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Settling In

Before the war, we had some assurances this would be a quick victory with rose pedal parades and dancing Iraqis as a finale. There was General Richard Myers who said this would be a, "a short, short conflict" against an Iraqi force that was "much weaker" than it was in the 1991 Gulf War. Rummy said it would be a "matter of weeks, not months," and yet, here we are three years later.

And now Congressional Republicans have killed language in an Iraq war funding bill that would have put the US on record against developing permanent bases in that country. The original House version of the bill would have restricted the Pentagon's ability to enter into base rights with the Iraqi government. According to Reuters, "a similar amendment passed by the Senate said the Pentagon could not use the next round of war funding to 'establish permanent United States military bases in Iraq, or to exercise United States control over the oil infrastructure or oil resources of Iraq.'"

The idea is to allay feelings in the Mideast that the US is setting up a permanent outpost in the region, a feeling often cited by terrorist organizations in their recruiting drives. But Republicans don't want to tie the hands of the Pentagon (which, by the way, is sort of their job) and hold them to any sort of timeline in Iraq.

As a wise man once told me, a task will expand to the time allotted for its completion. I think it'll be a long time before we see the Mission Accomplished sign rolled out again.

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