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February 17, 2006
A Permanent Basis for Withdrawal? by Tom Engelhardt
"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 we seek 'permanent' bases in Iraq - facts-on-the-ground speak with another voice entirely. These bases practically scream 'permanency.'
Still, for a period, the Pentagon practiced something closer to truth in advertising than did our major papers. At least, they called the big bases in Iraq 'enduring camps,' a label which had a certain charm and reeked of permanency. (Later, they were later relabeled, far less romantically, 'contingency operating bases.')
One of the enduring mysteries of this war is that reporting on our bases in Iraq has been almost nonexistent these last years, especially given an administration so weighted toward military solutions to global problems; especially given the heft of some of the bases; especially given the fact that the Pentagon was mothballing our bases in Saudi Arabia and saw these as long-term substitutes; especially given the fact that the neocons and other top administration officials were so focused on controlling the so-called arc of instability (basically, the energy heartlands of the planet) at whose center was Iraq; and especially given the fact that Pentagon pre-war planning for such