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The Great American Disconnect

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Posted on Jun 10, 2007

By Tom Engelhardt

(Page 2)

In addition, as the insurgency gained traction and Baghdad fell into disarray as well as sectarian warfare, administration planners began the building of a massively fortified, $600 million, blast-resistant compound of 20-odd buildings in the heart of Baghdad’s Green Zone, the largest “embassy” on the planet, so independent that it would have no need of Iraq for electricity, water, food, or much of anything else.  Scheduled to “open” this September, it will be both a citadel and a home for thousands of diplomats, spies, guards, private security contractors and the foreign workers necessary to meet “community” needs.

The Media Blind to the Bases 

From 2003 to the present, the work building, maintaining and continually upgrading these bases (and their equivalents in Afghanistan) has never ended.  Though the huge base-building contracts were given out long ago, consider just a couple of modest contracts of recent vintage.  In March 2006, Dataline Inc. of Norfolk, Virginia was awarded a $5 million contract for “technical control facility upgrades and cable installation,” mainly at “Camp Fallujah, Iraq (25 percent), Camp Al Asad, Iraq (25 percent), [and] Camp Taqaddum, Iraq (25 percent).”  In December 2006, Watkinson L.L.C. of Houston was awarded a $13 million “firm-fixed-price contract for design and construction of a heavy aircraft parking apron and open cargo storage yard” for Al-Asad Air Base, “to be completed by Sept. 17, 2007.”  In March 2007, Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems was awarded a $73 million contract to “provide recurring requirements such as operations and maintenance support for base local area network, commercial satellite communication, technical control facility, and circuit actions, telephone, land mobile radio and both inside and outside cable plant installations ... at 13 bases in Iraq, Afghanistan and six other nations which fall in the United States Central Command Area of Responsibility.” 

And major base building may not be at an end.  Keep your eye on Iraqi Kurdistan.  According to Juan Cole, the Kurdish press continues to report rumors that American base-building activities are now switching there.  Little is known about this, except that some in Washington consider Iraqi Kurdistan an obvious place to “redeploy” American troops in any future partial withdrawal or draw-down scenarios. 

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These, then, were the Bush administration’s facts-on-the-Iraqi-ground.  Whatever anyone was saying at any moment about ending the American presence in Iraq someday or turning “sovereignty” over to the Iraqis, for American reporters in Baghdad, as well as the media at home, the “enduring” nature of what was being built should have been unmistakable—and it should have counted for something.  After all, those American bases, like the vast embassy inside the Green Zone (sardonically dubbed by Baghdadis, “George W’s Palace”), were monstrous in size, state-of-the-art when it came to communications and facilities, and meant to support large-scale American communities—whether soldiers, diplomats, spies, contractors, or mercenaries—long term.  They were imperial in nature, the U.S. military and diplomatic equivalents of the pyramids.  And no one, on seeing them, should have thought anything but “permanent.” 

It didn’t matter that those bases were never officially labeled “permanent.”  After all, as the Korea model (now almost six decades old) indicates, such bases, rather than colonies, have long been the American way of empire—and, with rare exceptions, they have arrived and not left.  They remain immobile gunboats primed for a kind of eternal armed “diplomacy.”  As they cluster tellingly in key regions of the planet, they make up what the Pentagon likes to call our “footprint.” 

As Chalmers Johnson has pointed out in his book The Sorrows of Empire, the United States has, mainly since World War II, set up at least 737 such bases, mega and micro—and probably closer to 1,000—worldwide.  Everywhere, just as Tony Snow has said, the Americans would officially be “invited” in by the local government and would negotiate a “status of forces agreement,” the modern equivalent of the colonial era’s grant of extraterritoriality, so that the American troops would be minimally subject to foreign courts or control.  There are still at least 12 such bases in Korea, 37 on the Japanese island of Okinawa alone, and so on, around the globe. 

Since the Gulf War in 1990, such base-creation has been on the rise.  The Bush, Clinton, and younger Bush administrations have laid down a string of bases from the old Eastern European satellites of the Soviet Union (Romania, Bulgaria) and the former Yugoslavia through the Greater Middle East (Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates), to the Horn of Africa (Djibouti), into the Indian Ocean (the “British” island of Diego Garcia), and right through Central Asia (Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Pakistan, where we “share” Pakistani bases). 

Bases have followed our little wars of recent decades.  They were dropped into Saudi Arabia and the small Gulf emirates around the time of our first Gulf War in 1991; into the former Yugoslavia after the Kosovo air war of 1999; into Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the former Central Asian SSRs after the Afghan war of 2001; and into Iraq, of course, after the invasion of 2003 where they were to replace the Saudi bases being mothballed as a response to Osama bin Laden’s claims that Americans were defiling the holiest spots of Islam. 

In effect, when it came to bases in the post-9/11 years, the emphasis was, on the one hand, encircling Russia from its former Eastern European satellites to its former Central Asian SSRs and, on the other hand, securing a series of bases across the oil heartlands of the planet, a swath of territory known to the administration back in 2002-2003 as “the arc of instability.”  Iraq was, obviously, but part—though a crucial part—of such imperial dreaming about how to dominate the planet.  And yet the military ziggurats that made those dreams manifest, and all the billions of taxpayer dollars and the obvious urge for “permanence” that went with them, were largely left out of mainstream reporting on, debate about, or discussion of the occupation of Iraq. 

Iraq as Korea, 2003-2007

The administration remained remarkably tight-lipped about all this building activity and what it might mean—beyond periodic denials that any such efforts were “permanent”; and, with rare exceptions, even when journalists reported from Camp Victory or other major bases, they never managed to put them on the reportorial landscape.  Those bases—and the colossus of an “embassy” that went with them—just weren’t considered all that important. 

Perhaps for reporters and editors, used to an inside-the-Beltway universe in which the United States simply could not act in an imperial manner, the bases were givens—like the American way of life.  Evidently, for most reporters, there was, in a sense, nothing to notice.  As a consequence, there has been endless discussion about Bush administration “incompetence” (of which there has been plenty), but not the quite competent planning that left such structures impressively on the Iraqi landscape.  If the subject wasn’t exactly blacked-out in the United States, it did, at least, undergo a kind of whiteout. 

So much about Iraq was up for discussion, but the preponderant evidence on the ground, so utterly solid, carried no weight.  It was evidence of nothing.  For American reporters, as for American Secretaries of Defense, the full-scale garrisoning of Planet Earth is simply not a news story.  As a result, most Americans have had next to no idea that we were creating multibillion-dollar edifices on Iraqi soil meant for a near eternity.

Remarkably enough, when asked late last year by pollsters from the Program on International Policy Attitudes whether we should have the “permanent” bases in Iraq, a whopping 68% of Americans said no.  But when the issue of bases and permanency arises at all in our press, it’s usually in the context of Iraqi “suspicions” on the subject.  (Oh, those paranoid foreigners!)  Typically, the Los Angeles Times cited Michael O’Hanlon, an oft-quoted analyst at the Brookings Institution, saying the following of the president’s endorsement of the Korea model:  “In trying to convey resolve, [Bush] conveys the presumption that we’re going to be there for a long time. ... It’s unhelpful to handling the politics of our presence in Iraq.” No, Michael, the bases are our politics in Iraq. 

Generally, the Democrats and their major presidential candidates line up with O’Hanlon.  And yet no significant Democratic proposal for “withdrawal” from Iraq is really a full-scale withdrawal proposal.  They are all proposals to withdraw American combat brigades (perhaps 50,000-60,000 troops) from the country, while withdrawing most other Americans into those giant bases that are too awkward to mention. 

Suddenly, however, discussion of the “Korea model” has entered the news and so put those bases—and the idea of a permanent military presence in Iraq—in the American viewfinder for what may be the first time.  You only have to look at Iraq today to know that, like so much else our imperial dreamers have conjured up, this fantasy too—of a calming Iraq developing over the decades into a friendly democracy, while American troops sit tight in their giant base-towns—is doomed to one kind of failure or another, while the oil lands of the planet threaten to implode. 

The Korea model is just one of the administration’s many grotesque, self-interested misreadings of history, but it isn’t new.  It isn’t a fantasy the Ppresident and his top officials have just stumbled upon in post-surge desperation.  It’s the fantasy they rumbled into Baghdad aboard back in 2003.  It’s the imperial fantasy that has never left their minds from that first shock-and-awe moment until now. 

Give them credit for consistency.  On this “model,” whatever it may be called, the Bush administration bet the store and, on it, they have never wavered.  Because of some of the worst reporting on an important topic in recent memory, most Americans have lived out these last years in remarkable ignorance of what was actually being built in Iraq.  Now, perhaps, that great American disconnect is beginning to end, which may be more bad news for the Bush administration.

Tom Engelhardt, who runs the Nation Institute’s Tomdispatch.com (“a regular antidote to the mainstream media”), is the co-founder of the American Empire Project and, most recently, the author of Mission Unaccomplished:  Tomdispatch Interviews with American Iconoclasts and Dissenters (Nation Books), the first collection of Tomdispatch interviews.

© 2007 Tom Engelhardt


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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, June 16, 2007 at 9:57 am Link to this comment

#78408 by Marshall

You have anwsered my question.

Thanks

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By Marshall, June 15, 2007 at 6:29 pm Link to this comment

#78324 by Leefeller on 6/15 at 10:38 am

I’m not sure which degredations you’re talking about.  We were discussing our troop presence in other countries - are you referring to domestic issues?

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, June 15, 2007 at 11:38 am Link to this comment

Marshall,

I have not returned to this post for some time, it looks as if you have been busy.
Some of us believe our rights have been taken away from us, we feel the degradation of the Constitution is cause for concern and our personal liberties are threatened. .  Would I be safe, in saying you do not agree.

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By Bukko in Australia, June 14, 2007 at 9:51 pm Link to this comment

Oz is a great place to “holiday” (as they call a vacation here) Marshall, and unlike the U.S., you don’t have to worry about getting shot. If you’re in Melbourne, be sure to take the 19 tram up to Sydney Road in Brunswick for a Lebanese pastry at Balha’s and some Turkish food at the al-Asya restaurant. You’ll see a suburb (as they call neighbourhoods here) where Muslims predominate and women wear headscarves, but whiteys like me can diddley-bop right along.

Two more things—you don’t need to send me a “America is the root of all evil” card. I have three already, mate! And if you want to strike up a conversation with any Aussie, just slag off George Bush in a loud American accent. It’ll get you a “good onya” in no time. But then again, I’ve found that to be the case everywhere in the world that I’ve traveled.

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By Marshall, June 14, 2007 at 4:30 pm Link to this comment

#77892 by Bukko in Australia on 6/14 at 1:51 am

Bukko - thanks for your opinion, but I don’t drive an SUV.

Your membership card for the “US is the root of all evil” America haters club is in the mail, so look for it soon.  In the meantime, enjoy Austraila (whose govt. supports the US efforts in the ME).  I’ll probably be coming to Australia soon to spend some of my hard earned tourist dollars and enjoy some vacation time.  Take care, mate!

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By Bukko in Australia, June 14, 2007 at 2:51 am Link to this comment

Marshal: I’m with Nagarya on this. The U.S. is not some innocent party. It’s like a fat, drunken bully at a bar, pushing, pushing, pushing someone weaker, hoping they’ll take a swing so then the U.S. can whip out its gun and shoot the weaker one. What you warmongers don’t realise is that the bar (the world) is full of other people (the other countries of the world) who have just seen the bully brutalise someone else (Iraq). And they remember all the other brutalities the U.S. has done (Central America during the 1980s, Chile in the ‘70s, South Vietnam and Cambodia during the ‘60s, so many other nations with governments overthrown and leaders assassinated…)

If you get your wish, for another war, it will be the U.S. vs the entire world. And although America might have the nuclear power to kill everyone—including its own people—it does not have the money. It will be quite simple for Russia and China to pull the financial rug out from under the U.S. and make the big Yankee dollar as worthless as a scrap of toilet paper. The U.S. is sitting on a financial house of cards, and the war against it will be fought with currency, not high explosives.

How many euros do you have in your pocket to buy petrol with, mate? Because when Russia stops accepting dolars for oil, and large other parts of the oil-producing world follow suit, are you going to burn greenbacks in your SUV? How many renminbi are tucked under your mattress to buy all the things you need that are now made in China? Because when the Chinese call in their T-bills, and the U.S. government defaults, you’re not going to be getting cheap plastic crap from Guangdong any more. And all the U.S. factories have been disassembled and moved there.

I almost hope you get your wish, Marshall. Let the U.S. lob a few bombs into Tehran and touch off World War IV—the U.S. against everyone. The fascist madness must be stopped, and only a complee collapse of the American economy will do it. I say “almost” because it would quickly make life worse for millions of non-bloodlusting Americans, and eventually affect me too. Luckily, when I emigrated from America, my wife and I moved almost all our assets into other currencies and precious metals. We could see what was coming from the death-worshipers who lying call themselves “the culture of life.” People like you.

Good luck to you, son. If you get what you wish for, you’ll need it.

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By JNagarya, June 14, 2007 at 1:38 am Link to this comment

#77391 by Marshall on 6/12 at 7:40 pm
(4 comments total)

#77337 by Leefeller on 6/12 at 10:09 am

Sabre rattling happens all the time and doesn’t lead to war.  I think that when the world suspects that Iran is developing nuclear weapons and lying about it, that Iran abducts British NATO soldiers from legal waters, and supplies weapons to insurgents and the Taliban which kill US troops, a little sabre rattling is justified.  Do you not?

I think that when the US is supplying WMDs to Saddam Hussein to be used against Iran, and lying about it, lies itself into illegally invasding and occupying non-threatening Iraq, engages in war crimes such as disappearances and torture, and lies against Iran in effort to establish excuse to attack Iran, then Iran has as much right to develop and possess nuclear weapons as a deterrent against such attack as do such as Pakistan, India, and the US.

Correct?

When you provoke a person, then accuse the provoked person of “starting it,” you are lying.  More, you are contradicting the fundamental values you are falsely claiming to protect.

Oh, right: you’re one of those “spontaneous amnesia” anti-American Republican’ts: “forget” the underlying facts in order to pretend to be oh-so-innocent.

The US overthrew the democratically-elected gov’t of Iran in 1954, and in its place installed the dictator Shah, who—with the direct assistance of the US—established and trained a secret police force which engaged in torture and murder against the Iranian people.  So _Iran_ is in the wrong in mistrusting the US?

When you demand “fair play” by others while refusing to play fair, you are the very scum you call eveyone else.  And obviously not in a position to be dictating, as example, morality.

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By Novista, June 13, 2007 at 8:22 am Link to this comment

Iraq = WMD

WMD = Dubya’s Massive Delusion

Anyway, what’s 4, 5, 15 or 100+ permanent bases in Iraq when we have 737 acknowledged bases in 130 overseas countries?

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By Marshall, June 12, 2007 at 2:10 pm Link to this comment

#77337 by Leefeller on 6/12 at 10:09 am

Sabre rattling happens all the time and doesn’t lead to war.  I think that when the world suspects that Iran is developing nuclear weapons and lying about it, that Iran abducts British NATO soldiers from legal waters, and supplies weapons to insurgents and the Taliban which kill US troops, a little sabre rattling is justified.  Do you not?

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, June 12, 2007 at 11:09 am Link to this comment

77182 by Marshall

Thanks Marshall for your response.

“But I know of no attempt to place US forces in Iran - what are you referring to?”  Guess, I was referring to the saber rattling from our government, the warships off the coast of Iran, and the actions of the president, since he announced himself “The war president.” 

As you say,  Se la vi.

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G.Anderson's avatar

By G.Anderson, June 11, 2007 at 11:10 pm Link to this comment

Why would anyone believe an adminstration that has been openly lying since the very beginnning?

There’s a cover story, then there is the deed.

Actually, they have been slowly preparing for War with Iran, and those bases are part of the stategy.

The removal of general Pace is not because he will have a hard time being confirmed.

It’s because they don’t want him up on the hill, talking about just how bad it is.

He’s been a barrier to a nuclear strike on Iran, so instead they’ll put in a born-again team player.

Do you think the Senate will catch on?

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By Marshall, June 11, 2007 at 8:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

#77010 by Leefeller on 6/11 at 8:18 am

“If I recall, we were not invited into Iraq or Afghanistan and now Iran?  I see a pattern here, we attack and set up governments to be invited. “

We were “invited” into Afghanistan as soon as the Taliban began training AQ fighters to attack the US, which they did on 9/11.  Unless you’re suggesting we should have left the Taliban in place?

The current government in Iraq has indeed invited us into the country, whatever you may think of the legitimacy of the previous govt..  But I know of no attempt to place US forces in Iran - what are you referring to?

“Iraq was set up by us from the beginning and became naughty”

Actually, Iraq was established by the British in 1920.  Saddam later took power as the result of the resignation of then President Ahmed Hassan Al-Bakr, without help from the US.  We indeed became an ally of Saddam until he began using chemical weapons, then we became an enemy.  This is how political alliances work I’m afraid - sometimes enemies become friends, and somtimes friends become enemies.  Se la vi.

“Not sure if I am taking your post out of context, but I disagree with your quote anyway.”

No - I think you got the context right.  But I disagree with the logic of your response.

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By loki1967, June 11, 2007 at 8:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This just proves the whole Iraq effort is about money. Stealing tax payer money to fund friends of Bush and Cheney at the expense of a whole country…Iraq. If I was Jesus I sure wouldn’t allow any of the NeoCons or Bush into heaven.

Funny Bush gave a walking stick with the words Thou Shall Not Murder to the Pope.

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By Marshall, June 11, 2007 at 8:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

#76982 by Verne Arnold on 6/11 at 3:57 am

“My goodness!  Such mis-statements of history.  We supplied bin Laden with Stingers to defeat the Soviets. “

I never said we didn’t.  What I said was that his defeat of the Soviets emboldened him to turn against the regional powers he dispises and the western powers that oppose him.

“Bin Laden is totally pissed because we have troops stationed in Saudia Arabia (his country).”

If that were his reason for hating us, then he’d our friend now because we no longer have troops in Saudi Arabia.  OBL hates the Saudi govt. as much as he hates the west.  In addition, AQ is not a centralized group that marches to a single ideology or logic.  It is a terrorist group bent on destroying other global powers and establishing its own Islamist government in their place.

“I doubt he ever considered a pan-regional Islamist state, whatever that is.”

Well then I’m officially removing your doubt, because he’s stated this on numerous occasions and is already attempting to do so in Iraq with the Islamic State of Iraq, which coincides with his stated intentions, to “unite all Muslims and to establish a government which follows the rule of the Caliphs.”

http://www.fas.org/irp/world/para/ladin.htm

But honestly, the fact that you still think the US has troops in SA diminishes your credibility here, so I’m not expecting that my conversation with you will go much farther.  I don’t mean this as a personal attack, just an observation.

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By Enemy of State, June 11, 2007 at 7:13 pm Link to this comment

“Learning from our experiences and history would be more prudent.”

  Ahh, but our voters preference for candidates who won’t change their positions come hell-or-high water is in full control. We consider it a matter of character. Those who actually learn from their mistakes, and change a position are derided as “flip-floppers”. We didn’t get Bush/Cheney because of some nefarious plot to steal our freedoms, but because of the collective foolishness of the American people.

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By Dale Headley, June 11, 2007 at 12:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The American Empire will ultimately meet the same fate as the Roman Empire and the British Empire: hubris, overextension, and moral decay.

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By Hammo, June 11, 2007 at 9:42 am Link to this comment

As Engelehardt and many others have indicated (including Bush-Cheney administration insiders) the publicly stated face of the invasion and occupation of Iraq was a cover for other objectives.

One of the main objectives reportedly was to establish a permanent US presence in Iraq to obtain oil and provide a military platform in the region.

Food for thought in . . .

“‘Mistakes’ or ‘plans’ in Iraq, War on Terror?”

http://www.populistamerica.com/mistakes_or_plans_in_iraq_war_on_terror

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, June 11, 2007 at 9:18 am Link to this comment

Marshall,

Addressing your quote below,  when you say:

“But the US has every right to maintain a presence in any country that invites it to do so.”

If I recall, we were not invited into Iraq or Afghanistan and now Iran?  I see a pattern here,  we attack and set up governments to be invited. 

Learning from our experiences and history would be more prudent.  Iraq was set up by us from the beginning and became naughty, so once again we attacked and establish a puppet government.  The failures of our policy beg change.

Not sure if I am taking your post out of context, but I disagree with your quote anyway.

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By Enemy of State, June 11, 2007 at 8:00 am Link to this comment

“How much more will it take before those who support this administration admit to being dupped?”

  It is inconeiveable that someone I’d like to “drink a bear with” would ever try to deceive me!

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By Ben, June 11, 2007 at 7:44 am Link to this comment

“Troop surge” for military escalation
“Enduring Camps” for permanent bases
“Over the horizon”, a term that implies a geographic dissociation where clearly, no such dissociation was ever intended.

How much more will it take before those who support this administration admit to being dupped?

Frankly, if “we the people” don’t stand up against the obvious deception perpetrated by this disreputable administration, then we deserve whatever horrors result from our complaisance.

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By Jack Williams, June 11, 2007 at 6:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Most (I thing) believes we will not leave Iraq for many years to come, it the OIL stupid!!!

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By Verne Arnold, June 11, 2007 at 4:57 am Link to this comment

#76953 by Marshall on 6/11 at 5:20 pm

#76938 by Enemy of State on 6/10 at 9:45 pm

Enemy,

“I would argue that you have the cause and effect reversed.  Bin Laden declared jihad on the western world because he was emboldened by his success in kicking the Soviets out of Afghanistan and believes he can establish a pan-regional Islamist state covering the middle east, with the eventual goal of expanding westward.”

My goodness!  Such mis-statements of history.  We supplied bin Laden with Stingers to defeat the Soviets.  With Stingers’ the Mujadheen could defeat Soviet airpower…and did.  We were allies of bin Laden.  But:

Bin Laden is totally pissed because we have troops stationed in Saudia Arabia (his country).  This he has stated!  This he has railed against.  I doubt he ever considered a pan-regional Islamist state, whatever that is.

Once again we have turned a powerful ally into an enemy.

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By Mudwollow, June 11, 2007 at 4:23 am Link to this comment

Perhaps. May be - more bad news for Bush.

Sure! Like George Bush even gives a flying crap about any of this. His work is done. He’s good as gone.

This piece makes it sound a little like the tax funded American military propaganda machine had nothing to do with the news media failing to report these multibillion-dollar bases to the American people. Just didn’t think to mention it I guess. “Shucks, I knew there was something else I wanted to writeabout all those years”. If the entirety of the American news media is as profoundly retarded as this piece depicts, they need to be forcibly institutionalized before they hurt themselves. Would calling the media Complicit be too harsh? How about enduringly enabling?

Some things are already clear, and without any help from those legions of scrupulous reporters. The American taxpayer is screwed. The average Iraqi citizen is screwed. Grunts in the military are screwed. Free speech is screwed. Any hint of trust for media or government is screwed.
And the likes of Halliburton are celebrating the most glorious of victories.

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By Marshall, June 11, 2007 at 12:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

#76938 by Enemy of State on 6/10 at 9:45 pm

Enemy,

I would argue that you have the cause and effect reversed.  Bin Laden declared jihad on the western world because he was emboldened by his success in kicking the Soviets out of Afghanistan and believes he can establish a pan-regional Islamist state covering the middle east, with the eventual goal of expanding westward.  It’s what he’s said afterall.  That and numerous other reasons he’s given that, if we were to worry about them all, we’d be a shrinking violet afraid to establish a presence anywhere… including our own country.

Blowback is overrated.  They’re plenty motivated as it is because they believe this to be a religious cause.  But the US has every right to maintain a presence in any country that invites it to do so (unless you think OBL owns the ME).  If we’d abandonded South Korea because the North threatened a secular “jihad” on us, that would have been pretty short sighted (and the North was a government - OBL isn’t even that).  Luckily, we didn’t - and we’d be equally short sighted to think that removing ourselves from the ME will placate OBL or his fascistic successors.

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By Nitro, June 10, 2007 at 11:37 pm Link to this comment

I suppose if anyone believes that the permanent bases in Iraq will be like S. Korea, will also buy the Bushit administrations policies of everything else the lieing bastards sell us. Of coarse while they’re waving our American Flag on how they plan to save the world, our troops are in real jeopardy.

Of coarse you all know that as soon as King Bushit gets the “privatization” of 80% of Iraq’s oil signed in blood, we’ll HAVE to have these permanent bases there to protect our 80% corporate interest in Iraq. I mean, we wouldn’t want anyone coming to Iraq and stealing the 80% of their oil we are trying to steal would we? What a deal ! We take 80, you get 20.

I’m sure America would go for someone stealing 80% of some of our resources wouldn’t we? WE let them steal about 80% of our jobs and factories didn’t we? So why not? The Bushit family regime isn’t going to give up till Jr. & daddy are the New World Order leaders.

So let the Sheeple of the United States let King George II have bases all over the world. In fact, I think we should start calling the “Decider Guy” Mr. Dick-Tater Guy. King George II Dick-Tater. That has a nice ring to it doesn’t it?

And as long as we have the consumation of Corporation and State, you could have the 52nd party, and we’d still have the same cluster f__k we have now, only 100 times worse. Evidently until we pull the pants down on all the Government Representatives, and either cut the head of the beasts off, or pull their brains out of the other side, (depending on which day of the week it is) this country is doomed by the evident Anti-Christ in office now and all his little demons.

Of all the candidates available to vote for so far this next election, I think Larry the Cable Guy would make a better President than anyone else running for the position of “The New Decider Guy or Gal.”

Boy, if this country isn’t ready for a 2nd Revolution, I don’t know what is.

To a Better Day,

HokeHey !

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By Bukko in Australia, June 10, 2007 at 11:21 pm Link to this comment

I agree with your take on the “permanent” bases situation, Enemy, but what I fear is that they and the billion-dollar Baghdad embassy will become a justification to stay in Iraq. “We built these things, and we can’t abandon them!”

They will HAVE to be abandoned, under fire, but they will become a cudgel with which to beat the people who actually give the order to retreat. “The Democratic Party wasted ALL THAT MONEY that was spent for the embassy!” BS like that won’t play with the reality-based community, but as the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections showed, a large part of the American population is not in that community.

As for the Iraqi “government” voting to send the American forces out, I doubt they would do that. For quislings like Maliki, that would be signing their death warrants, because with the cordon of mercenary security no longer protecting them, they’d soon be seen on videos getting their heads sawed off. The kurds won’t vote for it, because they’ve got it relatively good. The Sunnis won’t vote for it because they’d be genocided by the Shia. There are factions within the Shia, and I suspect the pro-Iranian faction wants the U.S. to stay around to further weaken America’s army, and to avoid having a totally collapsed state whose troubles would spill further into Iran. Plus, the entire alleged government is nothing but a bunch of puppets, people squabbling over control of a stateroom on the Titanic as it’s sinking.

There is no good way out of Iraq. It will only end with massive bloodshed and misery, in horrible ways that even I cannot imagine, and I’ve got a damn good imagination!

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By Enemy of State, June 10, 2007 at 10:45 pm Link to this comment

Marshall,

  Many of our overseas bases have been worthwhile. Bases in major Middle Eastern countries are the source of a huge amount of blowback. Bin Laden declared Jihad on us, because of the now abandoned Saudi bases. Bases in Iraq create at least as much anti-American sentiment as those Saudi bases, probably much much more. They will merely insure that we have a highly motivated opponent in the War on Terror for a long time. Perhaps thats the reason, we want them?

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By Marshall, June 10, 2007 at 10:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What a long article about a policy that, as the article points out, has been in place from the start.  Of course, there’s no discussion of why we might actually want “over the horizon” bases - for which there are plenty of good reasons.  The article mentions our base in Saudi Arabia, but doesn’t mention that this base was removed after the fall of Saddam’s regime.  In fact, it was removed precisely BECAUSE of the fall of Saddam as its only reason for existence was to provide a staging ground for US no-fly enforcement.

Let’s leave aside the issue of whether our presence in South Korea has been effective and worthwhile… it obviously HAS.  It’s protected a now flourishing ally from a certified wacko in the north and his vast armada of weapons arrayed against it.  This article starts with the assumption that a US presence abroad is bad… as though that’s a given.  Well it’s not.  Our bases abroad serve our interests as well as those of the countries that volunteer to host them.

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By Enemy of State, June 10, 2007 at 9:58 pm Link to this comment

bukko:

  Actually assuming we plan to use the (temporary?) infrastructure on these bases long term, a strategy that has been termed “Occupation Lite”. This doesn’t seem very feasible, certainly not if the Iraqis decide to get rid of us. Even lacking that, our military has already been severely weakened. I think truthdig readers are familar with the casualties, broken equipment, and lowering of recruitment standards. Lesser known, but more importantly the junior/middle level officer corps is taking early retirement at an alarming rate. An army with poor recruitment standards, and very few experienced officiers, is not going to be very competent. The commitment is unsustainable -even if the politics don’t put an end to it, an incapable military will.

  Actually I hope that if the Iraqis decide to throw us out, they can get their government to ask us to leave. Our pledge to honor that request, plus the overwhelming desire of our population to be done with this fiasco, would almost certainly be sufficient to get us to withdraw. The most Bush can do is to run out the clock, until the next president takes office.

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By DennisD, June 10, 2007 at 9:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It isn’t the Great American “disconnect”, Washington D.C. “hung up” on the American citizen almost half a century ago. When was the last time we got any information out of D.C. that hasn’t been spun, sanitized or an outright lie. Bring on a third and fourth party if necessary. Anything to get us out of this cycle of deception aided and abetted by our own media.

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By Bukko in Australia, June 10, 2007 at 8:58 pm Link to this comment

Right you are, all the commenters who point out that the permanent bases issue has been talked about for months and years on blogs, left-wing publications and also Air America Radio. Inner circles of the government and military certainly know about it, because they’re the ones building the bases. The only place where permanent bases hasn’t been made an issue is in the so-called “mainstream media,” in other words, the propaganda arm of corporate fascism. The truth is out there, if people want to see it. Trouble is, America is a nation of sheeple who eat what they’re fed from the trough.

This dream of permanent bases is going to collide with reality, though. It’s not like they can build the bases and there they will sit, for 50 years. They U.S. military is building a bunch of Khe Sanhs. That was the name of a hilltop isolated deep in enemy-controlled territory in South Vietnam, where a firebase was famously beseiged in 1968 at a cost of hundreds of America troops and thousands of Vietnamese attackers. The U.S. Marines held the North Vietnamese off for months, finally relieved the base, then abandoned it. All that death for nothing…

And these permanent bases will be under constant attack. The Iraqi insurgents have a new tactic of blowing up highway bridges. It’s Warfare 101, cut off your enemy’s supply lines. That’s the future for American forces in Iraq, to have to battle constantly, needing every bullet, bite of food and drop of water trucked in through hundreds of miles of hostile territory. And it will inevitably end in defeat, just as it did for the Crusaders. The U.S. had a chance to withdraw with victory shortly after the invasion, had a chance to withdraw with a pretence of honour after the Baker-Hamilton report, but now it will only leave after it has been ground down in a war of attrition.

In short, the permanent bases aren’t.

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By ctbrandon, June 10, 2007 at 7:50 pm Link to this comment

Actually, there is nothing wrong with the two parties we have. It’s the people IN them that are the problem! We need to get RID OF the elite on both sides and look at real candidates. How would you like the ability to choose between Ron Paul and Mike Gravel in 2008? I for one think that 28 years with a Bush/Clinton White House is enough. We could make it happen. But we need to start working together right now. If not, Hillary will serve 8 years, then Jeb will take over. And the Clinton/Bush meter will jump to a staggering 44 years or presidential power. And we thought we didn’t have a Royal Crown. HA.

Brandon
http://www.actforyourself.org

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By FrostedFlakes, June 10, 2007 at 7:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Faith, you are so right! It is time for at least a third party in this country. Also, these permanent bases were actually half of the true justification for occupying Iraq. And isn’t it convenient that they are strategically positioned near the main oil wells and surrounding borders.

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By QuyTran, June 10, 2007 at 6:59 pm Link to this comment

There’ll have more rapes, more killings, more social vices….

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By DMK, June 10, 2007 at 6:15 pm Link to this comment

To Faith,
AMEN to a third party, the two we have are too corrupt. How about the “Common Sense” party?

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By Tom Doff, June 10, 2007 at 5:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The big question for the freely elected national Iraqi government is now:

What design and color scheme should they choose as their 51st state flag?

(Subject, of course, to ‘modification’ by their US ‘advisors’)

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By faith, June 10, 2007 at 5:46 pm Link to this comment

The issue that the U.S. has been spending millions and millions of dollars building a permanent base in Iraq is not new news.  We bloggers have raising the question repeatedly for several years.  No one is so naive that they could not see what was happening.  Many of us wrote our representatives and asked why the millions were being spent for the permanent structures - no straightforward answer.

I am afraid it is time for a third party in this nation.  Both Republicans and Democrats appear to have sold their respective allegiances to the lobbiests and the corporations so that those same elected politicos can fund expensive media campaigns for future elections.  A sad period in America’s history indeed.

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By Enemy of State, June 10, 2007 at 4:12 pm Link to this comment

Tom, maybe you can help to clarify this issue. Permanent US bases were alleged and discussed over at intel-dump.com a month or two back. For those unfamilar with the site, it is primarily ex-military, and is nearly as anti-Bush as truthdig. Virtually all of the Iraq veterans said all US bases in Iraq that they had seen looked extremely temporary. So I am pretty sceptical of this sudden flurry of reports of longstanding largescale permanent base construction. That sort of thing just can’t be hidden.

  I’ll grant that the humongous embassy building is endeniable. I’d like to see hard evidence of the permanent character of the base infrastructure.

  It does look like the current Friedman unit (period of time before a given Iraq strategy is seen to fail) is about over, and the administration is likely trying to come up with the next miracle strategy. Perhaps this “Korean strategy” is the trial balloon for the that.

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