Monday, May 21, 2007

No Troop Withdrawal

If you ever had any question about the long term plans of the U.S. in regard to troop withdrawal, you can now lay them to rest. Testifying in the Senate, Gen. Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was asked about plans to withdraw from Iraq.
"We have published no orders directing the planning for the overall withdrawal of forces," Pace replied. "We do have ongoing replacements of forces, and we do change the size of the force over time so that that system is available to either plus-up or draw down, but we have published no orders saying come up with a complete plan for total drawdown."

Okay, so what does that mean in street-speak? It means just exactly what the neo-cons came in to the Whitehouse to accomplish which is, in their words, “While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.” (Long time readers of my rants will know that this came from a document called Rebuilding America’s Defenses that was published back in September, 2000 by the bunch of loony neo-cons that lead the Bush foreign policy team. If you have not read this document, you really owe it to yourself and your country to follow the link above and do so. Otherwise you cannot fully understand why BushCo introduced such a militant form of leadership.)

But I digress! Getting back to General Pace’s testimony, let’s explore what he means by “no published orders saying come up with a complete plan for total drawdown”. What he went on to explain was that he foresees decades of American troop presence in bases in Iraq. Well of course he does. What else have we been building all those military bases over there for!?!?

As he sees it we will have 30-40,000 troops there for a long time to come. That’s one-quarter of our current force level. He named a couple of bases in his testimony – Tallil and Bashar, but the fact is that the U.S. has built or is building about many more bases “in-country”. The two reasons NPR’s reporter gave for the troop placement are training Iraqi police and military and guarding the oil. As most of the bases have been built right along the path of the oil pipelines, it isn’t hard to see which gets priority.

Global reported on this long ago:

"On 23 March 2004 it was reported that "U.S. engineers are focusing on constructing 14 "enduring bases," long-term encampments for the thousands of American troops expected to serve in Iraq for at least two years …”

By May 2005 the Washington Post reported that plans called for consolidating American troops in Iraq into four large air bases: Tallil in the south, Al Asad in the west, Balad in the center and either Irbil or Qayyarah in the north. Eventually, US units would be concentrated at these four fortified strategic hubs, from which they could provide logistical support and emergency combat assistance. Each base would support a brigade combat team, along with aviation and other support personnel."

In light of all this, I thought the following quote from Donald Rumsfeld in the same article was quite interesting, "I have never, that I can recall, heard the subject of a permanent base in Iraq discussed in any meeting. ...” Given that the neo-cons were talking about it in 2000 and that Don Rumsfeld hobnobbed with those boys on a regular basis, this would be a really surprising statement if we weren’t so used to Rummy and the rest of BushCo playing so fast and loose with the truth.

A permanent American presence in Iraq? Oh no. We’ll only be there as long as the oil holds out. In that sense, I guess you could claim that Rummy gave us the truth. I guess my complaint is just that I so constantly have to bend over and grab my ankles so that BushCo can shove their truths home.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. -- M. K. Gandhi

Individually we have little voice. Collectively we cannot be ignored. But
in silence we surrender our power. Yours in Peace -- BR

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