By David Dionisi
U.S. Tour of Duty
August 15, 2005
³Rumsfeld braces for more violence in Iraq: Says insurgency could endure Œfor any number of years,¹ perhaps until 2017,² Associated Press, June 26, 2005
The courageous stand by Cindy Sheehan and many other anti-war Americans is based on demanding the truth. Consider for a moment why we have not heard the mainstream media or the President mention the role of water in the Iraq war. The Middle East is home to five percent of the world¹s population and only one percent of the world¹s renewable water supply. In addition, the population in the Arab world is 280 million people. This population, comparable to the population of the United States, is on track to double in just a few decades. The truth that Cindy Sheehan and others are demanding includes the reality that Iraq is a critical strategic location for both al Qaeda and the United States not just because of Iraq¹s oil, but because Iraq has the most extensive fresh water system in the Middle East.
A nation without enough water is in a worse position than a nation without enough oil. Understanding the role of water in the Middle East explains why there is no exit strategy from Iraq and why many Middle East experts predict the United States will be in Iraq for decades. Even Donald Rumsfeld, with a track record of being overly optimistic about the cost and duration of the Iraq war, is now setting expectations that the war will continue until 2017.
There is a saying in the Arab world that the person who controls the well also controls the people. Knowing that Iraq¹s water is a key reason our soldiers are being maimed and killed, can help you evaluate what is really going on in the Middle East. Pieces to the puzzle, like the locations of the 14 "enduring" or permanent military bases and likely duration of the American occupation, can suddenly become crystal clear when you consider the locations of the Euphrates, Tigris, Greater Zab and Lesser Zab rivers. One only need look at the Nasiriyah ³enduring base² on the Euphrates in South-East Iraq to understand the strategic value of water.
The truth is that in addition to oil, water is a real reason for the invasion of Iraq. Our soldiers, their parents, and all citizens have a right to know when the price that is required is in blood and in billions of dollars. Don¹t be fooled by the occasional messages that our troops will leaving in a few years. The Pentagon is planning on occupying Iraq for decades. The Pentagon¹s long-range strategic plan is likely to require an American occupation far beyond Donald Rumsfeld¹s optimistic 2017 forecast.
David J. Dionisi is a former military intelligence officer and the author of American Hiroshima, a recently published non-fiction book that describes the next 9/11 attack in the United States, and how it can be avoided.