For years, talk of permanent bases was considered impolite for the political mainstream. When congressional Dems started taking the matter seriously, congressional Republicans quickly shut down any policy proposals that might limit a permanent U.S. presence in Iraq.
With that in mind, today’s news is not at all encouraging.
Iraq’s government, seeking protection against foreign threats and internal coups, will offer the U.S. a long-term troop presence in Iraq in return for U.S. security guarantees as part of a strategic partnership, two Iraqi officials said Monday.
The proposal, described to The Associated Press by two senior Iraqi officials familiar with the issue, is one of the first indications that the United States and Iraq are beginning to explore what their relationship might look like once the U.S. significantly draws down its troop presence.
As Spencer Ackerman explained, “Make no mistake: this is Nouri al-Maliki offering the U.S. a permanent presence in return for guaranteeing the security of his government…. In exchange for a platform for the indefinite projection of American power throughout the Middle East, the Bush Administration probably considers protection for Maliki and his coterie to be a small price to pay.”