Monday | May 12, 2003
Bad week for US in Iraq
Well, the gross incompetence of the US occupation leadership couldn't go unnoticed much longer. After accomplishing absolute nothing, the top US administrators are getting "reassigned".
Bush administration officials confirmed today that Jay Garner, the retired lieutenant general who is the top civil administrator in Iraq, would leave here within a week or two and that other senior officials here will also be replaced.
American officials said Barbara K. Bodine, who has been in charge of reconstruction for the Baghdad region, was abruptly given notice and will be leaving within the next day or two. [...]
Officials said the impetus for the overhaul stems in part from urgent warnings that the escalating violence and a breakdown of civil order are already paralyzing the effort to rebuild Iraq.
"Unless we do something in the near future, it is likely to blow up in our face," one official said.
Today, black smoke billowed over Baghdad's skyline as looters set fire to the city's former telephone communications center, apparently as a distraction for others who tried to steal cars nearby.
On the other side of the city, hundreds of looters, who now range through the city every day, poured into a former palace of Saddam Hussein after American military units decided to vacate it.
Baghdad is once again becoming a city of almost hourly eruptions of gunfire. Criminals are shooting at other criminals, officials said. Families are settling scores, and some Iraqis are just taking potshots at American forces.
From the outset, the task of quickly re-establishing order and civil administration in Iraq was far more daunting that American officials had planned for, they now acknowledge.
But wait, wasn't the war over? Not for our men and women over in Iraq, nor for the Iraqis who continue to suffer. Just this past week alone we have lost another three men in a helicopter crash
, one killed by sniper fire
, another by an assassin on a bridge
, eight wounded (one in the helicopter crash, and the other seven in a grenade attack
), and another dead in an accident crash in Kuwait. As this CNN article
states in understated tones:
Each day provides a fresh list or incidents, which are reported up the chain of command. It is part of the routine. The combat phase may be over but the war is not.
It pains me to see our armed forces caught in this situation. It's clear the Pentagon can fight and win wars, but the success of the operation at this point depends on diplomacy and the ability of the US to rebuild Iraq's civic and political infrastructure.
So far, Bush's appointees have come up woefully short. And while Bush's people try and get their act together, the country is sliding further out of control.
It's too bad our troops are stuck in the middle of Bush's incompetence.
Update: So much for WMDs.
The United States force directing the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq is pulling out, according to The Washington Post.
The 75th Exploitation Task Force is dismantling its operations for a likely departure in June, says the newspaper, after the group failed to find any biological and chemical weapons.
Members of the team told the newspaper that they no longer expected to find such stocks, and that they had consistently found targets identified by Washington to be inaccurate, or to have been looted and burned.
Remember -- it wasn't a lie, it was a matter of emphasis
Posted May 12, 2003 12:34 AM | Comments (93)