Overlooked in the congressional cave-in to Dubya on a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq is that the final bill (H.R. 2206) kept in a flat ban on funding permanent bases:
SEC. 3301. None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this or any other Act shall be obligated or expended by the United States Government for a purpose as follows:
(1) To establish any military installation or base for the purpose of providing for the permanent stationing of United States Armed Forces in Iraq.
(2) To exercise United States control over any oil resource of Iraq.
Yet it was only a day after Bush signed the bill into the law that the NY Times reported:
[Senior Bush administration officials] said the proposals being developed envision a far smaller but long-term American presence, centering on three or four large bases around Iraq. Mr. Bush has told recent visitors to the White House that he was seeking a model similar to the American presence in South Korea.[..]
(See Washingtonpost.com's Dan Froomkin for a great overview.) [..]
They've never explicitly talked about staying in Iraq permanently. And now they really can't, because it's unequivocally against the law.
But they're subtly making it clear they're not planning to go anywhere.
Spending one single dollar on those bases is now against the law.