by Jim Lobe / Inter Press Service –
The Telegraph reported that Ahmed Chalabi [the criminal fugitive who headed the group of Iraqi exiles that advised the Bush that occupying Iraq would be a cakewalk] merely shrugged off accusations his group had deliberately misled the administration, saying, “We are heroes in error.”
“As far as we’re concerned, we’ve been entirely successful,” he told the newspaper. “That tyrant Saddam is gone and the Americans are in Baghdad. What was said before is not important. The Bush administration is looking for a scapegoat. We’re ready to fall on our swords if he wants.”
But other statements made by Jay Garner this week in an interview with The National Journal suggest that the administration had its own reasons for the war.
General Hopes Troops Remain in Iraq ‘a Long Time’
Asked how long US troops might remain in Iraq, Garner replied, “I hope they’re there a long time,” and then compared US goals in Iraq to US military bases in the Philippines between 1898 and 1992.
“One of the most important things we can do right now is start getting basing rights with (the Iraqi authorities),” he said. ”And I think we’ll have basing rights in the north and basing rights in the south … we’d want to keep at least a brigade.”
Garner added, “Look back on the Philippines around the turn of the 20th century: they were a coaling station for the navy, and that allowed us to keep a great presence in the Pacific. That’s what Iraq is for the next few decades: our coaling station that gives us great presence in the Middle East.”
While US military strategists have hinted for some time that a major goal of war was to establish several bases in Iraq, particularly given the ongoing military withdrawal from Saudi Arabia, Garner is the first to state it so baldly. Until now, US military chiefs have suggested they need to retain a military presence just to ensure stability for several years, after which they expect to draw down their forces.