Sunday, May 06, 2007

Iraq and the Endless Occupation

Despite the overwhelming fact that a majority of Americans want out of Iraq, some sooner than others, we simply will not be leaving Iraq. Not this year, not next year nor the year after that unless of course the people of Iraq find a method of making us leave.

But what about the democrat leadership now in the majority of congress, aren’t they going to force Bush to pull the troops out? Actually no, they are not going to force Bush to pull the troops out because they are merely another iteration of Bush mentality. Let us set aside the issue of what the democrats really are up to for a moment and look at some hard clear-cut facts. What I am referring to are the permanent military bases we have built or are building in Iraq.

Here is an interactive map of what are called “Enduring military bases.”

But other reports suggest the U.S. military has plans for even more bases: In April 2003 report in The New York Times reported that "the U.S. is planning a long-term military relationship with the emerging government of Iraq, one that would grant the Pentagon access to military bases and project American influence into the heart of the unsettled region."According to the Chicago Tribune, U.S. engineers are focusing on constructing 14 "enduring bases," to serve as long-term encampments for thousands of American troops.

As of mid-2005, the U.S. military had 106 forward operating bases in Iraq, including what the Pentagon calls 14 "enduring" bases (twelve of which are located on the map) – all of which are to be consolidated into four mega-bases.

From Alternet:

If the topic of permanent bases in Iraq seems unfamiliar, it's because, as Hart noted, there's been barely a whisper about them in the mainstream media. While the deteriorating situation in Iraq is making headlines daily, it's been two months since any reports on the presence or construction of bases have emerged from major press outlets. Yet, the issue of permanent bases is one that cuts to the heart of not only how long we intend to stay in Iraq, but why we got there in the first place.

"If the goal of ... the Bush administration, was to overthrow Saddam Hussein, install a friendly government in Baghdad, set up a permanent political and military presence in Iraq, and dominate the behavior of the region (including securing oil supplies)," Hart wrote in May, "then you build permanent bases for some kind of permanent American military presence. If the goal was to spread democracy and freedom, then you don't."

From Tomdispatch:

Assuming, then, a near year to come of withdrawal buzz, speculation, and even a media blitz of withdrawal announcements, the question is: How can anybody tell if the Bush administration is actually withdrawing from Iraq or not? Sometimes, when trying to cut through a veritable fog of misinformation and disinformation, it helps to focus on something concrete. In the case of Iraq, nothing could be more concrete -- though less generally discussed in our media -- than the set of enormous bases the Pentagon has long been building in that country. Quite literally multi-billions of dollars have gone into them. In a prestigious engineering magazine in late 2003, Lt. Col. David Holt, the Army engineer "tasked with facilities development" in Iraq, was already speaking proudly of several billion dollars being sunk into base construction ("the numbers are staggering"). Since then, the base-building has been massive and ongoing.

Read it and weep, read it and weep. Does anyone seriously believe that our federal government is sinking multi-billions of dollars in permanent military bases only to turn around and end the American occupation in Iraq?

Let’s return to the topic of democrat hopefuls and in particular the favored favorite Hillary Clinton. Recently Hillary again has come into the lime-light with a new proposal to end the occupation. Yet again, just as in the case of the recently vetoed bill this is nothing but pure showmanship. Hillary has no intention of stopping the occupation. To illustrate my point read this New York Times article and in particular this following paragraph.

From the New York Times:

Later, however, her aides said Mrs. Clinton was not seeking a total withdrawal of troops from Iraq, or a quick pullout that could put troops at risk. They said she had called for a phased pullout that would leave a reduced American force to pursue terrorist cells in Iraq, support the Kurds and conduct other missions — a position she continued to support, her aides said.

Yes indeedy, “A postion she continued to support, her aids said.” And it is a position that every single candidate republican and democrat alike supports and will continue to support.

Let us look at Obama and his nuanced position on ending the war. If you believe half of what you read in the newspapers you might well think Obama is a peace candidate rather than a piece of the action candidate however when you look closely at his position on troop withdrawal it is as phony as a plug nickel.

From the DesMoines Register:

WATERLOO, IA — Presidential candidate Barack Obama called for Iowans to lobby their U.S. senators to end the war in Iraq during a campaign stop here Sunday.

At issue is a proposal vetoed last week by President Bush that called for the United States to withdraw its troops from Iraq, which is similar to a plan proposed by Obama, a U.S. Senator from Illinois, earlier this year.

Troops would have started coming home from Iraq last week under Obama’s plan, with the majority home by March 31 of next year. The plan vetoed by the president would have had some troops coming home Oct. 1.

Democrats need 16 state senators to vote with them to override the president’s veto, Obama, a Democrat, said to a crowd of about 200 people at Walter Cunningham Center for Excellence, a school in Waterloo.

What we need to remember here is that the bill that was vetoed was so full of loopholes that it was completely worthless as far as ending the occupation rather it fully funded a continuation of the war.

From Tomdispatch:

Let's be clear about what it is -- when it comes to "withdrawal" from Iraq -- that the President will veto this Wednesday. Section 1904(b) of the supplemental appropriations bill for the Pentagon, H.R. 1591, passed by the House and Senate, mandates that the Secretary of Defense "commence the redeployment of the Armed Forces from Iraq not later than October 1, 2007, with a goal of completing such redeployment within 180 days." If you've been listening to network TV news shows or reading your local newspaper with less than an eagle eye, you might well be under the impression that -- just as the phrasing above seems to indicate -- a Democratic-controlled Congress has just passed a bill that mandates a full-scale American withdrawal from Iraq. (Reporters and commentators regularly speak of the Democrats' insistence that "American troops be withdrawn from Iraq.") But that's only until you start reading the exceptions embedded in the bill.

And if you read the whole post from Tomdispatch you will see that this was not a serious effort to end the occupation of Iraq it is merely another empty gesture by the democrats, and one fully supported and sold as troop withdrawal by Obama.

So if two plus two still equals four and we add up two known and documented facts which are we are building permanent military bases in Iraq and that the democrat led congress has absolutely no intention of ending the occupation it becomes eminently clear that we will not be leaving Iraq no matter who will be taking up the mantle of imperialism when George Walker Bush is replaced be they democrat or republican.

This is also indicative of a deeper problem which is we have lost control of our democracy, our national leaders no longer respond to our wishes. Our leaders will say what ever they wish to in order to confuse the issues at hand with meaningless phrases such as troop redeployment a particularly odorous phrase that I have come to abhor. Then there is the phrase of supporting the troops and let us be perfectly clear about this. When some politician, any politician, uses the phrase “supporting the troops” what they are really saying is they wish to leave the troops in Iraq which is a rather odd way of supporting them if you ask me. And then the all-time favorite phrase of “phased” redeployment which merely means that at some point we may bring a few troops home but the vast majority will remain in Iraq residing in their permanent bases.

These meaningless and confusing phrases should be enough to raise the red flags of warning because our leaders simply cannot bring themselves to say simply we will end the occupation.