- Why does the Bush Administration refuse
to discuss withdrawing occupation forces from Iraq? Why is Halliburton,
who landed the no-bid contracts to construct and maintain US military bases
in Iraq, posting higher profits than ever before in its 86-year history?
- Why do these bases in Iraq resemble
self-contained cities as much as military outposts?
- Why are we hearing such ludicrous
and outrageous statements from the highest ranking military general in
the United States, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Peter
Pace, who when asked how things were going in Iraq on March 9th in an interview
on "Meet the Press" said, "I'd say they're going well. I
wouldn't put a great big smiley face on it, but I would say they're going
very, very well from everything you look at."
- I wonder if there is a training school,
or at least talking point memos for these Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff, because Pace's predecessor, Gen. Richard Myers, told Senator
John McCain last September that "In a sense, things are going well
- General Pace also praised the Iraqi
military, saying, "Now there are over 100 [Iraqi] battalions in the
- Wow! General Pace must have waved
his magic wand and materialized all these 99 new Iraqi battalions that
are diligently keeping things safe and secure in occupied Iraq. Because
according to the top US general in Iraq, General George Casey, not long
ago there was only one Iraqi battalion (about 500-600 soldiers) capable
of fighting on its own in Iraq.
- During a late-September 2005 Senate
Armed Services Committee hearing, Casey acknowledged that the Pentagon
estimate of three Iraqi battalions last June had shrunk to one in September.
That is less than six months ago.
- I thought it would be a good idea
to find someone who is qualified to discuss how feasible it would be to
train 99 Iraqi battalions in less than six months, as Pace now claims has
- I decided that someone who was in
the US Army for 26 years and who worked in eight conflict areas, starting
in Vietnam and ending with Haiti, would be qualified. If he had served
in two parachute infantry units, three Ranger units, two Special Forces
Groups and in Delta Force that would be helpful as well. And just to make
sure, if he taught tactics at the Jungle Operations Training Center in
Panama and Military Science at the United States Military Academy at West
Point, thus knowing a thing or two about training soldiers, that would
be a bonus.
- That person is Stan Goff.
- "This is utter bullshit,"
was Goff's remark about the Pace claim of having 100 Iraqi battalions when
I asked him to comment, "He must be counting the resistance among
- Goff adds, "That dip-shit [Pace]
is saying he has 60,000 trained and disciplined people under arms ... 65,000
with all the staffs ... and almost 100,000 with the support units they
would require. To train and oversee them would require thousands of American
advisors. It must suck for a career Marine to be used so blatantly as a
- Goff mentioned that Pace "and
everyone else" knows that the Iraqi forces, "however many there
are," are heavily cross-infiltrated.
- "He [Pace] is saying that the
Bush administration is going to empower a pro-Iranian government with 100
ready battalions, when this administration was handed this particular government
as the booby prize in exchange for Sistani pulling their cookies out of
the fire during the joint rebellions in Najaf and Fallujah," added
- Further discrediting the Chairman
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Goff said, "To train 99 [battalions]
since last September is a claim only the average American might swallow.
The right question to ask is, where are they? Where are they headquartered,
and where are they in operation? Claiming operations security doesn't count,
unless they believe they can hide 100 units of 600 people each in Iraq
... from other Iraqis ... who are often related to them."
- He concludes, "These guys have
become accustomed to saying any damn thing, then counting on ignorance
and apathy at home - along with hundreds of Democrats who need spine transplants
- to get away with it. You can quote me on any of that."
- There's a good reason why Pace and
others are busy spewing smoke - it's to hide the fact that there are no
plans to leave Iraq.
- While we're addressing propaganda,
we mustn't leave out our brilliant military strategist and warrior for
protecting human rights, the illustrious Secretary of State Condoleezza
- On March 8th, Rice delivered the
opening remarks on the release of her Department's "2005 Country Reports
on Human Rights Practices."
- The introduction to the report says:
"In Iraq, 2005 was a year of major progress for democracy, democratic
rights and freedom. There was a steady growth of NGOs and other civil society
associations that promote human rights."
- Uh, right.
- This report is submitted to Congress
by the State Department. I've often wondered if our politicians are just
this ignorant, or simply horrifically misinformed like so many Americans.
This report, perhaps, answers the latter.
- My point is, if there is a concerted
effort by high-ranking officials of the Bush administration to portray
things in Iraq as going well, then why are there permanent bases being
constructed in Iraq?
- This media smokescreen from the likes
of Pace, Rice and even "sharp-shooter" Cheney, who recently said
things in Iraq are "improving steadily," conveniently leads the
American people toward believing there will eventually be a withdrawal
of American soldiers.
- But the problem with smokescreens
is that pesky thing called "reality."
- And in Iraq, the reality is that
people like Pace, Rice, Cheney and their ever-eloquent front man aren't
telling the American public about their true plans for Iraq.
- One example that provides some insight
into their agenda is the US "Embassy" which is under construction
in the infamous "Green Zone."
- As you read this, a controversial
Kuwait-based construction firm is building a $592 million US embassy in
Baghdad. When the dust settles, this compound will be the largest and most
secure diplomatic compound in the world.
- The headquarters, I mean "Embassy,"
will be a self-sustaining cluster of 21 buildings reinforced 2.5 times
the usual standards, with some walls to be as thick as 15 feet.
- Plans are for over 1,000 US "government
officials" to staff and reside there. Lucky for them, they will have
access to the gym, swimming pool, barber and beauty shops, food court and
commissary. There will also be a large-scale barracks for troops, a school,
locker rooms, a warehouse, a vehicle maintenance garage, and six apartment
buildings with a total of 619 one-bedroom units. And luckily for the "government
officials," their water, electricity and sewage treatment plants will
all be independent from Baghdad's city utilities. The total site will be
two-thirds the area of the National Mall in Washington, DC."
- I wonder if any liberated Iraqis
will have access to their swimming pool?
- And unlike the Iraqi infrastructure,
which is in total shambles and functioning below pre-invasion levels in
nearly every area, the US "Embassy" is being constructed right
on time. The US Senate Foreign Affairs Committee recently called this an
"impressive" feat, considering the construction is taking place
in one of the most violent and volatile spots on the planet.
- Then there are the permanent military
- To give you an idea of what these
look like in Iraq, let's start with Camp Anaconda, near Balad. Occupying
15 square miles of Iraq, the base boasts two swimming pools (not the plastic
inflatable type), a gym, mini-golf course and first-run movie theater.
- The 20,000 soldiers who live at the
Balad Air Base, less than 1,000 of whom ever leave the base, can inspect
new iPod accessories in one of the two base exchanges, which have piles
of the latest electronics and racks of CDs to choose from. One of the PX
managers recently boasted that every day he was selling 15 televisions
- At Camp Anaconda, located in al-Anbar
province where resistance is fierce, the occupation forces live in air-conditioned
units where plans are being drawn up to run internet, cable television
and overseas telephone access to them.
- The thousands of civilian contractors
live at the base in a section called "KBR-land," and there is
a hospital where doctors carry out 400 surgeries every month on wounded
- Air Force officials on the base claim
the runway there is one of the busiest in the world, where unmanned Predator
drones take off carrying their Hellfire missiles, along with F-16's, C-130's,
helicopters, and countless others, as the bases houses over 250 aircraft.
- If troops aren't up for the rather
lavish dinners served by "Third Country Nationals" from India,
Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh who work for slave wages, they can visit
the Burger King, Pizza Hut, Popeye's or Subway, then wash it down with
a mocha from the Starbucks.
- There are several other gigantic
bases in Iraq besides camp Anaconda, such as Camp Victory near Baghdad
Airport, which - according to a reporter for Mother Jones magazine - when
complete will be twice the size of Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo. The Kosovo
base is currently one of the largest overseas bases built since the war
- Camp Liberty is adjacent to Camp
Victory - where soldiers even compete in their own triathlons. "The
course, longer than 140 total miles, spanned several bases in the greater
Camp Victory area in west Baghdad," says a news article on a DOD web
- Mr. Bush refuses to set a timetable
for withdrawal from Iraq because he doesn't intend to withdraw. He doesn't
intend to because he's following a larger plan for the US in the Middle
- Less than two weeks after the fall
of Baghdad on April 9, 2003, US military officials announced the intention
to maintain at least four large bases in Iraq that could be used in the
- These are located near Baghdad International
Airport (where the triathlon was), Tallil (near Nasiriyah, in the south),
one in the Kurdish north at either Irbil or Qayyarah (they are only 50
kilometers apart) and one in western al-Anbar province at Al-Asad. Of course,
let's not forget the aforementioned Camp Anaconda in Balad.
- More recently, on May 22 of last
year, US military commanders announced that they would consolidate troops
into four large air bases. It was announced at this time that while buildings
were being made of concrete instead of the usual metal trailers and tin-sheathed
buildings, military officers working on the plan "said the consolidation
plan was not meant to establish a permanent US military presence in Iraq."
- The US has at least four of these
massive bases in Iraq. Billions of dollars have been spent in their construction,
and they are in about the same locations where they were mentioned they
would be by military planners back before Mr. Bush declared that major
combat operations were over in Iraq.
- It appears as though "mission
accomplished" in Iraq was not necessarily referring to guarding the
Ministry of Oil and occupying the country indefinitely (or finding WMDs,
disrupting al-Qaeda, or liberating Iraqis, blah-blah-blah), but to having
a military beach-head in the heart of the Middle East.
- Note that while US officials don't
dare say the word "permanent" when referring to military bases
in Iraq, they will say "permanent access." An article entitled
"Pentagon Expects Long-Term Access to Four Key Bases in Iraq,"
which was a front-page story in the New York Times on April 19, 2003, reads:
"There will probably never be an announcement of permanent stationing
of troops. Not permanent basing, but permanent access is all that is required,
- Why all of this? Why these obviously
permanent bases? Why the beach-head?
- A quick glance at US government military
strategy documents is even more revealing.
- "Our forces will be strong enough
to dissuade potential adversaries from pursuing a military build-up in
hopes of surpassing, or equaling, the power of the United States,"
reads the 2002 National Security Strategy.
- To accomplish this, the US will "require
bases and stations within and beyond Western Europe and Northeast Asia."
- Another interesting document is "Joint
Vision 2020" from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, whose
"vision" is "Dedicated individuals and innovative organizations
transforming the joint force of the 21st Century to achieve full spectrum
dominance [bold type theirs]: persuasive in peace, decisive in war, preeminent
in any form of conflict [italics theirs]."
- US policymakers have replaced the
Cold War with the Long War for Global Empire and Unchallenged Military
Hegemony. This is the lens through which we must view Iraq to better understand
why there are permanent US bases there.
- In the Quadrennial Defense Review
Report released on February 6, 2006, there is a stated ambition to fight
"multiple, overlapping wars" and to "ensure that all major
and emerging powers are integrated as constructive actors and stakeholders
into the international system." The report goes on to say that the
US will "also seek to ensure that no foreign power can dictate terms
of regional or global security. It will attempt to dissuade any military
competitor from developing disruptive or other capabilities that could
enable regional hegemony or hostile action against the United States or
other friendly countries, and it will seek to deter aggression or coercion.
Should deterrence fail, the United States would deny a hostile power its
strategic and operational objectives."
- In sum, what is the purpose of permanent
US military garrisons in Iraq and the implicit goals of these government