in the Middle East. The only way to change that (and you might never change some) is to be there for an extended period of time, similar to how we were with Germany and Japan. It will take decades to unravel what has already been done, perhaps a generation or two." — Scott (Georgia)
"No, I do not think we should maintain permanent U.S. Bases in Iraq. We have done enough to help them; it is now time for them to help themselves. If they are enjoying the freedom, they should be willing to ensure it remains. It is not our job to baby-sit a country or a whole region" — Betty
"There should absolutely not be any permanent military bases in Iraq. We need to close our bases on Japan, Korea, Germany and Italy as well. We are not the world's protector (the rest of the world needs to pay for their own protection with their own defense budgets). Our government spending is out of control and the defense budget with all its waste heads the parade of spending." — Charles
"Absolutely, we should have permanent bases in Iraq, if the government of Iraq will have us. They would be invaluable to us in fighting Islamic terrorists." — Myren (Waipahu, HI)
"In post-World War II Europe, we established a number of permanent U.S. bases in Europe to balance the threat of the Soviet Union to western Europe. Our presence then was a stabilizing influence on Europe. The job in Europe is done, and we should now close those bases and shift the resources to where they are needed most. Iraq is our chance to bring a similar type of stabilizing influence to the Middle East." — Michael (San Antonio, TX)
"Absolutely! As long as China and Russia maintain a presence in Iran and the power to veto U.N. resolutions that are in the U.S.'s best interests, we cannot leave a power vacuum in the Middle East. The U.S. needs to increase our influence, not cut the throat of an infant democracy." — Mark (Hilo, HI)
"I definitely say no. Bring our boys home, and we won't continue to lose so many lives. The Iraqis need to defend their own country, and they have gotten the training to do so. They must fight for their country." — Nancy
"I am a staunch supporter of the war in Iraq and I still say 'no' to permanent bases there." — Kurt