Jump to content
Guests can now reply in ALL forum topics (No registration required!) ×
Guests can now reply in ALL forum topics (No registration required!)
In the Name of God بسم الله


Advanced Members
  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About DigitalMo

  • Rank
    Level 5 Member

Previous Fields

  • Gender
  1. I think this will not actually happen, for three main reasons: 1) The Alcohol industry will not have a bar of it, you can bet you bottom dollar (not literally of course) that they will be making sure this never actually happens even if promised as part of an election. 2) Howard doesn't actually want to help the Aboriginal communities, he just wants to control them, he is using the excuse of banning alcohol as a cover for him taking full control of aboriginal decision making, he is basically trying to make it seem as though he will use this control for bettermnent of the aboriginals but his real objective is to control other decisions especially regarding use of land controlled by aboriginals, land claims, uranium mining etc - aboriginal don't like mining on their lands etc 3) Howard is talking about helping the aboriginal communities is because the vast majority of australians want the government to help the aboriginal community. Since there is an election comming up very soon he wants to try to steal another of the policies of the opposition and try to neutralise this issue as an election issue. Its another election gimmic, a promise that will never be fulfilled, as soon as the election is over so will any mention of actually really helping the aboriginals. The only thing that will have happened is that howard now controls aboriginal decision making. IT will be all take and very little give - it is not in the interests of the elites that aboriginals are empowered.
  2. Good to hear! I expect such steps will be reciprocated. This will help thwart various agendas.
  3. òSheik Fehmi is also a Hizb supporter, I think he is a good candidate, at least from what I have heard. Lets wait and see.
  4. and what is wrong with this? If you allow an aggressor to wage war from your land, you are complicit in the attack, and you are liable to be the subject of a response, if any idiot didn't expect to be on the receiving end despite their facilitation of aggression that is not irans fault. Anyway, iran is right to warn these people, so that later they can't claim ignorance, iran is letting it be out in the open, if you facilitate an attack on us, don't expect to be immune from a response, and expect to be hurt just as much, if not more than the attack on us .. that is how i read irans intentions and that is how i would have expected them to behave ..
  5. ^ whetehr you like it or not it does help to prevent the spead, especially from casual relations, it will not guard against repeated exposure to the source but it generally helps for casual unprotected encounters - but no matter how much you discourage it, it is still gonna happen. The objective here is to save a life, not only of the person who may contract it due to their potentially perverse sexual behaviour, but their potentially unsuspecting partner. Anyway, circumcision is not only about HIV/AIDS as I have repeatedly pointed out and you have repeatedly ignored, when you reaslise that the foreskin is specifically susceptible to all manner of infections and can help pass along all manner of sexually transmitted diseases, you will realise that the health benefits are not only for the male, but the female as well and it makes hygeine easier to maintain, and surpass the HIV/AIDS issue. When you take into consideration all the things it prevents against, then you will be considered objective in your reasoning. To me, you did not seem sincere beause you argument was that we shouldn't use this means of prevention as it could lead to more exposure - to me it seemed that that reasoning was not in good faith - it seemed that you just did not want to acknowledge that circumcision had a part to play - even in impoverished communities where the hygiene may not be as advanced as may be in the US of A. I wana cut my nails to prevent against dirct build up, is that alowed? I wana cut my new born's nails, are you gonna label me a child mutilator? Your resorting to demonisation is another indicator that your are biased at all costs. You should pay credit where credit is due and stop trying to shoot down everything that you have a gripe against. Seriously it make you look unreasonable and irrational.
  6. ^ We don't considers bases and domination of the area as nothing, also what was that rare mineral found over there that is of strategic interest to the US military, sorry can't recall its name atm .. regardless its about containing the threat from its adversaries whether russia or others - from all angles .. it must be in a position top project military superiority - with a first strike capability that doesn't give the enemy a chance to respond, you can only do that by surrounding them .. so every angle is a strategic angle ..
  7. ^ circumcision doesn't only work to prevent aids, it helps reduce all manner of infections especially in impoverished communities where hygiene is hard to maintain. Don't overlook this point again, another point you should note its that the removal of the foreskin is also intended to benefit the partner in all of this, by removing the foreskin it is less likely that infections (that the foreskin is suseptable to) will be passed on as well as less likely that a lack of hygene will cause a deposit of material that may cause the partner harm. As for your attempted jibe, We don't advocate the removal of the whole organ, the organ serves a god intended purpose :P and it must be protected, that is why the foreskin must be removed, to protect the organ, the person and their partner. I will give you another example since you don't want to figure it out for yourself. Consider the analogy of the nail. The nail serves a purpose as god intended. However under the nail it may store deposits of dirt and other unwanted substances. To minimise the chances of harm from such deposits, we minimise the chance that these deposits will occur and the amount of such deposits if they occur. To do this we clean our hands and under our nails first and foremost, but we also take it a step further we cut the nail to reduce the amount of deposits it may store, hence minimising the chances of getting infections and other side effects from such deposits when we eat etc. Now think of the organ as the nail and think of the foreskin as bit of the nail that allows the deposits of dirt to build up and that civilised humans generally cut/remove regularly. So tell me, do you regard cutting of the nails of infants and children as involuntary mutilation? Also, why do you cut your nails? Why don't you leave them as "god intended". Why do you cut your hair? Why don't you leave it as "got intended". Does hygiene play any part in your decisions - consciously or unconsciously? Are you going to try to stop us from cutting the nails of the new born infants? If the need arises, it does get done by the medical fraternity, but inherently those organs don't allow build up of dirt and other material so a preventative act is not warranted and in fact can be more harmful .. you have to weigh the good and bad of it. It does and we do: hair, nails, surgery, vaccines, etc - if a risk is identified the medical community recommends that it be done - this is why they have recommended circumcision now because they have identified a risk - but those that see it as confirming scripture are up in arms about it since science is agreeing with religions and that can't be allowed to happen. Shock Horror!! We believers in god also follow gods guidance, you are free not to. That is your prerogative as per your free will.
  8. how dare he, the self hater!!!! the most pathetic thing about this was how they tried to justified it .. wait for it .. because his contribution was deemed to be harming the "consideration of ideas, and polarize and simplify conversations that deserve layered and subtle consideration" .. yeah lets get rid of any decent in this debate, that way we don't have to consider anyones ideas but ours, reduce polerisartion because there is only one side of the argument - ours, and get rid of those simpletons, we want to complicate conversation by adding things that have no relevance and confusing everyone enough that this industry can live on and the mainstream can be blanketed with propaganda to misguide their basic senses.
  9. Good job Iran, I think this relationship and goodwill will help ensure that some of these movements don't fall prey to wahabi indoctrination.
  10. ^ thats precisely my point, exaggerate the reasons for them hating each other and take the spoils of the divide and rule strategy. The US used the predicament of the muslims of that region to advance its ends, thats not to say that the muslims did not have legitimate concerns - but the US used that predicament to further its ends. This same strategy is being waged in other parts of the worlds, we can see that sectarian and other points of difference are being highlighted and used to rationalise that these people can't be left to their own devices they will kill each other endlessly .. all this leaving out the fact that there was no history of such killing on such a scale ever before the designs of the US .. they US must maintain a presence to "protect" these people from each other. However it is clear as daylight that the real reason for their presence is strategic control /dominance of the area. Regardless of what part of the planet we are talking about.
  11. ^ US had been "advising" Kosovans since before the conflict started and before the war of aggression by the serbs. The US wanted to wean those regions with independance aspirations away from Russian influence and set up bases .. so it "helped" guide independence aspirations .. we support/help you get independence you let is set up bases .. it is not a co-oncidence that kosovo formally declared themselves independent as early as the outbreak of the bosnia offensive by the serbs .. it was all driven by the same background maneuvering of the big players .. russia did not want any break aways so that it can keep them under the infleuce of a central government that it already controlled, the US wanted breakways because that is the only way it can set up bases in the region and control it through divide and control protect strategies. Kosovo was just another of the bits of the jigsaw.
  12. How pathetic, the argument of the nay sayers is as pathetic as saying that we should not remove potentially cancerous moles from peoples skins because we can't stop people getting exposure to the sun .. when a mole can turn cancerous it should be removed .. the same applies to the foreskin, when the foreskin can increase you risk of contracting an infection or disease, it should be removed. You call it mutilation we call is prevention! Even non-muslims tell you prevention is better than cure! so why don't you also label performing "surgeries" on babies and children as involuntary mutilation so why don't you also label shoving "medicines" down babies throats as involuntary mutilation (internal) so why don't you also label injecting babies with "vaccines" as involuntary mutilation (internal & external) so why don't you also label piercing a babies ears as involuntary mutilation etc to you people, if islam stated specifically to cut the umbilical cord of a new born you people would call it involuntary mutilation! Islam calls for these things not for the purpose of hurting a child, but for the express benefit to the child - especially, but not only, impoverished children for all times, whether it is to reduce their chances of contracting infections or diseases what ever they may be. Even when the science agrees with Islam you people start attacking the recommendations of the scientists - no no we should not try to reduce the risk because we can't guarantee that people won't have sex.
  13. Ssshh don't say that .. the US elites act only out of the kindness of their hearts, they have never and will never be guided by vested interests or strategic gains - think rawanda, dictatorships of the mid-east, palestine, lebanon!!! How dare you say such a thing - you conspiracy theorist!!!! The fact that a US presence in that region was never going to materialise without the actions the US took is beside the point!!!!
  14. This is good news, Iran has a large sunni minority and it is fair that they have a center of study in Iran, it is good to see that both shia and sunni mulsims can share the same center of religious study in Qom - this will allow greater dialogue and understanding and remove any misconceptions and unwarranted fears that arise out of ignorance of the other. Well done Iran!
  15. Everlasting US pyramids in Iraqi sands http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/IF09Ak04.html By Tom Engelhardt 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 the United States. We are not talking about 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. This is not about the spiking US and Iraqi casualties, the lack of electricity, the growth of Shi'ite militias, the crumbling of the "coalition of the willing", or the uprooting of 15% or more of Iraq's population. It is not even about 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 US President George W Bush, Vice President Richard Cheney, the top officials of their administration, the civilian leadership at the Pentagon, and their neo-conservative followers had in mind when they invaded and occupied Iraq in 2003. But let me approach this issue another way. For the past week, news jockeys have been plunged into a debate about the "Korea model", which, according to the New York Times and other media outlets, Bush 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 US bases tucked away out of urban areas; a limited number of US 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 US 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 US troops. In this case, "over the horizon" would mean through 2057 and beyond. This, we are now told, is a new stage in Bush 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 US "will not withdraw from Iraq as it did from Vietnam, 'lock, stock and barrel'," as did "surge" plan second-in-command in Baghdad, Lieutenant-General Ray Odierno. Question: Do you agree that we will likely have a South Korean-style force there for years to come? General Odierno: Well, I think that's a strategic decision, and I think that's between us - 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 Service'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" (see Bush's Korea specter in Iraq, June 5). 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 the US was in Tokyo or Berlin, 1945, Algeria of the 1950s, Vietnam of the 1960s and 1970s, 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. You remember, of course, the flap over then-US Army chief of staff Eric Shinseki's February 2003 claim before a congressional committee that "several hundred thousand troops" would be needed to occupy a "liberated" Iraq effectively. For that statement, the Pentagon civilian leadership and allied neo-cons 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 US 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 best-selling 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 US troop level in Iraq would be 34,000, 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 US occupation force reduced to 30,000 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, about 37,000 US 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 US 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 airfield 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, in essence fortified US 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, "US 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 in essence 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, Lieutenant-Colonel 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 US bases in Iraq were called "enduring camps" by the Pentagon. Five or six of them are simply massive, including Camp Victory, the US 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 shops, movie theaters, brand-name fast-food restaurants and, in one case, even a miniature golf course. At the 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, US$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%), Camp al-Asad, Iraq (25%), [and] Camp Taqaddum, Iraq (25%)". Last December, Watkinson LLC 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 Air Base, "to be completed by September 17, 2007". This March, 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 US 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" US 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 US presence in Iraq some day 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 US 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 US 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 US 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 the United States' "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 US troops would be minimally subject to foreign courts or control. There are still at least 12 such bases in South Korea, 37 on the Japanese island of Okinawa alone, and so on, around the globe. Since the Gulf War in 1991, such base-creation has been on the rise. The George H W Bush, Bill 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 the US "shares" Pakistani bases). Bases have followed the United States' little wars of recent decades. They were dropped into Saudi Arabia and the small Persian Gulf emirates around the time of the first Gulf War; into the former Yugoslavia after the Kosovo air war of 1999; into Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the former Soviet Central Asian republics 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 years since September 11, 2001, the emphasis was, on the one hand, encircling Russia from its former Eastern European satellites to its former Central Asian republics 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 2002-03 as "the arc of instability". Iraq was, obviously, a 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, 2003-07 The Bush 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 the US should have the "permanent" bases in Iraq, a whopping 68% of Americans said no. But when the issue of bases and permanency arises at all in the US 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 Bush'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 the United States' 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 US 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 US viewfinder for what may be the first time. You only have to look at Iraq today to know that, like so much else the United States' imperial dreamers have conjured up, this fantasy too - of a calming Iraq developing over the decades into a friendly democracy, while US 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 Bush 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 on 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, it has never wavered. Because of some of the worst reporting on an important topic in recent memory, most Americans have lived out these past 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. Tom Engelhardt is editor of Tomdispatch and the author of The End of Victory Culture. His novel, The Last Days of Publishing, has recently come out in paperback. Most recently, he is the author of Mission Unaccomplished: Tomdispatch Interviews with American Iconoclasts and Dissenters (Nation Books), the first collection of Tomdispatch interviews.
  • Create New...