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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Should I Stay Or Should I Go Now?

Simple question: are we planning on leaving Iraq eventually, as the President says, or are we building a dozen or so hardened, permanent bases there, as the Army admits when pressed?

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!"


Blogger OsakaJack said...

I have an idea, and its not really my idea, how about we do what we have always done and what always works. You see, when you ride your bike and you get a flat, what do you do? Call your friends on your cell phone and plan and develop strategies to fix the thing? (Actually, that is probably exactly what happens with kids these days. "Dude, Joey, I totally got a flat." "Aw, bummer, you are in so much trouble." "Am I?" "Yeah, cuz right now, I'm eating ice cream out of the box...from your fridge! Sucka!")

Building permanent bases is one thing. Filling them with so many soldiers that the tectonic plates tremble is quite another. Or implementing sound fiscal management with these bases, which is yet a whole other ball of wax. I would say a neoprog attitude would be to provide a safe environment for our troops when they don't have to do their jobs, none of this green zone nonsense.

Another point: yes, I think there should be a troop withdrawal. Hear me out, I know I just said to fill these bases up. Occupy Iraq. And I mean it in the way you think it means. Set up the puppet government but be careful, because it must also be a legitimate democracy. Then ease up on the puppet strings and cut back on the troop numbers and strengthen private investment between the countries.

This is nothing new. I did no thinking or strategizing at all. This is something that works, has worked and has a proven success rate in a half dozen countries around the globe. What we've done is start a project with bad planning, continue with the project with worse planning, let's give up the ghost and admit we need to fall back on ways of thinking that worked before. And send our boys home.

1/05/2006 12:48 PM  

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