No staying in Iraq
Basra and the oil fields south of the city
The viability of permanent US bases in Iraq
Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 07:09:50 AM PST
The fantasy world of the Bush administration is proving remarkably resistant to facts on the ground. It appears that Bush's refusal to withdraw from Iraq is connected to the notion that US forces can withdraw to a few heavily-defended superbases and defy the will of the insurgents while continuing to project US power in the Mideast. This strategy is untenable, for the following reasons:
- US logistics in Iraq depend on the road network. The bulk of US supplies are trucked in over long roads from ports in Kuwait. Without active patrolling to secure the road network, the bases will be cut off from food, fuel, and ammunition. The US does not have enough tactical airlift capacity to supply a dozen large bases in Iraq in a hostile environment.
- US bases in Iraq are big targets for mortars and rockets. As the insurgents improve their organization and training, their use of long-range weapons will grow more effective. If Iran or the Saudis supply insurgents with modern multiple-launch rockets, insurgents will be able to mount devastating strikes against US bases. Even inaccurate bombardment of US bases will impose a heavy psychological burden on US troops serving there.
- The oil infrastructure of Iraq cannot be protected by US troops hunkered down in heavily defended bases. Oil facilities are fragile and easily damaged by hit-and-run attacks. Without active patrolling of hundreds of miles of pipelines and thousands of key oil facilities, the US forces will be helpless to perform their key mission: guarding "our" oil.
- US bases cannot be concealed from the Iraqis. No matter how much the US forces isolate themselves from Iraqi society, the people of Iraq will view the presence of US troops as a direct challenge to their sovereignty. No Iraqi politician will be able to support the long-term presence of US forces in Iraq.
These significant obstacles to maintaining permanent US bases in Iraq, which even a school child could grasp, seem to evade the understanding of our incompetent President. Let us hope that the new Congress can compel him to end the Iraq debacle before many more young Americans die for nothing in Iraq.
The land south of Basra is hard to actually secure. If a guerrilla force decided to make it inoperable, bunkered down US forces would do nothing to secure it.
posted by Steve @ 10:19:00 AM