Military bases RUS, or so it seems: After the invasion of 2003, the Pentagon promptly started constructing a series of MONSTER bases in occupied Iraq, the size of small American towns, and with most of the amenities of home. These were for a projected garrison of 30,000 to 40,000 US troops that top officials of the Bush administration initially anticipated would be free to "hang out" in that country for an armed eternity. In the end, hundreds of bases were built - and now hundreds have been closed down or handed over to the Iraqis, and in some cases looted. With present US troop strength at about 47,000 and falling, American officials are now practically pleading with an Iraqi government moving ever closer to the Iranians to let some American forces remain at a few giant bases beyond the official end-of-2011 withdrawal date. Meanwhile, post 2003, the US went on a base-building spree in the Persian Gulf, digging in and enlarging facilities in Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain, "home" to the US Fifth Fleet. In that island kingdom, an Obama administration preaching "democracy" elsewhere has stood by in the face of a fierce Bahrain--Saudi campaign of repression against a majority Shiite movement for greater freedom.