Monday, April 28
US Military Bases: the Spoils and Deceptions of War
by KURT NIMMO, Counterpunch, April 28, 2003
Donald Rumsfeld says the US does not want its troops in countries where they are not welcome. "You want to be someplace that people want us, you really do," he admitted in an interview. "We don't want to be places that we're not wanted. We simply don't."
No word if the interviewer laughed or even scoffed. What Rumsfeld said is so deceptive that it transcends absurdity. He said the size of the US military force in the Gulf region would likely shrink now that the Iraqi military no longer poses a threat to its neighbors. "With the absence of the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq, the need for a US presence in the region would diminish rather than increase," he said. The US has troops in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates.
So, will the US simply yank up its tent stakes and go home?
Consider the investments. The United States spent a bundle on a state-of-the-art air command center at Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia. It recently shelled out $1.5 billion for an air base at Al-Udeid in Qatar. In Central Asia, the US acquired the Manas Air Base in Kyrgyzstan last year. It concluded US base agreements with Pakistan and two former Soviet republics, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Many of these agreements are classified -- contained within documents known as "status of force agreements" -- in order to prevent opposition on the part of the locals. Secret agreements and local opposition aside, Russian journalists reported that the United States and Uzbekistan signed an agreement leasing the Khanabad base for 25 years.
Before the invasion of Iraq Deputy Defense Secretary and neocon Paul Wolfowitz discussed US bases in an interview with the New York Times. "Their function may be more political than actually military," he explained. US bases "send a message to everybody, including important countries like Uzbekistan, that we have a capacity to come back in and will come back in."
Is it possible Rumsfeld is telling a lie -- hardly a rarity for the duplicitous Bushites -- in order to mask the Pentagon's true intentions? Last Sunday the New York Times quoted unidentified Bush administration officials as saying the United States wants to keep four permanent military bases in Iraq. More than likely these bases will be situated at the international airport, the H-1 airfield, Tallil airfield near Nasiriya, and Bashur airfield. [...]