FOX News reports:
KEWAUNEE, Wis. — Peace activist Jill Bussiere wants the United States to bring its troops home from Iraq immediately, so she went door-to-door in this community in the hopes of getting others to join her cause.
Bussiere helped organize a petition drive that resulted in a referendum on Iraq being put on the ballot during Kewaunee's upcoming spring election. It asks whether the city's leaders should urge the U.S. to begin an immediate withdrawal of its troops, beginning with the National Guard and Reserves.
The effort in Wisconsin — in tiny villages like Frederic and Ephraim and the larger cities of Madison and La Crosse — is designed to influence later races for Congress, said coordinator Steve Burns at the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice in Madison
Oh, would it were only possible, but no matter how many cities vote for withdrawal we've got lot's of bases in Iraq and we're not giving them back any time soon.
Asia Times reports:
In a prestigious engineering magazine in late 2003, Lieutenant-Colonel David Holt, the army engineer "tasked with facilities development" in Iraq, was already speaking proudly of several billion dollars being sunk into base construction ("the numbers are staggering"). Since then, the base-building has been massive and ongoing.
In a country in such startling disarray, these bases, with some of the most expensive and advanced communications systems on the planet, are like vast spaceships that have landed from another solar system. Representing a staggering investment of resources, effort and geostrategic dreaming, they are the unlikeliest places for the Bush administration to hand over willingly to even the friendliest of Iraqi governments."
See, we're not going anywhere. We'll hide out in those bases and let the Iraqis catch the bullets for us and if they get into real trouble we'll send in the Air Force to "shake and bake" the insurgents.
Ashraf Fahim for the ATimes writes:
Joost Hiltermann, of the International Crisis Group (ICG), told Asia Times Online it would be strange if America didn't intend to stay in Iraq. "One of the reasons they invaded, as far as I can tell, is because they needed to shift their military operation from Saudi Arabia," he said, "and Iraq was probably the easiest one in terms of a big country to support their presence in the Gulf." The idea that the US wanted to swap Iraq for Saudi Arabia was acknowledged by then-deputy secretary of defense Paul Wolfowitz in an interview with Vanity Fair in 2003.
Persistent reports that the US is constructing permanent bases in Iraq lend credence to the view that the Bush administration plans to stay. The Chicago Tribune reported in March 2004 that the US was building 14 "enduring" bases in Iraq, and the Washington Post reported in May that US forces would eventually be consolidated into four large, permanent air bases.