Tuesday, June 12, 2007

US signals permanent stay in Iraq

In Washington and among American military officers in Iraq, the idea of establishing permanent US bases there is under discussion – with one official citing as an example the decades-long presence of US troops in Korea. The aim would be to keep American soldiers on Iraqi soil well into the century as a support for the Iraqi government against outside aggression, a means of training and developing a new Iraqi military, and a platform from which the US could fight Al Qaeda and other war-on-terror opponents.

Yet as early proposals in notebooks at the White House and the Pentagon are slowly revealed to a US public increasingly opposed to the Iraq war, many Iraq and Middle East experts warn that any plan for permanent bases would cement the US image in Iraq and the region as that of an occupying force.

"This is a really bad idea, one that will only feed the image of the US as the occupier, the colonial power," says Larry Diamond, a former official with the American provisional authority that governed Iraq in the two years after Saddam Hussein's ouster. "There's no way long-term military bases are going to be acceptable to a majority of the Iraqi population."

Unfortunately, the fact that something is "a really bad idea" is pretty much a guarantee that the Bush administration will do it. We've known all along that the reason there was no "exit strategy" was that they didn't plan to leave. The fact that the occupation has proven to be disastrous is no reason to change policy, in the minds of people who have never admitted to a mistake.

Now they are talking about a "Korean solution." The Korean and Iraq wars have nothing in common, of course, but we still have troops in Korea 50 years later, and that is what they envision for Iraq. In Korea, however, our soldiers are not getting blown up on a daily basis.

More and more I fear a Vietnam-style exit, with people hanging from departing helicopters.


Anonymous ewastud said...

My impression is that the insurgency is getting so well organized and effective that the US government's "surge" has no hope of "winning" in Iraq, but is merely a vain attempt to not lose what weak hold it has on the country right now.

The "surge" is needed to keep from losing ground. The US and Britain seem to be trying to hold on long enough to get their precious oil (theft) agreement approved by the Iraqi legislature. The empty and unrealistic threat to stay there "for 50 years" like in Korea is a bluff to try to coax passage of that oil agreement. Rep. Dennis Kucinich is reading the situation correctly regarding our motivations and tactics of trying to stay in Iraq.

2:05 AM  

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