Thursday, 2 September 2010

Iraq – A Byword for Failure

The Western military occupation of Iraq has officially ended, with the withdrawal of tens of thousands of US combat troops from the country, after nearly seven and a half years of bloody conflict. Fifty thousand US soldiers will remain until next year at the earliest, but the majority national security role has now passed to the Iraqi army, with US military forces staying only as long as the Iraqi government requests them to stay.

This arrangement immediately becomes problematic, as Iraq doesn’t actually have a government, and hasn’t for several months, as rival factions in the parliament have been unable to agree to form one. Corruption is rife amongst the new ruling elite in Baghdad’s protected Green Zone, as hundreds of Iraqi civilians are murdered every month in sectarian attacks. Hardly a success story, but financial, as much as political, considerations in America have driven the rush to exit the country, as claims of victory have become more muted.

In fact, the failure of the mission is staggering, when even a cursory examination the outcome is considered.

For example:

The US alone has spent $750bn on the war and its aftermath.

Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians dead and millions injured and displaced.

Over 4500 Western troops dead, and over 50,000 wounded. Thousands more suffering combat related mental illnesses, with a high proportion of suicides.

Iraqi oil production is still below what it was under Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Homes in Iraq enjoy fewer hours of electricity supply than under Saddam.

Trade unions in some sectors are banned in Iraq, and activists are harassed or worse.

The freedom of Iraqi women is much reduced compared to before the invasion.

Al-Qaida, which was non existent in Iraq under Saddam, is now thriving in the country.

Iran is now the regional power, and flexing its muscles in Gulf, much to the consternation of the supporters of this war.

Turkey has been unsettled by the autonomous area of Iraqi Kurdistan, which promises to be another running sore in the region for years to come.

We all know about the lies that were used to justify this war in the first place, but even in the post WMD no show shifting reasons, like we had to free the people, free the women, make them rich, brutal regime etc, the whole Iraq war and its subsequent fiasco, has been an unmitigated disaster.

The real reason for the war was to increase western, particularly US, corporate interests, by exploiting Iraq’s natural resources and opening up a new market for Western products, at the same time as making Israel feel more secure. It is a measure of the failure of this operation that even these more cynical goals have at best, been only partially realised, despite all the military might of the US.

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