Friday, March 05, 2010


Elections in Iraq. The people of Iraq are voting in the democracy brought to them by their benevolent friend the U.S. so you would think with all of the emphasis on nation building that we read about in the news that Obama and so many other leading political leaders would be cheering and crying with tears of happiness. Yet the only thing Obama could say was "We have begun to leave Iraq to its own people," and that was it. After years of war and occupation where actual human beings died on both sides not to mention helping to cripple our economy and indebting future generations of Americans we are rewarded with a single short sentence from Obama.


In 2009, 149 American troops died in battle in Iraq - a higher loss rate than all but two of the 10 years U.S. forces have been in Afghanistan. But in 2010, Mr. Obama has mentioned the Iraq war just three times during formal speeches - twice in a single sentence during back-to-back events in early February for the Democratic National Committee and once in his Jan. 27 State of the Union address.

"We have begun to leave Iraq to its own people," he said in his only line about the war during remarks at the Democratic National Committee meeting on Feb. 6.

The tenuous situation still facing U.S. forces in Iraq was underscored again Wednesday, when a string of suicide bomb attacks struck in quick succession in a former insurgent stronghold northeast of Baghdad, killing 32 people just days before a crucial election that will determine who will govern the country as American forces prepare to depart.

Whatever else one can say Iraq still isn’t quite yet the land of milk and honey nor are their halcyon days just around the corner. Still, why the silence on Iraq by Obama and company? A quick answer might be they want us to forget about the Iraq War. Recall that it was Iraq’s oil that was going to pay for the privilege of being invaded by the U.S. yet there have been problems.


Herman T. Franssen, president of the International Energy Associates in Washington, told the Emirates Business 24/7 agency this week that it is unlikely that Iraq will reach its production objectives.

"Iraq continues to grapple with some very serious problems," he said.

"I'll be surprised if they're able to achieve a supply level of 10 million to 12 million barrels a day in the foreseeable future.

"Iraq does not have the required infrastructure, the ports or pipelines to be able to transfer such huge amounts of oil," Franssen said.

The first big problems the Oil Ministry will encounter will be when the country's production capacity reaches 3.8 million bpd, he stressed.

"That's when Iraq's production will match the quota fixed for Iran. And considering the traditional rivalry between the two countries, Iraq will face difficulties in raising output further," Franssen cautioned.

Geopolitical concerns exacerbate Iraq’s problems even further.


None of the significant issues that threatened to tear Iraq apart during the worst years of violence have been resolved. There is no new hydrocarbons law to share energy revenues; the tense standoff over the disputed territories claimed by the Kurdistan Regional Government continues unabated; and there has been scant progress in disarmament or integration of militia.

The 645,000 Iraqi soldiers and police officers who make up the country’s security forces are of varying quality and loyalties, with the police especially prone to infiltration by militia elements; and al-Qaeda’s war against ordinary Iraqis continues to take a heavy toll, claiming more than 1,000 lives since last summer.

A grim reminder of the use of agent orange in Vietnam are the increased rates of birth defects in Fallujah the Iraqi city that was literally flattened by the beneficence of U.S. foreign policy where U.S. forces used not only depleted uranium ammunition which is radioactive but also white phosphorous as the Israeli army did against the Palestinians in Gaza.


Doctors in Iraq's war-ravaged enclave of Fallujah are dealing with up to 15 times as many chronic deformities in infants, compared to a year ago, and a spike in early life cancers that may be linked to toxic materials left over from the fighting.

The extraordinary rise in birth defects has crystallised over recent months as specialists working in Fallujah’s over-stretched health system have started compiling detailed clinical records of all babies born.

Neurologists and obstetricians in the city interviewed by the Guardian say the rise in birth defects – which include a baby born with two heads, babies with multiple tumours, and others with nervous system problems - are unprecedented and at present unexplainable.

A group of Iraqi and British officials, including the former Iraqi minister for women's affairs, Dr Nawal Majeed a-Sammarai, and the British doctors David Halpin and Chris Burns-Cox, have petitioned the UN general assembly to ask that an independent committee fully investigate the defects and help clean up toxic materials left over decades of war – including the six years since Saddam Hussein was ousted.

Though there is debate about Obama pulling American troops out of Iraq “on schedule” I would remind that the promise was to pull all “combat” troops out of Iraq which doesn’t include private contractors like Blackwater and doesn’t include between 30,000 and 50,000 U.S. troops who evidently won’t be designated as “combat” troops who will remain there in Iraq after the “combat” troops have been moved most likely to Afghanistan. That’s a lot of troops to be left in Iraq by any standard and don’t be fooled by the “combat” designations, an obvious game with words. This is nothing new and was discussed at length during Obama’s election season and was reported in the news such as it is.

This is the big joke really for what could victory in Iraq look like? A government that is considered to be one of the most corrupt in the world as it is now (we do great work)? There is no such thing as victory only an ugly and brutal occupation without end. The very word “victory” implies that two nations are at war over some wrong done or an unforgivable transgression but what the Iraq War really is can only be construed as an illegal invasion by a vastly superior military force against a small nation based on bald-faced lies regarding WMD, in fact it’s a crime of international proportion and for certain one of the great crimes of the twentyfirst century for it is fraud and murder on an epic scale. But then state terrorism has always been the most destructive variety.

Quite likely the silence on Iraq can be attributed to the embarrassment of two failed wars the other being the Afghan War which has gotten much more press than Iraq in recent times mostly due to the surge in propaganda over the assault on Marjah meant to bolster Obama’s ratings and public support as the war widens. And if they are trying to make the Afghan War more acceptable to Americans they certainly aren’t going to run-on about Iraq or if they do it will be pack of lies or just as it already is.


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