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'No Plan for After the Invasion': How An Effort at Rebuilding Destroyed Iraq

US Politics & Gov't  (tags: Conflict, Corruption, Military, NATO, Terrorism, War )

- 1881 days ago -
Ten years since the start of the war in Iraq, many are questioning whether US efforts not only did little to alleviate suffering, but created the kind of stalemate that has set Iraq on course for an even greater catastrophe.

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. (0)
Sunday March 31, 2013, 3:55 pm
Ten years since the start of the war in Iraq, many are questioning whether US efforts not only did little to alleviate suffering, but created the kind of stalemate that has set Iraq on course for an even greater catastrophe.

At least 134,000 Iraqi civilians are estimated to have died in the conflict, according to the Costs of War Project by the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University, published on Sunday. And the overall number of casualties could be four times higher, researchers say.

Assistant Editor at Antiwar. Com, John Glaser, told RT of the broken promises made to the US public back home and to the people of Iraq. “What we can know for sure is the constant lies told by the Bush administration that the war would be over in a couple of months, it would be paid for with Iraqi oil, we would be greeted as liberators, there would not be the sort of civil war that eventually descended onto Iraq…they were all wrong, all of these predictions were wrong. And yet, these same types of neo-conservatives can go on television and on book tours and sit in their fancy homes and not feel embarrassed about how wrong they were. Iraq is in chaos right now, flooded with sectarian tension and a dictatorship that the United States helped install.”

That is not to say that everyone thinks that removing Saddam Hussein’s dictatorial rule was a mistake. But the end of his tyranny brought about a democracy which was plagued by corruption and in-fighting, often among warring tribes, heavily armed. Since America’s withdrawal some of the failings of the operation have only been heightened, with deadly terrorist attacks continuing around the country; testament to this, a series of 10 blasts that shook the capital Baghdad, claiming nearly 60 lives and wounding over 200 people, right on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq. The attacks bore a strong Al Qaeda signature, targeting mainly Shiite areas around the capital.

Michael O’Brien, who has authored a book entitled ‘America’s Failure in Iraq’, explained to RT the reason behind the surge in violence. “Not only was there no plan for after the invasion, but then Paul Brenner disbanded Iraq’s own security ministries: the Iraqi military and the Iraqi National Police, which is like an interior army. So, with no plan for after the invasion for the US and Coalition forces…and the fact that Bremer disbanded Iraq’s own infrastructure for security, it is not at all coincidental that insurgency picked up around 2005-2006. So we are very much responsible for creating the insurgency that followed a war that was dubious in the first place.” Paul Bremer was the Administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority of Iraq, following the invasion in 2003.

The sums spent on the invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq, are astronomical and still growing. Aid to Iraq itself leaves much to question, with billions of dollars spent on security and projects often failing to come to fruition. When questioned about the efficacy of US military spending in the conflict, Glaser said “the [figure] is truly immense, it’s too immense to grasp. The final cost of the war could be approaching somewhere about $ 6 trillion, according to a recent study by Brown university. That’s a number that nobody can really fathom. And we’re going to be paying for it for a long, long time.”

$212 billion was supposed to be spent on aid to the Iraqis themselves, but today their lives aren’t much better than during the sanctions imposed on them in 1990 by the UN, when Iraq invaded Kuwait. Less than 40 percent of adults have a job, while a quarter of the country lives below the World Bank’s poverty line. Speaking of where the rebuilding funds went and whether they are doing any good, Director of the Institute of Public Accuracy, Norman Sullivan, said that only the ruling elite benefit: “It’s doing an elite good. Al Maliki and others who are running the government, they’re skimming off huge profit. But on the whole, there’s very little trickling down to the average Iraqi person.”

As to why the US left after failing to stabilize Iraq and losing treasure and lives in the process, those in the know have pointed to the lack of options left on the table. When questioned about the justification of the US effort there, Sullivan quoted Daniel Ellsberg, the Pentagon Papers whistleblower as saying “complete US withdrawal of military troops in Iraq is a terrible option. And all the other options are worse.”

And the Middle East doesn’t appear to be quieting down after US withdrawal from Iraq and its protracted confrontation with extremists in Afghanistan, as well as the threat of other countries destroying each other in the region. John Glaser does not feel the US has learned any lessons in the 10 years since the start of the Iraq war. “It can be argued that the Obama administration is weary of getting involved in another military quagmire in the Middle East, because of what happened in Iraq. So, instead they focus on making the entire globe a war zone, so they can drone anywhere they want. So, there are new complications and new problems. But the fundamental lesson – about how wrong American Empire is – has not been learned. “


. (0)
Sunday March 31, 2013, 3:57 pm
there is a Video on the website to this report also

Kit B (276)
Sunday March 31, 2013, 6:43 pm

Simply because people are allowed to vote does not make a democracy. I feel a cynical laugh rise up when people talk about democracy in Iraq. Most particularly when justifying our invasion into a sovereign land. Sure Saddam Hussein was a bad guy, and if we destroyed every country with a bad guy leader, or more countries than we have, using that excuse; than I guess we could just "cherry pick" each war. Oh wait, we have been doing that since WWII.

. (0)
Monday April 1, 2013, 5:52 am

Iraq inquiry: Former UN inspector Blix says war illegal

The UN's former chief weapons inspector Hans Blix has said it is his "firm view" that the Iraq war was illegal.

Hans Blix: "They should have drawn the conclusion that their sources were poor"
Dr Blix told the Iraq inquiry the UK had sought to go down the "UN route" to deal with Saddam Hussein but failed.

Ex-Attorney General Lord Goldsmith, who advised the war was lawful on the basis of existing UN resolutions, "wriggled about" in his arguments, he suggested.

Dr Blix said his team of inspectors had visited 500 sites but found no evidence of weapons of mass destruction.

As head of the UN's Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) between 1999 and 2003, Dr Blix was a key figure in the run-up to the March 2003 invasion as he sought to determine the extent of Saddam's weapons programme.

'No smoking gun'
Asked about the inspections he oversaw between November 2002 and 18 March 2003 - when his team was forced to pull out of Iraq on the eve of the war - he said he was "looking for smoking guns" but did not find any.

While his team discovered prohibited items such as missiles beyond the permitted range, missile engines and a stash of undeclared documents, he said these were "fragments" and not "very important" in the bigger picture.

"We carried out about six inspections per day over a long period of time.

"All in all, we carried out about 700 inspections at different 500 sites and, in no case, did we find any weapons of mass destruction."

Although Iraq failed to comply with some of its disarmament obligations, he added it "was very hard for them to declare any weapons when they did not have any".

Legal explanation
He criticised decisions that led to the war, saying existing UN resolutions on Iraq did not contain the authority needed, contrary to the case put by the UK government.

"Eventually they had to come with, I think, a very constrained legal explanation," he said. "You see how Lord Goldsmith wriggled about and how he, himself, very much doubted it was adequate."

Lord Goldsmith has acknowledged his views on the necessity of a further UN resolution mandating military action changed in the months before the invasion and that the concluded military action was justified on the basis of Iraq breaching disarmament obligations dating back to 1991.

But Dr Blix said most international lawyers believed these arguments would not stand up at an international tribunal.

"Some people maintain that Iraq was legal. I am of the firm view that it was an illegal war. There can be cases where it is doubtful, maybe it was permissible to go to war, but Iraq was, in my view, not one of those."

He said he agreed with France and Russia, who argued that further UN authorisation was needed for military action.

"It was clear that a second resolution was required," he said.

In the run-up to war, he said the US government was "high on" the idea of pre-emptive military action as a solution to international crises.

"They thought they could get away with it and therefore it was desirable to do so."

'Judgement questioned'
While he believed Iraq "unilaterally" destroyed its weapons of mass destruction after the 1991 Gulf War, Dr Blix said he never "excluded" the prospect that it had begun to revive some form of chemical and biological capabilities.

In September 2002, he said he told Tony Blair privately that he believed Iraq "retained" some WMD, noting CIA reports that Iraq may hold some anthrax.

However, he said he began to become suspicious of US intelligence on Iraq following claims in late 2002 that Iraq had purchased raw uranium from Niger, which he always said he thought was flawed.

Since the war, Dr Blix has accused the UK and US of "over-interpreting" intelligence on weapons to bolster the case for war but he said the government's controversial September 2002 dossier on Iraqi weapons seemed "plausible" at the time.

He stressed that Tony Blair never put any "pressure" on him over his search for weapons in Iraq and did not question that the prime minister and President Bush believed in "good faith" that Iraq was a serious threat.

"I certainly felt that he [Tony Blair] was absolutely sincere in his belief.

"What I question was the good judgement, particularly of President Bush but also in Tony Blair's judgement."

Inspection timetable
Critics of the war believe that had inspectors been allowed to continue their work they would have proved beyond doubt that Iraq did not have active weapons of mass destruction capability - as was discovered after the invasion.

Dr Blix said the military momentum towards the invasion - which he said was "almost unstoppable" by early March - did not "permit" more inspections and the UK was a "prisoner on this train".

If he had been able to conduct more inspections, he said he believed they would have begun to "undermine" US-UK intelligence on Iraq's alleged weapons and made the basis for the invasion harder.

The US and UK have always maintained that Saddam Hussein failed to co-operate fully with the inspections process and was continuing to breach UN disarmament resolutions dating back to 1991.

In his evidence in January, former foreign secretary Jack Straw said the regime had only started complying in the final period before the invasion "because a very large military force was at their gates".

The inquiry, headed by Sir John Chilcot, is coming towards the end of its public hearings, with a report expected to be published around the end of the year.
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