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Wednesday, February 28, 2007


The 57-year (and counting) "exit strategy" - what is a "permanent base"?

I have referred many times (most recently here) to the presence of 37,000 U.S. troops in South Korea, 54 years after the "end" (57 from the beginning) of the Korean War. Today Secretary of War Defense Robert Gates admitted the comparison was valid, saying, "we will probably have some presence in Iraq, as we have had in Korea and Germany and a variety of other places around the world where we've been at war, for a prolonged period of time, a number of years." But he then added this curious claim, "We clearly have no desire for permanent bases in Iraq." Really? Just what would you call a base that has been in place for 57 years, like the U.S. bases in Korea? I mean, I admit they're not the Great Pyramid of Cheops as far as longevity goes, but really, isn't it stretching just a bit to claim that 57 years doesn't constitute a "permanent" base?

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