HIGGS: What Does the Administration’s Leaked Mea Culpa on Iraq Portend?

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Although eventually some U.S. troops may be withdrawn from Iraq, we have good reason to suspect that many—perhaps 50,000 or 60,000—will remain, because their permanent bases are already under construction. A half-billion dollars for this project was included in the Iraq war supplemental appropriation approved last May. The plan widely discussed in various media outlets calls for U.S. forces, now scattered around the country in more than a hundred bases, to be concentrated in fourteen large, fortified bases on the way to eventual consolidation in four giant, heavily fortified mega-bases. Once this relocation has been completed, the United States can use the bases to serve important purposes in the implementation of its larger plan for the region. The Iraqis can fight each other day and night, so long as they do not threaten the security of the mega-bases. The hope, of course, is that when the U.S. forces have repositioned themselves in these enclaves, the Iraqi resistance will lose interest in attacking the Americans and turn their energies toward joining a coalition focused on ordinary politics—that is, on looting the country’s oil revenues.

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