"The plan for permanent bases in Iraq must have been long in the making. The president ignored a recommendation of the Baker-Hamilton Commission that he state that America seeks no permanent bases in Iraq. At one point last year, the Senate and House passed an amendment to the military-spending bill banning the establishment of permanent bases in Iraq. The bill went to conference and then the ban on bases, adopted by both chambers, mysteriously disappeared.
The building of four bases along with a gigantic new American embassy in the Green Zone on the Tigris River has been moving along rapidly. The bases will have runways two miles long to accommodate the largest American planes. The Balad base north of Baghdad covers 14 square miles. Another base is planned for the area that was ancient Babylon.
The new embassy, which will be the largest American mission in the world, will be complete with swimming pool and commissary. Retired General Anthony Zinni has said that permanent bases are "a stupid idea." He said that they will damage America’s image in the whole region.
These huge installations must be intended for more than Iraqi stabilization. Former President Jimmy Carter said in a speech in February of last year that "the reason we went into Iraq was to establish a permanent military base in the Gulf region." And few are missing the point that bases in Iraq will keep American might on Iran’s doorstep." Yahoo News
Zinni is right. This is a bad idea. The reason for that is simple. The peoples of the region and across the world of Islam will regard this as proof that they were correct in their previous belief that all the high rhetoric about "liberation" and "democracy" was a lie and that the war in Iraq is simply a renewal of Western imperialism in the Middle East. They will see this as inherently anti-Islamic, a "crusade" against their religion and Islamicate culture.
The presence of such permanent bases will unify resistance against us even if those fighting us continue to fight each other. People who are now starting to turn to cooperation with American forces in order to resist the AQ jihadis, will return to fighting us as our intentions become increasingly clear. These bases and the embassy will be effectively surrounded and under continuous if sporadic indirect fire attack with mortars and rockets. A continuing and perhaps increased program of attacks against our supply lines is to be expected.
If there is an expectation that there will be support for such a presence in any of the surrounding states, that expectation is mistaken. Even if some of the governments voice support in private, they will be under such popular pressure to oppose the permanent US garrisons that their support will be unreliable and in some cases the governments will secretly support those who oppose us.
Altogether, it is difficult to see what the point would be in establishing such bases.
Oil? No. Once again, the oil markets don’t work that way. pl