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> Leaving a residue after leaving, US and GB troops in Iraq
crashfourit
post Apr 2 2006, 06:22 AM
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QUOTE(Independent Online Edition)
The Pentagon has revealed that coalition forces are spending millions of dollars establishing at least six "enduring" bases in Iraq - raising the prospect that US and UK forces could be involved in a long-term deployment in the country. It said it assumed British troops would operate one of the bases. 
 
<snip> 
 
Major Joseph Breasseale, a senior spokesman for the coalition forces' headquarters in Iraq, told The Independent on Sunday: "The current plan is to reduce the coalition footprint into six consolidation bases - four of which are US. As we move in that direction, some other bases will have to grow to facilitate the closure [or] transfer of smaller bases." 
 
<snip> 
 
Some analysts believe the desire to establish a long-term US military presence in Iraq was always one of the reasons behind the 2003 invasion. Joseph Gerson, a historian of American military bases, said: "The Bush administration's intention is to have a long-term military presence in the region ... For a number of years the US has sought to use a number of means to make sure it dominates in the Middle East ... The Bush administration sees Iraq as an unsinkable aircraft carrier for its troops and bases for years to come."

Was the ultimate goal of the US (and GB) to establish a string of bases stretching from Europe to Afganistan when invading Iraq?

Why would the US (and/or GB) want a string of basses stretching from Europe to Afganastan?

If this is the actual goal:
  • what are the consequences of it?
  • will they complete it?

What does this mean:
  • For the future of Iraq and the rest of the middle east?
  • For the US (or GB)?
  • For the fight against terrorism?


This post has been edited by crashfourit: Apr 2 2006, 06:25 AM
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Wertz
post Apr 3 2006, 06:01 AM
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Was the ultimate goal of the US (and GB) to establish a string of bases stretching from Europe to Afghanistan when invading Iraq?

Yes. I am one of those who has always believed that the desire to establish a long-term US military presence in Iraq was one of the reasons - if not the most important reason - behind the invasion. Other people that have always believed this would include Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Scooter Libby, John Bolton, Richard Perle, Elliott Abrams, Richard Armitage, and Zalmay Khalilzad, all of whom are members of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC).

Why would the US (and/or GB) want a string of basses stretching from Europe to Afghanistan?

As the foundation for a huge orchestra. Okay, I'll assume you meant "bases". tongue.gif

To be perfectly clear, the United States wouldn't want a permanent military presence in the Middle East, but certain factions within our current government definitely would. Why? Because it is part of their ultimate goal based on the fundamental proposition that "American leadership is good both for America and for the world; and that such leadership requires military strength, diplomatic energy and commitment to moral principle". In their September, 2000, report, Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategies, Forces, And Resources For A New Century, the PNAC recommends:
QUOTE
the forward redeployment of US forces at new strategically placed permanent military bases in Southeast Europe and Southeast Asia. Permanent bases ease the strain on US forces, allowing readiness to be maintained and the carrier fleet to be reduced. Furthermore the military should be enlarged, equipped and restructured for the "constabulary" roles associated with shaping the security in critical regions of the world.

Some of this has been discussed here before - in American Hegemony, e.g.:
QUOTE(Wertz @ Feb 25 2003, 11:11 PM)
In their plan for ultimate national security, they call for the US "to shape the international environment to its own advantage." Nothing wrong with that - till one reads a bit further. This is to be accomplished by being "at once a European power, an Asian power, a Middle Eastern power, and of course a Western Hemisphere power" and to treat "instability in important regions of the world" as though they were occurring "on our own doorstep". More recently, the PNAC has expounded on the strategy for becoming "a Middle Eastern power", calling for an expansion of the "war on terror" to target Hezbollah and its purported sponsors, Iran and Syria, as well as abandoning any aid to the Palestinian cause in favor of full support for Sharon and the Likudniks.
*

Apart from the Likud now being out of the picture (hurrah!), I see little reason to assume that the PNAC strategy has been amended in the past two years.

If this is the actual goal:
  • what are the consequences of it?
  • will they complete it?
Let me answer the second question first: they will almost certainly complete the construction and occupation of permanent military bases. Indeed, it seems the construction is well underway - and they are probably already manned. The consequences are contingent on whether or not our government continues to be dominated by those seeking global hegemony.

What does this mean:
  • For the future of Iraq and the rest of the middle east?
  • For the US (or GB)?
  • For the fight against terrorism?
Again, all of these questions are contingent on whether or not the PNAC policy continues to dominate our foreign policy. They can only, therefore, be answered in the short term - like for the duration of the Bush administration. The future of Iraq and probably the rest of the Middle East will be chaos, chaos, and more chaos. The future of the US will be depletion of resources, weakening of defense, and an ever-burgeoning national debt. The fight against terrorism is already on the back burner (as it has been since Clinton left office) - and will remain there.

Should the PNAC ideology prevail through another administration or two, there will doubtless be attempts to secure and maintain "order" in Iraq (with the establishment of permanent military bases that "will have to grow to facilitate the closure"), while expanding militarily into Iran and/or Syria - resulting in even greater opposition from "insurgents, increased "terrorist" activity, and perpetual escalation of hostilities.

In terms of the future of the US, we will see increasing opposition globally - even (perhaps especially) from former allies. Regarding this (and the future of the fight against terrorism), Scott McConnell put it much better than I could in The American Conservative magazine (in an article published three weeks before our illegal invasion of Iraq):
QUOTE
During the Clinton years, quite a few international affairs specialists wondered why American pre-eminence had not given rise to the kind of counterbalancing and ganging up against the leading power that classic international relations theory and diplomatic history would lead one to expect. Russia and China briefly eyed one another as allies, the Europeans griped, but nowhere did major countries come close to forming real military alliances to counter America’s strength. Why not?

He argues that this is because the US was a hegemon that annoys and antagonizes, but it does not conquer and that we previously used our hegemony to create "public goods" - institutions that the rest needs for security and economic growth. But...

QUOTE
If America invades Iraq, the bottom will fall out of this argument. The first consequence would probably be sharp drop in international co-operation against terrorism, especially terrorism directed against the United States. After that, we can contemplate new alliances: Russia and China, Europe and the (unoccupied) Middle East, an international system in rapid flux but increasingly focused on restraining American power.

Consider America's international situation: a country rich and technologicially advanced, blessed with unusually stable political system, separated from hostile countries by huge oceans, and still retaining durable long term friendships with the world’s most powerful and successful democratic states, and requiring serious international police and intelligence cooperation to deal with its most pressing enemy, al-Qaeda. For such a nation suddenly to decide that its best and only option to "save itself" is to embark on a course of imperial expansion, one that will be opposed vigorously by the rest of the world, seems almost a form of madness.

So far, the rest of the world seems content to watch us self-destruct in Iraq (it is fortunate, perhaps, that the invasion wasn't a cakewalk). But if it becomes apparent that we have no intention of leaving Iraq ever (and that is certainly the position of our current administration), we will begin to see more and more of that vigorous opposition. Or, at least, we should.

On the other hand, were those espousing the PNAC principles to be ousted from our government, I would hope to see a return to what Candidate Bush, when he was seeking election to the Oval Office in 2000, called a "humble foreign policy". I would hope to see more diplomacy and an effort to regain some of the good will that we have squandered since September 11, 2001. I would hope to see a rational and realistic exit strategy from Western Asia altogether. I would hope to see the federal government concentrating on domestic security rather than wasting our increasingly strained resources in pursuit of the chimera of global domination. It's up to us.
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Ted
post Apr 3 2006, 07:11 PM
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Was the ultimate goal of the US (and GB) to establish a string of bases stretching from Europe to Afganistan when invading Iraq?
I do not believe this was a major reason for the invasion of Iraq but it certainly makes sense. After spending over 200 billion to get Saddam out and free the country you would expect that a base would be in order. The safety and stability of Iraq will be enhanced by our presence.

Why would the US (and/or GB) want a string of basses stretching from Europe to Afganastan?

The bases in Europe came out of WWII obviously and the bases in the Middle East would help guarantee sability in the region. Since our economy, tied directly to OIL, is dependant on a stable region.
what are the consequences of it?
A stable Middle East and more democracies should be the long term result. IMO Iran will go more secular in the next 10 years.
will they complete it?
No doubt.

For the US (or GB)? And a safer world in general.
For the fight against terrorism?
A beachhead in the area that spaws most of the worlds terrorism. Also the ability to, in the long run, win the hearts and minds of those in the area.

This post has been edited by Ted: Apr 3 2006, 07:13 PM
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Amlord
post Apr 3 2006, 08:09 PM
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Was the ultimate goal of the US (and GB) to establish a string of bases stretching from Europe to Afganistan when invading Iraq?

Why Iraq when we already had bases in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and Bahrain before we went into Iraq? Isn't spending hundreds of billions of dollars a bit steep a price to pay (even for such evil global hegemonists) when we already have facilities in place?

We abandoned a multi-billion dollar Saudi base just recently. Would someone planning a global hegemony do that?

Just a flash of reality. This string of bases was already in place prior to going into Iraq. http://www.monthlyreview.org/0302map1.pdf
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Wertz
post Apr 4 2006, 08:20 AM
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QUOTE(Amlord @ Apr 3 2006, 03:09 PM)
Why Iraq when we already had bases in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and Bahrain efore we went into Iraq? Isn't spending hundreds of billions of dollars a bit steep a price to pay (even for such evil global hegemonists) when we already have facilities in place?

Amlord, there is no question that those running this administration are planning a global hegemony. None. They have said so - repeatedly - in black and white. To deny that this is the aim of the PNAC and its members is not merely naive, it is insane. It's about time people started waking up and realizing who's running their country - and what, precisely, their goals are. This is not a paranoid fantasy. This is not partisan spin. It is cold, hard, well-documented FACT.

QUOTE(Amlord @ Apr 3 2006, 03:09 PM)
We abandoned a multi-billion dollar Saudi base just recently. Would someone planning a global hegemony do that?

Sure - if we could not safely maintain our presence there. Our good friends the Saudis are well aware of what this administration is up to (even if some posting here are not) and made it clear that they were not going to allow their country to be used by the US to become "a Middle Eastern power". This made owning Iraq that much more imperative. And make no mistake - Iraq will have no government unless it's a US puppet government.

Just over a week ago, for example, the US Ambassador to Iraq (and PNAC member), Zalmay Khalilzad, told the head of the main Shi'ite political bloc to pass a "personal message from President Bush" to the freely elected, if transitional, prime minister, Ibrahim Jaafari. That message? That the Bush administration "doesn't want, doesn't support, doesn't accept" Mr. Jaafari to be the next prime minister and that he should stand down. Democracy in the Middle East is great, isn't it? But if, and only if, they elect who we want. dry.gif

QUOTE(Amlord @ Apr 3 2006, 03:09 PM)
Just a flash of reality. This string of bases was already in place prior to going into Iraq.
*

No, Amlord, it wasn't. You might want to check your reality - and your facts. There were US military bases there, but not the ones currently being constructed - at a minimum cost, by the way, $1 billion this year - and "enduring" costs of $5 billion to $7 billion annually for as long as we maintain troops there - which, at the very least, is through the end of the Bush administration.

As long ago as November, 2003, plans were underway to create six permanent bases in Iraq: Al-Habbaniyah Air Base near al-Fallujah (okay, this was formerly an RAF airbase, so some of it was already there), Ash-Sha'biyah Airbase in Basra, 'Ali ibn Abi Taleb Airbase near an-Nasiriyah, al-Walid Airbase about 200 miles northwest of Baghdad, al-Ghazlani Camp in Mosul, and a permanent deployment of forces on the Iranian border in the Diyala Province near Kirkuk. This is not to mention the permanent military communications system, comprised of at least twelve communications towers, that we've already installed - about which, the CIA's former chief of Arab operations said, "People need to get realistic and think in terms of our presence being in Iraq for a generation."

In fact, there were as many as fourteen permanent bases built since the invasion - as well as many former Iraqi bases that have been taken over and greatly expanded, including Balad Airbase, with a two million square-foot helipad, which houses 120 helicopters and two 12,000 foot runways, and al-Asad in Iraq's western desert, where, according to MSNBC, "the 17,000 troops and workers come and go in a kind of bustling American town, with a Burger King, Pizza Hut and a car dealership, stop signs, traffic regulations and young bikers clogging the roads". It's also got an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a chandeliered cinema, a 24-hour gym, and two full-length, lighted outdoor basketball courts.

The proposed 2006 supplemental budget for Iraqi operations provides $7.4 million to extend al-Asad and build new security fencing around its nineteen square miles - a base so large that it requires two continuous bus routes just to for personnel to get around. The budget also allocates $39 million for new airfield lighting, air traffic control systems, and upgrades allowing al-Asad to plug into the Iraqi electricity grid.

At Balad, there's $16 million for a ramp to park C-5 cargo planes, $18 million for a ramp to park C-130 transports, and $28 million for the main helicopter ramp,which is the length of 13 football fields - plus another $25 million for additional "paving projects".

At a third base, Ali Airbase at Tallil, there's $14 million for a new dining hall and $22 million for a double perimeter security fence with high-tech gate controls, guard towers, and a moat.

These are not things, Amlord, that "were already in place" before the invasion. And they're not the sort of pup tents one might have seen in Jarhead. Indeed, they don't strike me as "temporary facilities" any more than the Iraqi campaign strikes me as a "humble foreign policy" free of aspirations to global hegemony.

For what it's worth, we still have bases in Saudi Arabia - and Bahrain and Qatar and the Emirates and Oman. All we needed for that "string of bases" extending from Europe to the subcontinent were a permanent presence in Afghanistan and Iraq. Oh, yeah - plus Syria and Iran. unsure.gif

And all this tells you that we're not interested in becoming "a Middle Eastern power" as Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Bolton, and Khalilzad are all on record as saying we should be? Okay... I happen to hold the title to the Brooklyn Bridge. If you're interested in making an offer, drop me a PM. thumbsup.gif


This post has been edited by Wertz: Apr 4 2006, 08:23 AM
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Amlord
post Apr 4 2006, 01:45 PM
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Gosh, I don't know why we'd want to build bases to house the 130,000+ troops we have in Iraq. I see now--a mess hall for 6,000 GIs ohmy.gif . Sorry that I don't find it shocking that a base with 17,000 troops, 15 minutes from downtown Baghdad would be described as "bustling". I'm a true lamb among the wolves it seems.

You do realize how many troops 138,000 is, of course. It's a LOT. That amount of men require facilities to operate from and in. We have hundreds of helicopters in Iraq.

The deployment in Iraq is not shocking to me. The fact that we have bases for the troops there is not shocking. The fact that the army continues to build stuff even while there is talk of withdrawal is not shocking. We have over 100 bases and camps in Iraq, ranging from Camp Victory (er, Camp Freedom us.gif ) with over 17,000 troops to ones with only 500.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/fac.../iraq-intro.htm


Why would a newly oil-weaned nation want scores of thousands of troops in Iraq permanently? Is our energy situation so bleak that we must occupy this two-bit nation to get oil? Sorry, but the argument is just not convincing to me. I'll go with the theory that jives on the surface: that we have 130,000 troops in Iraq and we need somewhere for them to sleep while they're there. sleeping.gif

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Vladimir
post Apr 4 2006, 04:46 PM
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I agree fully with Gerson's analysis, expressed in the origninal post, but I would add that obviously, it also has to do with oil. A big military base on top of a vast oil reserve. An imperialist enterprise, par excellence. But I very much doubt that the ongoing war in Iraq can be won by the "Coalition" forces, so I doubt that either the bases or the control of the oil will remain in U.S. hands.
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Wertz
post Apr 4 2006, 06:05 PM
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Sorry, Amlord, but I have never been one of those that believed the invasion of Iraq was about oil (except maybe to sell it to a few corporate sponsors). To my mind (and according to the PNAC plan), it has only ever been about establishing permanent military bases in the Middle East - ideally in a country in which we are the shadow government. The most I've ever said was that access to the oil fields was a kind of bonus.

I have since amended that thought somewhat. I do not now believe that the invasion of Iraq was about gaining access to her oil, but to restrict access to her oil, thus driving up the prices. What's good for corporate profits, is good for the USA - right?

For what it's worth, numerous military and intellegince authorities (in the various articles I cited) have said that the development of the bases is specifically geared toward permanent installations - not just "places to sleep". For that matter, where have these 130,000 troops been sleeping for the past three years?

I realize the importance of PX culture and the need for amenities for our troops, but we are talking about spending billions this year - over a thousand days since "Mission Accomplished" - in expanding bases and constructuing fixed, long-term infrastructures that can only possibly have a military application. $5 billion to $7 billion per year isn't rental, Amlord, it's a mortgage. We're moving in.


Oh, and nothing personal, but I see this often here (and it has long been a pet peeve of mine):
QUOTE
I'll go with the theory that jives on the surface...

jive: a style of jazz with flowing rhythms, but less complex than later styles; the jargon of jazz musicians and enthusiasts

jibe: to be compatible, similar or consistent; to coincide in their characteristics; to be in accord, agree




This post has been edited by Wertz: Apr 4 2006, 06:20 PM
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Dontreadonme
post Apr 4 2006, 06:18 PM
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The aspect to remember, if we look at the possibility of permanent or enduring bases, is this:
The building of large functional bases also facilitates the stated plan to consolidate US forces and preposition them for an orderly withdrawn. I have no idea, as all of don't, really, if the administration has plans to keep military forces in Iraq indefinitely.
One has to draw the line between what constitutes a permanent base and what constitutes a base with a level of comfort and security for US troops. I don't know where that line is, but I do know that the construction of the facilities that Wertz quoted, dovetails nicely with the plan of consolidation.
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Wertz
post Apr 4 2006, 06:30 PM
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QUOTE(Dontreadonme @ Apr 4 2006, 01:18 PM)
I have no idea, as all of don't, really, if the administration has plans to keep military forces in Iraq indefinitely.

In reality, we do know - or, at least, all of us should know - that this administration has definite plans to keep military forces in Iraq - permanently. All we don't know is whether they'll go through with those plans or not.

QUOTE(Dontreadonme @ Apr 4 2006, 01:18 PM)
I don't know where that line is, but I do know that the construction of the facilities that Wertz quoted, dovetails nicely with the plan of consolidation.
*

I agree. But the question is: consolidation to what end? An orderly withdrawal or a permanent stay? Either is possible. But only one is the stated intent in the publications of the organization to which our Vice President, our Secretary of Defense, the head of the World Bank, our UN Ambassador, and our ambassador to Iraq belong (to name but a few in this administration) and to whose principles they subscribe.



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Dontreadonme
post Apr 4 2006, 06:40 PM
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QUOTE(Wertz @ Apr 4 2006, 01:30 PM)

In reality, we do know - or, at least, all of us should know - that this administration has definite plans to keep military forces in Iraq - permanently. All we don't know is whether they'll go through with those plans or not.

That was in essence part of my point. I fully expect a Democrat or moderate Republican to be elected in '08. That person, if not a changed congress in '06 has the power to withdraw troops even if Bush pursues indefinite stay.
My point is that in order to withdraw our forces, they have to be consolidated anyway, and that has to be accomplished in a secure and organized facility(s).
This talk of permanent bases can mean two very different things.
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Amlord
post Apr 4 2006, 06:50 PM
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QUOTE(Wertz @ Apr 4 2006, 02:05 PM)
Sorry, Amlord, but I have never been one of those that believed the invasion of Iraq was about oil (except maybe to sell it to a few corporate sponsors). To my mind (and according to the PNAC plan), it has only ever been about establishing permanent military bases in the Middle East - ideally in a country in which we are the shadow government. The most I've ever said was that access to the oil fields was a kind of bonus.

I have since amended that thought somewhat. I do not now believe that the invasion of Iraq was about gaining access to her oil, but to restrict access to her oil, thus driving up the prices. What's good for corporate profits, is good for the USA - right?


To what end? Why go into Iraq to restrict oil production when a few well-placed bombs in 2002 would have accomplished the same? For that matter a few special forces sent in there would have done the same. Of course, it was the hurricanes last year and not Iraq that spiked oil prices.

High fuel prices have cost the airline industry over $4 billion in 2004 link--aren't they on Bush's paymaster list? It costs manufacturers big time. linkIt costs the shipping industry even more.

Petroleum prices are up because demand is increasing sharply and supply is not increasing with it--gasoline demand is up 4.3% since 2003 despite higher pump prices. Sure Iraq is a factor, but not a big one.

If the Iraq war wasn't for oil production and it really was for increasing oil prices, why go through all the trouble? It just seems hideously complicated means to accomplish the end.

The Middle East is not strategic except in its oil content. It is otherwise wholly nondescrept and worthless. Why build bases there? More to the point: why move troops OUT of Europe to move them to the Middle East?
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Wertz
post Apr 4 2006, 07:28 PM
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Again, Amlord, I don't think oil was the overriding end, by any means. I was simply saying that, as we're there already, as an adjunct - as sideline in war profiteering - it makes more economic sense to those who are sponsoring and administrating this war, to restrict oil production than to enable it.

I stand by my conviction that oil was a minor factor in the invasion and that the ultimate goal was to establish a permanent, active military presence in the Middle East.
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post Apr 4 2006, 08:28 PM
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I agree that oil was not the only reason for building an infrastructure.

A permanent presence aides response time in the event of a future crisis. Saudi Arabia was almost overthrown because of a america's military presence. Rumsfeld himself has openly declared his intention to transform the military in terms of strike echcapability and speed. All of the material I have been compiling backs up Wertz's comments and I'll add the 4 biggest bases have been establishing solid Air Power - permanent power to the region. This mimics the Serb conflict where the most subservient political party gets the spotters. The only difference here is that the spotters are mainly Shi ite and their role as spotters will increase as american troops consolidate back into the bigger camps. None of this helps the average Iraqi in any way.

Keep in mind that it is unusual to engage in air runs over extended stays because the act costs lives, destroys valuable infrastructure, and radicalizes the victims. So to talk about air raids and reconstruction efforts is to talk about two opposing actions.

As for establishing a motive, Iraq offers an alternative to the military by moving manpower away but not completely from Saudi Arabia, while still maintaining access to Syria and Iran. This is crucial when looking at a map and controlling what resources are opened up to privatization. This is stategic planning, nothing more or less.

Privatization is wonderful at annulling previous contracts, ones that do not work to American interests. Latin america has been burned badly by IMF policies so the standard rule is to demonize the existing business entities, call for regime change and install a pro american backed group that is pliable to american closed market capitalism. There are plenty of articles detailing corporate patronage and corruption, Haliburton being the most obvious. Occupying forces have the power to award contracts on a conditional basis.

From a marketing standpoint, this is known as economic warfare. The act of denying the competition access to markets or the overthrowing of existing ones. This concept usually gets overlooked and few will note the developments to Irans Khuzestan fields with Russian and Chinese dollars.

My biggest beef is that the State Department makes no mention of this and reads like a DoD "feel good" article posting only half of the story.

So while I won't agree to the oil being the only argument AMlord, my attempt here is to show how economic interests can be narrowed or shifted through warfare.
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post Apr 4 2006, 08:38 PM
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I thought I could endorse everything Wertz had posted in this thread but he then implied that he didn't think the invasion was about oil. I strongly disagree and have stated so in these forums several times. The invasion was, in part, about oil, not near term access to Middle Eastern oil for use by Americans but long term geopolitical control of the Middle East and Caspian Sea oil regions. Peak oil is approaching rapidly and the world will have to adjust to it within the next few years or within the next few decades (if you're an optimist). Geo-polictal control of the major surplus producing regions of the world could provide lots of leverage against China, India, Japan, and the European Union. For a government and a military that is committed to "full spectrum dominance" it's almost logical. The problem is that the imperial scheme has backfired and allowed China, India and others to make more and better deals with Iran, Venezuela, and other oil producers. I am convinced that this is part of what's behind our failed administration's orchestration of a war with Iran. (It will also provide a nice jingoistic run up to the elections in 2006 as well).

Of course this group of undemocratic ideologues plan to stay in Iraq. They thought they could do it with a puppet government and now plan to do it with permanent bases and will not permit the formation of an Iraqi government that will demand their removal.

Unfortunately, I'm not optimistic about a total change in direction from a new administration. The next imperial president may be more competent but is likely to also be committed to an American imperial order enforced by a string of 725 military bases around the world and a military budget of about $700 billion (if you include military items in other department budgets). I recommend reading Chalmers Johnson's The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy and the End of the Republic to get a real inkling of what we're up against.
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Mrs. Pigpen
post Apr 4 2006, 08:40 PM
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Was the ultimate goal of the US (and GB) to establish a string of bases stretching from Europe to Afganistan when invading Iraq?

I think it was likely one goal, not THE goal.

Why would the US (and/or GB) want a string of basses stretching from Europe to Afganastan?
The same reason we have bases anywhere else. Security is one, stability, convenient logistical pipeline, ect. The thing to keep in mind about all overseas military bases, which seems to get lost in these types of debates, is that each is bound by an agreement. We can't just take over a piece of land and call it "little America" and do whatever we like forever more. We can't even use any base as a staging ground for military activity unless the host country agrees (like what happened with Turkey). Otherwise, we need to spend multiply millions or billions moving the pieces to another country that is willing.

So, yes, I think we'd love to stay (I mean our government, not anyone in the military who would have to be stationed there) in Iraq under certain conditions. It must be relatively safe and the government has to agree to it. And from there, we don't control the exported assets anymore than we control exports from Germany or Italy. We do seem to want to have a finger everywhere in the world, though, and more so in the middle east recently. With that I agree. This isn't new, it's been happening since the first Gulf war...well actually now that I think of it well before that.

Personally, I agree with DTOM that this sounds like consolidation to me...but who knows? Time will tell. I very much doubt that we will stay considering the way things are going, but if things did improve, and we were permitted to stay, I expect we'd jump at the chance.

This post has been edited by Mrs. Pigpen: Apr 4 2006, 08:43 PM
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Amlord
post Apr 4 2006, 08:42 PM
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OK. You say that we are planning permanent bases because the PNAC said so. Here (page 29-30) they recommend upgrading the base in Kuwait to a permanent base. I saw no mention of a string of bases, however. That assessment was not signed by Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bolton or Khalilzad. (In fact, different members sign off on different "statements of principles"--not all agree such as Rumsfeld's insistence that we have enough troops in Iraq).

I'd be curious to know why, if Bush is following the PNAC plan, he did not follow its recommendations for troop levels, which the PNAC feels is drastically too low. Or why the administration has not followed the PNAC's suggestion to increase defense spending to 4.8% of GDP. Or why it did not follow the PNAC's suggestion to develop a "constabulary" force separate from major theater of war troops.

Permanent bases in Iraq would help with deployments to several hot spots and potential hot spots around the world. Pakistan v. India could heat up again. China is forever threatening Taiwan. Iran is a constant source of annoyance.

However, the PNAC recommended expanding the Kuwait base, not building several more in the largely land-locked Iraq. Iraq is a bit strange place to station a rapid deployment force, given the logistics.
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Wertz
post Apr 10 2006, 08:25 AM
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Sorry, Amlord, I got distracted by other debates and other obligations and kinda let this languish.

QUOTE(Amlord @ Apr 4 2006, 03:42 PM)
OK. You say that we are planning permanent bases because the PNAC said so. Here (page 29-30) they recommend upgrading the base in Kuwait to a permanent base. I saw no mention of a string of bases, however. That assessment was not signed by Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bolton or Khalilzad.  (In fact, different members sign off on different "statements of principles"--not all agree such as Rumsfeld's insistence that we have enough troops in Iraq).

I didn't exactly say "we are planning permanent bases because the PNAC said so", but because many key members of the Bush administration subscribe to the overriding PNAC principles of a strong military presence through out the world. But you're right: it boils down to roughly the same thing. In relation to the PNAC's specific recommendations, well, as someone is fond of saying, "September 11 changed everything" - and that would include details the PNAC's 2000 recommendations in relation to strategy, forces and resources in the New American Century.

In the wake of the opportunity that the September 11 attack provided, there were obvious differences of opinion about how best to exploit the attack. That doesn't mean anyone abandoned the principles. Even without the fortuitous events of September 11, though, there may not be whole-hearted agreement about how to achieve the goals of the PNAC - but there is no disagreement about what those goals are.

QUOTE(Amlord @ Apr 4 2006, 03:42 PM)
I'd be curious to know why, if Bush is following the PNAC plan, he did not follow its recommendations for troop levels, which the PNAC feels is drastically too low.

Because to do so would doubtless mean instituting a draft. Again, members of the PNAC and the Bush administration may debate the most politically expedient means, but end remains the same.

QUOTE(Amlord @ Apr 4 2006, 03:42 PM)
Or why the administration has not followed the PNAC's suggestion to increase defense spending to 4.8% of GDP.

The 2005 proposal represented 3.6% of the GDP - up from 2.9% in fiscal 2000. The Bush administration plans for military spending to grow by $20 billion per year over the next five years. It is projected that defense spending will approach $490 billion by 2009. And all of that excludes military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. It sounds like they're getting there.

QUOTE(Amlord @ Apr 4 2006, 03:42 PM)
Or why it did not follow the PNAC's suggestion to develop a "constabulary" force separate from major theater of war troops.

Isn't that what he's doing? Since National Mission Accomplished Day, Iraq hasn't been a "major theater of war" - has it? So expanding and building permanent bases, especially in light of Iraq's spanking new democracy and lack of civil war, can only be for constabulary purposes - right?

QUOTE(Amlord @ Apr 4 2006, 03:42 PM)
Permanent bases in Iraq would help with deployments to several hot spots and potential hot spots around the world. Pakistan v. India could heat up again. China is forever threatening Taiwan. Iran is a constant source of annoyance.

Gee, that's beginning to sound a bit like the makings of a well-placed constabulary force.

QUOTE(Amlord @ Apr 4 2006, 03:42 PM)
However, the PNAC recommended expanding the Kuwait base, not building several more in the largely land-locked Iraq. Iraq is a bit strange place to station a rapid deployment force, given the logistics.
*

What's so strange? Iraq practically surrounds Kuwait. And it's much, much bigger. And it shares enormous borders with such "hot spots" as Syria and Iran. Prior to September 11, 2001, Kuwait may have seemed the most likely place to start in establishing the intended Middle East presence. Who knew that the Bush administration would get a handy excuse for contriving a justification for the invasion and occupation of Iraq - never mind a blank check for constructing whatever kinds of installations there that they please? I can see, though, how a permanent base in Kuwait would make a lot more sense than a permanent base in Iraq in terms of contending with a Chinese attack on Taiwan. blink.gif

In any event, we're not talking about rapid deployment. We're talking about a foothold in securing a sector of the globe. And that's what permanent bases in Iraq will help achieve.
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