BAGHDAD -- U.S. military officials here are increasingly envisioning a "post-occupation" troop presence in Iraq that neither maintains current levels nor leads to a complete pullout, but aims for a smaller, longer-term force that would remain in the country for years...
Such a long-term presence would have four major components. The centerpiece would be a reinforced mechanized infantry division of around 20,000 soldiers assigned to guarantee the security of the Iraqi government and to assist Iraqi forces or their U.S. advisers if they get into fights they can't handle.
Second, a training and advisory force of close to 10,000 troops would work with Iraqi military and police units. "I think it would be very helpful to have a force here for a period of time to continue to help the Iraqis train and continue to build their capabilities," Odierno said.
In addition, officials envision a small but significant Special Operations unit focused on fighting the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq. "I think you'll retain a very robust counterterror capability in this country for a long, long time," a Pentagon official in Iraq said.
Finally, the headquarters and logistical elements to command and supply such a force would total more than 10,000 troops, plus some civilian contractors.
The thinking behind this "post-occupation" force, as one official called it, echoes the core conclusion of a Joint Chiefs of Staff planning group that last fall secretly considered three possible courses in Iraq, which it categorized as "go big," "go home" and "go long." The group's recommendation to reshape the U.S. presence in order to "go long" -- to remain in Iraq for years with a smaller force -- appears to carry weight in Baghdad, where some of the colonels who led that planning group have been working for Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq since February...
A post-occupation occupation not being a real occupation, but only appearing as such to the untrained eye. Where would we be without the Pentagon to sort out the nuance? Not in Iraq, certainly.
And all those admonitions of even our puppet government to leave? Why, they don't really mean it...
U.S. officials also calculate that underneath the anti-American rhetoric, even Shiite radicals such as cleric Moqtada al-Sadr don't really want to see a total U.S. pullout, especially while they feel threatened by Sunni insurgents. Also, officials think any Iraqi government will prefer to keep a small U.S. combat force to deter foreign intervention.
There's nothing like a whole mess of well armed foreigners to keep other foreigners out. Unless the other foreigners get the idea that their foreign intervention may be justified- the better to fight foreigners in Iraq than at home of course.
Tom Englehardt thinks that this was the plan all along. He says it all much better than I can, and backs it all up with facts and figures, so I'd advise reading it. Of course you may remember that's what the Saudi Royals and their Fixer advised, too.
A "post-occupation" in our fortified bases in Iraq is anticipated by the D.o'D. for the next 50 years or so.
That couldn't possibly be related to this , could it?