Clearly, U.S. planners are having similar dreams about the long-term garrisoning of Afghanistan. Whether the fate of those Afghan bases will be similar to Iraq's remains unknown, but with as many as 550 of them still there -- and up to 1,500 installations when you count assorted ammunition storage facilities, barracks, equipment depots, checkpoints, and training centers -- it's clear that the U.S. military and its partners are continuing to build with an eye to an enduring military presence.
Whatever the outcome, vestiges of the current base-building boom will endure and become part of America's Afghan legacy. What that will ultimately mean in terms of blood, treasure, and possibly blowback remains to be seen.
Nick Turse is the associate editor of TomDispatch.com and a fellow at the Nation Institute. An award-winning journalist, his work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Nation, and regularly at TomDispatch. He is the author/editor of several books, including the recently published Terminator Planet: The First History of Drone Warfare, 2001-2050 (with Tom Engelhardt). This piece is the latest article in his series on the changing face of American empire, which is being underwritten by Lannan Foundation. You can follow him on Tumblr.
Copyright 2012 Nick Turse