Job 1 get the oil
Job 2 Put our Enduring Footprint on top of the oil
Job 1 is approaching the landing strip. The Al Maliki "Government" is getting close to inking the thirty year production contracts with Exxon, Shell and BP, et cetera. These will take, not only the oil out of Iraq but also most of the money from the oil. By the time those contracts are up, the infrastructure investments of the Western companies will be just about completely amortized, leaving Iraq with a continuing need for outside investment and a bad case of domestic poverty.
(in reality, I doubt that any contract with the current regime will last even a couple of years.)
Job 2 is also nearly complete. Four gigantic military bases and the largest Embassy in the world.
The line about.."we'll only be there as long as we have to be and not a minute longer".. wasn't an outright lie, depending on how you define: "have to":
If we want the Oil, our troops "have to" stay.
The Plan has always been to stay there 'til the oil runs out.
This Plan, by the way, is set out in a series of papers from the American Enterprise Institute. At the beginning of the war there were rumors of "Fourteen Enduring Bases" being built as permanent outpost of American power in the heart of western Asia. But, like the rest of their NeoCon fantasies, aint working out quite like they figured.
They have built four bases around Iraq, one in Anbar, one in Kurdistan, one north of Baghdad and one south of Baghdad. The bases are the size of a suburban town with their own stripmall, housing, bus routes and airstrip, hardened command structures and defensive perimeters. Standing force structure between 5 and 10 thousand personnel with facility to accept 50 000 and process them through (they call them lily pads, isn't that cute?). Permanent forces will only leave the base to protect oil production facilities and only in heavily armed convoys, most of the time the posture is hunkered down, Fort Apache style.
Meanwhile in Baghdad, The Embassy is quite the accomplishment. 27 acres of prime riverside real estate (who knows what historic neighborhoods they bulldozed) with hundreds of buildings to house thousands of people in a fortified enclave. Self contained, it will have water, sewer and electricity no matter what chaos befalls the city around it. Iraqis joke that Bush has made an even more grandiose palace than Saddam.
These facilities haven't come cheap, I'll guarantee. Halliburton didn't give Dick the ex-employee discount. There is no way to know how much they actually cost since all to do with them has been kept secret and Congress hasn't pressed for a breakdown of the tabs they have been signing for the past four years. But, Oh Well! It's just Billion$. (and since the big tax breaks for Bush's base, it's not even his friends' money, It's borrowed from China on your kid's creditcard)
Meanwhile, back in reality, It's hard to imagine the American People standing still for this part of the plan, the permanent occupation-under-siege, supported by continuous airwar for the next three decades. No.
We are already demanding troop withdrawal, that was a loud and clear message of the November Election, a build-down to a permanent force is not acceptable to US or to the Iraqis nor to any of the rest of the world. We want the war to end. Hostilities to cease. Troops come home. Can we make it any clearer?
And it's hard to imagine the Iraqi People standing still for this, either. There already is a civil war going on, fractured on religious and tribal lines. This is not Blue vs Grey, there are dozens of factions settling scores and "Purifying" neighborhoods. As it is, who can tell who we are supporting and who is the enemy. Maliki's Shi'ite cleric sponsor kidnapped an American soldier and his militias use US supplied weapons and hardware on their deathsquad raids, the Sunni's insurgency is receiving financial support from our ally Saudi Arabia. The only thing that most of the factions agree on is fighting off the occupation forces, that's US.
Once we pull back and let the civil war rage outside our fortress walls, we will be totally ineffective in stabilizing Iraq. Quite the contrary, our armored presence will continue to destabilize society and any complicite regime, the attacks on our forces will escalate in sophistication and scale until we are driven out.