Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 19, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

"PERMANENT" "BASES" IN "IRAQ"....The United States is building at least four "super-bases" in Iraq, military compounds that are almost certainly designed to be huge permanent presences there. Tom Engelhardt points out the puzzling silence of the American press about this:

Unfortunately, there's a problem here. American reporters adhere to a simple rule: The words "permanent," "bases," and "Iraq" should never be placed in the same sentence, not even in the same paragraph; in fact, not even in the same news report. While a LexisNexis search of the last 90 days of press coverage of Iraq produced a number of examples of the use of those three words in the British press, the only U.S. examples that could be found occurred when 80% of Iraqis (obviously somewhat unhinged by their difficult lives) insisted in a poll that the United States might indeed desire to establish bases and remain permanently in their country; or when "no" or "not" was added to the mix via any American official denial.

And then there's the permanent U.S. embassy in Baghdad that's currently a-building:

The Bush administration is sinking between $600 million and $1 billion in construction funds into a new U.S. embassy. It is to arise in Baghdad's Green Zone on a plot of land along the Tigris River that is reportedly two-thirds the area of the National Mall in Washington, DC. The plans for this "embassy" are almost mythic in nature. A high-tech complex, it is to have "15ft blast walls and ground-to-air missiles" for protection as well as bunkers to guard against air attacks. It will, according to Chris Hughes, security correspondent for the British Daily Mirror, include "as many as 300 houses for consular and military officials" and a "large-scale barracks" for Marines. The "compound" will be a cluster of at least 21 buildings, assumedly nearly self-sufficient, including "a gym, swimming pool, barber and beauty shops, a food court and a commissary. Water, electricity and sewage treatment plants will all be independent from Baghdad's city utilities."

Read the whole thing.

Kevin Drum 6:31 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (94)

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Comments

Folly.

Posted by: Joel on February 19, 2006 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

So, the American people aren't entitled to hear how their tax dollars are being squandered, huh?

As Chalmers Johnson has pointed out, the U.S. has military facilities in over 100 countries around the world, yet we still refer to ourselves as a "Republic". As we pour more billions into maintaining these military outposts, the end of the American Empire is most certainly getting sooner and sooner.

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on February 19, 2006 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately, there's a problem here. American reporters adhere to a simple rule: The words "permanent," "bases," and "Iraq" should never be placed in the same sentence, not even in the same paragraph; in fact, not even in the same news report.

How about emoticons?
Are they allowed by the simple rules?

Here's Muhammed with a bomb in his turban:

*-O(:~{>

Note:
Think about it...
Here is a hint:
Self censorship of the same ilk.

Posted by: koreyel on February 19, 2006 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

Come on now. We're building this American fortress to support Iraq's independence. Sheesh.

Posted by: Jones on February 19, 2006 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

Just think what $1 billion could have done...

Posted by: DK on February 19, 2006 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

Exactly right, Stephen. There was a time when Americans prided themselves on the fact that they sought no territorial gain from war. That time is clearly past. American empire building is a goal of this administration, and it it lie the seeds of America's destruction.

Folly.

Posted by: Joel on February 19, 2006 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds perfectly logical to me.

If we want to spread democracy and liberty in the region, as the democracy seeps to the states neighboring Iraq, there has to be a source of replenishment. Otherwise the well of democracy and liberty will dry out and our grand project for the benefit of Muslims will fail.

The Green Zone mega-complex is designed to be just such unfathmoable source for democracy and liberty.

Wonderful planning.

Posted by: lib on February 19, 2006 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

When you look at what happened to our embassy in Pakistan (an ordeal recounted by Steve Coll in Ghost Wars), building a super-fortress in Baghdad makes sense.

Permanent bases, not so much.

Posted by: Anderson on February 19, 2006 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, but what better use of $200 billion and counting (forever) could there possibly be?

All hail our new Chinese overlords!

Posted by: Gore / Obama 08 on February 19, 2006 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

Wonder what the contained prison is like...

Nice !

Scumbagz

"...the West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion...but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do." - Samuel P. Huntington

Posted by: daCascadian on February 19, 2006 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

Reminds me of how the Mongols were creating a huge permanent military base in the middle of Hungary, just before the Khan abruptly died and they all went east to attend his funeral and never returned.

Posted by: cld on February 19, 2006 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

The linked article seems to be mostly speculation, drawing from a number of sources. How about waiting to see what actually happens?

A couple of months ago, Democrats were making a big deal about "over the horizon" forces being a great idea, where they could respond quickly if needed. Where did they think those forces would be based? Kansas?

In the end, the Iraqi government will have the final say. Right now, some people in that government are talking about joining NATO. We'll see what happens with that, too.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 19, 2006 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

"Right now, some people in that government are talking about joining NATO."

That's hilarious! When? In 2200?

Posted by: Joel on February 19, 2006 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

Ever seen the old Soviet Embassy in Berlin? It's pretty big. Not nearly on the scale of what we're planning in Baghdad, though.

Posted by: clark on February 19, 2006 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz, I believe 'over the horizon' means Kuwait, Yemen, Qatar....

Posted by: nepeta on February 19, 2006 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

The logical next step will be for the US to demand that the Green Zone be detatched from Iraqi jurisdiction and made a US territory, similar to the Canal Zone after the building of the Panama Canal. When the US is sufficiently convinced that Iraq is under control and a dependable client state, political control of the Green Zone will be ceded back to the Iraqis.

Posted by: dr sardonicus on February 19, 2006 at 7:22 PM | PERMALINK

nepeta:

So, tell me how bases in Kuwait, Yemen, and other Muslim nations are going to piss Muslims off less than bases in Iraq. We've already found out what the radicals thought of bases in Saudi Arabia.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 19, 2006 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

Mission Accomplished!!!

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on February 19, 2006 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz,

IIRC, the issue with Americans in Saudi Arabia was that SA is home to two of the three holiest cities of Islam. Kuwait, Yemen, and Qatar are not.

IIRC, the objection to the US presence in Iraq is that we invaded the country and are currently imposing a military occupation. We haven't yet invaded Kuwait, Yemen, or Qatar.

You need to read more.

Posted by: Joel on February 19, 2006 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz,

The stationing of troops "over the horizon," as I understand the proposal, would be a transitional posture and would not involve "permanent" bases.

And your contention that the so-called Iraqi government will have the final say about permanent U.S. bases is the epitome of disingenuousness. How long did it take the Phillipines to be rid of us after we "liberated" their country?

Posted by: athos on February 19, 2006 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

Hmmmm. I wonder who the architects for this billion dollar "embassy" are. And if it's too late for someone like me to become an architect-crony.

--
HRlaughed

Posted by: HRlaughed on February 19, 2006 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

Bravo@koreyel@6:39 pm

Posted by: Where is shortstop? ; ) on February 19, 2006 at 7:34 PM | PERMALINK

Tbrosz:
So, tell me how bases in Kuwait, Yemen, and other Muslim nations are going to piss Muslims off less than bases in Iraq. We've already found out what the radicals thought of bases in Saudi Arabia.

Probably has something to do with us invading Iraq, then pretending like we just did it to overthrow a bad man and install democracy.

But really, why should anyone be upset? These bases are just little freedom camps. [sarcasm]

Posted by: Librul on February 19, 2006 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

Rome was not built in a day.
History has shown arrogance,stretching its miliary
to thin and corruption of its leaders.
Was what cost Rome its title of Worlds most powerful nation.
Does any of that sound familiar? ROME was
in power for 2000 years. ask yourself how old is this nation.

Posted by: Honey P on February 19, 2006 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz >"...A couple of months ago, Democrats were making a big deal about "over the horizon" forces being a great idea, where they could respond quickly if needed. Where did they think those forces would be based? Kansas?..."

Well Mr. HotShot Rocket Scientist let me help you get a clue

If you are the Marine Corps, "over the horizon" usually means a MEF (Marine Expeditionary Force; used to be called a batallion landing team - BLT) aboard ship(s) beyond sight of land & usually moving around in "the area"

No need to be on "solid ground" at all, maybe port call for liberty now & then

These MEF deployments usually last for around 6 months & rotate between different groups of Marines; there are usually 2 of them afloat at all times

Expand your perspective & think beyond your basement !

"Every once in a while, you've got to do something hard, do something you're not comfortable with. A person needs a gut check." - Corporal Chad Ritchie, U.S.M.C

Posted by: daCascadian on February 19, 2006 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK

ROME was in power for 2000 years. ask yourself how old is this nation.

Baloney. Rome was nothing but a backwater local power until about 200 BC, and it ceased being much more than a prestigious city to conquer by about 400 AD.

Posted by: Baloney on February 19, 2006 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

Halliburton's very first contract included building 14 American military bases. This information was out in 2003, for Pete's sake! Doesn't anyone pay attention?

Posted by: Scorpio on February 19, 2006 at 8:13 PM | PERMALINK

I don't see the problem here. We want the Iraqi military forces to have permanent, not temporary, bases once everything is turned over to them, and we want to work diplomatically with the Iraqi government. Hence, we would want permanent bases and an embassy built in Iraq. Maybe the embassy could be scaled down a little, but it is not a symbol of our imperialism. (And before some of you come around and tell me to open my eyes, I suggest that you check your own and make sure you are not looking at the picture you've drawn on the back of your eyelids.)

If anyone cares to respond to me, I'll get back to you tomorrow.

Posted by: Sixth Sense on February 19, 2006 at 8:13 PM | PERMALINK

I had to do it...

No one else would:

Dodging Muhammad's bullet...
Or pulling Muhammad's beard?

Wakey up liberal...
Time to show your backbone.

Posted by: koreyel on February 19, 2006 at 8:41 PM | PERMALINK

Rome was in power 2000 years

Please get history right. Rome was sacked by the Celts in 390 B.C.E and sacked by the Alaric and the Visigoths in 410 C.E. Rome was "in power" for the 800 years between these two events. 800 not 2000.

Posted by: lee on February 19, 2006 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

"Time to show your backbone."

Wow. Emoticons are a display of courage. Who knew?

Posted by: Joel on February 19, 2006 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

At the moment we have all of the burdens of an imperial empire, including but not limited to a staggaring military budget which is not proportional to the actual defense needs of the country, and various military "positions" throughout the world which accomplish little than to insure general animosity towards the U.S.

At the same time, we do not appear to have any of the benefits which the former european empires realized from their empires.

Its a joke. Too bad its on us.

Posted by: hank on February 19, 2006 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe Dubya can hire that Kuwaiti construction firm to rebuild New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast...

...I mean, there is a source of migrant workers relatively nearby; it shouldn't be that difficult for Dubya to do...

Posted by: grape_crush on February 19, 2006 at 8:59 PM | PERMALINK

A couple of months ago, Democrats were making a big deal about "over the horizon" forces being a great idea

has the GOP Thought Dispatch changed the meaning of "over the horizon" to mean "inside the country" ? if not, you're making even less sense than usual.

Posted by: cleek on February 19, 2006 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

"permanent bases in Iraq" - would that be like a permanent electricity supply?

Posted by: phil on February 19, 2006 at 9:29 PM | PERMALINK

"Mad Dogs and Americans"

Posted by: R.L. on February 19, 2006 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

According to Iraq the Model, at least one Iraqi minister wants Iraq to join NATO.

Posted by: republicrat on February 19, 2006 at 9:40 PM | PERMALINK

According to Iraq the Model, at least one Iraqi minister wants Iraq to join NATO.

And what does NATO think?

Posted by: floopmeister on February 19, 2006 at 9:46 PM | PERMALINK

Funny, I seem to remember arguing (with the usual suspects) about the semantic differences between permanent and enduring some time ago on this blog.

Posted by: floopmeister on February 19, 2006 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: David on February 19, 2006 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

My sentiments approximately, David.

Really, I just can't imagine an embassy that size. It would have to serve as much, more more than just an embassy.

Posted by: JIm Bartle on February 19, 2006 at 10:18 PM | PERMALINK

"It would have to serve as much, more more than just an embassy."

Indeed. Just as the occupation is expected to serve as much, much more than just an occupation.

Folly.

Posted by: Joel on February 19, 2006 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

Barry Ritholtz told us all about it before the troops even went into Iraq. Read all about it:

http://bigpicture.typepad.com/comments/2003/03/notsohidden_age.html

Posted by: j on February 19, 2006 at 10:33 PM | PERMALINK

It would have to serve as much, more more than just an embassy.

Of course. If we don't show them what shopping malls look like, who will?

Posted by: craigie on February 19, 2006 at 10:43 PM | PERMALINK

"Liberals are predictable, hypocritical and accomplish nothing."

While McAristotle is illiterate, incomprehensible and accomplishes nothing.

*yawn*

Whatever.

Posted by: Joel on February 19, 2006 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz:
How about waiting to see what actually happens?

This is classic Tom tweed and pipe mode commentary. How reasonable you want to make this sound.

Except, we've been "seeing what actually happens" for about 5 years now, and it's been pretty much a one hundred percent fuckup. So pardon us for not spotting the Shrub administation any more points.

Incompetent and mendacious - it's quite a combination.

Posted by: craigie on February 19, 2006 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

McAristotle has a point about liberals (aside from them accomplishing nothing). They get upset with Bush for not spending money to protect Americans abroad and then when he does it's wrong as well. "Permanent" is an idiotic word to use here. These are simply well-fortified military bases. Who knows how long they'll be occupied?

Here's the question no answered: what's wrong with well-fortified bases?

Posted by: Tom on February 19, 2006 at 10:51 PM | PERMALINK

"Permanent" is an idiotic word to use here.

How true. When I read "15ft blast walls" I immediately think "as temporary as a travelling circus."

Posted by: craigie on February 19, 2006 at 10:59 PM | PERMALINK

"Who knows how long they'll be occupied?"

One hour is one hour too long.

Liberals want Bush to spend money protecting Americans abroad. We want him to spend that money sending them home. That's the ultimate protection.

Fortified bases--that's occupation.

Folly.

Posted by: Joel on February 19, 2006 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

Commissary = families

Is the housing 'family' housing or 'single' housing?

Posted by: Roxanne on February 19, 2006 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

What no one seems to have noted is that this is the same idea that Congressman John Murtha has proposed and many liberals have mischaracterized as withdrawal. Murtha's resolution entails that the U.S. create "a quick-reaction U.S. force and an over-the horizon presence of U.S. Marines" to be "deployed to the region." As a few people have already pointed out, this sleight-of-hand in juggling the troops around will hardly placate the Iraqis. Whether U.S. troops are positioned over or under or above and beyond the horizon, in Kurdistan or Kuwait, the Iraqis feel, with much justification, that at a moment's notice those troops could be sent back into their country and continue their domination and rule of Iraq. As Murtha himself has pointed out, a British poll reveals that 80 percent of Iraqis want the U.S. to leave. Again, redeployment is not the same thing as withdrawal. As hard as it may be to believe, Iraq has not become this country's 51st state. Few people in this country seem to realize the enmity that the Iraqis have toward this government. In the powerful and moving film Why We Fight, which I saw yesterday, a statement is printed on the screen which says that the U.S. aimed 50 [so-called] precision attacks by [so-called] smart bombs. None hit their target. In another scene, Richard Perle proclaims, with quiet confidence, that America has liberated Iraq. In the next scene, an Iraqi who is in charge of an outside mortuary, opens the door to reveal bodies which have been killed by the Americans. He reads from a ledger that he keeps and says that an [astonishing] 90 percent of those killed in that make shift mortuary were civilians. This is why the Iraqis will never tolerate the presence of American troops in any part of their region. The ramifications of war can have a searing effect upon one's soul. To most Americans, this war, like most wars, is simply an abstract concept. To the Iraqis, this war is all too real. Since Iraq has had their elections in December, it is time to finally bring the troops home. Now.

Posted by: Erroll on February 19, 2006 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

cleek:

has the GOP Thought Dispatch changed the meaning of "over the horizon" to mean "inside the country" ? if not, you're making even less sense than usual.

I don't think you have a clear idea of what "over the horizon" actually means, either. What kind of response time are you looking for in a hot situation? If something hit the fan in the Anbar area, figure out the closest non-Iraq friendly deployment zone or nation, and then work out how long it would take Murtha's famous "over the horizon presence of Marines" to deploy, via massive airlift, to that spot. Remember, you can't launch cargo airplanes from carriers. If you're going to drive a convoy in, hope you've got a couple of days.

Then try it for Baghdad.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 19, 2006 at 11:14 PM | PERMALINK

Rome in the West fell in 410 AD, but Rome in the West (spelt Constantinople) didn't fall until 1453. Therefore, the Roman Empire lasted 2000 years.

So far, the British Empire (now spelt Commonwealth of Nations)has about 400 years up(settlement in Virginia to today).

Posted by: Brett on February 19, 2006 at 11:18 PM | PERMALINK

It's too bad that we don't have a non-nuts alternative to the Bush administration that isn't just as crooked and un-American as they are.

Maybe if the Dems got rid of the nuts, the crooks, the racists, and the traitors they might be able to appeal to enough people to prevent things like permanent bases.

-- The Quail Hunter: you can post here

Posted by: TLB on February 19, 2006 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

I've found this astounding for quite some time. I've periodically bugged (via email) Fred Kaplan at Slate about this issue.

It seems to me to as big an issue there is wrt to the Iraq invasion. It's the only reason I can think of that all the players (beside Rove, who wanted a war president) would have agreed to--permanent bases to replace the dubious Saudi bases, closer to Israel, offsetting Iranian power. More than a few people have suggested the US express an unwillingness to maintain such bases as part of a policy of disengagement.

But there's no discussion in the media about this. I don't understand why. There are a number of reasons why this is a very important question.

Posted by: JayAckroyd on February 19, 2006 at 11:44 PM | PERMALINK

That's no embassy. It's the future seat of the de facto occupational government. Ambassadors don't need or use compounds of this size and versitility, but occupational governors do. If it looks like a duck. . .

Posted by: joe on February 19, 2006 at 11:51 PM | PERMALINK

What kind of response time are you looking for in a hot situation? If something hit the fan in the Anbar area

Your premise is faulty on two counts.

The administration has stated that:

1) the terrorists are just a few dead-enders, and;

2) Iraq has over 100,000 troops and all kinds of battle-ready battalions.

Logically there can be no "hot" situation if there is no actual military resistance in Iraq and plenty of troops to handle one if there were.

Or are you presuming to suggest the administration is lying to us? Whatever you do, don't tell us you're trying to have it both ways.

Posted by: milton on February 19, 2006 at 11:53 PM | PERMALINK

I lived in the enormous U.S. Embassy compound in Moscow for two years in the early '90s and it sounds similar to the Baghdad construction. In addition to a couple hundred townhouses contained within its walls, it also included a middle school, a 10-15 story office building (bugged and made obsolete during construction). Underground, the compound had its own cafeteria, bar, stylist/barber, post office, commissary, large swimming pool, regulation basketball court, a video store and workout facilities.

The point being there is nothing new about piling a lot of money and resources into embassies. That is only a reflection of a particular country's strategic and policy importance for the forseeable future. For the sake of security and discretion, some diplomatic posts deserve and even require large, self-contained embassies.

Posted by: Carl on February 20, 2006 at 12:07 AM | PERMALINK

Eight of ten Iraqis believe that we are building permanent bases.

Same poll: one of two Iraqis still believes attacks on their "liberators" are justified.

Curious.

Perhaps we all should go to their blogs and deride them.

Posted by: milton on February 20, 2006 at 12:10 AM | PERMALINK

Basically, we'll be leaving those bases in 2009...if not sooner. The point is that the money wasted on constructing fall back into bribes of Congressmen...I mean, I didn't get that memo!

Posted by: parrot on February 20, 2006 at 12:14 AM | PERMALINK

Gee, Carl. That was a really reassuring pile-up of neutral descriptors. I feel a lot better now about the billions being wasted in Iraq.

Posted by: Kenji on February 20, 2006 at 12:14 AM | PERMALINK

As Carl says, there will be significant "strategic and policy importance for the forseeable future" In Iraq. Sounds like permanent bases to me. That's what the intension was all along. Everything they said previously - about WMD, democracy, etc. was a lie (but you knew that already).

Posted by: M. Carey on February 20, 2006 at 12:15 AM | PERMALINK

milton:

I wasn't the one who proposed an "over the horizon" force, or suggested it was either needed, or a good idea. What I am showing is where the concept has problems when you start examining it.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 20, 2006 at 12:20 AM | PERMALINK

joe wrote:
That's no embassy.

Heh, made me think of the classic Star Wars line:

"That's no moon."

Posted by: Librul on February 20, 2006 at 12:32 AM | PERMALINK

See if you can follow this:

The. Bases. Are. Why. We. are. There!
It is the whole point, to get our military
out of Bandar's back yard.
Oh yeah, and the oil.
Just watch, we ain't leaving.

Posted by: satan on February 20, 2006 at 12:42 AM | PERMALINK

I don't think you have a clear idea of what "over the horizon" actually means, either. What kind of response time are you looking for in a hot situation?

you can't be over Iraq's "horizon" if you're still in Iraq.

Posted by: cleek on February 20, 2006 at 12:51 AM | PERMALINK

We are planning to Storm the WhiteHouse the week of March 15th to remind the BushCo. that we are sick of their corporate killing machine that uses our budget to make exxon and halliburton richer, not to mention Carlyle Group and the others.

Even though they don't seem to care that the U.N. called it an illegal war and now wants Abu Ghraib closed, we are also sending an SOS to the U.N., because they should help us kick the Bush Regime Out.

www.PoliticalCooperative.Org
www.CitySites.com

Peace & Information

Posted by: Darrow Boggiano | Feb 20, 2006 12:46:52 AM | #

Posted by: Darrow Boggiano on February 20, 2006 at 12:58 AM | PERMALINK

tbrosz >"...What I am showing is where the concept has problems when you start examining it."

You have showed nothing except your ignorance of how military organizations actually function

"over the horizon" has NOTHING to do with bases on land unless the specific command desires & the operational situation allows it

Ever heard of the Marine Corps & Navy ?

[and, yes, you can launch a cargo aircraft off of a carrier; done all the time, "big ones" too]

Bout time for a refresh of that last memo from ReThuglican HQ cause itz STALE

"For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill" - Sun Tzu

Posted by: daCascadian on February 20, 2006 at 1:00 AM | PERMALINK

Whoever thinks that the Bush Co. intends to leave Iraq before every drop of oil is sucked out of it, is stupid. They don't intend to leave and they don't intend to let the people have the money that comes from the oil. Listen to the Former NSA Hit Man talk about how he did the same thing to other countries, ripping off the poor and blackmailing the leaders into following halliburton/exxon orders. The audio will start playing when you go to citysites.com if you have real audio.

Get real, there isn't a shred of dignity in this administration or this war.

Posted by: Darrow Boggiano on February 20, 2006 at 1:11 AM | PERMALINK

tbrosz, the point of "reporting" is to gather evidence from sources and investigate to find out what's going on. "Let's wait an see what happens" is not "journalism."

Permanent bases in Iraq-- not what we signed up for.

Posted by: Constantine on February 20, 2006 at 2:06 AM | PERMALINK

Fortified bases--that's occupation.

Posted by: Joel on February 19, 2006 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

Think of it as a lot of body armor.

Remember, body armor - stops bullets?
So do walls, and without tiring out the troops.

Posted by: McA on February 20, 2006 at 2:39 AM | PERMALINK

I just ordered a subscription to the Financial Times. Anyone got other British newspapers to suggest or recommend?

Posted by: duvidil on February 20, 2006 at 3:23 AM | PERMALINK

The British and American Empires are the continous translations of the Roman Empire.

Posted by: al on February 20, 2006 at 3:36 AM | PERMALINK

No, you cretin, Moscow is the Third Rome, after Rome and Byzantium. Haven't read your Solovev, have you? The Crown of Christendom lies in the Kremlin, awaiting only the Romanov heir to regain his throne.

Posted by: Sgt. Schulz on February 20, 2006 at 3:58 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: xy on February 20, 2006 at 5:19 AM | PERMALINK

Funny (in a sick, sad way) and pointless. These bases are "permanent" only as much as the Bush misAdministration is permanent. They are a HUGE waste of money and effort, and a good example of why Iraq is totally dicked because we waste money on something we have no right to while foregoing building water treatment plants, power generation facilities, other public works USING LOCAL LABOR EXCLUSIVELY. These bases are bullshit and not permanent. They are a Bush-Condi-Cheney wet dream, but the dream will end, as they always do, in a gooey mess.

Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on February 20, 2006 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

God wants George Bush to control Babylon during the Apocalypse, and George is NOT going to let God down!

Posted by: E. Nonee Moose on February 20, 2006 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

"Maybe the embassy could be scaled down a little, but it is not a symbol of our imperialism."

Actually, Americans don't get to say what our constructions and behaviors mean to other people. We can say the embassy is a symbol of Iraqis' freedom, but if they don't have clean water, electricity, and streets safe from bombs and kidnappers, when they see it they may think of something else. Such as Saddam's palaces of luxury and security paired with his brutal prisons. We can't control their thoughts.

Posted by: cowalker on February 20, 2006 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

Exactly so:

Halliburton's very first contract included building 14 American military bases. This information was out in 2003, for Pete's sake! Doesn't anyone pay attention?
Posted by: Scorpio

I read this piece Kevin references, emailed it around, and then came over here to see if there was discussion - better a few days late than not at all.

My personal favorite was short after the 'Glorious Victory'.

The Marines were establishing their base camp right on top of a archeological site. Filling sandbags with chucks of 3,500 year old walls, running bulldozers and backhoes to knock down walls and cut latines.

Brilliant.

Posted by: CFShep on February 20, 2006 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

So even if we don't have 'permanent military bases.' We have a permanent embassy that is a military base.

Posted by: gr on February 20, 2006 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

Gee, although not quite a "palace" sounds like we'll have a nice, little, American, isolated complex kinda like Saddam had while he was "in power"!

Posted by: Dancer on February 20, 2006 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

For those who argue building this imperialistic fortress in a hostile country, let me remind you of one thing: WE DID NOT INVADE IRAQ TO SET UP PERMANENT BASES THERE!

The invasion of Iraq was all about WMDs - go back and read every speech made by Bush, Cheney, Rice, Powell, Wolfowitz, Perle, et al. prior to March of 2003. The use of force against Iraq was predicated on the presumed existence of WMDs. There was not one word spoken about rebuilding Iraq, permanent bases, mass graves or any of the other constantly shifting rationalizations for this illegal occupation.

This is bait and switch, plain and simple. Anyone who buys into this imperialistic nonsense and thinks this is money well spent, doesn't deserve to live in America. Damn fools...

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on February 20, 2006 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

Of course this generation's version of the Pentagon Papers would be the transcripts of Cheney's secret energy meetings.

Word on the street around the 'oil patch' generally confirms that Cheney assured these guys that control over Iraqi oil was in the...er...pipeline, so to speak.

Where's Dan Ellsberg when you need him?

Posted by: CFShep on February 20, 2006 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

Typically, among the most important strategic decisions that the administration has consistently failed to address about its plan for Iraq receives essentially NO media attention. Sometimes you have to wonder about the American public.

www.hairytruth.blogspot.com

Posted by: truth4achange on February 20, 2006 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

"A couple of months ago, Democrats were making a big deal about "over the horizon" forces being a great idea, where they could respond quickly if needed. Where did they think those forces would be based? Kansas?" - No. North Carolina.

"In the end, the Iraqi government will have the final say. Right now, some people in that government are talking about joining NATO. We'll see what happens with that, too." - Are you the real tbrosz?! No, surely not. Because I wouldn't think the real tbrosz would actually float that as a real idea. Seems more like something a bunch of folks smoking pot together dreamed up, and posted under tbrosz's name, amidst gales of giggles at the sheer ridiculousness of the entire concept.

Posted by: chasmrich on February 20, 2006 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

Why don't we just declare all of Iraq our embassy?

Since our embassy in any foreign country is U.S. territory we could claim all of Iraq is ours and we can do whatever we want there.

Hmmm, come to think of it we already did that.

So, what's the difference between an embassy and a military fort?

Posted by: MarkH on February 20, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

Cowalker,

We may not control their minds, but if we don't try to have an influence, then we might as well not be there (which is what many people commenting here seem to want). We are working to get that clean water and electricity to the Iraqi people that you seem to think is vital to our cause. Well, guess what, the remaining terrori...I mean, insurgents (can't say terrorists, not PC and all) are the ones disrupting services, and in the process, they are LOSING THE SUPPORT OF THE IRAQI PUBLIC! While they want us out of the country, they also know that we can't leave just yet. They know that we are helping and we will leave as soon as their government (yes, THEIR government) and their military is able to carry the load.

We may not have completely finished the war yet, but all the cards have been dealt, and we hold the winning hand. The only way we lose is if we fold, and the terrorists/insurgents are counting on people like the ones commenting on this blog to help them bluff the American public to do just that.

To the person who brought it up, who confirmed that a) 90% of those dead were civilians and b) every single one of them were killed by Americans?

Posted by: Sixth Sense on February 20, 2006 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

The plans for this "embassy" are almost mythic in nature. A high-tech complex, it is to have "15ft blast walls and ground-to-air missiles" for protection as well as bunkers to guard against air attacks.

A fitting monument to a monumental failure.

Posted by: chuck on February 20, 2006 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

Sixth Sense
"We may not control their minds, but if we don't try to have an influence, then we might as well not be there (which is what many people commenting here seem to want). We are working to get that clean water and electricity to the Iraqi people that you seem to think is vital to our cause."

Sweetie, "trying to have an influence" is not the same thing as "having an influence." And "having an influence" is not the same as "controlling the influence that is had." The difficulty is in controlling how the facts are perceived by Iraqis. We have to deal with facts--like the lack of electricity and clean water--and the more murky matter of where blame is assigned--to insurgents or the U.S.

The fact is that Baghdad had more electricity before the U.S. invaded. It is also true that it is insurgency activity that is preventing better electrical service to Baghdad. However if the U.S. had not invaded, the insurgency would not exist. We cannot control how the Iraqi people react to these facts. Nor can we control how much importance they place on having electricity, clean water and safe streets. You say I insist that electrical power and clean water and safe streets are important. Are you arguing that Iraqis don't value these things?

By the way, the U.S. is no longer investing in the Iraq infrastructure, so it's up to them to finance any further improvements.

Why do you say the U.S. holds the winning hand, when we're just "helping" the Iraqi government? I anybody holds the winning hand, it would be the Iraqi government. Let's hope so.

Posted by: cowalker on February 21, 2006 at 2:21 AM | PERMALINK

General Zinni of the Marine Corps was talking about "over the horizon" several years before John Murtha mentioned the term.

You must get out more Rocket Man.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on February 21, 2006 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

There was a time when Americans prided themselves on the fact that they sought no territorial gain from war.

If such a time existed based on anything but outright self-delusion, it was limited to sometime that started after WWII; the US sought -- and often acheived -- de jure territorial aggrandizement in most wars prior to that (and includign WWII), even if it wasn't the reason, or notional reason, the US went to war.

Of course what it seeks in Iraq isn't de jure expansion, but de facto control over a puppet state -- what it fought to preserve against an alternative imperial power in Korea, in Vietnam, and many times since. So, no, its not reasonable to portray the attempt to rule Iraq -- despicable as it may be -- as inconsistent with the past history of the US in terms of seeking power over other nations through war; to do so views the past through mythology, not reality.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 21, 2006 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK
The Bush administration is sinking between $600 million and $1 billion in construction funds into a new U.S. embassy. It is to arise in Baghdad's Green Zone on a plot of land along the Tigris River that is reportedly two-thirds the area of the National Mall in Washington, DC. The plans for this "embassy" are almost mythic in nature. A high-tech complex, it is to have "15ft blast walls and ground-to-air missiles" for protection as well as bunkers to guard against air attacks.

...And, in 10 foot tall letters around the blast wall, repeated as necessary to be visible from any approach, will be the inscription: "I am George Bush, King of Kings. Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair."


Posted by: cmdicely on February 21, 2006 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

Cowalker,

First, I dispute your facts. Baghdad has more electricity running through it right now. However, the demand for electricity has risen just as fast, and sometimes faster, which strains the infrastructure we are trying to build and expand.

Second, I'll concede that if we didn't invade, the insurgency wouldn't exist. In return, I'll ask you to concede that if we didn't invade, Saddam's police would still be wandering the streets ready to arrest those who showed less than full support to his regime.

Third, people cannot control how others will first interpret what they say or do (see the Mohammed cartoons, Sen. Trent Lott's statements about Sen. Strom Thurmond, etc.). However, that does not mean you roll over and die (metaphorically) because someone misinterpreted your intent. You go out there and plead your case as often as possible to whomever will listen to you.

Fourth, everyone considers the basic services important, and that's all I'll give to your "gotcha" rhetorical question.

Finally, to clear up the poker analogy, both the Iraqi government and the US hold winning hands. Once we clear everyone else off the table, the US will cede its chips to the Iraqi government. Does that work better?

Posted by: Sixth Sense on February 21, 2006 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: credit cards on February 21, 2006 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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