February 18, 2008

Iraqis Continue to Pay and Pay and Pay for Bush's War of Choice

This week it was revealed that the Army had suppressed a RAND study that explored the faulty post-invasion planning. Truly, it was not hard to see that this administration cared nothing about the post-invasion of Iraq. Because according to their fantasies, the Iraqis would throw flowers on the American troops and joyfully accept the neo-conservative free market make-over envisioned by Paul Bremer as he and the Heritage kids reshaped their country to be a case-study of how effective the free-market ideology is at creating perfect human environments.

Too bad that reality and human beings got in the way of their magic kingdom.

And too bad the mistakes the Bush administration made in their mad quest for empire were visible to many even before the invasion. Back in May 2003, I remember hearing Lt. Col. Sam Gardiner talk about how the prewar planning for the post-invasion period was given extremely short shift. I even came up with a 2004 campaign ad that I thought should be used to show Americans how incompetent the Bush regime was at conducting a war.

Preparation for going to War: Months. [Ed: and we now know that they were planning this invasion for years.]

Wall Street Journal: 'Turn Toward Iraq' Has Been Made

Dave Eberhart, NewsMax
Monday, June 17, 2002

The Bush administration has decided to attack Iraq and military preparations should be ready within six months, the Wall Street Journal reported in a page one story this weekend.

Preparation for the aftermath: Hours.

Restoring Services to Iraq Remains a Challenge: NPR Interview with Retired Lt Col Sam Gardiner

Linda Wertheimer, Weekend Edition
May 10, 2003

Lt Col Sam Gardiner was an advisor to the Bush White House on preparing for the humanitarian issues after a successful compaign in Iraq.

Q: Could this kind of thing been anticipated?

A: Umm, let me be honest. I briefed some people in the administration before the war. One of the officials said to me (a very high official), "We've already had an hour with the President on the humanitarian system. We're done talking about that." You see, if we had been prepared to deal with the humanitarian crisis, it would have delayed the war and as I detected, nobody was interested in that.

So as we look at the lives of the Iraqis today, it is very easy to see that a major reason they are suffering so much is because the war-mongering Bush administration just didn't give a damn about the people who actually lived there.

And how much are they paying for the folly of Bush? Michael Schwartz on TomDispatch lays out the ugly details.

A tidal wave of misery is engulfing Iraq -- and it isn't the usual violence that Americans are accustomed to hearing about and tuning out. To be sure, it's rooted in that violence, but this tsunami of misery is social and economic in nature. It dislodges people from their jobs, sweeps them from their homes, tears them from their material possessions, and carries them off from families and communities. It leaves them stranded in hostile towns or foreign countries, with no anchor to resist the moment when the next wave of displacement sweeps over them.

The victims of this human tsunami are called refugees if they wash ashore outside the country or IDPs ("internally displaced persons") if their landing place is within Iraq's borders. Either way, they are normally left with no permanent housing, no reliable livelihood, no community support, and no government aid. All the normal social props that support human lives are removed, replaced with…nothing.

The United States government which has engendered this massive disruption through its poor planning and carelessness found itself generously admitting some 1,608 Iraqi refugees in 2007. Meanwhile in 2007, the numbers of internally displaced Iraqis reached some 2.25 million.

It is a sobering read to realize that the surge only helped create even more real misery for the Iraqis.

President Bush's "surge" strategy, begun in January 2007, amplified the flood, especially of the internally displaced, still further. According to James Glanz and Stephen Farrell of the New York Times, "American-led operations have brought new fighting, driving fearful Iraqis from their homes at much higher rates than before the tens of thousands of additional troops arrived." The combined effect of the American offensive and accelerated ethnic expulsions generated an estimated displacement rate of 100,000 per month in Baghdad alone during the first half of 2007, a figure that surprised even Said Hakki, the director of the Iraqi Red Crescent, who had been monitoring the refugee crisis since the beginning of the war.

During 2007, according to UN estimates, Syria admitted an additional 150,000 refugees. With Iraqis by then constituting almost 10% of the country's population, the Syrian government, feeling the strain on resources, began putting limits on the unending flood and attempted to launch a mass repatriation policy. Such repatriation efforts have, so far, been largely fruitless. Even when violence in Baghdad began to decline in late 2007, refugees attempting to return found that their abandoned homes had often either been badly damaged in American offensives or, more likely, appropriated by strangers (often of a different sect), or were in "cleansed" neighborhoods that were now inhospitable to them.

In the same years, the weight of displaced persons inside Iraq grew ever more quickly. Estimated by the UN at 2.25 million in September 2007, this tidal flow of internally displaced, often homeless, families began to weigh on the resources of the provinces receiving them. Najaf, the first large city south of Baghdad, where the most sacred Shiite shrines in Iraq are located, found that its population of 700,000 had increased by an estimated 400,000 displaced Shia. In three other southern Shia provinces, IDPs came by mid-2007 to constitute over half the population.

Today, the government propped up by the Bush administration has been hollowed out by the growing numbers of Iraqis who left the country because of genuine fears for their lives and the corruption that has been tolerated and even fostered by the Bush administration who wants an excuse to stay for decades (or as John McCain thinks is fine - a century).

Meanwhile, the Iraqis find themselves in a world so much worse than that hell-hole of Saddam. All courtesy of the great wannabe emperor, George W. Bush who prides himself as being the Abraham Lincoln of the 21st century. When we finally get rid of the Bush administration, what can we do to atone for this mess?

Posted by Mary at February 18, 2008 12:00 AM | Iraq | Technorati links |

We've managed to achieve the impossible - making Iraq worse than it already was. If you'd asked me if we could have managed that before the invasion, I'd have scoffed.

So much for my powers of prediction.

Posted by: Cujo359 at February 18, 2008 02:59 PM

Technorati still insists that no one's linked to you, BTW, but I know at least one blog did. Good article.

Posted by: Cujo359 at February 18, 2008 07:06 PM

they are normally left with no permanent housing, no reliable livelihood, no community support, and no government aid. All the normal social props that support human lives are removed, replaced with…nothing.

All they need is a big tax cut. The free market solves everything, always.

Posted by: Mike G at February 18, 2008 09:30 PM

Yeah, getting out from under a ruthless dictator that had rape squads out rounding up women for his son's sadistic pleasures sure is better than a budding democracy and growing economy - despite the invasion of terrorists.

You are a full fledged mental case. Liberalism is a mental disorder. Get some help.

Posted by: Hank Dagny at February 19, 2008 05:48 AM

Yeah, now the rape rooms are under the administration of the Pentagon. Not exactly the flower-throwing libertarian Arizona in the Middle East that Face-Shooter predicted. Like spoilt children, they wrecked their toy and tossed it away when they got bored.

The little troll's standard of governance is Saddam Hussein. I guess that's why he's so proud of the kleptocratic, corrupt gross incompetence of the Bush Administration. Mighty high standards you've set there. As long as some aspects of Iraqi life are maybe better than under Saddam, then the occupation is righteous and Bush is Jeebus. You're a useful tool for the Rethug profiteer cronies getting rich off this war.

Posted by: Mike G at February 19, 2008 05:37 PM

Hank, I guess I woke up in a bad mood today, but I'm sure not inclined to suffer ignorant little wackos like you this morning. This article alone, and it doesn't even start to tell the tale - demonstrates what a hellish place Iraq is for its people. Budding democracy?

You must have an entirely different idea of democracy than I do. They had votes under Saddam, and they were just as meaningless as the ones that have occured since he left town. There's just a different crew of thugs running the country now, not a representative democracy. The "government" can't even manage its own security - it needs to hire mercenaries because it's own people won't, or can't, defend it.

So, if you think it's a budding democracy worth defending, I suggest you just march down to the recruiting office and defend it. If that's not lucrative enough, there's always Blackwater. And remember, at Blackwater, it's "Ready. Fire. Aim". You should fit right in there.

Posted by: Cujo359 at February 20, 2008 10:41 AM

Ah, yes, I remember hearing all those pre-invasion stories about suicide bombings happening on almost a daily basis in Iraq, and U.S. soldiers either being killed or maimed for life while patrolling Iraqi streets, and countless young Iraqi girls being raped and butchered by sharia-spouting Islamicists because the innocent young Iraqi girls were wearing t-shirts and blue jeans, and entire Iraqi neighborhoods or towns being ethnically cleansed, and millions of Iraqis (both Sunni and Shiite) fleeing their homes to save their lives and the lives of their children, and sectarian death squads roaming the streets, and Iraqi hospitals and morques filled to overflowing with Iraqis injured or killed, and U.S. soldiers caught in the middle of this deadly chaos and mayhem, and the Iraqi middle-class fleeing Saddam Hussein's regime because of all the kidnappings and killings of their family members, and Iraqi Christians being butchered because they were considered "infidels" by Islamicist religious zealots, and Iraq was an al Qaeda refuge and breeding ground under Saddam Hussein, with al Qaeda spouting sharia and turning Iraq into a Taliban-like Islamic hell, and...need I go on?

Only a completely insane "mental case" would believe that the horror that is now Iraq even remotely looks like what the Sunni Baathists and Saddam Hussein practiced before Bush and Cheney ordered their preemptive, unprovoked attack against Iraq. Or should I say, only someone who watches Faux News and listens to right-wing propaganda/brainwashing hate radio would believe such a thing.

They only way (and I mean the ONLY WAY) that the nutjobs in BushCo could have averted all the horror they've set loose in present-day Iraq is if they'd worked with the defeated Sunni Baathist government (instead of firing them all) and gradually integrated the Shiite Iraqi into the Sunni Baathist infrastructure. (Hey, more moderate to progressive Sunnis and Shiite Iraqis were already practicing pre-invasion intermarriage, so these more-secular Iraqis would have been the prime candidates for establishing a truly democratic Iraq). But, nooooo, the BushCo nutjobs sided with the Iraqi exile groups, who were affiliated with the mullahs in Iran (since they'd spent their exile there), leading to even the post-invasion Iraqi constitution being subverted to some twisted Islamicist wet-dream of establishing a sharia-spouting Islamic Republic, ala Taliban and what these religious fundamentalist nutjobs did to Afghanistan.

Most of us sane American citizens are quite aware now of not only how crazy Bush and Cheney were to invade Iraq in the first place, but also how their completely insane, totally inadequate post-invasion planning has gone...in the process getting tens of thousands of our soldiers killed or maimed for life, while leading to the death, maiming and suffering of countless Iraqi men, women and children. (Although estimates run into the hundreds of thousands, if not millions).

This horror in Iraq since late March 2003 does not compare at all to conditions in Iraq before Bush and Cheney started their little war for Iraqi oil and permanent military bases on Iraqi soil.

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