Why Is Jordan so Eager to Suck Up to the Pentagon?William M. Arkin5/02/15 4:32pmFiled to: JordanISISmilitary bases overseas02EditPromoteShare to KinjaToggle Conversation toolsGo to permalinkWhen I wrote about the Jordan-based Eager Lion exercise in 2012, I pointed out that it had supplanted Bright Star, the U.S.-Egypt nobody-here-but-us-nice-guys exercise, as the largest in the Middle East. The press releases that used to describe that annual strokeathon were boilerplate: most important U.S.-ally in the Middle East (!), promoting cooperation (!), second largest recipient of U.S. arms (behind you know who) so they might as well know how to use those arms. Advertisement Now there’s pretty pictures of a military “exercise” in Jordan – “all women!” – but it wasn’t that long ago that the Hashemite Kingdom denied that it was even hosting or cooperating with U.S. forces. Before the 2003 Iraq war, for example, it even publicly claimed that no U.S. forces or bases were in the country even though a gigantic Joint Task Force West launched much of the overall offensive against Saddam Hussein from Jordanian soil. Jordan is the latest favorite for opening its doors to the American war machine (even supplanting Kuwait). But it should be noted that operations from Jordan against ISIS are not just “Jordanian” forces but American and others as well, from secret bases. Even the UAE flies aircraft from Jordan against ISIS; one big happy military family.What do those striking pictures on Foxtrot Alpha really mean? Well let’s go back to 2003. The Turkish parliament, in a courageous and unpopular act, voted – voted! – not to allow U.S. forces to launch military attacks against Iraq. By that time though, secret deals had already been cut with Jordan so the tactical loss was minor. Beyond taking down Saddam though, the power of democracy and international opinion was diminished by a U.S. hunger for war. I can’t give you chapter and verse of what Turkey might have lost behind the scenes by standing up to the Bush administration, but what the planet lost was an opportunity to hear some of those in the very region saying no. And for the future, the message is clear: Why say no to war if our voice isn’t going to be heard anyhow? Advertisement And as for the former bright star of the American military in the Middle East: Egypt? Look what happened to them. And for us: billions of tax dollars down the drain, and who knows how many hours, that could have been spent pushing the government to embrace something, anything, besides an American tank. Hurray for cooperation though– Jordan can host the forces “fighting” the world war all around it in the future, oblivious to the short-sighted decisions made in secret today. Foxtrot Alpha will bring you the pretty pictures.