Monday, August 15, 2005

Iraq clusterfuck: So, is the "noble cause" permanent bases in Iraq? 

Finally, a mainstream newspaper (though not Pravda on the Potomac or Izvestia on the Hudson) does a little reporting on this crucial issue:

President Bush and his top advisors have never said the United States wants to establish permanent military bases in Iraq. But they have never ruled out the possibility either.

"Intense opposition to U.S. plans to establish long-term military bases in Iraq is one of the most passionate motivations behind the insurgency," [Larry Diamond, a former consultant to the U.S. occupation authority in Iraq] wrote last week on the liberal website TPMCafe.com. "Neutralizing this anti-imperial passion — by clearly stating that we do not intend to remain in Iraq indefinitely — is essential to winding down the insurgency."

Leaks from the Pentagon have deepened the uncertainty. In May, the Washington Post reported that military planning did not envision permanent bases in Iraq but rather stationing troops in nearby Kuwait. But the report noted that the Pentagon was also planning to consolidate U.S. troops in Iraq into four large fortified bases.

On the theory that concrete speaks louder than words, critics see such work as a sign the administration is planning to stay longer than it has acknowledged.

John E. Pike, a defense analyst at GlobalSecurity.org, points to another indication. Although the United States is systematically training Iraqis to fight the insurgents, he notes, the Pentagon has not taken key steps — like making plans for acquiring tanks or aircraft — to build an Iraqi military capable of defending the country against its neighbors.

To Pike that means that although the United States might reduce its troop level in Iraq, the fledgling nation, like Germany or South Korea, will require the sustained presence of a large American contingent, perhaps 50,000 soldiers. "We are building the base structure to facilitate exactly [that]," he says.
(via AP)

Lovely. Of course, with these guys, when they say "no decision has been made," everybody in the world (except maybe 500 pundits in DC) knows they're lying. Just like in how these guys went to war in the first place. Two days after 9/11, they want to use it as an excuse to invade Iraq, which is what they'd wanted to do all along. And now they have the nerve to tell us that "no decision has been made"? Puh-leeze.

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