… because, even though Obama may think he is weighing his policy “options,” the Pentagon is busily politically engineering the the flow of infrastructure funds needed to lock in the constituent support for its Long War.
2014 or Bust: The Pentagon’s Afghan Building Boom
Nick Turse and Tom Engelhardt, November 06, 2009
In our day, the American way of war, especially against lightly armed guerrillas, insurgents, and terrorists, has proved remarkably heavy. Elephantine might be the appropriate word. The Pentagon likes to talk about its “footprint” on the geopolitical landscape. In terms of the infrastructure it’s built in Iraq and Afghanistan, perhaps “crater” would be a more reasonable image.
American wars are now gargantuan undertakings. The prospective withdrawal of significant numbers/most/all American forces from Iraq, for instance, will — in terms of time and effort — make the 2003 invasion look like the vaunted “cakewalk” it was supposed to be. According to Pentagon estimates, more than 1.5 million (yes, that is “million”) pieces of U.S. equipment need to be removed from the country. Just stop and take that in for a second.
Of course, it’s a less surprising figure when you realize that the Pentagon managed to build, furnish, and supply almost 300 bases, macro to micro, in Iraq alone in the war years. And some of those bases were — and still are — the size of small American towns with tens of thousands of troops, private contractors, and others, as well as massive perimeters, multiple bus routes, full-scale PX’s, fast-food outlets, movie theaters, and the like.
Iraq-style war has now become the gargantuan template for the Afghan War build-up that Nick Turse describes below. (His is the sort of summary picture of a less-than-adequately-covered situation that TomDispatch specializes in, based in part on investigative Internet reporting and the mining of Pentagon contracts, government and corporate websites, and military publications.) In fact, some percentage of those 1.5 million pieces of equipment will undoubtedly simply be sent Afghanistan-wards. As the Bush administration built the world’s largest — and shoddiest — embassy in Baghdad, our own mother ship, mission control center for the region, and modern ziggurat, so now, the Obama administration is about to do the same (at approximately the same startling cost) in Islamabad, Pakistan, as a monstrous mission control center for the Af/Pak theater of operations.
In Iraq, structures like Balad Air Base or the ill-named Camp Victory just on the edge of Baghdad are so massive, so permanent-looking — so clearly built for long-term occupation — that it’s still hard to imagine how the Pentagon will abandon them to the Iraqis.
Phi Beta Iota: We were in Viet-Nam from 1963-1967 and was the RMK-BRJ boom going on then. Nick Turse’s article, with full detials–names, numbers, and locations–for the money that has been committed for the FUTURE “digging in” of U.S. forces in Afghnaistan, is a MUST READ. The ignorance of the Washington, D.C. policymakers, and the obliviousness of the US public no longer surprise us–it is this kind of “in your face” detail that we strive to make routinely available to the public….in the public interest.