Friday :: Jun 1, 2007

No Permanent Bases?

by Steve

"I think there is very likely to be some American presence in Iraq for a number of years. We obviously don't seek any permanent bases, but there is going to be some need for forces. But my hope would be over the longer term, it would be a fraction of the force that we have there now."
--Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Feburary 7, 2007

Apparently, sometime between February 7th and now, Mr. Gates' definition of "number of years" and rejection of "permanent bases" has morphed into support for thousands being stationed in Iraq for decades.

The new Korea/Iraq analogy used by the White House is their latest flawed attempt to justify a permanent presence in Iraq. We are still in South Korea to deter Pyongyang from overrunning the South. Now the administration says we need to stay in Iraq to “provide stability” for the Iraq government and to help it fight threats from within and outside, preventing the country from disintegrating into a failed state overrun by Iran and Al Qaeda. But unlike Korea, in order for our efforts to make any sense, it requires the Iraqis and their neighbors to immediately invest themselves in political reconciliation and regional collaboration, if both the Iraqis and the Americans are so motivated. Although there are encouraging signs that the Iraqis are turning against Al Qaeda, the overall record so far is less than encouraging. This creates the appearance that the Bush Administration has resorted once again to selling their true agenda under false pretenses.

Gates’ job was to be a more-agreeable advocate than Rumsfeld, but still fronting the same policy: a permanent military presence in the region to project power over the Persian Gulf oil resources and to prevent Islamic jihadists from seizing those resources. This has been the grand strategy by the administration and the Project for a New American Century since the 1990’s.

There is a strategic sense to this approach, as long as you overlook the damage to our national interest in the means to get to this end, and what this naked grab for American control costs us in blood, fiscal solvency, and regional relationships, as well as a failed effort at stopping the spread of Islamic terrorism. And it only makes strategic sense as part of a transitional national security policy towards more stable energy sources and reducing our vulnerability to, and need for oil. This administration has had eight years to do this, and has shown no urgency in making us safer from these threats. Their whole national security and energy polices have centered on grabbing more oil.

Bush will leave it to the next president, likely a Democratic one, to figure out how to draw down from a combat posture to such a “stabilization” posture, while addressing the damage he has done to both our military and a real war against terrorism.

Steve :: 10:13 AM :: Comments (20) :: Digg It!