Yesterday's NYT provided further evidence, if any were needed, that the U.S. is definitely in Iraq for the (very) long haul:
Democrats Say Leaving Iraq May Take Years
[Translation: Democrats Have No Intention Of Ever Abandoning 'The Prize'.]
At present, the U.S. imports 42% of its natural gas, and a massive 60% of its oil, of which 17% from the Middle East. Worse: American dependence on foreign resources is rising constantly. Meanwhile (to take just one example), China has been "developing" at a rate of around 10% annually for the last several years, and is therefore also increasingly desperate to acquire and maintain access to foreign oil and gas reserves.
*"By some estimates there will be an average of two per cent annual growth in global oil demand over the years ahead, along with conservatively a three per cent natural decline in production from existing reserves. That means: by 2010 we will need on the order of an additional fifty million barrels a day. So where is the oil going to come from? Governments and the national oil companies are obviously controlling about ninety per cent of the assets. Oil remains fundamentally a government business. While many regions of the world offer great oil opportunities, the Middle East with two thirds of the world‘s oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies; even though companies are anxious for greater access there, progress continues to be slow."