Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Iraq Occupation: Civil War, Bad Planning, Outclear Outcomes

The Daily Kos remarks that “low grade civil war” seems like a contradiction in terms, considering the death toll of the last three days—over 100, according to the NY Times piece (below the GAO audit report).

The war on Iraq, the occupation of Iraq, continues to worsen. The cheerleader-in-chief keeps claiming we’re winning. The only way we can “win” is to declare ourselves as victors and get the hell out of that poor country. Then we can offer them reparations and make attempts at reconciliation. And face the music in terms of world opinion and international law. Other than that, we're screwed. We brought it on ourselves; every country has the kind of government it deserves, Jefferson said. Karma.

Road to victory in Iraq 'unclear,' US auditors conclude

by Maxim KniazkovWed Jul 12, 4:17 AM ET
The investigative arm of the US Congress has openly questioned if victory in Iraq can be achieved without a significant overhaul of President George W. Bush's strategy, arguing the outcome of the war was presently "unclear".

The findings by the Government Accountability Office mark the first time a non-partisan US government agency publicly doubted whether the geo-strategic undertaking that Bush made the defining element of his presidency, could be successful.

"It is unclear how the United States will achieve its desired end-state in Iraq given the significant changes in the assumptions underlying the US strategy," the GAO wrote in its report unveiled Tuesday at a hearing in the House of Representatives.

The review focuses on the "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq," a glitzy document released by the White House with great fanfare last November.

The strategy charted what was described at the time as a sound course for overcoming the Iraqi insurgency and turning the country in the first true democracy in the Arab world.

Nine months later, congressional investigators found these high hopes were resting on shaky premises that are quickly melting away.

The bedrock foundation of the president's strategy -- a permissive security environment -- "never materialized," said the authors of the report, describing the Iraqi insurgency as "active and increasingly lethal."

The overall number of attacks increased by 23 percent from 2004 to 2005 and rose to the highest ever level of intensity last April, the investigators pointed out.

In the absence of security, the document continued, efforts to rebuild the war-ravaged country or even to return key segments of its economy to their pre-war level have hit a roadblock.

If before the 2003 US-led invasion, crude oil production averaged in Iraq 2.6 million barrels a day, it stood at only two million barrels a day this past March, according to the report.

A combination of insurgent attacks on pipelines, dilapidated infrastructure and poor maintenance have hindered domestic refining and turned Iraq into an importer of liquefied gas, gasoline, kerosene and diesel fuel, the document said.

Water and sanitation projects, on which the United States spent about 52 million dollars, were inoperable or operating below capacity.

Investment has been reduced to a trickle. Last year, the report noted, the Iraqi government budgeted approximately five billion dollars for capital expenditures, but managed to spend only a few hundred million.

Generous foreign aid -- another hoped-for component of success in Iraq -- was never delivered in promised amounts.

While foreign donors had pledged about 13.6 billion dollars to rebuild Iraq, only 3.5 billion was actually provided as of last April, the GAO pointed out.

Meanwhile, it will take 30 billion dollars for the Iraqi oil industry to produce five million barrels a day -- and 20 billion to rebuild the electricity sector, the agency estimated.

All of these factors have prompted the GAO to issue a dire forecast: "Security, political, and economic factors will hamper US efforts to stabilize Iraq and achieve key US goals."

The report is certain to add fuel to a growing debate in Congress over the future US course in Iraq, which President Bush says should remain unchanged and Democrats insist is in need of a thorough re-evaluation.

In the meantime, the State Department rejected the congressional findings, saying in its response that the GAO report "rests on a flawed understanding of the strategic architecture guiding United States policy in Iraq."

Copyright © 2006 Agence France Presse.

The New York Times
July 12, 2006
Wave of Violence in Baghdad Puts 3-Day Death Toll Past 100
BAGHDAD, Iraq, July 11 — More than 50 people were killed in Baghdad on Tuesday in violence that included a double suicide bombing near busy entrances to the fortified Green Zone, scattered shootings, mortar attacks, a series of car bombs and the ambush of a bus with Shiite mourners returning from a burial.

Tuesday’s killings, many of them apparently carried out with sectarian vengeance, raised the three-day death toll in the capital alone to well over 100, magnified the daunting challenges facing the new government and deepened a sense of dread among Iraqis.

Many of the attacks, particularly those in neighborhoods primarily populated by one religious group or another, bore the hallmarks of sectarian militias, both Sunni Arab and Shiite. Militias now appear to be dictating the ebb and flow of life in Iraq, and have left the new government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki and his American counterparts scrambling to come up with a military and political strategy to combat them.


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