Pentagon Expects Long-Term Access to Key Iraq Bases

Thom Shanker and Eric Schmitt. New York Times, 20 April 2003.


Regardless of how quickly the Americans reverse the buildup of the last several months, it is plain that since Sept. 11, 2001, there has been a concerted diplomatic and military effort to win permission for United States forces to operate from the formerly Communist nations of Eastern Europe, across the Mediterranean, throughout the Middle East and the Horn of Africa, and across Central Asia, from the periphery of Russia to Pakistan’s ports on the Indian Ocean.

It is a swath of Western influence not seen for generations.

In Afghanistan and in Iraq, the American military will do all it can to minimize the size of its forces, and there will probably never be an announcement of permanent stationing of troops.

Permanent access is all that is required, not permanent basing, officials say.

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