Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Time's Joe Klein challenges the logic of permanent bases and 100 more years in Iraq

Joe Klein, Time magazine's political columnist, made the following post on the Time blog "Swampland" yesterday, the day that marked the 4,000th Amercian troop death in Iraq (bold emphasis is mine):

"But I've now heard--twice today--first from Fred Kagan, the military theorist and one of the "fathers" of the surge strategy at a briefing at the American Enterprise Institute, and just now on TV, from Pete Hegseth of Vets for Freedom, the latest neoconservative line: The civil war in Iraq is over. Kagan also added--and I agree--that the rejection of Al Qaeda in Iraq by the Sunnis is extremely good news about the dim prospects for the salafi-jihadists throughout the region.

"So, if the civil war is over and AQI is defeated, why not bring the troops home now? Uhhh, not so fast, Kagan says...in fact, he doesn't even want the surge brigades brought home. By this sort of logic, if things get even "better" in Iraq, we should probably send more troops. Then again, permanent bases in Iraq--one of the worst ideas in history, just ask the British, the Romans, the Persians and any other non-Arabs who tried it--is precisely what the neoconservatives want.

"The desire for permanent bases in Iraq dishonors the American dead, and ensures that many more will die. This is the real horror of John McCain's hyperbolic statements about another 100 or 10,000 years in Iraq: he thinks the occupation of Iraq can be like the U.S. occupations of Korea, Japan or Germany--all three ethnically homogenous, non-Islamic countries. He should read a little history. So should Kagan. But then, if they'd been familiar with the history of Mesopotamia, we probably wouldn't have invaded in the first place."

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