I've written previously that, despite noises from the political arena, American forces are likely to be deployed in Iraq for the forseeable future -- probably decades -- with the blessing of the Iraqi government. Now FoxNews is speculating similarly based on military construction in Iraq.

During the first presidential debate, Sen. John Kerry suggested that the U.S. military is planning to make 14 bases now in Iraq "a permanent concept."

While the major media overlooked the remark, instead critiquing the style and performance of the candidates, security analysts are debating whether the United States plans to use the bases, in various stages of construction, as strategic U.S. outposts in the broader War on Terror (search).

John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org, an Alexandria, Va., outfit that specializes in gathering national security and defense data, said researchers at his firm culled military news dispatches and can "conclusively identify" nine of these so-called "enduring bases," and possibly three more that are "too vague to pin down."

The politicos are making an expediently nebulous denial:
News of the "enduring bases," Pentagon terminology for such facilities, first came to light in a March 2004 article by the Chicago Tribune. Calling them "long-term encampments" for the thousands of U.S. soldiers expected to serve in Iraq for at least two years, the newspaper nonetheless quoted coalition officials as saying no policy is in place for the bases to serve as a permanent or even long-term headquarters for the United States in the Gulf region. ...

Pentagon and Central Command (search) officials told FOXNews.com they have no plans to make the bases permanent.

"No policy is in place" means basically nothing. I predict that we'll have major military bases (equipment, if not soldiers, as per the new model) in Iraq for decades. Certainly longer than we'll continue to maintain facilities in South Korea and Germany.



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