Monday, September 08, 2003

ON IRAQ
I haven't discussed Iraq at length in a while, so I will take the time to do that right now.

Dick Cheney's prediction in an interview by Tim Russert on March 16th. Mr. Russert asked: "If your analysis is not correct, and we're not treated as liberators, but as conquerors, and the Iraqis begin to resist, particularly in Baghdad, do you think the American people are prepared for a long, costly, and bloody battle with significant American casualties?" Vice-President Cheney answered: "Well, I don't think it's likely to unfold that way, Tim, because I really do believe that we will be greeted as liberators...[...]...the read we get on the people of Iraq is there is no question but what they want to the get rid of Saddam Hussein and they will welcome as liberators the United States when we come to do that...[...]... Now, I can't say with certainty that there will be no battle for Baghdad...[...]...But to suggest that we need several hundred thousand troops there after military operations cease, after the conflict ends, I don't think is accurate. I think that's an overstatement."

As it turned out, there's fierce resistance to American occupation and British as well. It has cost almost a hundred soldiers their lives, with a total dead of 167 since May 2nd, when Bush announced the end of military operations in Iraq. The Pentagon originally figured on reducing troop strength to 30,000 by September of 2003--yes, that's this year--which obviously is in complete contradiction of reality. Basic services such as electricity and water should never been a problem, yet both are far from pre-war levels. According to the Army's Corps of Engineers, along 700 miles of Iraq's high-voltage distribution there are now 623 destroyed towers, in contrast to 20 just after the war. (Hat tip: Left I) Iraqi oil revenues were supposed to cover the costs of the occupation we were told. One U.S. official said back in January that: "[The oil] is going to fund the U.S. military presence there. They're not just going to take the Iraqi oil and use it for Iraq's purpose. They will charge the Iraqis for the U.S. cost of operating in Iraq. I don't think they're planning as far as I know to use Iraqi oil to pay for the invasion, but they are going to use it to pay for the occupation." Of course, this plan failed also.

The situation today: more troops had been killed since major combat operations ceased, Paul Bremer is our second civil administrator in Iraq, Bernard Kerik (former New York City Police Commissioner) has left abruptly (even though he promised to "at least six months - until the job is done," yet only three months have past), ammunication facilities visited by U.S. troops but left behind have been used to kill Americans, al-Qaeda has made a presence in Iraq, the most holy shrine of Shi'ite Islam has been bombed, and finally, no weapons of mass destruction have been found.

We reach the simple conclusion that the post-war planning--surprise!--simply was very bad. And plan B is active now, just to let you know.

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