U.S. Presence Said to Reassure Allies: Gates, U.S. General Back Long Iraq Stay
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and a senior U.S. commander said yesterday that they favor a protracted U.S. troop presence in Iraq along the lines of the military stabilization force in South Korea.
Gates told reporters in Hawaii that he is thinking of “a mutual agreement” with Iraq in which “some force of Americans . . . is present for a protracted period of time, but in ways that are protective of the sovereignty of the host government.” Gates said such a long-term U.S. presence would assure allies in the Middle East that the United States will not withdraw from Iraq as it did from Vietnam, “lock, stock and barrel.”
Yes, 50 years of occupation sound like a great plan, since the last 4 years of it has created such stability in Iraq.
The U.S. and South Korea agreed in 2004 to reduce U.S. troops levels in the country from 37,500 to 25,000 by 2008. This 50 year occupation has ‘protected the sovereignty of the host government’ there through sitting by during 2 coup d’etats, setting tremendous amounts of landmines on the border with North Korea, and ignoring the politically stabilizing relations between the North and South Korean governments that have grown over the years. Oh, and the North and South are still technically at war, having never signed a peace treaty to officially end it.
There don’t seem to be any U.S. troop deaths in South Korea recently, whereas 124 U.S. troops died in Iraq during May (and who knows how many Iraqi civilians or military contractors), the most fatal month for U.S. troops since November, 2004.
So who the presence of U.S. troops is reassuring to is a bit of a mystery, since the Iraqi Parliament started steps to demand a timeline for U.S. withdrawal last month.