Should I Stay Or Should I Go Now?
We all know what the answer should be: if I go there will be trouble, if I stay it will be double. (Everyone remember their Clash?) I don't want double trouble in Iraq. But it appears that the administration may be planning on rockin' the casbah for decades to come.
As I said in a post back on November 27, right after Democratic-but-hawkish Congressman Jack Murtha put the troop withdrawal issue front and center, our construction of permanent bases undercuts the administration's assertion that significant troop reductions are planned for 2006 (something they didn't mention until Congressman Jack Murtha finally put the issue on the public's political radar). In November I said:
This Administration, in particular, had no and still has no intention of withdrawing substantial numbers of troops from Iraq. They are still building 14 permanent bases on Iraq's sandy soil, and a permanent presence in Iraq -- to replace the airmen and other soldiers we pulled out of Saudi Arabia in capitulation to Osama bin Laden's demands and to secure a backup oil source in the event the Saudi royal family is overthrown -- is a key part of the neocon foreign policy and energy strategy. They will, of necessity, rotate exhausted, three-tour units home, but they will not willingly do more. If they do do more, it will be a capitulation to Congressional Republicans worried about their seats, and is not likely to last past next November.
The idea that we invaded Iraq, in large part, to establish a base of operations in the Middle East is consistent with the fact that we have vacated our bases in Saudi Arabia (much to bin Laden's pleasure), and with President Bush's statement recently that even knowing that Iraq had no WMDs and knowing there would be an active insurgency he still would have gone to war. The continued construction of permanent bases in a country where our troops are dying, where the insurgency is growing (90 people killed today, according to this morning's news), and where 80% of the people say they want us to leave, will be a good test of what the real motives for war were.
And if we ramp up troop strength again after our midterm elections next November, I won't be happy, even if I am able to say "told ya so!"