US military to build four giant new bases in Iraq

zimv20

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US military commanders are planning to pull back their troops from Iraq's towns and cities and redeploy them in four giant bases in a strategy they say is a prelude to eventual withdrawal.

The plan, details of which emerged at the weekend, also foresees a transfer to Iraqi command of more than 100 bases that have been occupied by US-led multinational forces since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

However, the decision to in vest in the bases, which will require the construction of more permanent structures such as blast-proof barracks and offices, is seen by some as a sign that the US expects to keep a permanent presence in Iraq.

Politicians opposed to a long-term US presence on Iraqi soil questioned the plan.

"They appear to settling in a for the long run, and that will only give fuel for the terrorists," said a spokesman for the mainstream Sunni Iraqi Islamic party.

A senior US official in Baghdad said yesterday: "It has always been a main plank of our exit strategy to withdraw from the urban areas as and when Iraqi forces are trained up and able to take the strain. It is much better for all concerned that Iraqis police themselves."

Under the plan, for which the official said there was no "hard-and-fast" deadline, US troops would gradually concentrate inside four heavily fortified air bases, from where they would provide "logistical support and quick reaction capability where necessary to Iraqis". The bases would be situated in the north, south, west and centre of the country.

He said the pace of the "troop consolidation" would be dictated by the level of the insurgency and the progress of Iraq's fledgling security structures.

A report in yesterday's Washington Post said the new bases would be constructed around existing airfields to ensure supply lines and troop mobility. It named the four probable locations as: Tallil in the south; Al Asad in the west; Balad in the centre and either Irbil or Qayyarah in the north.

US officers told the paper that the bases would have a more permanent character to them, with more robust buildings and structures than can be seen at most existing bases in Iraq. The new buildings would be constructed to withstand direct mortar fire.

A source at the Iraqi defence ministry said: "We expect these facilities will ultimately be to the benefit of the domestic forces, to be handed over when the US leaves."
 

skunk

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Jun 29, 2002
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Sounds familiar. Isn't the same "four permanent mega-bases in the Western Desert" plan which was published somewhere months ago, as a way of getting out of Saudi and keeping the whole ME under control at the same time? Must look it up.
 

skunk

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Jun 29, 2002
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This is from 2004:
http://www.globalsecurity.org/org/news/2004/040323-enduring-bases.htm

14 `enduring bases' set in Iraq
Long-term military presence planned
In-Depth Coverage
By Christine Spolar

From the ashes of abandoned Iraqi army bases, U.S. military engineers are overseeing the building of an enhanced system of American bases designed to last for years.

Last year, as troops poured over the Kuwait border to invade Iraq, the U.S. military set up at least 120 forward operating bases. Then came hundreds of expeditionary and temporary bases that were to last between six months and a year for tactical operations while providing soldiers with such comforts as e-mail and Internet access.

Now U.S. engineers are focusing on constructing 14 "enduring bases," long-term encampments for the thousands of American troops expected to serve in Iraq for at least two years. The bases also would be key outposts for Bush administration policy advisers.

As the U.S. scales back its military presence in Saudi Arabia, Iraq provides an option for an administration eager to maintain a robust military presence in the Middle East and intent on a muscular approach to seeding democracy in the region. The number of U.S. military personnel in Iraq, between 105,000 and 110,000, is expected to remain unchanged through 2006, according to military planners.

"Is this a swap for the Saudi bases?" asked Army Brig. Gen. Robert Pollman, chief engineer for base construction in Iraq. "I don't know. ... When we talk about enduring bases here, we're talking about the present operation, not in terms of America's global strategic base. But this makes sense. It makes a lot of logical sense."

Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, deputy chief of operations for the coalition in Iraq, said the military engineers are trying to prepare for any eventuality.

"This is a blueprint for how we could operate in the Middle East," Kimmitt said. "[But] the engineering vision is well ahead of the policy vision. What the engineers are saying now is: Let's not be behind the policy decision. Let's make this place ready so we can address policy options."

To that end, the U.S. plans to operate from former Iraqi bases in Baghdad, Mosul, Taji, Balad, Kirkuk and in areas near Nasiriyah, near Tikrit, near Fallujah and between Irbil and Kirkuk.

There also are plans to renovate and enhance airfields in Baghdad and Mosul, and rebuild 70 miles of road on the main route for U.S. troops headed north.

Dollar figures have not been released. The Defense Department plans to build the bases under its own contracts separate from the State Department and its Embassy in Baghdad.

Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the head of coalition forces in Iraq, recently outlined a plan that would slice the current Coalition Provisional Authority into pieces after sovereignty is returned to Iraqis at the end of June.

The U.S. Embassy would absorb some coalition workers as Embassy personnel; the Defense Department would take others. Its workers would direct most of the major contracts connected to the $18 billion allocated for Iraq reconstruction, military planners said.

The Program Management Office, the agency that has been doling out the cash, will remain under the Defense Department.

"It was a significant win," one military planner said. "In terms of controlling the money, Defense is in control."​
So that's where all the "Reconstruction Money" is going.
 

jefhatfield

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Jul 9, 2000
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i am afraid that w and company have put us in a situation in iraq that no republican or democrat in the white house can easily change

be prepared for a five year deployment and the next president inheriting a vietnam war type of quagmire

somewhere, sometime, in the future a prominent us politician will proclaim that iraq was better off under saddam hussein

the shiite-sunni power struggles can come to haunt us in ways we never imagined
 

pseudobrit

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Jul 23, 2002
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jefhatfield said:
i am afraid that w and company have put us in a situation in iraq that no republican or democrat in the white house can easily change

be prepared for a five year deployment and the next president inheriting a vietnam war type of quagmire

somewhere, sometime, in the future a prominent us politician will proclaim that iraq was better off under saddam hussein

the shiite-sunni power struggles can come to haunt us in ways we never imagined
I'm still predicting a limited draft. It'll be dressed up in a conscripted civil service package to make it salable, but will certainly be a draft.
 

Xtremehkr

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Jul 4, 2004
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So, how many bases in total have we built there now? or are currently building?

17?

Short of a draft, there will have to be another significant terror strike in the US.

How else are they going to muster up the personnel needed to undertake an invasion of Iran?
 

Desertrat

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Jul 4, 2003
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Back when I first came to this Board, there was a general discussion of the war in Iraq, with back-and-forth about national interest and such. I pointed out the "chess game" of grand strategies of nations, and mentioned the costs of projecting power. I suggested looking at a map of that entire region.

And I pointed out that an ultimate goal would be bases in Iraq, with withdrawal from other Persian Gulf areas, particularly Saudi Arabia.

How long ago did Rudyard Kipling write his book, "Kim"? 18?? The fundamental principles of "The Great Game" haven't changed...

'Rat
 

skunk

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Desertrat said:
Back when I first came to this Board, there was a general discussion of the war in Iraq, with back-and-forth about national interest and such. I pointed out the "chess game" of grand strategies of nations, and mentioned the costs of projecting power. I suggested looking at a map of that entire region.

And I pointed out that an ultimate goal would be bases in Iraq, with withdrawal from other Persian Gulf areas, particularly Saudi Arabia.

How long ago did Rudyard Kipling write his book, "Kim"? 18?? The fundamental principles of "The Great Game" haven't changed...

'Rat
Indeed they have not.
 

mactastic

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Desertrat said:
And I pointed out that an ultimate goal would be bases in Iraq, with withdrawal from other Persian Gulf areas, particularly Saudi Arabia.
And did you point out the wisdom, or lack thereof, of such a strategy?
 

Sayhey

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May 22, 2003
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Desertrat said:
How long ago did Rudyard Kipling write his book, "Kim"? 18?? The fundamental principles of "The Great Game" haven't changed...

'Rat
I think the rules changed dramatically after WWII, with the advent of the UN Charter, the Nuremberg trials, the fall of Colonialism, etc., but what we see now is the Bush administration trying to go back to the time of Cecil Rhodes in order to play the same old game. It's called "Empire."
 

Desertrat

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Jul 4, 2003
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mac, it's wise if it works. Same as all other such decisions. BUT: If we pull out of Saudi Arabia and it reduces tensions there, that's an improvement. If we reduce the vulnerability of US personnel to any Iranian-sponsored or whomever-initiated actions of the type against the USS Cole, that's an improvement. If it reduces the $ costs of projecting power into the region, that's an improvement.

But let's stipulate that the whole deal is "unwise". That'll let me play "What if?"

What if the Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq do settle down in this next year or two and the economy begins to pick up and they don't have a civil war? Will the ending of Saddam's regime then appear to be a Good Thing or a Bad Thing? By whose view should the Good or Bad be judged, a Bush-hater or an Iraqi?

What if a reduced presence in Saudi Arabia helps reduce tensions within that country?

What if our presence in the area keeps pressure on Syria, such that Lebanon becomes fully independent? Anybody really think the Syrians are pulling out of their due to a change of heart?

skunk, it's easy to be snide. Maybe that's what the Internet is for? There is a reason I often say "Damfino". I have seen enough of the past to know I can't predict time frames for the future; it's hard enough to just figure out where some trend is going. For instance, could we have foreseen that our efforts in WW II would have enabled the Iron Curtain and the Russian Empire? If we could have, should we then have stayed out of WW II? Wise? Unwise?

It is alleged that Roosevelt's oil embargo on Japan led to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Had he really known/believed such could happen, should he have let Japan continue with its conquest of China, etc.? Wise? Unwise?

If we had known that the package that is "Korea" would become a 55-year problem, should we have ignored the invasion of the South by the North? Wise? Unwise?

I guess the point of all this ramble is that folks want a judgement of good/bad or wise/unwise in what appears to be an instant gratification deal--but the results won't be known for some unknown number of years into the future.

My own opinion is that the present-day problems in the mideast, insofar as any blame to the U.S., stem from our fight with the USSR over control of the region's oil. Various decisions were made by Presidents and their advisors from Truman onward, with the general agreement of the Congress, which led one way or another to today's world. I imagine at the time that they ALL had some notion that they were acting wisely.

'Rat
 

jefhatfield

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Desertrat said:
My own opinion is that the present-day problems in the mideast, insofar as any blame to the U.S., stem from our fight with the USSR over control of the region's oil. Various decisions were made by Presidents and their advisors from Truman onward, with the general agreement of the Congress, which led one way or another to today's world. I imagine at the time that they ALL had some notion that they were acting wisely.

'Rat
hey 'rat

though i rarely agree with your political views, i totally agree with your above comment....to me oil is more of a commodity than gold, labor, or education...sure, i don't like it to be that way, but just look at all the station wagons, trucks, and SUVs on the road

the truth is that we will be invovled deeply with the middle east for the rest of our nation's history, but getting into invasion and occupation mode in iraq was a major mistake, imho

we should have built up our presence in afganistan and really routed the taliban and caught osama bin laden

...after all, it is he, and his cronies, who pulled off a larger than pearl harbor attack on the united states, not saddam "underwear" hussein
 

mactastic

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Desertrat said:
mac, it's wise if it works. Same as all other such decisions.
What??? That's the biggest cop-out of an answer as I've ever seen. Works for whom? Halliburton? PNAC? The GOP? Americans in general? The world community? Just who does the Iraqi invasion have to benefit for it to have been said to work? Should that be judged by a Bush-lover, or an Iraqi?
BUT: If we pull out of Saudi Arabia and it reduces tensions there, that's an improvement. If we reduce the vulnerability of US personnel to any Iranian-sponsored or whomever-initiated actions of the type against the USS Cole, that's an improvement. If it reduces the $ costs of projecting power into the region, that's an improvement.
Do you think we'll really pull out of Saudi Arabia? I don't. Maybe we'll reduce our presence to a minimal footprint, but I can't imagine us actually abandoning Prince Sultan Air Base. Besides, do you really think Muslim anger will be appeased by the US moving their troops from Saudi Arabia to Iraq? Particularly considering the manner in which the real estate for the Iraqi bases was obtained?

I know you're a big believer in trends, so tell me: In your analysis, is the Iraqi insurgency getting better or worse from the US perspective? What are the trendlines?

When things are generally trending in one direction, do you make it a habit to envision scenarios that predict a different outcome?
But let's stipulate that the whole deal is "unwise". That'll let me play "What if?"

What if the Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq do settle down in this next year or two and the economy begins to pick up and they don't have a civil war? Will the ending of Saddam's regime then appear to be a Good Thing or a Bad Thing? By whose view should the Good or Bad be judged, a Bush-hater or an Iraqi?
What if the beginnings of a civil war that have been simmering for two years now explode into full-blown fighting between said groups? What if Americans are still fighting and dying in Iraq in 5 years? What if we pull out and Americans are no longer getting killed but Iraqis are killing each other by the score? Will the ending of Saddam's regime then appear to be a Good Thing or a Bad Thing?

As I said before, which way are things heading now? How many corners can you possibly turn before you are simply going in circles?
What if a reduced presence in Saudi Arabia helps reduce tensions within that country?
I don't see that happening. Besides, what if you are right and tensions in Saudi Arabia are reduced, only to create a worse situation in Iraq? Unintended consequences got us into the problem in the first place.
What if our presence in the area keeps pressure on Syria, such that Lebanon becomes fully independent? Anybody really think the Syrians are pulling out of their due to a change of heart?
And what if our presence there gives the Syrian government a convienent scapegoat and provides a recruiting ground for terrorists that cross the border into Iraq to attack Americans such that we are losing far more soldiers to terrorism than we were at the time of the USS Cole bombing?

If ifs and buts were candy and nuts...
 

Ugg

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Desertrat said:
What if the Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq do settle down in this next year or two and the economy begins to pick up and they don't have a civil war? Will the ending of Saddam's regime then appear to be a Good Thing or a Bad Thing? By whose view should the Good or Bad be judged, a Bush-hater or an Iraqi?
'Rat
The Guardian had an article tonight on Kosovo. It's been six years since Milosevic was bombed out but the tensions are still very high, and there's little hope that things will get better for another dozen years or so. The only real hope is entry into the EU but even that's a few years down the road.

What makes you think that Iraq is any different than a place like Kosovo? I'm sure we all wish they would settle their differences but there are too many fighting for power and it'll take years for things to settle down. Along with a few thousand more dead Americans and who knows how many dead Iraqis and billions upon billions spent on a war that nobody wanted anyway. As well as the reputation of the US in tatters.

Will it be worth it then?
 

Desertrat

macrumors newbie
Jul 4, 2003
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Mac, you may well be right. I don't know. I just do the best I can at figuring out what maybe/might/will happen--whether or not I'd like the results.

Howesomever, in today's NYT I saw a comment that one of the VIP (I'll take their word for it) Sunni clerics said he's going to opt for political efforts instead of shooting efforts.

If Bush et al think that pulling out of Prince Sultan air base would ease tensions, we'd be gone in a heartbeat.

If pulling out of Saudi Arabia doesn't "appease" to some extent, then nothing we do--including a total withdrawal of all forces--will matter. OBL stated that our pullout from Somalia convinced him that we had no will to stay with anything for the long term, particularly if our troops were killed. A total pullout from that entire area would have the whole Arab world believing that anything they can conceive would succeed--if not at first, then on down the road a few months or years.

I'm no Harry Turtledove or Newt Gingrich or any of the others who play around with "alternate history" ideas. But, I sometimes wonder about turning points in history. In the mideast, maybe the CIA/Mossadegh thing; maybe later the failure of the Shah to kill Khomeini instead of allowing the exile to France. Dunno. Sorta like Yogi Berra's "When you see a fork in the road, take it." For instance, there might not have been a war between Saddam and the Shah...

Ugg, if your scenario comes to pass, then, sure, going into Iraq was unwise. After all, it was only the existence of the USSR that kept the Balkans mostly-quiet after WW II. Similarly, Saddam "sat on" and controlled the three main factions in Iraq. If the efforts to get the Sunnis into the political process continue--and have some degree of success--then the liklihood of a civil-war scenario is lessened.

The fat lady ain't sung, yet.

'Rat
 

tristan

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Jul 19, 2003
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'rat - what's that book by Kipling?

Isn't oil though just a 20th century bump in history? It's just a matter of time before some other source of energy gets perfected and takes the lead. Probably by GE. Then the middle east becomes Indonesia and we stop worrying about it.
 

jefhatfield

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Jul 9, 2000
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tristan said:
'rat - what's that book by Kipling?

Isn't oil though just a 20th century bump in history? It's just a matter of time before some other source of energy gets perfected and takes the lead. Probably by GE. Then the middle east becomes Indonesia and we stop worrying about it.

the middle east also has "religious" isssues which will keep us involved there, at least in some capacity, forever...three of the world's major religions started in israel

we also have protected and supported israel through thick and thin and without the us, they will eventually be ousted from the region

money was also made with oil over the years, so it's unlikely the region, after oil, will just suddenly lose leverage...remember, cash is king
 

skunk

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jefhatfield said:
the middle east also has "religious" isssues which will keep us involved there, at least in some capacity, forever...three of the world's major religions started in israel
Actually two, unless Medina and Mecca were part of Greater Israel...
 

Desertrat

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Jul 4, 2003
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takao, yeah, Tito was the closest to "independent" of the vassal-state rulers. Close, but close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades and heavy artillery I was always a Mijalavic (sp?) partisan, myself, you should pardon the pun.

From an email:

"For your info, a local elementary school here in Newton "adopted" two elementary schools in Fallujah with the help of my son, Maj Larry Huggins, who is over there training Iraqis, and my wife, who is a retired school teacher. The school rounded up over 1,000 lbs of school supplies, books, toys, and clothes which we shipped via fixed rate priority mail. The Fallujah schools were described as 4 walls, a roof, a doorway, and shot out windows. The kids literally had nothing-no pencils, paper, crayons, books. Of interest, within a week of delivering the school supplies, local folks began reporting bad guys to the Iraqi army unit. My son said every call was investigated, found to be valid, and "the local unit received outstanding training removing the threat".

Here is the thank you e-mail my son sent to the local school."

(Name deleted by'Rat)

----- Original Message -----

"Mr Campbell,

I wanted to send an e-mail thanking you, the teachers, and students from Thornton Elementary School for being so thoughtful in donating school supplies for the children in Fallujah. The children here are back in school now, and eager to learn. Most of them do not have basic school supplies, so it was great to be able to hand over paper, pens, pencils, crayons, etc. to them and see a big smile on their faces.

We have made one delivery to two schools, and since then we have received about twenty-five more boxes, so we are planning a second drop this coming week. We will send photos when we are "mission complete."

The Marines here are doing an outstanding job in taking the fight to the terrorists. They depart their bases every day and night without fear or hesitation and the only thing they regret is when other Marines "make contact" when they don't. They interact with the citizens of Fallujah and the towns outside of the city hunting down terrorists. The young Marines really make me proud.

Unfortunately the media appears to only have an interest with the negative events over here and doesn't show an interest in telling stories such as when a rocket, fired by the terrorists, hit a house in Fallujah, caught it on fire and a Marine kicked in a door, ran into the burning house and carried out a little girl. Or when a Iraqi Soldier identified an individual in a crowd wearing what was likely a suicide belt and pulled him out of the crowd before he could detonate it, killing both of them but saving several lives. Everyday there are great things happening over here; I know it's hard to see that, but from someone seeing it first hand everyday, we are making a big difference. There are only a handful of Iraqis who do not want a free Iraq, but the vast majority appreciate what we are doing to help and have not forgotten what it was like living under the former regime.

As you may be able to see in the attached photos the children here have the same needs, desires, and dreams as our children, and I sincerely appreciate all of your gifts for them.

Respectfully,
Major Larry Huggins"

Note that this is from Falujah, in the Sunni Triangle.

I don't pay much attention to what comes out of the White House. I don't pay a lot of attention to the agenda-driven newsie-spew from Iraq. I do pay attention to stuff like this that comes from people I know personally, who have friends or relatives in Iraq, or who have been there themselves.

When a guy emails home, "It's hard to really stay alert on patrol, when people are waving and smiling at you," I just don't really believe all the "evils" the MSM spouts at us.

'Rat
 

Desertrat

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Jul 4, 2003
2
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tristan, in Kipling's "Kim", the central story line had to do with Russia's efforts to find a path to warm water ports. The British wanted to extend control NW from India into Afghanistan (about which Kipling also wrote). This put Russia and Britain at odds, and the mutual spying efforts were called "The Great Game".

One of the reasons for the CIA/Mossadegh deal and getting the Shah into power in Iran was the USSR's effort to gain access to a warm water port, preferably in southeastern Iran outside the Straits of Hormuz. By stopping the "cozying up" between the USSR and Iran, US naval supremacy could be assured.

Russian/USSR maritime efforts have always been hampered by geographic choke points (the Dardanelles and the Baltic) and climate.

IIRC, after the end of the Shah, the USSR again tried the cozy-up game, but the Khomeini religious fervor put "paid" to that.

'Rat
 

Xtremehkr

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The emails seem to have their own specific agenda 'Rat. They are ultimately supportive of the WhiteHouse and target the media. Without knowing where they were sent from, they sound like low level propaganda.

And no, it is not surprising to me that stuff like this would be going on.
 

pseudobrit

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Jul 23, 2002
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Desertrat said:
When a guy emails home, "It's hard to really stay alert on patrol, when people are waving and smiling at you," I just don't really believe all the "evils" the MSM spouts at us.
My brother had very different stories. They didn't involve much waving or smiling.

And 'rat, please refrain from posting unverifiable e-mail like this. It stinks of urban legend **** that's made the e-mail forwarding list rounds.