What? Permanent U.S. bases in Iraq
? I've never heard of anything so absurd! Why, you -- you -- you conspiracy theorist
! How can you be so shrill, so irresponsible, so, so, so... Oh, wait
Iraq's government is prepared to offer the U.S. a long-term troop presence in Iraq and preferential treatment for American investments in return for an American guarantee of long-term security including defense against internal coups, The Associated Press learned Monday.
The proposal, described to the AP by two senior 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.
Make no mistake: this is Nouri al-Maliki offering the U.S. a permanent presence in return for guaranteeing the security of his government
. (Would-be PM Ayad Allawi
can't make President Bush a counteroffer as good as that
.) 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. No wonder the negotiation of a mandate for foreign troops in Iraq at the United Nations -- where this deal would begin to take shape -- is one of Bush's new post-benchmark benchmarks
Who could have seen this