Saturday, June 02, 2007
out of gas, out of road:
Things not to do during a two-and-a-half-day swing through Hawaii to visit family: watch the Yankees implode in the seventh inning against the Red Sox. Why pitch Scott Proctor knowing that he can't use the inside corner or face a multi-game ejection?

Other things not to do, etc.: misapply sunscreen and misjudge the intensity of the midday sun above Oahu while lazily soaking up Michael Chabon's Yiddish Policeman's Union. My midsection resembles improperly seared seafood.

Worth doing: get a crash course in sushi preparation from your very patient aunt and an advisory on poke from the gentleman behind the poke station in Costco. Snorkle alongside a massive sea turtle, avoiding his plot to lure you out into the briny depths of the Pacific and bite your face off. Also, note that shortly after you touch down, Bob Gates reaffirms that the plan in Iraq is to stay -- in some force posture or other -- forever.

--Spencer Ackerman
I read Gates comments at the presser as ambiguous on Iraq but firm on the US having a long term presence in the region.

The Region and/or Iraq:

we also need to be looking to the long term in the region, as well as in Iraq. And how do we posture ourselves for the long term, both in the region and in Iraq, at the invitation of the Iraqis, at the invitation of other countries, to provide -- to help provide some stabilization force, some presence on the part of the United States that provides reassurance to our friends and to -- and to governments in the region, including those that might be our adversaries, that we're going to be there for a long time.

Does this apply to region or Iraq? Ambiguous, I think.

Well, I think that what -- I think, well, certainly what I'm thinking in terms of is -- is a mutual agreement where American, some size, some force of Americans, mutually agreed, with mutually agreed missions, is present for a protracted period of time, but in ways that are protective of the sovereignty of the host -- government, and where there are rules that limit what the U.S. forces can and can't do while they are in a sovereign country.
And the idea is more a model of a mutually agreed arrangement whereby we have a long and enduring presence, but one that is by consent of both parties and under certain conditions

I think Gates is hedging on Iraq in particular, since he emphasizes 'by agreement'. If the Iraqi government or parliament, now or in the future, wants us out, it doesn't seem as though Gates thinks he needs Iraq bases as essential to the region's security.
Blogger JimPortlandOR | 6:12 PM