US Building 14 Permanent Bases in Iraq

by Donna Muhs-McCarten

The reason Bush Inc. can’t provide an exit strategy for Iraq is because there is none.

Christine Spolar of the Chicago Tribune writes that US engineers are overseeing the construction of 14 “enduring bases” for thousands of US troops expected to serve in Iraq for years. Included in this network is a US embassy in Baghdad, destined to be the largest in the world, with over 3000 staff.

Although Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld denies it, military planners call for over 110,000 personnel to establish a long-term military presence to control Iraqi oil reserves. This will also allow the US to control an entire region of instability from the Gulf of Guinea to the Persian Gulf and into Central Asia.

US permanent bases and airfields, four of which are already completed, are or will be sited in Baghdad, Mozul, Taji, Kirkuk, Tehril, Fallujah and elsewhere. With the Department of Defense (DOD) in charge of 18 billion taxpayers’ dollars allocated for “reconstruction,” the DOD in June 2003 signed a $200 million contract with Kellog, Brown and Root, a Halliburton subsidiary, to build in as many as 20 locations.

In an email interview with McGraw-Hill Construction’s online newsletter, Lt. Col.Mark Holt, Deputy Commander of the US Army’s 130th Engineering Brigade who has been assigned the task of facilities development, revealed recently that a major mission of the US Army Corps of Engineers is to build these facilities for the “bed-down” of US forces.

A secret clause in an agreement between Paul Bremer, then top US administrator in Iraq, and the US-appointed Iraqi Interim Governing Council, guarantees the establishment of at least six permanent bases. Such bases would allow the US to stage and manage pre-emptive strikes as necessary in all four directions as well as deter Iraq’s neighbors from attacking.

Establishing the 14 permanent bases supports the US’ hegemonic ambitions. In The Sorrows of Empire, Chalmers Johnson writes that bases are not designed for military preparedness but as a permanent claim on a nation’s resources.

Bush Inc.’s imperial policies are responsible for the deaths of thousands of Iraqi and US soldiers and citizens. If the neocons and the war hawks are allowed to prevail, more will die as the “footprint” of the US military becomes a trail.

In the past our Congressional representatives often sided with their constituents when caught between them and imperial elites. That possibility still exists; we must develop it.

Sources:, Tribune reporting
Nation Institute – 21st Century Gunboat Diplomacy Project Englehardt-Five Missing Stories from Iraq

Donna is a long-time global studies teacher and a member of the PNL editorial committee.