[lit-ideas] A permanent basis for staying in Iraq

  • From: Omar Kusturica <omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 6 May 2006 23:26:38 -0700 (PDT)

Ricks reports that the 20,000 troops stationed at
Balad live in "air-conditioned containers" which will,
in the future - and yes, for those building these
bases, there still is a future - be wired "to bring
the troops Internet, cable television and overseas
telephone access". He points out as well that, of the
troops at Balad, "only several hundred have jobs that
take them off base. Most Americans posted here never
interact with an Iraqi." 

Recently, Oliver Poole, a British reporter, visited
another of the US "super-bases", the
still-under-construction al-Asad Airbase. He observes
of "the biggest marine camp in western Anbar province"
that "this stretch of desert increasingly resembles a
slice of US suburbia". In addition to the requisite
Subway and pizza outlets, there is a football field, a
Hertz rent-a-car office, a swimming pool and a movie
theater showing the latest flicks. Al-Asad is so large
- such bases may cover 40-50 square kilometers - that
it has two bus routes and, if not traffic lights, at
least red stop signs at all intersections. 

There are at least four such "super-bases" in Iraq,
none of which have anything to do with "withdrawal"
from that country. Quite the contrary, these bases are
being constructed as little American islands of
eternal order in an anarchic sea. Whatever top
administration officials and military commanders say -
and they always deny that the US seeks "permanent"
bases in Iraq - facts on the ground speak with another
voice entirely. These bases practically scream

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. 


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