The permanent role of the U.S. military in Iraq is NOT to serve as sitting ducks for an Iraqi insurgency. Maintenance of large numbers of American ground forces in Iraq till now has been necessary to stabilize the installation of a government in Iraq suitable to U.S. interests and to protect that government until it could begin to defend itself by the recruitment of large numbers of armed men (ostensibly an Iraqi "army" and "police force"). This is literally the ONLY jobs program in Iraq for large numbers of able-bodied young men. In Iraq in 2005, if you want to work and provide an income for your family, you have to join the U.S. trained police or Iraqi military and defend the U.S.-vetted administration of your country. The U.S. goal is ultimately to recruit enough Iraqis to fight the insurgency on a daily basis that the bulk of American ground forces will be able to withdraw from Iraq.
Does this mean the end of the U.S. military presence or U.S. military role in Iraq? Hardly! The U.S. military will remain in Iraq for the long-term, but on permanent bases well protected from the Iraqi people. American soldiers on permanent bases will not have to travel Iraqi roads and streets in large numbers to patrol or to search for insurgents.
So, what will the permanent role of the American military in Iraq be? It will be at least two-fold, and will not doubt still require a permanent force of thousands of soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen, just like we have in Korea and other places of the world where conflict is possible. The U.S. military will largely consist of aviation units and airborne infantry to guard oil infrastructure from the air and to act as a strategic support of the Iraqi military in guarding the U.S. vetted government of Iraq. Attack helicopters and jet fighters and bombers will be present in Iraq for the long-term to guard the oil wells and pipelines by relentless patrolling. They will guard the Green Zone. They will be able to bomb insurgents who threaten American bases or Iraqi puppets. They are being able to punish Iraqis for fighting the illegitimate government, such as by more bombing of Fallujah. American forces will be available in the future to patrol Iraq’s borders and to launch attacks into neighboring Arab countries from within Iraq.
To accomplish these varying roles, the permanent basing of American forces in Iraq will be substantial. There will be many thousands of American military in Iraq for many years to come. But the American troops will not be patrolling dangerous streets in Iraq, where they can be exposed to asymmetrical violence. The idea is to allow the Iraqi soldiers to die to protect the Americans, so the Americans can protect their own interests; first and foremost the oil infrastructure for the purpose of American control of Iraqi oil. The American military will be there to ensure that the Iraqi government facilitates massive wealth transfer back to America in repayment of American expenses by the sale of Iraq’s oil in the future. It is extortion, pure and simple. If Iraq’s government fails to pay its oil dues to the U.S., who knows when a missile or a bomb may hit the Green Zone until the dues are paid.
George W. Bush and Dick Cheney did not invade Iraq to lose money on the deal. It is taking longer to accomplish their mission than expected, primarily because Rumsfeld would not believe his senior military advisors on the amount of military effort and manpower required to secure the country of Iraq. Rumsfeld fired competent military leadership and collected a bunch of Yes-men who were willing to follow his program in exchange for promotions to leadership roles in the military. In so doing Rumsfeld has nearly destroyed the U.S. military. But if he can withdraw a substantial number of ground troops in Iraq and put the remainder in relative safety on permanent, secure U.S. bases in Iraq, he may be able to stabilize the situation through a new, contrived emergency and the institution of a military draft to quickly rebuild America’s military. Cost will be no object as Iraqi oil comes online to help pay for new hardware to replace the billions of dollars of hardware destroyed or prematurely worn out from Iraq operations.
One thing is for certain — Iraq will never be a truly sovereign nation as long as there is substantial oil under its sands. The U.S. military will remain in Iraq in permanent bases until the Age of Oil is over.