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Thread: A Permanent Military Empire

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    EB II Romani Consul Suffectus Member Zaknafien's Avatar
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    Default A Permanent Military Empire

    posted June 8, 2007 (web only)
    A Permanent Military Empire
    http://www.thenation.com/doc/20070625/engelhardt
    Tom Engelhardt

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Finally, the great American disconnect may be ending. Only four years after the invasion of Iraq, the crucial facts-on-the-ground might finally be coming into sight in this country--not the carnage or the mayhem; not the suicide car bombs or the chlorine truck bombs; not the massive flight of middle-class professionals, the assassination campaign against academics, or the collapse of the best health-care service in the region; not the spiking American and Iraqi casualties, the lack of electricity, the growth of Shia militias, the crumbling of the "coalition of the willing," or the uprooting of 15 percent or more of Iraq's population; not even the sharp increase in fundamentalism and extremism, the rise of al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, the swelling of sectarian killings, or the inability of the Iraqi government to get oil out of the ground or an oil law, designed in Washington and meant to turn the clock back decades in the Middle East, passed inside Baghdad's fortified Green Zone--No, none of that.

    What's finally coming into view is just what George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, the top officials of their administration, the civilian leadership at the Pentagon, and their neocon followers had in mind when they invaded and occupied Iraq in 2003.

    But let me approach this issue another way. For the last week, news jockeys have been plunged into a debate about the "Korea model," which, according to the New York Times and other media outlets, the President is suddenly considering as the model for Iraq. ("Mr. Bush has told recent visitors to the White House that he was seeking a model similar to the American presence in South Korea.") You know, a limited number of major American bases tucked away out of urban areas; a limited number of American troops (say, 30,000-40,000), largely confined to those bases but ready to strike at any moment; a friendly government in Baghdad; and (as in South Korea where our troops have been for six decades) maybe another half century-plus of quiet garrisoning. In other words, this is the time equivalent of a geographic "over the horizon redeployment" of American troops.

    CONTINUED BELOW
    In this case, "over the horizon" would mean through 2057 and beyond.

    This, we are now told, is a new stage in administration thinking. White House spokesman Tony Snow seconded the "Korea model" ("You have the United States there in what has been described as an over-the-horizon support role... -- as we have in South Korea, where for many years there have been American forces stationed there as a way of maintaining stability and assurance on the part of the South Korean people against a North Korean neighbor that is a menace..."); Defense Secretary Robert Gates threw his weight behind it as a way of reassuring Iraqis that the U.S. "will not withdraw from Iraq as it did from Vietnam, 'lock, stock and barrel,'" as did "surge plan" second-in-command in Baghdad, Lt. General Ray Odierno:

    ("Q: Do you agree that we will likely have a South Korean-style force there for years to come?

    GEN. ODIERNO: Well, I think that's a strategic decision, and I think that's between us and -- the government of the United States and the government of Iraq. I think it's a great idea.")

    David Sanger of the New York Times recently summed up this "new" thinking in the following fashion:

    "Administration officials and top military leaders declined to talk on the record about their long-term plans in Iraq. But when speaking on a not-for-attribution basis, they describe a fairly detailed concept. It calls for maintaining three or four major bases in the country, all well outside of the crowded urban areas where casualties have soared. They would include the base at Al Asad in Anbar Province, Balad Air Base about 50 miles north of Baghdad, and Tallil Air Base in the south."

    Critics--left, right, and center--promptly attacked the relevance of the South Korean analogy for all the obvious historical reasons. Time headlined its piece: "Why Iraq Isn't Korea"; Fred Kaplan of Slate waded in this way, "In other words, in no meaningful way are these two wars, or these two countries, remotely similar. In no way does one experience, or set of lessons, shed light on the other. In Iraq, no border divides friend from foe; no clear concept defines who is friend and foe. To say that Iraq might follow 'a Korean model' -- if the word model means anything -- is absurd." At his Informed Comment website, Juan Cole wrote, "So what confuses me is the terms of the comparison. Who is playing the role of the Communists and of North Korea?" Inter Press's Jim Lobe quoted retired Lieutenant-General Donald Kerrick, a former US deputy national security adviser who served two tours of duty in South Korea this way: "[The analogy] is either a gross oversimplification to try to reassure people [the Bush administration] has a long-term plan, or it's just silly."

    None of these critiques are anything but on target. Nonetheless, the "Korea model" should not be dismissed simply for gross historical inaccuracy. There's a far more important reason to attend to it, confirmed by four years of facts-on-the-ground in Iraq -- and by a little history that, it seems, no one, not even the New York Times which helped record it, remembers.

    How Enduring Are Those "Enduring Camps"?

    At the moment, the Korea model is being presented as breaking news, as the next step in the Bush administration's desperately evolving thinking as its "surge plan" surges into disaster. However, the most basic fact of our present "Korea" moment is that this is the oldest news of all. As the Bush administration launched its invasion in March 2003, it imagined itself entering a "South Korean" Iraq (though that analogy was never used). While Americans, including administration officials, would argue endlessly over whether we were in Tokyo or Berlin, 1945, Algeria of the 1950s, Vietnam of the 1960s and 70s, civil-war torn Beirut of the 1980s, or numerous other historically distant places, when it came to the facts on the ground, the administration's actual planning remained obdurately in "South Korea."

    The problem was that, thanks largely to terrible media coverage, the American people knew little or nothing about those developing facts-on-the-ground and that disconnect has made all the difference for years.

    Let's review a little basic history here:

    You remember, of course, the flap over Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki's February 2003 claim before a Congressional committee that "several hundred thousand troops" would be needed to effectively occupy a "liberated" Iraq. For that statement, the Pentagon civilian leadership and allied neocons laughed him out of the room and then out of town. Sagely pointing out that there was no history of "ethnic strife" in Iraq, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz termed Shinseki's estimate "wildly off the mark." His boss, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, concurred. "Far off the mark," he said and, when the general retired a few months later, pointedly did not attend the ceremony. After all, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz were planning to take and occupy Iraq in a style that would be high-tech and, in manpower terms, lean and mean. Given an administration-wide belief that the Iraqis would greet American troops as liberators or, at least, make them at home in their country, they expected the occupation to proceed smoothly -- on a "Korea model" basis, in fact.

    Here's what Washington Post reporter Tom Ricks wrote in Fiasco, his bestselling book about the occupation, on the administration's expectations that February: "[Paul] Wolfowitz told senior Army officers... he thought that within a few months of the invasion the U.S. troop level in Iraq would be thirty-four thousand, recalled [Johnny] Riggs, the Army general then at Army headquarters. Likewise, another three-star general, still on active duty, remembers being told to plan to have the U.S. occupation force reduced to thirty thousand troops by August 2003. An Army briefing a year later also noted that that number was the goal 'by the end of the summer of 2003.'"

    At present, approximately 37,000 American troops are garrisoned in South Korea. In other words, the original plan, in manpower terms, was for a Korea-style occupation of Iraq. But where were those troops to stay? The Pentagon had been pondering that, too--and here's where the New York Times has forgotten its own history. On April 19, 2003, soon after American troops entered Baghdad, Times reporters Thom Shanker and Eric Schmitt had a striking front-page piece headlined, "Pentagon Expects Long-Term Access to Four Key Bases in Iraq." It began:

    "The United States is planning a long-term military relationship with the emerging government of Iraq, one that would grant the Pentagon access to military bases and project American influence into the heart of the unsettled region, senior Bush administration officials say. American military officials, in interviews this week, spoke of maintaining perhaps four bases in Iraq that could be used in the future: one at the international airport just outside Baghdad; another at Tallil, near Nasiriya in the south; the third at an isolated airstrip called H-1 in the western desert, along the old oil pipeline that runs to Jordan; and the last at the Bashur air field in the Kurdish north."

    The Pentagon, that is, arrived in Baghdad with at least a four-base strategy for the long-term occupation of the country already on the drawing boards. These were to be mega-bases, essentially fortified American towns on which those 30,000-40,000 troops could hunker down for a South-Korean-style eternity. The Pentagon was officially not looking for "permanent basing," as it slyly claimed, but "permanent access." (And on this verbal dodge, an administration that has constantly redefined reality to fit its needs has ducked its obvious desire for, and plans for, "permanency" in Iraq. As Tony Snow put the matter this way only the other day, "U.S. bases in Iraq would not necessarily be permanent because they would be there at the invitation of the host government and 'the person who has done the invitation has the right to withdraw the invitation.'")

    When the reporting of Schmitt and Shanker came up in a Rumsfeld news conference, the story was essentially denied ("I have never, that I can recall, heard the subject of a permanent base in Iraq discussed in any meeting...") and then disappeared from the New York Times for four years (and most of the rest of the media for most of that time). It did not, however, disappear from Pentagon planning. Quite the contrary, the Pentagon began doling out the contracts and the various private builders set to work. By late 2003, Lt. Col. David Holt, the Army engineer "tasked with facilities development" in Iraq, was quoted in a prestigious engineering magazine speaking proudly of several billion dollars already being sunk into base construction ("the numbers are staggering"). Bases were built in profusion -- 106 of them, according to the Washington Post, by 2005 (including, of course, many tiny outposts).

    For a while, to avoid the taint of that word "permanent," the major American bases in Iraq were called "enduring camps" by the Pentagon. Five or six of them are simply massive, including Camp Victory, our military headquarters adjacent to Baghdad International Airport on the outskirts of the capital, Balad Air Base, north of Baghdad (which has air traffic to rival Chicago's O'Hare), and al-Asad Air Base in the Western desert near the Syrian border. These are big enough to contain multiple bus routes, huge PXes, movie theaters, brand-name fast-food restaurants, and, in one case, even a miniature golf course. At our base at Tallil in the south, in 2006, a mess hall was being built to seat 6,000, and that just skims the surface of the Bush administration's bases.

    In addition, as the insurgency gained traction and Baghdad fell into disarray as well as sectarian warfare, administration planners began the building of a massively fortified, $600 million, blast-resistant compound of 20-odd buildings in the heart of Baghdad's Green Zone, the largest "embassy" on the planet, so independent that it would have no need of Iraq for electricity, water, food, or much of anything else. Scheduled to "open" this September, it will be both a citadel and a home for thousands of diplomats, spies, guards, private security contractors, and the foreign workers necessary to meet "community" needs.

    The Media Blind to the Bases

    From 2003 to the present, the work building, maintaining, and continually upgrading these bases (and their equivalents in Afghanistan) has never ended. Though the huge base-building contracts were given out long ago, consider just a couple of modest contracts of recent vintage. In March 2006, Dataline, Inc, of Norfolk, Virginia was awarded a $5 million contract for "technical control facility upgrades and cable installation," mainly at "Camp Fallujah, Iraq (25 percent), Camp Al Asad, Iraq (25 percent), [and] Camp Taqaddum, Iraq (25 percent)." In December 2006, Watkinson L.L.C. of Houston was awarded a $13 million "firm-fixed-price contract for design and construction of a heavy aircraft parking apron and open cargo storage yard" for al-Asad Airbase, "to be completed by Sept. 17, 2007." In March 2007, Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems was awarded a $73 million contract to "provide recurring requirements such as operations and maintenance support for base local area network, commercial satellite communication, technical control facility, and circuit actions, telephone, land mobile radio and both inside and outside cable plant installations.... at 13 bases in Iraq, Afghanistan and six other nations which fall in the United States Central Command Area of Responsibility."

    And major base-building may not be at an end. Keep your eye on Iraqi Kurdistan.

    According to Juan Cole, the Kurdish press continues to report rumors that American base-building activities are now switching there. Little is known about this, except that some in Washington consider Iraqi Kurdistan an obvious place to "redeploy" American troops in any future partial withdrawal or draw-down scenarios.

    These, then, were the Bush administration's facts-on-the-Iraqi-ground. Whatever anyone was saying at any moment about ending the American presence in Iraq someday or turning "sovereignty" over to the Iraqis, for American reporters in Baghdad, as well as the media at home, the "enduring" nature of what was being built should have been unmistakable--and it should have counted for something. After all, those American bases, like the vast embassy inside the Green Zone (sardonically dubbed by Baghdadis, "George W's Palace"), were monstrous in size, state-of-the-art when it came to communications and facilities, and meant to support large-scale American communities--whether soldiers, diplomats, spies, contractors, or mercenaries--long term. They were imperial in nature, the US military and diplomatic equivalents of the pyramids. And no one, on seeing them, should have thought anything but "permanent."

    It didn't matter that those bases were never officially labeled "permanent." After all, as the Korea model (now almost six decades old) indicates, such bases, rather than colonies, have long been the American way of empire -- and, with rare exceptions, they have arrived and not left. They remain immobile gunboats primed for a kind of eternal armed "diplomacy." As they cluster tellingly in key regions of the planet, they make up what the Pentagon likes to call our "footprint."

    As Chalmers Johnson has pointed out in his book The Sorrows of Empire, the United States has, mainly since World War II, set up at least 737 such bases, mega and micro--and probably closer to 1,000--worldwide. Everywhere, just as Tony Snow has said, the Americans would officially be "invited" in by the local government and would negotiate a "status of forces agreement," the modern equivalent of the colonial era's grant of extraterritoriality, so that the American troops would be minimally subject to foreign courts or control. There are still at least 12 such bases in Korea, 37 on the Japanese island of Okinawa alone, and so on, around the globe.

    Since the Gulf War in 1990, such base-creation has been on the rise. The Bush, Clinton, and younger Bush administrations have laid down a string of bases from the old Eastern European satellites of the Soviet Union (Romania, Bulgaria) and the former Yugoslavia through the Greater Middle East (Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates), to the Horn of Africa (Djibouti), into the Indian Ocean (the "British" island of Diego Garcia), and right through Central Asia (Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Pakistan, where we "share" Pakistani bases).

    Bases have followed our little wars of recent decades. They were dropped into Saudi Arabia and the small Gulf emirates around the time of our first Gulf War in 1991; into the former Yugoslavia after the Kosovo air war of 1999; into Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the former Central Asian SSRs after the Afghan war of 2001; and into Iraq, of course, after the invasion of 2003 where they were to replace the Saudi bases being mothballed as a response to Osama bin Laden's claims that Americans were defiling the holiest spots of Islam.

    In effect, when it came to bases in the post-9/11 years, the emphasis was, on the one hand, encircling Russia from its former Eastern European satellites to its former Central Asian SSRs and, on the other hand, securing a series of bases across the oil heartlands of the planet, a swath of territory known to the administration back in 2002-2003 as "the arc of instability." Iraq was, obviously, but part--though a crucial part--of such imperial dreaming about how to dominate the planet. And yet the military ziggurats that made those dreams manifest, and all the billions of taxpayer dollars and the obvious urge for "permanence" that went with them, were largely left out of mainstream reporting on, debate about, or discussion of the occupation of Iraq.

    Iraq as Korea, 2003-2007

    The administration remained remarkably tightlipped about all this building activity and what it might mean--beyond periodic denials that any such efforts were "permanent"; and, with rare exceptions, even when journalists reported from Camp Victory or other major bases, they never managed to put them on the reportorial landscape. Those bases--and the colossus of an "embassy" that went with them--just weren't considered all that important.

    Perhaps for reporters and editors, used to an inside-the-Beltway universe in which the United States simply could not act in an imperial manner, the bases were givens--like the American way of life. Evidently, for most reporters, there was, in a sense, nothing to notice. As a consequence, there has been endless discussion about Bush administration "incompetence" (of which there has been plenty), but not the quite competent planning that left such structures impressively on the Iraqi landscape. If the subject wasn't exactly blacked-out in the United States, it did, at least, undergo a kind of whiteout.

    So much about Iraq was up for discussion, but the preponderant evidence on the ground, so utterly solid, carried no weight. It was evidence of nothing. For American reporters, as for American Secretaries of Defense, the full-scale garrisoning of Planet Earth is simply not a news story. As a result, most Americans have had next to no idea that we were creating multibillion dollar edifices on Iraqi soil meant for a near eternity.

    Remarkably enough, when asked late last year by pollsters from the Program on International Policy Attitudes whether we should have the "permanent" bases in Iraq, a whopping 68 percent of Americans said no. But when the issue of bases and permanency arises at all in our press, it's usually in the context of Iraqi "suspicions" on the subject. (Oh, those paranoid foreigners!) Typically, the Los Angeles Times cited Michael O'Hanlon, an oft-quoted analyst at the Brookings Institution, saying the following of the President's endorsement of the Korea model: "In trying to convey resolve, [Bush] conveys the presumption that we're going to be there for a long time.... It's unhelpful to handling the politics of our presence in Iraq." No, Michael, the bases are our politics in Iraq.

    Generally, the Democrats and their major presidential candidates line up with O'Hanlon. And yet no significant Democratic proposal for "withdrawal" from Iraq is really a full-scale withdrawal proposal. They are all proposals to withdraw American combat brigades (perhaps 50,000-60,000 troops) from the country, while withdrawing most other Americans into those giant bases that are too awkward to mention.

    Suddenly, however, discussion of the "Korea model" has entered the news and so put those bases--and the idea of a permanent military presence in Iraq--in the American viewfinder for what may be the first time. You only have to look at Iraq today to know that, like so much else our imperial dreamers have conjured up, this fantasy too--of a calming Iraq developing over the decades into a friendly democracy, while American troops sit tight in their giant base-towns--is doomed to one kind of failure or another, while the oil lands of the planet threaten to implode.

    The Korea model is just one of the administration's many grotesque, self-interested misreadings of history, but it isn't new. It isn't a fantasy the President and his top officials have just stumbled upon in post-surge desperation. It's the fantasy they rumbled into Baghdad aboard back in 2003. It's the imperial fantasy that has never left their minds from that first shock-and-awe moment until now.

    Give them credit for consistency. On this "model," whatever it may be called, the Bush administration bet the store and, on it, they have never wavered. Because of some of the worst reporting on an important topic in recent memory, most Americans have lived out these last years in remarkable ignorance of what was actually being built in Iraq. Now, perhaps, that great American disconnect is beginning to end, which may be more bad news for the Bush administration.


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    Very Senior Member Gawain of Orkeny's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Permanent Military Empire

    Well it looks like Bushs strategy worked after all.
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    EB II Romani Consul Suffectus Member Zaknafien's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Permanent Military Empire

    well , aside from the fact that the "korea plan" is ludicrous for Iraq, what are the implications of permanent military occupation in iraq? will people finally see the reality of the american empire and oppose it? or business as usual.


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    Very Senior Member Gawain of Orkeny's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Permanent Military Empire

    Well thats what I thought would happen from the start didnt you? The whole idea was to get a foothold in the ME one way or another.
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    EB II Romani Consul Suffectus Member Zaknafien's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Permanent Military Empire

    agreed; but back in my naive days I thought it was about liberty and freedom and those annoying ideas... lol


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    Very Senior Member Gawain of Orkeny's Avatar
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    Were growing closer all the time
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    Member Member Del Arroyo's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Permanent Military Empire

    The author overemphasizes the "permanency" of the bases here. First off, they are not so developed-- the PX's are small, "brand name fast food restaurants" consist of a handful of Subways and Green Beans run out of RV-sized trailers, and the "golf course" is a primitive driving range. If dismantling were ever a priority, anyone could get easily rid of all post-Sadaam structures with nothing more than cranes and trailer trucks.

    That said, on its face this "Korean model" seems like a very poor idea; but we should understand that we are trying to avoid a Vietnam repeat here.

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    Default Re: A Permanent Military Empire

    USA can't win the War on Terror so instead their plan is to occupy Iraq forever. Wonder how that will work out for them. Not so good, I think.

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    zombologist Senior Member doc_bean's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Permanent Military Empire

    Told ya.
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    lurker Member JR-'s Avatar
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    Default Re: A Permanent Military Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by Zaknafien
    agreed; but back in my naive days I thought it was about liberty and freedom and those annoying ideas... lol
    it was, as a free and democratic iraq was intended to destabilise the more more authoritarian regimes out there.

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    Default Re: A Permanent Military Empire

    A permanent occupying force of 40,000 troops? Forgive me for being ignorant of current US Armed Forces statistics, but what sort of percentage of the US Army does this represent?
    It would be a major precentage of the British Army, but that has never been very large (except in certain circumstances). We occupied the entire Indian Empire with only few tens of thousands more. Would such a large commitment in Iraq not hinder future possible conflicts?
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    Thread killer Member Rodion Romanovich's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Permanent Military Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by Duke Malcolm
    A permanent occupying force of 40,000 troops? Forgive me for being ignorant of current US Armed Forces statistics, but what sort of percentage of the US Army does this represent?
    It would be a major precentage of the British Army, but that has never been very large (except in certain circumstances). We occupied the entire Indian Empire with only few tens of thousands more. Would such a large commitment in Iraq not hinder future possible conflicts?
    40,000 is not much. During the nazi occupation of France, around 300,000 troops were used, and they still faced massive problems with the French resistance. I doubt 40,000 American occupation forces can do much against the Iraqi resistance, especially if it comes to formal and official illegal occupation - that could unite sunnis, shias and kurds against the occupational forces, and they could link up with and cooperate with Afghani guerillas as well.
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    Default Re: A Permanent Military Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by Duke Malcolm
    A permanent occupying force of 40,000 troops? Forgive me for being ignorant of current US Armed Forces statistics, but what sort of percentage of the US Army does this represent?
    It would be a major precentage of the British Army, but that has never been very large (except in certain circumstances). We occupied the entire Indian Empire with only few tens of thousands more. Would such a large commitment in Iraq not hinder future possible conflicts?
    And the hundreds of thousands of soldiers in the Sepoy units were what exactly?
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    Στωικισμός Member Bijo's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Permanent Military Empire

    True: a number such as 40 000 isn't a big one. But do not forget other factors such as airpower and navies that could deploy fantastic technology (and let's not forget the experience of American militaries). As we speak, weapons technology advances in a constant unstoppable stream and equipping ground forces with newer true-and-tested weaponry -- in the future -- could possibly even reduce the amount of manpower necessary to effectively occupy land, sea, and air.

    I've heard tell of a new kind of audio weapon tested by the American military to control masses via audio signals sent at them. Who knows what kind of technology they already possess...?
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    Feeding the Peanut Gallery Senior Member Redleg's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Permanent Military Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by Duke Malcolm
    A permanent occupying force of 40,000 troops? Forgive me for being ignorant of current US Armed Forces statistics, but what sort of percentage of the US Army does this represent?
    It would be a major precentage of the British Army, but that has never been very large (except in certain circumstances). We occupied the entire Indian Empire with only few tens of thousands more. Would such a large commitment in Iraq not hinder future possible conflicts?
    Last I looked the Active Army consisted of just short of 400,000. Add the appoximately 300,000 National Guard and Reserve, and the Marines which is I believe short of 50,000. And the force structure represents 10% of the Active Army - or about 5% of the total force.
    O well, seems like 'some' people decide to ruin a perfectly valid threat. Nice going guys... doc bean

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    Very Senior Member Gawain of Orkeny's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Permanent Military Empire

    and the Marines which is I believe short of 50,000.
    Closer to 200,000 active last I checked.

    Your also leaving out the Airforce and Navy that would also be part of that force. I dont think their talking only grunts here.
    Last edited by Gawain of Orkeny; 06-11-2007 at 23:30.
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    Default Re: A Permanent Military Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by lars573
    And the hundreds of thousands of soldiers in the Sepoy units were what exactly?
    Totally unreliable, they should have been posted to Africa, and Africans should have been posted to India. From a purely military standpoint, of course.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bijo
    True: a number such as 40 000 isn't a big one. But do not forget other factors such as airpower and navies that could deploy fantastic technology (and let's not forget the experience of American militaries). As we speak, weapons technology advances in a constant unstoppable stream and equipping ground forces with newer true-and-tested weaponry -- in the future -- could possibly even reduce the amount of manpower necessary to effectively occupy land, sea, and air.
    Such advances have been touted for over 60 years, they have proved to be a universal failure. Boots are the only effective occupying force because the only ground you control is the ground you're standing on.
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  18. #18
    Member Member KafirChobee's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Permanent Military Empire

    Welllllll ... if one wants to believe the news saying the Sunni and Shia are both more angry now with Al Quaeda than with our presence; and that atleast a few of their leaders are actually attempting to find common ground to make peace. Then a "Korea style" of US military presence may have a function to assist in keeping outside insurgents from disrupting the factions in Iraq as they work together rebuilding what we destroyed. Be amazing if the factions there did suddenly realize it is all their nation, and cease attempting for a dominating position - seems unlikely.

    Then again, it all sounds awefully utopian to me.

    The plan for permanent bases was there from the outset (8 - 12, AF, Army-Marines, plus Naval bases). To call it an attempt at Imperialism seems a stretch, but it is cetain that our oil industry would benefit from a more stable environment in the region.

    Was an interesting article though. "The Nation" always presents a good case - analysis. So does Mother Jones.
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    EB II Romani Consul Suffectus Member Zaknafien's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Permanent Military Empire

    that's an even and measured response KafirChobee. But Im curious as to how you see it, if you say the 'imperialism' thing is a stretch. What is it if not imperialism?


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  20. #20
    Viceroy of the Indian Empire Member Duke Malcolm's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Permanent Military Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by Philipvs Vallindervs Calicvla
    Totally unreliable, they should have been posted to Africa, and Africans should have been posted to India. From a purely military standpoint, of course.
    What the deuce?! They weren't totally unreliable!
    I didn't refer to them because they weren't the "occupying force". If the idea of the Sepoys was brought forward they would be comparable to the Iraqi Armed Forces and Police.

    But, back to the topic.
    Isn't a 10% permanent commitment a bit much? Or would this corps serve as an "Army of the Middle East" and thus provide regiments for combat across US Central Command area (which I think would be, I have to admit, a better if perhaps more controversial idea)?
    I can't help but think in terms of HoI2, and think that 4 divisions sitting out in Iraq doing nothing but keeping down (or trying to keep down) insurgencies is, well, a waste of troops when they could be used elsewhere.
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  21. #21
    Very Senior Member Gawain of Orkeny's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Permanent Military Empire

    Isn't a 10% permanent commitment a bit much?
    Its not even close to 10%
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    EB II Romani Consul Suffectus Member Zaknafien's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Permanent Military Empire

    exactly how big do you think our military is, Gawain? we can't even keep NCOs in these days, let alone officers or soldiers.


    "urbani, seruate uxores: moechum caluom adducimus. / aurum in Gallia effutuisti, hic sumpsisti mutuum." --Suetonius, Life of Caesar

  23. #23
    Viceroy of the Indian Empire Member Duke Malcolm's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Permanent Military Empire

    Sorry, I was looking at the percentage of the active army, my mistake.
    It was not theirs to reason why,
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    "Wherever this stone shall lie, the King of the Scots shall rule"
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  24. #24
    Jillian & Allison's Daddy Senior Member Don Corleone's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Permanent Military Empire

    I have no idea if this is accurate or not. I agree that it probably was a secondary or tertiary goal of the White House from the beginning. Hopefully the dogged persistence of the desire of the local to kill each other and us has convinced the White House just how ludicrous an idea this would be. There's one fundamental difference between Korea and Iraq.... the South Koreans actually wanted us there (and while not by the same margins as they once did, still do).

    What's more, sooner or later the Democrats are going to get back into the White House (and control the Pentagon). Does anybody really see us continuing to maintain an array of bases and a 40K man presence after that? There's Republicans, and not just isolationist ones, that wouldn't sign on for this either.

    KC is right. To even contemplate such a move, the local politics would have to undergo a fundamental, rudimentary change. What's more, I'm not certain it's possible at this point that we will ever be seen by the average Iraqi as peacekeepers. Perhaps an international force could help the fledgling nation get off the ground, but I don't think we can play that role.
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  25. #25
    Dux Nova Scotia Member lars573's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Permanent Military Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by Duke Malcolm
    What the deuce?! They weren't totally unreliable!
    I didn't refer to them because they weren't the "occupying force". If the idea of the Sepoys was brought forward they would be comparable to the Iraqi Armed Forces and Police.
    I'd agree with you. If the Iraqi army and police were employed directly by the US military/government. Paid in US funds. And commanded by US officers. Just like the British Indian army (AKA Sepoy's).
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  26. #26
    Member Member KafirChobee's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Permanent Military Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by Zaknafien
    KafirChobee. But Im curious as to how you see it, if you say the 'imperialism' thing is a stretch. What is it if not imperialism?
    Imperialism has a colonialist connotation. Certainly we are (have been) intent on making our presence felt in regions where previously it was argued (mostly by GOPists) we had no "self-interest" - that was the arguement for attempting to keep us out of genocide being perpetrate by the Serbs in Kosovo.
    http://www.unitedhumanrights.org/Gen...a_genocide.htm
    http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/RM1...VIL.BODIES.HTM

    Now, are the actions of our government laying the ground work for corporate imperialism? That is, creating the conditions for our corporations to have unpresidented economic influence on the political governance of regions. Then, yes, we have imperialistic goals - but, based on or for our corporations.

    Prior to the fall of the Soviet Union, the spheres of influence for the Western nations were somewhat defined. They naturally overlapped in some areas - but, in others were all but exclusive. Today, there is almost a rush by all first world nations to expand these spheres - using economical means to supplant political goals.
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  27. #27
    Swarthylicious Member Spino's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Permanent Military Empire



    If what we have now is considered an 'empire' then I demand a recount. I think we've been cheated!

    No new territories
    No new colonies
    No massive influx of wealth or raw materials from conquered lands
    No boost in overall GNP or increase in standard of living as a result of conquests
    No slaves... err... 'cost effective coerced labor force'
    No new beachfront property in an exotic land for yours truly (hey, just looking for my piece of the pie)

    The US did have an empire, back in the 19th century when we rolled west and took land from the various Indian tribes, Mexico and Spain. You won't catch me crying about that though... as the saying goes, "All's fair in love and war." Since then we've just been looking to keep the status quo and protect our interests.
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  28. #28
    Στωικισμός Member Bijo's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Permanent Military Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by Philipvs Vallindervs Calicvla
    Such advances have been touted for over 60 years, they have proved to be a universal failure. Boots are the only effective occupying force because the only ground you control is the ground you're standing on.
    And what if (high-tech) choppers are patrolling an area? Would they not be controlling the ground they fly over? Logically, you would control the ground even if it's by air, therefore the statement that only infantry can control ground returns false.

    You excluded one important aspect mentioned: weapons technology for ground forces to possibly reduce their numbers in favor of this firepower / technology / etc. That in combination with air and seapower (technology) would be even more powerful.
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  29. #29
    EB II Romani Consul Suffectus Member Zaknafien's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Permanent Military Empire

    its an economic empire, my friend, with coroporate colonies. Its an evolution of the old military based empire. much more productive, cost efficient, and lucrative for the minority of corporate-noblemen.


    "urbani, seruate uxores: moechum caluom adducimus. / aurum in Gallia effutuisti, hic sumpsisti mutuum." --Suetonius, Life of Caesar

  30. #30

    Default Re: A Permanent Military Empire

    I think characterizing this as a "military empire" is less than fair and certainly not lacking in bias.


    The U.S. National security strategy has been open to the public for some time. Since 9-11, much of our focus was on the ability to fight two wars simultaneously against small rogue nations of moderate strength and power. This was an evolution from the previous cold war model.

    The current model, evolved from the "two-war" model, recognizes emerging threats to international stability and peace. This threat we all know as non-linear extra-national religious extremism.

    Our permanent bases in Korea and Germany were placed there to act as deterents and staging areas against communist expansion. Since the threat of communism has passed, the geographic locations of our centers of strength need to be reevaluated. The current installation in South Korea must remain in order to counter balance the North Korea state. Once regime change has occurred there, we can discuss relaoction of those assets. The base there is not "permanent", but temporary based on strategic needs.

    The argument for placing long-term military facilities in Iraq just makes good strategic sense. The United States and its allies are interested in a secure, stable, free, and democratic middle east. There is no reason that Iran, Iraq, et al cannot be as prosperous and ree as at least Turkey is proving to be. By placing long term military facilities in Iraq, the following benefits are realized:
    (a) Military support to the young democratic government of Iraq.
    (b) Strategic counterbalance to the growing Iranian regional menace.
    (c) Base of operations from which to continue operations against extra-national religious extremists who target the west.
    (d) Direct military opposition to a unified middle eastern islamic dictatorship, "the caliphate" Osama and his followers seek.

    It simply makes good sense. It is time that we remove our forces from Germany and relocate those assets to Iraq.
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