It has been encouraging to see the ongoing story of the U.S. bases in Iraq making more and more ground. Tom Engelhardt, bless his hardt, has been following and writing regularly on this phenomenon: the fifty-plus, highly built up military installations that are more than enough prooof that the U.S. has no intention of leaving that country any time soon.
One day last week I even heard Terry Gross on that spineless network known as National Public Radio interviewing James Glanz, Baghdad bureau chief for the The New York Times. She asked him easy questions about the U.S. bases and how Iraqis feel about them and he answered like a spokesman for the military.
The point is that it is even a story on N.P.R., and that is a good thing.
It has been, for instance, a commonplace of these years to see a TV correspondent reporting on the situation in Iraq, or what the American military had to say about Iraq, from Baghdad’s enormous Camp Victory. And yet, if you think about it, that camera, photographing ABC’s fine reporter Martha Raddatz or other reporters on similar stop-overs, never pans across the base itself. You don’t even get a glimpse, unless you have access to homemade G.I. videos or Pentagon-produced propaganda.
After reading that and hearing the N.P.R. story I thought, well heck I was just in Iraq on some of these massive bases….why not put up some footage?
So here is a brief tour through Camp Anaconda, a 28,000-person base near Balad, Iraq, about an hour north from Baghdad by car. I filmed this in April 2008, and it was edited by my friend and co-conspirator Iona Sidi.
* The title of this post was borrowed from the name of Joe Haldeman’s excellent novel about a war in the future that lasts 1000 years, The Forever War (1974).