A few weeks ago, I published an opinion piece entitled "And Now for Their Next Trick." The piece predicted that a new Iraqi government, more or less picked by the U.S., would invite the U.S. to stay in Iraq as a stabilizing force and that we were constructing permanent military bases for this purpose, all in accordance with the original neoconservative/imperial agenda in the Middle East.
I have been pleading with the American press corps for months to ask the Bush administration one simple question, a question designed to expose our true agenda: "Are we, or are we not, constructing permanent military bases in Iraq?" Full stop.
Finally, this from Gen. John Abizaid, our senior military commander in Iraq: The United States may want to keep a long-term military presence in Iraq to bolster moderates against extremists in the region and to protect the flow of oil. (source: Reuters, March 15, 2006)
Despite recent assurances that we were going to withdraw our military from Iraq as soon as we "stand up" the Iraqi military, President Bush stated a few days ago that his legacy to his successor was the Iraqi war.
As we learned nothing from the French experience in Indochina, we have learned nothing from the 28-year British occupation of Iraq. Presumably, our remaining forces, say 50,000 to 75,000, will be garrisoned outside the chaotic urban areas where they will be used to keep Syria at bay, intimidate the Iranians, and protect the Saudis (and their/our oil). Problem is, garrisoned U.S. forces will be safe within their fortresses from suicide bombers but sitting targets for mortars and IEDs launched by primitive artillery.
Anyone thinking we are entering the end-game better wake up. Our neoconservative policy makers are still willing to risk the U.S. Army in a mad Middle East imperial scheme that composed the real reason for the Iraq war in the first place.