News Release

Iraq Bases and the Korea Model: An “Enduring” Relationship


Grossman is a geographer and faculty member at The Evergreen State College (Olympia, Wash.) and wrote the new article “The Korea Model Rationale for Staying in Iraq: An Endless Occupation?

He said today: “The ‘Korea Model’ is President Bush’s rationale for extending the U.S. occupation of Iraq from four years to four decades — or more. But comparing Iraq and Korea is like comparing apples and oranges. Unlike in Iraq, U.S. troops are not fighting against an insurgency in the streets and villages of South Korea. Iraq has been divided along ethnic and religious lines, whereas South Korea is one of the most ethnically homogeneous countries on Earth.

“Washington claims to promote ‘democracy’ in Iraq, but it backed a string of military dictatorships to secure control over South Korea. Most Iraqis have wanted U.S. troops to leave (and do not view neighboring countries as a threat), whereas many South Koreans at least initially backed a U.S. presence as ‘protection’ from North Korean attack. But the South Korean public is increasingly questioning the U.S. military presence as prolonging the North-South divide, and are opposing the expansion of U.S. military bases that disrespect women and rural people.

“Rather than following a ‘Korea Model’ in Iraq, the U.S. seems to following a ‘Palestine Model,’ using checkpoints, walls and imprisonment to control an independence-minded population. Permanent (or ‘enduring’ in the Pentagon’s wordplay) U.S. military bases in Iraq will merely increase Iraqi resentment over the years, draw more U.S. troops into continuing internal conflicts, and ensure more instability and a harsher ‘blowback’ in the decades ahead.”
Grossman contributed to the Transnational Institute’s recently-released mapping of hundreds of foreign bases using Google Earth.
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Author of the forthcoming book The Bases of Empire: The Struggle Against U.S. Military Posts Lutz said today: “The U.S. is centralizing bases in Korea, from an at least somewhat defensive posture to a more offensive posture. So, the U.S. bases in Iraq, like the bases in South Korea, have the purpose of allowing the U.S. to launch warfare against neighboring countries. That is how the U.S. military has used its global network of bases for decades. Bases in the Philippines were used in the Vietnam War and bases in Germany were used to facilitate the invasion of Iraq. The purpose of U.S. military bases is rarely simply or even primarily to act in defense of the countries in which they are located.

“The movement against U.S. bases and unhappiness with their presence in many quarters has led the Pentagon to rename permanent bases as, for example, ‘enduring’ bases or ‘cooperative security locations.'” Lutz is professor of anthropology at Brown University and the Watson Institute for International Studies.
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020, (202) 421-6858; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167.