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Webb: Just What Is a Permanent Base?

Posted on Apr 11, 2008
James Webb Hearing
AP photo / Susan Walsh

While the Bush administration has told Congress it will not seek permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq, Sen. James Webb still wonders what the word permanent really means. In an exchange at a Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Thursday, Webb received a very psychedelic response from two administration officials.

The exchange was among Webb, State Department Iraq coordinator David Satterfield and Assistant Defense Secretary Mary Beth Long.

The Washington Post:

Webb: What is a permanent base?

Satterfield: Senator, the administration has made quite clear that we are not seeking permanent bases in Iraq. ...

[ ... ]

Webb: We’ve had bases in Korea since 1953, anyway, and I would be hard-pressed to say they’re permanent. How long is permanent? We have bases in Japan under a security agreement, but we are relocating a lot of those to Guam, so I wouldn’t say that they are permanent. So to say that these won’t be permanent bases really doesn’t go to the question of what they will be. It goes to the question of what they won’t be. And what we’re saying they won’t be is a dead word.

Long: Senator, you’re exactly right. I think most lawyers ... would say that the word “permanent” probably refers more to the state of mind contemplated by the use of the term.

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By Sean Maurice Hunt, April 12, 2008 at 11:47 am Link to this comment
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Webb is a truth teller and a real Patriot much like Scott Ritter…Senator Webb’s thoughts and actions are a template for all warrior spirit minded change agents.

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By Leefeller, April 12, 2008 at 7:12 am Link to this comment

By “Pisses”?

Wonder if it has something to do with the gas water and electric company answer machines giving us 10 different language choices, maybe they should add one for political language?

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By cyrena, April 12, 2008 at 3:58 am Link to this comment

I bet I hate it more than you do. Pisses me off a whole bunch too.

But, thanks to GrammaConcept, we know the authors of this piece at least used the correct words to describe what’s been coming out of these criminal mouths for far too many years now…

“a psychedelic experience hallucinatory, trippy, dream-like, mind-bending, mind-altering, mind-expanding, mind-blowing, bizarre, surreal.”

Yup..that’s a start.

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By DarthMiffy, April 12, 2008 at 3:20 am Link to this comment
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FYI: Language has always been used as a weapon. Any research into past history will show this. Don’t be sidetracked by the language, please, but rather by the minds that appropriate the language…and their purposes. Always instructive.

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By republicanSScareme, April 12, 2008 at 2:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I was surprised to read that the United States has 737 military bases overseas. It sounds to me like an “American Empire” already exists.

At least Jim Webb is asking the right questions. Yes, the response was psychedelic…the more I thought about it, the dizzier I got. But better to have a psychedelic experience than ask straight questions and get comical answers that just leave everyone with stupid looks on their faces. And if the American public goes “Huh?”, no one has to look embarrassed or confused.

Question for inquiry: How congressional hearings drove sit-coms off television.

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By Gmonst, April 11, 2008 at 2:10 pm Link to this comment

I agree.  The word game has been a major curse of this political age.  The words become tools to use and manipulate.  Common meanings are turned on their head, and red herring arguments over the meaning of words ensue.  The common denominator becomes that no one has to stand by their word because the meaning of the word can be changed at a later date as the situation merits.  Sadly, this practice seems to come from all quarters.  I would love to say it was just neo-conservative republicans, its not, they are the undisputed champions of this kind of word play, but all parties get into it.  The first time I remember being acutely aware of this was Bill Clinton trying to argue that “sexual relations” somehow excluded blowjobs.

Its things like this that give me the nausea and dizziness of being too-long on a roller-coaster.  One slowly realizes that the very fabric of law and society (words)is being torn apart by this endless word play that essentially makes discourse meaningless.

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By atticus, April 11, 2008 at 1:15 pm Link to this comment
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Just a note, Blackspeare: pax romana established peace in the empire;  POX Americana spews death and disgrace everywhere in Bush’s would-be empire.

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By Thomas Billis, April 11, 2008 at 12:27 pm Link to this comment

Let me say this slowly.The executive cannot appropiate funds.Get off your rhetorical ass and cut the funding.One more time.CUT THE FUNDING.

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By Blackspeare, April 11, 2008 at 12:16 pm Link to this comment

Oh, c’mon——you can’t built an empire without bases around the world——why even the Romans knew that and they had a Pax Romana for 100 years.  The USA has hardly started and besides its their turn now!!!!

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By TDoff, April 11, 2008 at 11:39 am Link to this comment

C’mon, Jim Webb, a ‘permanent base’ is the level at which republican politicians operate, it represents the nadir of human morality, below which no sentient being can sink. It is the negative standard established by the Bush Cabal, giving the nation the certainty that any and all future administrations will rise and operate above what we have all suffered these past seven+ years.

It is the depth we can look back on, come January 2009, with fear and loathing, and collectively swear,
‘Nevermore, Nevermore’.

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By GrammaConcept, April 11, 2008 at 11:20 am Link to this comment

in the introduction here describing the answers received from ‘officials’:.....

1 a psychedelic experience hallucinatory, trippy, dream-like, mind-bending, mind-altering, mind-expanding, mind-blowing, bizarre, surreal.


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By Aegrus, April 11, 2008 at 10:26 am Link to this comment

Why do our politicians insist on defining and re-defining every word in the English language to further their own political agendas? I hate this practice so much.

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