South Korea in the Middle East. But as long as American forces are not working to impede jihad activity as such, this is not going to accomplish much more than draining American resources. By Tim Reid in The Australian, with thanks to all who sent this in:
THE US Defence Secretary suggested for the first time yesterday that American forces could be in Iraq for at least another half century, under an arrangement similar to the effectively permanent US troop deployment in South Korea.
In comments that will dismay war opponents at home and alarm Muslim allies in the Middle East, Robert Gates said that “some force of Americans” will be in Iraq for a “protracted period of time” and pointed to South Korea as the model.
US troops have been in South Korea since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, in the heavily armed demilitarised zone that separates the country from North Korea.
US generals are in charge of the combined US-South Korean forces.
Mr Gates, speaking to reporters in Hawaii during a visit to US Pacific Command, said that current war plans still called for an assessment of the US “surge” strategy in September, but he said he was looking beyond that to the type of military presence the US would have in Iraq over the long term.
He contrasted the situation in South Korea to Vietnam, where, he said, “we just left, lock, stock and barrel”, a reference to the US withdrawal after the fall of Saigon in1975.
“What I’m thinking in terms of is a mutual agreement where some force of Americans – with mutually agreed missions – is present for a protracted period of time,” he said.
“The idea is more a model of a mutually agreed arrangement whereby we have a long and enduring presence but under the consent of both parties and under certain conditions.
“The Korea model is one, the security relationship we have with Japan is another.”