Inconvenient News,
       by smintheus

Thursday, June 21, 2007

  Is Iraq better off now than it was four years ago?

By a round about path I discovered that today is the fourth anniversary since George Bush began dissimulating to us about the chaos and violence in Iraq. In fact, by comparing the news reports from the first months of the occupation against the statements coming from the White House, I found that Bush said not one word to the American public about the burgeoning disaster in Iraq until the fighting was thoroughly out of control. When he did finally find his voice, on June 21, 2003, Bush offered up palaver about "progress in Iraq"...the same as he's been peddling to the public ever since.

It's high time to pose again Reagan's famous question: Are we better off now than we were four years ago?

Few would answer 'yes'. American deaths have risen above 3500, with more than 25,000 troops suffering wounds (the mental trauma inflicted on veterans is incalculable). Iraqi civilian deaths are beyond counting, almost certainly more than 50,000. According to the U.N., there are 4.2 million Iraqi refugees; about one Iraqi in seven now struggles to survive as a refugee.

As documented in the quarterly reports produced by the Pentagon, and occasional reports by the special Inspector General for Iraq, the infrastructure of Iraq has not been much improved since the fall of 2003. The greatest effort and expense overall has been put into increasing oil and electricity production, with nothing to show for it; production remains mired well below pre-war standards.

Are we better off now than we were four years ago?

The Iraqi economy is in shambles. The middle class is fleeing the country in droves, after having been impoverished. Those left behind live in squalor and oppressive heat, every day is a struggle just to make do. It's getting harder by the day even to find bridges left standing.

Every part and aspect of Iraq has been carved up into warring fiefdoms, from government ministries to neighborhood blocks. Bloodshed, torture, kidnapping, rape, looting, mayhem, death in every form...have become the constant companions Iraqi civilians.

Are we better off now than we were four years ago?

Four years ago, there was no civil war. At that time, the presence of al Qaeda inside Iraq remained a pre-war fiction, only trotted out to silence critics of the invasion. This is what a bad day in Iraq looked like, four years ago:

Q Scott, earlier today, you said you saw steady progress in Iraq. It's been a very bad day. An American soldier killed, a pro-American mayor killed in Iraq, a little kid killed. Where's the progress?

If the war-torn country looked as peaceful as that today, it would be trumpeted as "progress in Iraq".

Are we better off now than we were four years ago?

Ronald Reagan called upon Americans to hold then President Carter accountable when, after four years of his administration, things appeared to be worse rather than better. Shouldn't Americans now demand the same of this President?

crossposted at Unbossed

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