Tuesday, November 23, 2004

 

Fables of the Reconstruction

Children Pay Cost of Iraq's Chaos
I wasn't aware that we were liberating children of their health, weren't we supposed to just liberate them from Saddam? Apparently, malnutrition is over double the amount it was before the invasion, clean water is available in only 20% of urban areas, and electricity is still an overlooked necessity. In Baghdad--booming metropolis of the nation--electricity is typically only available for six to eight hours a day, and often not at all. (see Electricity in Iraq Remains Below Pre-War Levels)

It seems clear that whatever the reason for our invasion(WMD's out, spreading Democracy in), kindly benevolence was little more than window dressing. At the least, we seem to have pissed away even the hopeful idealism of Iraqi citizens who believed we would be a catalyst for good:

"Believe me, we thought a magic thing would happen" with the fall of Hussein and the start of the U.S.-led occupation, said an administrator at Baghdad's Central Teaching Hospital for Pediatrics. "So we're surprised that nothing has been done. And people talk now about how the days of Saddam were very nice," the official said.

This isn't to say that problems like these are not a consequence of war, but why are stories like these being buried? Why doesn't Bush or Rumsfeld acknowledge the humanitarian crisis that they've directly caused, and pretend isn't happening? It's instructive to remember, when pondering questions like these, that the US Military's official policy is to not keep track of any civilian deaths, that when the invasion began--when rioting and destruction and looting were endemic--US guarded locations were not power grids, or cultural areas, or hospitals, but....the Ministry of Oil. This guard duty wasn't lightweight either. There were 50 tanks, and sharp shooters throughout the building, every hour of every day. It was pretty much the only building left untouched by some kind of chaos. (source here)

In light of these problems, in light of the clear lack of planning that went into their developement, or of the radioactive depleted uranium strewn across the landscape (more on that another time), it should be obvious that our intentions couldn't possibly have been the feel-good "liberation" from a cruel despot, or what was that?... right, weapons of mass destruction. But then, it's hard to get the American people behind some of those other reasons isn't it? Would it be easy to explain to a soldier's family that their son died because we needed to show the Middle East who had the bigger balls? To show the world that unilateral US hegemony was, BACK, baby! Or that, damn...Iraq has a LOT of oil!

It's important to draw attention to this because we may be on route for another trip down this path. All this talk about Iranian nuclear weapons programs (based on shoddy to non-existant evidence by the way) gives me strong deja-vu of the build-up to the Iraqi invasion. Check out Won't Get Fooled Again? for more on this topic. Choice quote:

"The International Atomic Energy Agency conducts regular inspections in Iran. The IAEA recently issued a report stating that it has found no evidence of a nuclear weapons program in Iran. "

Keep that quote in mind the next time you hear anyone from the White House talk about Iran.

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