How long will it be until Americans become comfortable with being called occupiers?
As time passes in Iraq with danger and insecurity to Americans increasing each day, our interest in handing the reins to the Iraqis looks increasingly feigned. In fact, the claim that we had plans to hand over control was false to begin with. True, from the beginning the Administration has planned for an Iraqi army, one that would be dwarfed by those of Iraq's neighbors.
Slocombe said an initial division of 12,000 men will be ready within a year and will grow to 40,000 within three years - still just a fraction of the [sic] Saddam's military force of 400,000.
Obviously what this will mean is that the US can only remove its troops at the cost of having Iraq overrun by one of its neighbors, which would probably in turn provoke another invasion by the US. Simpler and cheaper simply to leave our troops and bases there as a defensive measure while we build up to a point where Iraq can defend itself. Say, around 2012 or so.
Check out British historian A.J.P. Taylor (from The Struggle for Mastery in Europe 1848-1918):
The British had become masters of Egypt. They had acquired their share of the partition of the Turkish empire, while Russia was as far off Constantinople as ever and the French without the shadowy compensation envisaged in 1878. This was an extraordinary outcome, arrived at without plan or deliberation. The British had never intended to occupy Egypt and now assured the Powers that they would leave as soon as order was restored. Gladstone said on 10 August 1882 that an indefinite occupation "would be absolutely at variance with all the principles and views of Her Majesty's Government, and the pledges they have given to Europe, and with the views, I may say, of Europe itself"; Granville promised withdrawal in a circular to the powers; and this promise was repeated sixty-six times between 1882 and 1922. But the condition was the restoration of order; and this condition was never fulfilled to British satisfaction.
From the mathematical-game point of view, this Bush Administration outplayed the previous one with respect to the buildup to war: unlike the father, the son could not be pinned down to any one reason for fighting. Since each of the proffered reasons was individually bogus, they could only make an impression as a group, so the camera was never allowed to focus on any one of them for more than a few seconds. Thus, as each one now crumbles to dust under post-war examination, the Administration simply sidesteps, and is not, at least so far, caught in direct lies.
But the father's Administration provided itself with a preferable endgame, and the resulting strategy was thus easier to execute and more likely to work. What's happened since the war was declared “over” seems to validate the claim that the father does not tell the son what to do, because as much of a thief as the father is, he wouldn't have left himself such an hopeless position in the geostrategic endgame. The current President is the either worst we've ever had, or the greatest thief we've ever had. Either he and his advisors had no plan, or their plan was to steal the second-largest oil reserves in the world and hand them over to the likes of Bechtel and Halliburton.
Either way, it looks like we Americans have become, if not the permanent, at least the long-term, occupying force in Iraq. What will this mean? Howard Zinn, whom I consider one of the best people to have inhabited Earth, a true Belisarian, describes his view in a wonderful essay (from The Progressive):
The so-called war on terrorism is not only a war on innocent people in other countries, but it is also a war on the people of the United States: a war on our liberties, a war on our standard of living. The wealth of the country is being stolen from the people and handed over to the super-rich. The lives of our young are being stolen. And the thieves are in the White House.