US presence in Iraq is actually growing.
Believe it or not, the U.S. presence in Iraq is growing under the leadership of antiwar president Barack Obama. A recent Washington Post by reporter Walter Pincus explains that when U.S. troops are "withdrawn," their jobs are taken over by......mercenaries -- the notorious "contractors," who are hired for fabulous sums of money to sustain the huge U.S. presence there.
And there are some really awful aspects of this process, including:
• The cost of the contractors is substantially higher than the cost of the soldiers they replace. (That is, the cost of the war is going up as the U.S. "scales down" its presence in Iraq)
• "Where private guards replaced soldiers, many more guards were needed to do the same job." So the numbers and cost of the U.S. presence is going upward, not downward.
• The new contractors are overwhelmingly "third-country nationals" employed by U.S. corporations under contract from the U.S. Defense and State departments. That is, with unemployment at 60% in many places around Iraq, the new jobs created by these contractors are not giving employment to unemployed Iraqis.
• And just to underscore that this is not a process of de-escalating a U.S. presence, the "third country nationals" brought in to replace U.S. soldiers are required to speak English, but they need not speak Arabic. So we learn that the process of cultural imperialism is continuing--there is no effort to have the U.S. presence become blended into Iraqi civil society. In fact, this and so many other actions work to coerce the Iraqis into integrating into the globalized U.S. political economy.
Just another glimpse of the long term effort of the U.S. government to colonize Iraq.