More Bush Insanity: Fomenting Instability in Iraq

Let’s see now. We’re told that it would be patently irresponsible to withdraw our troops from Iraq without first making the country stable and then handing it over to Iraqi security forces.

Well, what’ve we got to show for our “investing” over 2,000 American lives and $300 billion in Iraq so far? Most Iraqi troops have only side arms and ride around in little pick-up trucks (Most of the insurgents have more than that) and there’s still massive unemployment (between 20 and 40 percent, depending on the source you consult) and lots of rebuilding left to do: Not exactly the picture of stability.

So does that mean we’ve got to redouble our efforts to restabilize Iraq, so we can get the hell outa there? Well, maybe not. Consider this report from today’s Washington Post:

The Bush administration does not intend to seek any new funds for Iraq reconstruction in the budget request going before Congress in February, officials say. The decision signals the winding down of an $18.4 billion U.S. rebuilding effort. …

“The U.S. never intended to completely rebuild Iraq,” Brig. Gen. William McCoy, the Army Corps of Engineers commander overseeing the work, told reporters at a recent news conference. …

From 14 percent to 22 percent of the cost of every nonmilitary reconstruction project goes toward security against insurgent attacks. …

But the insurgency has set back efforts across the board. In two of the most crucial areas, electricity and oil production, relentless sabotage has kept output at or below prewar levels despite the expenditure of hundreds of millions of American dollars and countless man-hours. …

Iraqis nationwide receive on average less than 12 hours of power a day. For residents of Baghdad, it was six hours a day last month, according to a U.S. count, though many residents say that figure is high.

The Americans, said Zaid Saleem, 26, who works at a market in Baghdad, “are the best in destroying things but they are the worst in rebuilding.”

Oh yeah, things are getting plenty stable over there. We’ll be getting out real soon.

P.S. What must the displaced residents of New Orleans think of such reports?

Doug Drenkow

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