Middle East

Three Reasons Why America Will Never Leave Iraq

By C.B. Forde

While watching President Bush make a speech during his surprise visit to Iraq last week, I thought to myself, America will never leave Iraq. One of the many conspiracy theories about the war in Iraq is that the primary reason for the American invasion was to seize Iraq’s oil reserves and keep America one step ahead of the Chinese in the global scramble to secure energy resources. So I decided to do some research and came up with three very concrete reasons why in spite of the noise the Democratic Party is trying to raise, the United States will not be leaving Iraq anytime soon:

1. Iraq’s Vast Oil Wealth

2. The New U.S. Embassy/Fortress

3. The “non-permanent” Military Bases currently being constructed

1. Iraq has the third largest reserves of conventional oil in the world, approximately 112 billion barrels. America has an insatiable thirst for oil that no hybrid car can cure. The United States consumes 20,730,000 barrels of oil a day. China is the next largest consumer at 6,534,000 barrels a day. America produces only 7, 610,000 barrels of oil a day. Do the math—the demand and production just don’t match up. The Chinese economy is rapidly expanding, and tensions over oil reserves have been simmering between the two countries. This came to light when the American government blocked the Chinese purchase of the American oil company called Unocal in 2005. The logic is simple, in order to ensure its position in the world, America HAD to secure this vast supply of oil. Furthermore, with deteriorating relations with Russia and outright hostility with Venezuela and Iran, three of the world’s largest oil producers, the U.S. has to hedge its bets somehow.

2. A more obvious sign that U.S troops won’t be pulling out of the Iraq is the newly constructed U.S. Embassy. The new 560 million dollar embassy is the largest and most expensive embassy ever built. The facility is a heavily fortified fortress with 15-foot thick concrete walls and specially made bulletproof windows and doors to provide protection from car or truck bombs. The 65-acre facility which sits on the banks of the Tigris River in the Green Zone will be a world onto itself, with its own power, sewage, and water plants.

The embassy has 619 apartments which can house approximately 1,200 workers. To ensure worker safety, the embassy staff will have their own shopping market, movie theater, athletic facilities, and dry cleaners. This huge financial investment in the U.S. Embassy forced me to look into what the U.S. government was doing to protect this investment. Fifteen-foot concrete walls can only do so much; the U.S. will have to maintain a military presence in the country.

3. At the beginning of the occupation, America established well over one hundred bases throughout the country. In 2005, the Pentagon selected 14 of these bases to be developed beyond the level of temporary encampments. Basically, they decided to build permanent buildings instead of just having tents and other temporary structures. The U.S. military now has several bases that are cities unto themselves.

In 2005, Congress began to debate the issue of permanent military bases in Iraq. Although it is impossible to determine exactly how much money has been allocated to build non-permanent bases, estimates have been well over one billion dollars. In the 2006 supplemental budget, 348 million was allocated for further construction of “non-permanent” bases in Iraq.

The key thing here is the semantic use of the word permanent. Congress has called upon the Pentagon to provide a transparent plan as to what their true intentions in Iraq are. However, America is currently removing its troops from Saudi Arabia and Iraq will present the U.S. military with an excellent opportunity to maintain a powerful presence in the region—`right at the back door of Syria and Iran.

These “non-permanent” Iraq bases are also designed to provide the troops with as much of an American lifestyle as possible. The temporary base at Balad boasts two large department stores and several fast food restaurants including a 24-hour Burger King, a Pizza Hut, and a Baskin-Robbins as well as a miniature golf course.

The temporary base at Al-Asad has a football field, a Hertz rent-a-car office, an Internet cafe, an indoor swimming pool, a movie theater showing the latest releases, and an automobile dealership. Troops at these bases are provided with air-conditioning, satellite Internet access, cable television, and international phone service.

While denying they want to have permanent bases in Iraq, the Department of Defense has spent quite a bit of money on temporary living quarters for their soldiers. It just makes sense, no matter what Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid say, America will occupy Iraq for a good number of years into the future.

Blackballot, October 10, 2007