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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

US signals permanent stay in Iraq | csmonitor.com

US signals permanent stay in Iraq | csmonitor.com: "US signals permanent stay in Iraq
Critics say a long-term US military presence may provoke greater Iraqi resistance of the 'occupier.'
By Howard LaFranchi | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

Washington

This spring's debate over a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq may have implied that the US presence there is likely to wind down soon, but recent comments from both the administration and military officials suggest a different scenario.

In Washington and among American military officers in Iraq, the idea of establishing permanent US bases there is under discussion – with one official citing as an example the decades-long presence of US troops in Korea. The aim would be to keep American soldiers on Iraqi soil well into the century as a support for the Iraqi government against outside aggression, a means of training and developing a new Iraqi military, and a platform from which the US could fight Al Qaeda and other war-on-terror opponents.

Yet as early proposals in notebooks at the White House and the Pentagon are slowly revealed to a US public increasingly opposed to the Iraq war, many Iraq and Middle East experts warn that any plan for permanent bases would cement the US image in Iraq and the region as that of an occupying force.

'This is a really bad idea, one that will only feed the image"

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