Friday, March 19, 2004

Bush's Iraqi qWagmire

One year after the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq and the country is still in turmoil.
Most of Bush's promises about the war have turned out to be as reliable as his prescriptions for fixing the economy.
In fact, a new congressional study has documented more than 230 misleading statements , if not outright lies, told by Bush and his top advisors during the run-up to the invasion.

The cost of the war in both dollars and lives has far exceeded what the Bush administration said it would be.

"The invasion and occupation of Iraq, his administration predicted, would come at little financial cost and would materially improve the lives of Iraqis. Americans would be greeted as liberators, Bush officials predicted, and the toppling of Saddam Hussein would spread peace and democracy throughout the Middle East.

Things have not worked out that way, for the most part. There is evidence that the economic lives of Iraqis are improving, thanks to an infusion of U.S. and foreign capital. But the administration badly underestimated the financial cost of the occupation and seriously overstated the ease of pacifying Iraq and the warmth of the reception Iraqis would give the U.S. invaders. And while peace and democracy may yet spread through the region, some early signs are that the U.S. action has had the opposite effect."

If anything, Iraq is a more dangerous place today than it was during Saddam's brutal regime. The AP today reports that suicide bombings in Iraq have claimed more than 660 lives. That is more than all the suicide bombing deaths in Israel since 2000. Suicide bombings used to be unheard of in Iraq, but ever since the invasion it has become common place.

There is not much nice that can be said about Saddam Hussein, but the main reason why western leaders before Bush were willing to tolerate him was because he was a secular counter to the religious fundamentalism that is spreading across the middle east.

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