Great article from TomDispatch that provides a comprehensive overview of where things stand in Iraq: the Iraqi police force, the opening of the National Assembly inside the Green Zone, the pervasive violence, casualty figures, plans for US troops and recruiting problems, war profiteering and corruption, the "coalition," and developments in US policy for the region. It concludes:
Right now, Baghdad may be ungovernable, the insurgency remains fierce, the new Iraqi government unable to chose its leaders, gas lines endless in Baghdad, electricity supplies desperately low in significant parts of the country, allies dropping away, and security dismal, but what-we-worry. After all, above all, chaos or not, we're still there, the self-invited guests who came for dinner, and stayed on and on and on…In fact, though it's hardly mentioned in our media, we've been digging in. Joshua Hammer of Mother Jones magazine reported in a recent issue that approximately $4.5 billion dollars has gone to -- who else? -- KBR for the construction and maintenance of up to 14 "enduring camps" or permanent military bases in Iraq. Many of these bases have a look of permanency that undoubtedly has to be seen to be imagined. And let's just remember what those 14 bases sit on...There's a word that can't really be spoken, or written, not at least in conjunction with "Iraq," or off the business pages of our papers (even though this week, the price of a barrel of the stuff broke $56). Fortunately, I can spell it for you: It's o-i-l...Iraq, as it happens, sits on top of probably the second largest oil deposits in the Middle East (after Saudi Arabia where we've been drawing down our bases for a while) and right in the strategic heartland of the oil lands of the Earth. As far as I can tell, there hasn't even been much oil exploration in the country in the last two decades, so who knows how much of what may lie under its territories? As is too seldom mentioned, the Bush administration is an energy regime with a number of its major players connected at various past moments to energy companies of various sorts...As a group, they quite naturally look on the planet in an energy sort of way and dream of global control, at least in part, in terms of controlling energy flows...The most significant fact of our Iraq War and occupation (and war), which can't be repeated too many times, is that the Bush administration busted into the country without an exit strategy for a simple reason: They never planned to leave -- and they still don't.