Thursday, August 04, 2005

Did Paul Bremer steal billions of US budget for Iraq?

At the end of the Iraq war, huge sums of money were made available to the US-led provisional authorities, headed by Paul Bremer, to spend on rebuilding the country. By the time Bremer left the post eight months later, $8.8bn of that money had disappeared. Ed Harriman on the extraordinary scandal of Iraq’s missing billions!

*Thursday July 7, 2005*

*Guardian*

When Paul Bremer, the American pro consul in Baghdad until June last year, arrived in Iraq soon after the official end of hostilities, there was $6bn left over from the UN Oil for Food Programme, as well as sequestered and frozen assets, and at least $10bn from resumed Iraqi oil exports. Under Security Council Resolution 1483, passed on May 22 2003, all these funds were transferred into a new account held at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, called the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI), and intended to be spent by the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) "in a transparent manner … for the benefit of the Iraqi people".

The US Congress also voted to spend $18.4bn of US taxpayers’ money on the redevelopment of Iraq. By June 28 last year, however, when Bremer left Baghdad two days early to avoid possible attack on the way to the airport, his CPA had spent up to $20bn of Iraqi money, compared with $300m of US funds. The "reconstruction" of Iraq is the largest American-led occupation programme since the Marshall Plan - but the US government funded the Marshall Plan. Defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Bremer have made sure that the reconstruction of Iraq is paid for by the "liberated" country, by the Iraqis themselves.

The CPA maintained one fund of nearly $600m cash for which there is no paperwork: $200m of it was kept in a room in one of Saddam’s former palaces. The US soldier in charge used to keep the key to the room in his backpack, which he left on his desk when he popped out for lunch. Again, this is Iraqi money, not US funds.
The "financial irregularities" described in audit reports carried out by agencies of the American government and auditors working for the international community collectively give a detailed insight into the mentality of the American occupation authorities and the way they operated. Truckloads of dollars were handed out for which neither they nor the recipients felt they had to be accountable.

The auditors have so far referred more than a hundred contracts, involving billions of dollars paid to American personnel and corporations, for investigation and possible criminal prosecution. They have also discovered that $8.8bn that passed through the new Iraqi government ministries in Baghdad while Bremer was in charge is unaccounted for, with little prospect of finding out where it has gone. A further $3.4bn appropriated by Congress for Iraqi development has since been siphoned off to finance "security".

Although Bremer was expected to manage Iraqi funds in a transparent manner, it was only in October 2003, six months after the fall of Saddam, that an International Advisory and Monitoring Board (IAMB) was established to provide independent, international financial oversight of CPA spending. (This board includes representatives from the United Nations, the World Bank, the IMF and the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development.)
The IAMB first spent months trying to find auditors acceptable to the US. The Bahrain office of KPMG was finally appointed in April 2004. It was stonewalled.

"KPMG has encountered resistance from CPA staff regarding the submission of information required to complete our procedures," they wrote in an interim report. "Staff have indicated … that cooperation with KPMG’s undertakings is given a low priority." KPMG had one meeting at the Iraqi Ministry of Finance; meetings at all the other ministries were repeatedly postponed. The auditors even had trouble getting passes to enter the Green Zone.

There appears to have been good reason for the Americans to stall. At the end of June 2004, the CPA would be disbanded and Bremer would leave Iraq. There was no way the Bush administration would want independent auditors to publish a report into the financial propriety of its Iraqi administration while the CPA was still in existence and Bremer at its head still answerable to the press. So the report was published in July.

The auditors found that the CPA didn’t keep accounts of the hundreds of millions of dollars of cash in its vault, had awarded contracts worth billions of dollars to American firms without tender, and had no idea what was happening to the money from the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI), which was being spent by the interim Iraqi government ministries.

This lack of transparency has led to allegations of corruption. An Iraqi hospital administrator told me that when he came to sign a contract, the American army officer representing the CPA had crossed out the original price and doubled it. The Iraqi protested that the original price was enough. The American officer explained that the increase (more than $1m) was his retirement package.

When the Iraqi Governing Council asked Bremer why a contract to repair the Samarah cement factory was costing $60m rather than the agreed $20m, the American representative reportedly told them that they should be grateful the coalition had saved them from Saddam. Iraqis who were close to the Americans, had access to the Green Zone or held prominent posts in the new government ministries were also in a position personally to benefit enormously. Iraqi businessmen complain endlessly that they had to offer substantial bribes to Iraqi middlemen just to be able to bid for CPA contracts. Iraqi ministers’ relatives got top jobs and fat contracts.

Further evidence of lack of transparency comes from a series of audits and reports carried out by the CPA’s own inspector general’s office (CPAIG). Set up in January 2004, it reports to Congress. Its auditors, accountants and criminal investigators often found themselves sitting alone at cafe tables in the Green Zone, shunned by their CPA compatriots. Their audit, published in July 2004, found that the American contracts officers in the CPA and Iraqi ministries "did not ensure that … contract files contained all the required documents, a fair and reasonable price was paid for the services received, contractors were capable of meeting delivery schedules, or that contractors were paid in accordance with contract requirements".

Pilfering was rife. Millions of dollars in cash went missing from the Iraqi Central Bank. Between $11m and $26m worth of Iraqi property sequestered by the CPA was unaccounted for. The payroll was padded with hundreds of ghost employees. Millions of dollars were paid to contractors for phantom work. Some $3,379,505 was billed, for example, for "personnel not in the field performing work" and "other improper charges" on just one oil pipeline repair contract.

Most of the 69 criminal investigations the CPAIG instigated related to alleged theft, fraud, waste, assault and extortion. It also investigated "a number of other cases that, because of their sensitivity, cannot be included in this report". One such case may have arisen when 19 billion new Iraqi dinars, worth about £6.5m, was found on a plane in Lebanon that had been sent there by the American-appointed Iraqi interior minister.

At the same time, the IAMB discovered that Iraqi oil exports were unmetered. Neither the Iraqi State Oil Marketing Organisation nor the American authorities could give a satisfactory explanation for this. "The only reason you wouldn’t monitor them is if you don’t want anyone else to know how much is going through," one petroleum executive told me.

Officially, Iraq exported $10bn worth of oil in the first year of the American occupation. Christian Aid has estimated that up to $4bn more may have been exported and is unaccounted for. If so, this would have created an off-the-books fund that both the Americans and their Iraqi allies could use with impunity to cover expenditures they would rather keep secret - among them the occupation costs, which were rising far beyond what the Bush administration could comfortably admit to Congress and the international community.

In the few weeks before Bremer left Iraq, the CPA handed out more than $3bn in new contracts to be paid for with Iraqi funds and managed by the US embassy in Baghdad. The CPA inspector general, now called the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (Sigir), has just released an audit report on the way the embassy has dealt with that responsibility. The auditors reviewed the files of 225 contracts totalling $327m to see if the embassy "could identify the current value of paid and unpaid contract obligations".

It couldn’t. "Our review showed that financial records … understated payments made by $108,255,875" and "overstated unpaid obligations by $119,361,286". The auditors also reviewed the paperwork of a further 300 contracts worth $332.9m: "Of 198 contract files reviewed, 154 did not contain evidence that goods and services were received, 169 did not contain invoices, and 14 did not contain evidence of payment."

Clearly, the Americans see no need to account for spending Iraqis’ national income now any more than they did when Bremer was in charge. Neither the embassy chief of mission nor the US military commander replied to the auditors’ invitation to comment. Instead, the US army contracting commander lamely pointed out that "the peaceful conditions envisioned in the early planning continue to elude the reconstruction efforts". This is a remarkable understatement. It’s also an admission that Americans can’t be expected to do their sums when they are spending other people’s money to finance a war.

Lack of accountability does not stop with the Americans. In January this year, the Sigir issued a report detailing evidence of fraud, corruption and waste by the Iraqi Interim Government when Bremer was in charge. They found that $8.8bn - the entire Iraqi Interim Government spending from October 2003 through June 2004 - was not properly accounted for. The Iraqi Office of Budget and Management at one point had only six staff, all of them inexperienced, and most of the ministries had no budget departments. Iraq’s newly appointed ministers and their senior officials were free to hand out hundreds of millions of dollars in cash as they pleased, while American "advisers" looked on.

"CPA personnel did not review and compare financial, budgetary and operational performance to planned or expected results," the auditors explained. One ministry gave out $430m in contracts without its CPA advisers seeing any of the paperwork. Another claimed to be paying 8,206 guards, but only 602 could be found. There is simply no way of knowing how much of the $8.8bn has gone to pay for private militias and into private pockets.

"It’s remarkable that the inspector general’s office could have produced even a draft report with so many misconceptions and inaccuracies," Bremer said in his reply to the Sigir report. "At liberation, the Iraqi economy was dead in the water. So CPA’s top priority was to get the economy going."

The Sigir has responded by releasing another audit this April, an investigation into the way Bremer’s CPA managed cash payments from Iraqi funds in just one part of Iraq, the region around Hillah: "During the course of the audit, we identified deficiencies in the control of cash … of such magnitude as to require prompt attention. Those deficiencies were so significant that we were precluded from accomplishing our stated objectives." They found that CPA headquarters in Baghdad "did not maintain full control and accountability for approximately $119.9m", and that agents in the field "cannot properly account for or support over $96.6m in cash and receipts". The agents were mostly Americans in Iraq on short-term contracts. One agent’s account balance was "overstated by $2,825,755, and the error went undetected". Another agent was given $25m cash for which Bremer’s office "acknowledged not having any supporting documentation". Of more than $23m given to another agent, there are only records for $6,306,836 paid to contractors.

Many of the American agents submitted their paperwork only hours before they headed to the airport. Two left Iraq without accounting for $750,000 each, which has never been found. CPA head office cleared several agents’ balances of between $250,000 and $12m without any receipts. One agent who did submit receipts, on being told that he still owed $1,878,870, turned up three days later with exactly that amount. The auditors thought that "this suggests that the agent had a reserve of cash", pointing out that if his original figures had been correct, he would have accounted to the CPA for approximately $3.8m more than he had been given in the first place, which "suggests that the receipt documents provided to the DFI account manager were unreliable".

So where did the money go? You can’t see it in Hillah. The schools, hospitals, water supply and electricity, all of which were supposed to benefit from these funds, are in ruins. The inescapable conclusion is that many of the American paying agents grabbed large bundles of cash for themselves and made sweet deals with their Iraqi contacts.

And so it continues. The IAMB’s most recent audit of Iraqi government spending talks of "incomplete accounting", "lack of documented justification for limited competition for contracts at the Iraqi ministries", "possible misappropriation of oil revenues", "significant difficulties in ensuring completeness and accuracy of Iraqi budgets and controls over expenditures" and "non-deposit of proceeds of export sales of petroleum products into the appropriate accounts in contravention of UN Security Council Resolution 1483".

In the absence of any meaningful accountability, Iraqis have no way of knowing how much of the nation’s wealth is being used for reconstruction and how much is being handed out to ministers’ and civil servants’ friends and families or funnelled into secret overseas bank accounts. Given that many Ba’athists are now back in government, some of that money may even be financing the insurgents.

Both Saddam and the US profited handsomely during his reign. He controlled Iraq’s wealth while most of Iraq’s oil went to Californian refineries to provide cheap petrol for American voters. US corporations, like those who enjoyed Saddam’s favour, grew rich. Today, the system is much the same: the oil goes to California, and the new Iraqi government spends the national wealth with impunity.

*·* Bremer maintained one slush fund of nearly $600m in cash for which there is no paperwork: $200m of it was kept in a room in one of Saddam’s former palaces

*·* 19 billion new Iraqi dinars, worth about £6.5m, was found on a plane in Lebanon that had been sent there by the new Iraqi interior minister

*·* One ministry claimed to be paying 8,206 guards, but only 602 could be found

*·* One American agent was given $23m to spend on restructuring; only $6m is accounted for

This is an edited version of an article that appears in the current issue of the London Review of Books (lrb ).

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2005

141 comments:

jemyr said...

http://www.health-now.org/site/article.php?articleId=270&menuId=1

(published in 2003)

Following months of rumours, police have arrested several people on suspicion of stealing US $10 million worth of medicine and selling it on the black market, the new inspector-general at the Ministry of Health told IRIN in Baghdad.

Medicine bought for hospitals earlier this year seemed to disappear quickly, said Adel Abdullah Muhsin, the new inspector-general. US administrator Paul Bremer recently named independent inspector-generals in all Iraqi ministries to investigate allegations of corruption and kickbacks.

Despite the ministry's virtually non-existent inventory system, Muhsin enlisted 60 pharmacists across the country to help him find the missing drugs. The pharmacists quickly came back with their verdict - medicine wa stolen from warehouses, it was stolen from hospitals, it was even stolen on its way to patients, he said.

jemyr said...

http://www.rense.com/general43/frag.htm

jemyr said...

http://www.health-now.org/site/article.php?menuId=14&articleId=14

jemyr said...

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/712720/posts

http://perkdogbuddasilva.blogspot.com/2005/01/life-is-good-or-cocoa-out-wazoo.html

http://www.usip.org/library/oh/sops/iraq/sec/goodwin.pdf

"
We saw very early on the need to involve the international community as well as the NGOs, all
these people; just try to get a big-tent approach was really what we were looking at. On August
17th we invited the World Bank, the UN, WHO, UNICEF, the European Commission, DFID (UK
Dept. for International Development), USAID, and a broad spectrum of Iraqis from around the
country, from the north and south. We also invited Ministry of Health employees to be part of
this group.
For the next three days we [separated into] nine work groups, [each of] which would focus on
things like public health, pharmaceuticals and medical distribution, licensing and credentialing
issues—there were nine different categories. We kind of said, “Okay, we need to lay out the
outcomes we want [and figure out hoe to achieve them].” For three days, August 17th through
the 19th, we kind of laid out “Here’s the plan going forward in developing the strategic plan.”
It was a wonderful three days of meetings, and unfortunately it ended at about three o’clock on
August 19th. Several of the people that were attending that meeting went over to the Canal Hotel
to check their email and have some meetings, which then blew up around four o’clock. We
spent the rest of the night evacuating patients, dealing with the wounded, things like that. "

Dan said...

Thank you for posting this article.

I am not surprised that there is corruption and thievery. These are things which occur in such tumultuous situations as exist in Iraq. However, the extent of it is surprising and the complexity is beyond my present knowledge of the situation.

Yet, I caution you to be suspectful of "The Guardian" as I have seen it publish blatant falsehoods in the past.

Consider:

"$200m of it was kept in a room in one of Saddam’s former palaces. The US soldier in charge used to keep the key to the room in his backpack, which he left on his desk when he popped out for lunch."

Question: Where did the key to the room with the 200 BIG ONES in it disappear to?

Answer: Uh, I don't know. I left it in my pack and left my pack on that desk when I went to go eat lunch.

Do you really believe that anyone, anywhere on this planet would do such a ridiculous thing?

If there is any truth to it then it will most likely appear in the New York Times; a paper that HATES Bush.

Whatever is going on is not good. Who ever took/is taking the money is a crook.

---Dan

Dan said...

Oil for Food:

I do know that some of the oil went to a company called "Total" which has a gas station just about a mile from where I am now. As it turns out, Total is owned by French relatives of the (then) Prime Minister of Canada and much of that oil was bought by France and delivered to Total by the French.

---Dan

johninnz said...

"Whatever is going on is not good. Who ever took/is taking the money is a crook."
Having taken a ritualistic swipe at the integrity of the Guardian, one of the world's great newspapers, read by many of the 6 billion people who are not US citizens, Dan finally gropes his way to a sensible statement.
Even if only a quarter of the allegations of corruption and fraud are correct, the unavoidable fact is that at the time in question, the US government was firmly and totally in charge in Iraq. It had conquered the country, taken responsibility for it. What it said, went. No two ways about that.
No sane country would go into an optional war without thorough policy and preparation for the aftermath, would it?
Something is definitely "not good." Some people are definitely "crooks."
They haven't just stolen from Iraq. They've stolen the heart of America.
This is what Truthteller has been saying all along - why did you invade us if you couldn't do it properly?
Why were your motives impure?

Dan said...

Johninnz:

FYI, I think the New York Times, another well read newspaper, is better used for toilet paper than for accurate news reporting. Having said that, I too am very frustrated by the way things are going in Iraq.

Yet, I am also aware of thousands of projects the US has overseen including rebuilding roads and bridges, schools, water treatment facilities, electrical generation, building manufacturing, and others. This continues and has cost billions of $$$ so far.

I do have an extensive list of these which I would post here but I have misplaced the file somewhere in the hundreds of folders on my computer and can't locate it at present.

Also, a provisional government was installed, a further provisional government was elected by 8,000,000 people, a Constitution is in the latter stages of being drawn up for presentation to the populace, and another election is scheduled for December. Police forces are being recruited and emplaced, and an army is being trained and equipped.

Hindsight is always 20/20.

And speaking of "a ritualistic swipe": Considering all the millions of people praying for a better situation and seeing the manner in which those prayers are being answered, surely this must all be "the will of God."

The thieving and scandalizing are wrong and the crooks should be punished.

---Dan

Dan said...

Waldschrat and Truth Teller:

You were mentioned in another blog. It is one that claims to post references to blogs from "both sides" HERE.

Check it out.

---Dan

Dan said...

A touch of corruption HERE.

---Dan

madtom said...

"I placed a link to this post in Truth Teller's comment section."

Thanks,
I saw it, I was just here looking at them.

I try to cover both sides, but there are many sides to any one issue and I never "claimed" to cover them all. Myself.

Dan said...

MadTom:

Ooops again! I DO offer my apologies for "claiming" something about your blog that is not necessarily true.

My explanation is that I was simply elated and used a very poor choice of words. I should be more careful.

I try to be truthful and honest in the Blogoshere. Yet due to my lack of rational thought, I have made an inaccurate post. There goes my credibility.

'My apologies again.

---Dan

madtom said...

"'My apologies again."

Don't sweat it. NAN
I knew what you meant, I was making it clear to the "other" that are always out there.

Dan said...

On misbehavior...HERE

---Dan

Bruno said...

Johninnz --

G'day to you, mate. Nice reply.


Dan --

[d] "Yet, I am also aware of thousands of projects the US has overseen including rebuilding roads and bridges, schools, water treatment facilities, electrical generation, building manufacturing, and others. This continues and has cost billions of $$$ so far. I do have an extensive list of these which I would post here but I have misplaced the file somewhere in the hundreds of folders on my computer and can't locate it at present."


Well, THEORETICALLY, of course. In reality, Iraqi money has been used to pay US companies to rebuild US caused war damage at extortionate rates, hasn't it? That's the reality, isn't it?

Unlike you, I have thousands of documents on Iraq on my computer, and unlike you, I keep them in order, so that I can find them. Like this:


Audits Document Rampant Waste, Corruption in Iraq Reconstruction
BY DAVID WOOD c.2005 Newhouse News Service

"[...]
In addition, U.S. occupation authorities in Baghdad spent almost $20 billion in Iraqi funds, most from oil sales and formerly held by the United Nations. It was turned over to the United States in 2003 for humanitarian and development programs. Auditors from Congress' Government Accountabilty Office, the Defense Contract Audit Agency, the U.S. Army Audit Agency and the State Department, among others, have raised serious questions about how all this money was used.

Pentagon investigators, for example, found $219 million in "unacceptable" charges under a contract with Halliburton Co., the U.S. contracting giant, for the $2.5 billion "Restore Iraqi Oil" program to supply Iraq with fuel and rebuild its oil industry. Another $60 million in claims were "unsupported" by documentary evidence -- receipts, in short. A separate program, the Development Fund for Iraq, was financed by $20 billion in Iraqi money. Between June 2003 and June 2004, nearly $12 billion of the money was shipped to Iraq in cash.

U.S. military auditors including Stuart W. Bowen, the Pentagon's special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, have detailed millions of dollars that are missing or not properly accounted for. Of $120 million sent to one region for use by U.S. authorities, $96.6 million couldn't be accounted for. In one case, $7.2 million in $100 bills simply disappeared in Iraq, according to Bowen. Two cases of alleged fraud -- one involving $1.5 million, the other an unspecified amount -- are pending.

Pentagon auditors found that one Iraqi ministry had been paid to hire 8,206 guards, but only 602 were at work; Iraqi Airways put in claims for a payroll of 2,400 employees when it could justify only 400. U.S. authorities, a Pentagon audit report said, "did not implement adequate controls" to prevent such abuse.

Of about $1.6 billion from the Development Fund for Iraq that went to Halliburton, Defense Department auditors questioned some $218 million in apparent overcharges, including claims for labor, material, subcontracts and administrative expenses. [...]" //end excerpt


Ooops. That's right, not only have US contractors and agents been wallowing and guzzling that cash like pigs in a pig trough - but to reiterate - the money is IRAQI money.

For emphasis:


Where has all the money gone? Following the auditors into Iraq
by Ed Harriman - July 18, 2005 - Global Research

"[…] The 'reconstruction' of Iraq is the largest American-led occupation programme since the Marshall Plan. But there is a difference: the US government funded the Marshall Plan whereas Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Bremer have made sure that the reconstruction of Iraq is paid for by the 'liberated' country, by the Iraqis themselves. There was $6 billion left over from the UN Oil for Food Programme, as well as sequestered and frozen assets, and revenue from resumed oil exports (at least $10 billion in the year following the invasion). Under Security Council Resolution 1483, passed on 22 May 2003, all of these funds were transferred into a new account held at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, called the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI), so that they might be spent by the CPA 'in a transparent manner . . . for the benefit of the Iraqi people'. Congress, it's true, voted to spend $18.4 billion of US taxpayers' money on the redevelopment of Iraq. But by 28 June last year, when Bremer left Baghdad two days early to avoid possible attack on the way to the airport, his CPA had spent up to $20 billion of Iraqi money, compared to $300 million of US funds.[…]" //end excerpt


That's right: 20 BILLION Iraqi $ vs 300 MILLION US $. Spent on US companies. Companies that are responsible to their shareholders and US owners to make as much of a profit as possible, which is why their operating costs are hugely inflated over those of native Iraqi companies who could do the job for far, far less.

But hey, these big US companies are protected by big US guns, so who's to complain, right?

Dan said...

Bruno:

I did see a "Bruno" on Hoagland's blog so I am beginning to doubt that you are Hurriah. I wonder where she is.

Anyway, I am just surfing through and will come back later when I have more time. I will then give a more indepth response to your comment.

I want to give it some thought and make sure that I use a correct choice of words.

---Dan

madtom said...

Truth Teller,

There was a news report today that said:

"MOSUL, Iraq (AP) - There's one clear sign that life in the Sunni Arab-dominated western half of this city is changing for the better - children are again playing soccer at night. The reason: fewer insurgent attacks."
My Way

I was just wondering if you could comment, have you noticed any change in the situation, is security better, are the attacks down?

madtom said...

Dan,

I'm sorry if I was a bit rude the other day, I hope you won't hold it against me. It's just that everyone's been picking on me lately...Anyway here is what my blog is all about.
I have it posted on my side bar as my mission statement with all the details. Be well.

Dan said...

MadTom:

No Prob.

Thanks.

---Dan

Dan said...

Bruno and Truth Teller:

I JUST heard on the radio news that SOMEONE is in BIG trouble for stealing 100s of 1000s of $$$ in the Oil-for-Food Program. I did not catch their name because the radio is across the room and I have it turned low because it is the middle of the night here.

It SHOULD make news tomorrow. This should make you happy but I doubt that it will.

I will make a more principled post later.

---Dan

waldschrat said...

The Iraq consttution is supposed to be ready Aug 15. I've seen a lot of comments against some parts of it published earlier. I estimate it will either be revised by the writers or will be voted down (same result) based on the comments I have read. Only the time will tell.

Chemtherapy drugs have begun to move in the FedEx tracking system.

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

Dan,

The last time I saw Hurria was on August 4 on one of the other posts. I'm sure she is fine. Assuming Bruno was telling the truth, I believe he is from South Africa, if I recall correctly.

Madtom,

I think Baghdad Bob has retired. Maybe Khalid Jarrar would be a good replacement. He certainly has the charm.

Dan said...

Lynnette in Minnesota:

Thanks. I wonder.

Waldschrat:

I agree on the Iraqi constitution.

The other day I saw a picture of Eileen Collins on AOL news. She was NOT wearing a face veil, a hood, or one of those giant-black-plastic-garbage-bag looking things and she was actually COMMANDING A SPACE SHUTTLE.

Right under that linked picture was a link saying that the new Iraqi constitution might condemn Iraqi women to religious (i.e. Islamic) servitude.

Pun intended: I don't think the Iraqi constitution is going to fly. NOT if its drawn up like that.

Yet, it remains to be seen if the religious factions and the secular portions of Iraqi society work these matters out legislatively or through (more) armed conflict.

---Dan

Truth teller said...

madtom

"There's one clear sign that life in the Sunni Arab-dominated western half of this city is changing for the better "

For your information, all the city of Mosul is Sunni Arab-dominated. The sheiis in Mosul is not more than 5%.
The Eastern half of the city is also Sunni Arab-dominated.

"have you noticed any change in the situation, is security better, are the attacks down?"

During the last week, there were a lot of attacks in the Western side of the city, the situation is not better in any way.
Children play soccer every where even when there are attacks, people used to the sound of explosion and morter bombs. But no body dare to come out at night, we still have a curfew at night and the American and the Iraqi police shoot any body get out at that time, even the ambulance can't get out at the time of curfew. So many people had killed because they get out for emergency reasons, most important the childbirth which frequently happened at night.

Dan said...

Truth Teller:

Will you please post your estimate of how many civillians have been "killed because they get out for emergency reasons." I am especially interested in the number of women who have been killed while attempting to give childbirth.

Thank you.

---Dan

madtom said...

Is this the same mosul

The population of Mosul is principally Kurdish, but with a large minority of Assyrians, and a smaller minority of Turkomans.

as this one.

Bruno said...

*groan*

FYI, I am not Hurria. Really, what's the point of posting under a different name anyway? If you analyse the way she writes and argues and the way I do, you will find a substantial difference, methinks.

Truth teller said...

madtom

There is only one Mosul in Iraq. The information of this site is a rubbish. It is full of mistakes and nonsense.

Truth teller said...

Dan

I have no estimate, but a lot of people killed for this reason.
There is a custom here, when any one die (or killed), hie family put a blck signin which they wrire the cause of death, the time, and where the family accepted people who want to condolences. High percentage of those signs, said "killed by American fire." There are names of men, women and children.

Women attempting to give child birth, are admitted to the hospitals, days before their due days to avoid such accidents.

johninnz said...

This Blog is kinda fun.
Truthteller, apparently a lifelong citizen of Mosul, gets understandably impatient with being told all about his city by Dan and Madtom, people who are 10,000 miles away and have never been there.
He tries to tell them that, as "liberators" and exemplars of justice and democracy, their ignorant trigger-happy troops would make very good lavatory attendants - something the rest of the world realised long ago. (British and Australian Generals both said so recently. These are your Allies, guys. They’re on your side, understand?)
And what’s their response? Please give exact figures, with times, dates and birth weights, of all emergency births in Mosul, or some such nonsense.
What can you do or say?
Truthteller, why don’t you just ignore them? They won’t accept the truth of the US failure in Iraq until long after their troops are gone. Just keep telling the rest of us the truth of your situation. So we know what to expect when they arrive here.

johninnz said...

Three men in an unmarked sedan pulled up near the headquarters of the national police major crimes unit. The two passengers, wearing traditional Arab dishdasha gowns, stepped from the car.

At the same moment, a U.S. military convoy emerged from an underpass. Apparently believing the men were staging an ambush, the Americans fired, killing one passenger and wounding the other. The sedan's driver was hit in the head by two bullet fragments.

The soldiers drove on without stopping.

Such shootings are far from rare in Baghdad, but the driver of the car was no ordinary casualty. He was police Brig. Gen. Majeed Farraji, chief of the major crimes unit. His passengers were unarmed hitchhikers whom he was dropping off on his way to work.

"The reason they shot us is just because the Americans are reckless," the general said from his hospital bed hours after the July 6 shooting, his head wrapped in a white bandage. "Nobody punishes them or blames them."

Angered by the growing number of unarmed civilians killed by U.S. troops in recent weeks, the Iraqi government criticized the shootings and called on U. S. troops to exercise greater care.

U.S. officials repeatedly have declined requests to disclose the number of civilians killed in such incidents. Baghdad police say they have received reports that U.S. forces killed 33 unarmed civilians and injured 45 in the capital between May 1 and July 12 -- an average of nearly one fatality every two days. This does not include incidents that occurred elsewhere in the country or were not reported to the police.

The victims have included doctors, journalists, a professor -- the kind of people the United States is counting on to help build an open and democratic society.

The continued shooting of civilians is undermining efforts to convince the public that U.S. soldiers are here to help.

"Of course, the shootings will increase support for the opposition," said Farraji, 49, who was named a police general with U.S. approval. "The hatred of the Americans has increased. I myself hate them."

Says it all really. No Dan, it wasn't an "isolated incident." It was everyday reality. No Tom, it wasn't a "regretable accident." It was badly trained troops.

madtom said...

" gets understandably impatient with being told all about his city by ... and Madtom, people who are 10,000 miles away and have never been there."

How do I always get dragged into these things. I think I have left a handful of messages on this blog. Do a search, yet I get the blame for irritating people. All I did was ask for verification of a news story, and the information on Wikipedia about Mosul, which we have now been informed is all "rubbish". Lucky for us, the info on Wikipedia can be updated.

madtom said...

" High percentage of those signs, said "killed by American fire." "

As a scientist you should be well aware of the value of this type of information.

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

"It is full of mistakes and nonsense."

I don't mean to be rude, TT, but now you understand how WE feel about some of the things written about US.

Madtom,

Sometimes it doesn't take much to irritate certain people.

Nicole Houston said...

Truth Teller, thank you so much for posting so much information.
I hope that if you have time to correct the Wikipedia information that you will. I do not have access to the correct information or I would do it.
Unfortunately, the ratio of truth to fiction is rather small. I do not think most people that really study the news know what the truth is. I try to figure it out, but there are so many conflicting stories.
I hope things go well with you and your family.

strykerdad said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
dancewater said...

"It's just that everyone's been picking on me lately"

what a whiner you are!

Madtom again:
" High percentage of those signs, said "killed by American fire." "

As a scientist you should be well aware of the value of this type of information."

why on earth would they put up false information? Do you think they are unable to figure out how people really died, when they have died right in front of their eyes?

dancewater said...

Dan:
"I JUST heard on the radio news that SOMEONE is in BIG trouble for stealing 100s of 1000s of $$$ in the Oil-for-Food Program."

I have no doubt that 100s of 1000s of $$$ have been stolen/cheated from the oil-for-food program.

But it really pales in comparison to BILLIONS stolen from the Iraqis under Bremer's watch. At least for the oil-for-food program some Iraqis got fed, in the Iraqi-reconstruction-from-American-bombing program all they got was dead, left with no water, electricity, gasoline, security, and NO reconstruction.

yeah, I know: blame it all on the insurgents! The Bush Company dropped those bombs with the purest of intentions, and nothing is ever their fault!!!

and they are never to blame!!!

Truth teller said...

Corruption every where.

Where has all the money gone?
Ed Harriman follows the auditors into Iraq


""US House of Representatives Government Reform Committee Minority Office
| Link: http://www.democrats.reform.house.gov/

US General Accountability Office
| Link: http://www.gao.gov/

Defense Contract Audit Agency
| Link: http://www.dcaa.mil/

International Advisory and Monitoring Board
| Link: http://www.iamb.info/

Coalition Provisional Authority Inspector General
| Link: http://www.cpa-ig.com/

Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction
| Link: http://www.sigir.mil/

On 12 April 2004, the Coalition Provisional Authority in Erbil in northern Iraq handed over $1.5 billion in cash to a local courier. The money, fresh $100 bills shrink-wrapped on pallets, which filled three Blackhawk helicopters, came from oil sales under the UN’s Oil for Food Programme, and had been entrusted by the UN Security Council to the Americans to be spent on behalf of the Iraqi people. The CPA didn’t properly check out the courier before handing over the cash, and, as a result, according to an audit report by the CPA’s inspector general, ‘there was an increased risk of the loss or theft of the cash.’ Paul Bremer, the American pro-consul in Baghdad until June last year, kept a slush fund of nearly $600 million cash for which there is no paperwork: $200 million of this was kept in a room in one of Saddam’s former palaces, and the US soldier in charge used to keep the key to the room in his backpack, which he left on his desk when he popped out for lunch. Again, this is Iraqi money, not US funds.

The ‘reconstruction’ of Iraq is the largest American-led occupation programme since the Marshall Plan. But there is a difference: the US government funded the Marshall Plan whereas Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Bremer have made sure that the reconstruction of Iraq is paid for by the ‘liberated’ country, by the Iraqis themselves. There was $6 billion left over from the UN Oil for Food Programme, as well as sequestered and frozen assets, and revenue from resumed oil exports (at least $10 billion in the year following the invasion). Under Security Council Resolution 1483, passed on 22 May 2003, all of these funds were transferred into a new account held at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, called the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI), so that they might be spent by the CPA ‘in a transparent manner . . . for the benefit of the Iraqi people’. Congress, it’s true, voted to spend $18.4 billion of US taxpayers’ money on the redevelopment of Iraq. But by 28 June last year, when Bremer left Baghdad two days early to avoid possible attack on the way to the airport, his CPA had spent up to $20 billion of Iraqi money, compared to $300 million of US funds.

The ‘financial irregularities’ described in audit reports carried out by agencies of the American government and auditors working for the international community collectively give a detailed insight into the mentality of the American occupation authorities and the way they operated, handing out truckloads of dollars for which neither they nor the recipients felt any need to be accountable. The auditors have so far referred more than a hundred contracts, involving billions of dollars paid to American personnel and corporations, for investigation and possible criminal prosecution. They have also discovered that $8.8 billion that passed through the new Iraqi government ministries in Baghdad while Bremer was in charge is unaccounted for, with little prospect of finding out where it went. A further $3.4 billion earmarked by Congress for Iraqi development has since been siphoned off to finance ‘security’.

That audit reports were commissioned at all owes a lot to Henry Waxman, a Democrat and ranking minority member of the House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform. Waxman voted in favour of the invasion of Iraq. But since the war he’s been demanding that the Bush administration account for its cost. Within six months of the invasion, Waxman’s committee had evidence that the Texas-based Halliburton corporation was being grossly overpaid by the American occupation authorities for the petrol it was importing into Iraq from Kuwait, at a profit of more than $150 million. Waxman and his assistants found that Halliburton was charging $2.64 a gallon for petrol for Iraqi civilians, while American forces were importing the same fuel for $1.57 a gallon.

Halliburton’s chairman, David Lesar, who took over from Dick Cheney in July 2000, robustly defended his firm. But Waxman raised another question: if Halliburton was being allowed to rip off the Iraqi people, was the Bush administration allowing it to milk the US government as well? Waxman’s committee instructed Congress’s General Accountability Office to look into Halliburton’s biggest contract in Iraq: providing virtually all back-up facilities – from meals to laundry soap – to American forces. LOGCAP (Logistics Civil Augmentation Programme) contracts like this one are a product of the new ‘slimmed down’ American military, the quartermaster’s equivalent of Rumsfeld’s ‘invasion lite’. Rather than have uniformed troops peel potatoes and scrub floors, base support services have been privatised and contracted out so that, the idea goes, soldiers can get on with the fighting. The contracts are paid on a cost-plus basis, which allows the contractor to charge for what it has spent, then add on a profit. LOGCAP contracts have not been put out to tender, but rather awarded to a few US firms, the largest being Halliburton and its subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root.

The GAO report of July 2004 found that in the first nine months of the occupation, KBR was allowed a free hand in Iraq: a free hand, for example, to bill the Pentagon without worrying about spending limits or management oversight or paperwork. Millions of dollars’ worth of new equipment disappeared. KBR charged $73 million for motor caravans to house the 101st Airborne Division, twice as much as the army said it would cost to build barracks itself; KBR charged $88 million for three million meals for US troops that were never served. The GAO calculated that the army could have saved $31 million a year simply by doing business directly with the catering firms that KBR hired. In June 2004, the GAO continued, ‘by eliminating the use of LOGCAP and making the LOGCAP subcontractor the prime contractor, the command reduced meal costs by 43 per cent without a loss of service or quality.’

The GAO report makes clear that the Americans had given little thought as to how they might prevent looting and rebuild Iraqi society. They hadn’t even planned how they were going to provision the US forces staying on in Iraq: ‘the Army Central Command did not develop plans to use the [KBR] contract to support its military forces in Iraq until May 2003’ – a month after Saddam fell. Even then, this contract – with an estimated value of $3.894 billion – did not adequately provide for dining facilities, pest control, laundry services, morale, welfare and recreation, troop transportation or combat support services at the American bases hastily being built across Iraq. Stung by Waxman’s revelations about Halliburton’s petrol profiteering, and realising that KBR’s costs were spiralling out of control (LOGCAP costs in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan rose from a projected yearly total of $5.8 billion in September 2003 to $8.6 billion in January 2004), the army vice chief of staff ‘asked units to control costs and look for alternatives to the LOGCAP contract’. This was the first admission that the Pentagon could not afford the occupation on top of the war.

At the same time, the Pentagon’s own auditors, the Defense Contracts Audit Agency, went to Houston to have a look at KBR’s books. They were not happy with what they found:

Our examination disclosed several deficiencies in KBR’s billing system resulting in billings to the government that are not prepared in accordance with applicable laws and regulations and contract terms. We have also found system deficiencies resulting in material invoicing misstatements that are not prevented, detected and/or corrected in a timely manner.

They also found that ‘KBR also does not monitor the ongoing physical progress of subcontracts or the related costs and billings.’ When the auditors asked to see the files of payments to subcontractors to back up the invoices KBR submitted to the government, there weren’t any: ‘We found no such documents included in KBR’s subcontract files, nor did we find any log of subcontractor payments.’ So how did KBR work out its monthly invoices to the government for its whopping $3.9 billion contract? ‘The explanation begins with the costs on a spreadsheet with no indication of where or how these costs are accumulated.’ The auditors also wanted to know what happened to the money the government had paid for those three million non-existent meals:

Despite repeated requests over two months, KBR has not been able to provide an adequate explanation or adequate documentation for the payments to any DFAC [dining-hall] subcontractors. The limited documentation that has been provided shows, for example, that KBR has added ‘overage’ factors of 10 to 35 per cent to each bill for one of the subcontractors. We still do not have an adequate explanation of the ‘overage’ factor.

KBR’s response has been to tough it out. The company wrote to the auditors saying that its position regarding the meals ‘had been misquoted as well as misinterpreted’. The auditors, the corporation said, knew full well that KBR had ‘established a Tiger Team that is actively researching and analysing the facts and circumstances surrounding each of its DFAC subcontracts’. ‘Tiger Teams’ are in-house investigative units. KBR’s Tiger Team stayed at the five-star Kuwait Kempinski Hotel, where its members ran up a bill of more than $1 million. This outraged the army, whose troops were sleeping in tents at a cost of $1.39 a day. The army asked the Tiger Team to move into tents. It refused. As to how the Tiger Team ‘actively researched and analysed the facts’, we have the sworn testimony that a KBR employee gave to Congressman Waxman’s committee: ‘The Tiger Team looked at subcontracts with no invoice and no confirmation that the products contracted for were being used. Instead of investigating further, they would recommend extending the subcontract.’

The Pentagon auditors asked to see ‘evidence that KBR’s internal audit department is functionally and organisationally independent and sufficiently removed from management to ensure that it can conduct audits objectively and can report its findings, opinions and conclusions without fear of reprisal.’ KBR locked them out of its audit department. The auditors then asked who did KBR’s audits. Halliburton, KBR wrote back. The Pentagon auditors said that from then on KBR would have to submit all bills to them ‘for provisional approval prior to submission for payment’. Tough talk. But, despite all the threats to withhold payment, and with several lawsuits pending, KBR and Halliburton have now been paid more than $10 billion for quartermastering US forces in Iraq.

One of KBR’s contracts was for transporting supplies between American bases. Fleets of new Mercedes Benz trucks, costing $85,000 each, travelled up and down Iraq’s central highways every day, accompanied by armed US military escorts. If there were no goods to transport, KBR dispatched empty lorries anyway, and billed accordingly. The lorries didn’t carry replacement air and oil filters, essential when driving in the desert. They didn’t even carry spare tyres. If one broke down, it was abandoned and destroyed so no one else could use it, and left burning by the roadside. For fear of ambush, KBR drivers were told not to slow down. ‘The truck in front of the one I was riding ran a car with an Iraqi family of four off the road,’ a KBR employee told Waxman’s committee. ‘My driver said that was normal.’

American profligacy with Iraqi money has been, if anything, even worse. According to the CPA’s own rules, the authority ‘was expected to manage Iraqi funds in a transparent manner that fully met the CPA’s obligations under international law including Security Council Resolution 1483’. Despite repeated efforts, however, it was only in October 2003, six months after the fall of Saddam, that an International Advisory and Monitoring Board (IAMB), with representatives from the United Nations, the World Bank, the IMF and the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, was established to provide independent, international financial oversight of the CPA’s spending.

The IAMB then spent months trying to find auditors acceptable to the US. The Bahrain office of KPMG was finally appointed in April 2004. It was stonewalled. ‘KPMG has encountered resistance from CPA staff regarding the submission of information required to complete our procedures,’ they wrote in an interim report. ‘Staff have indicated . . . that co-operation with KPMG’s undertakings is given a low priority.’ KPMG had one meeting at the Iraqi Ministry of Finance; meetings at all the other ministries were repeatedly postponed. The auditors even had trouble getting passes for the Green Zone.

There was a good reason for the Americans to stall. At the end of June 2004, the CPA would be disbanded and Bremer would leave Iraq. The Bush administration wasn’t going to allow independent auditors to be in a position to publish a report into the financial propriety of its Iraqi administration while Bremer was still answerable to the press. The report was published in July. The auditors found that the CPA hadn’t kept accounts for the hundreds of millions of dollars of cash in its vault, had awarded contracts worth billions of dollars to American firms without tender, and had no idea what was happening to the money from the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI) which was being spent by the interim Iraqi government ministries.

An Iraqi hospital administrator told me that, as he was about to sign a contract, the American army officer representing the CPA had crossed out the original price and doubled it. The Iraqi protested that the original price was enough. The American officer explained that the increase (more than $1 million) was his retirement package. Iraqis who were close to the Americans, had access to the Green Zone, or held prominent posts in the new government ministries, were also in a position to benefit enormously. Iraqi businessmen complain endlessly that they had to offer substantial bribes to Iraqi middlemen just to be allowed to bid for CPA contracts. Iraqi ministers’ relatives got top jobs and fat contracts.

Hard evidence comes from a further series of audits and reports carried out by the office of the CPA’s own inspector general (CPA-IG). Set up in January 2004, it reported to Congress. Its auditors, accountants and criminal investigators often found themselves sitting alone at cafeteria tables in the Green Zone, shunned by their compatriots. Their audit, published in July 2004, found that the American contracts officers in the CPA and the Iraqi ministries ‘did not ensure that . . . contract files contained all the required documents, a fair and reasonable price was paid for the services received, contractors were capable of meeting delivery schedules, or that contractors were paid in accordance with contract requirements’.

Pilfering was rife. Millions of dollars in cash went missing from the Iraqi Central Bank. Between $11 million and $26 million worth of Iraqi property sequestered by the CPA was unaccounted for. The payroll was padded with hundreds of ghost employees. Millions of dollars were paid to contractors for phantom work: $3,379,505 was billed, for example, for ‘personnel not in the field performing work’ and ‘other improper charges’ on a single oil pipeline repair contract. An Iraqi sports coach was paid $40,000 by the CPA. He gave it to a friend who gambled it away then wrote it off as a legitimate loss. ‘A complainant alleged that Iraqi Airlines was sold at a reduced price to an influential family with ties to the former regime. The investigation revealed that Iraqi Airlines was essentially dissolved, and there was no record of the transaction.’ Most of the 69 criminal investigations the CPA-IG instigated related to alleged ‘theft, fraud, waste, assault and extortion’. It also investigated ‘a number of other cases that, because of their sensitivity, cannot be included in this report’. At around this time, 19 billion new Iraqi dinars, worth about £6.5 million, were found on a plane in Lebanon which had been sent there by the American-appointed Iraqi interior minister.

The IAMB, meanwhile, discovered that Iraqi oil exports were unmetered. Neither the Iraqi State Oil Marketing Organisation nor the American authorities could give a satisfactory explanation for this. ‘The only reason you wouldn’t monitor them is if you don’t want anyone else to know how much is going through,’ one petroleum executive told me. Officially, Iraq exported oil worth $10 billion in the first year of the American occupation. Christian Aid has estimated that oil worth up to an additional $4 billion may also have been exported and is unaccounted for. If this is correct, it would have created an off the books slush fund that both the Americans and their Iraqi allies could use with impunity to cover expenditures they would rather keep secret – among them the occupation costs, which were rising far beyond what the Bush administration could comfortably admit to Congress and the international community.

America’s situation in Iraq took a turn for the worse in April 2004, with the uprisings in Najaf and Fallujah, the Abu Ghraib prison scandal and mass defections from the new Iraqi security forces. ‘At the beginning of April,’ one of the audits says, ‘the Iraqi National Guard force held steady at around 32,000 personnel. Between 9 and 16 April this number dropped to a low of 17,500.’ As for the police, ‘the Iraqi Ministry of Interior has decided to reduce the number of police officers to 89,000’ – from 120,000 – ‘by trimming from its rolls those who have proved to be unsuitable.’ At the same time, ‘recent attacks on the pipelines reduced exports in April to an average of 1.7 million barrels per day and 1.4 million barrels per day in May. The total could possibly be lower in June.’ That’s a million barrels per day fewer than under Saddam. Across Iraq, hospitals and schools were derelict, electricity was intermittent, and water supplies were polluted.

The American response to the militant insurgency and to the loss of their moral credentials at Abu Ghraib was a ‘hearts and minds’ campaign. Law-abiding Iraqis were to be shown respect and given buckets of money, while Bremer and the CPA prepared to hand over the management of Iraq to an interim government picked by the Americans. KBR’s lorry drivers were told not to run Iraqis off the road. And millions of dollars in cash – most of it Iraqi money – were handed out by American commanders in local communities across Iraq in an attempt to buy friends. ‘The Commanders’ Emergency Reconstruction Programme continues to be a very effective programme . . . which has built trust and support for the United States at grass roots level,’ the CPA-IG report said. ‘As of 19 June 2004, the local commanders have spent $364.6 million . . . on over 27,600 small projects . . . repairing and refurbishing water and sewer lines, cleaning up highways by removing waste and debris, transporting water to remote villages, purchasing equipment for local police stations, upgrading schools and clinics, purchasing school supplies, removing ordnance from public spaces . . .’ It was too little too late. With the concentration on big infrastructure projects and contracts for American corporate cronies and Iraqi businessmen ‘friends’, there had been little for ordinary Iraqis to benefit from or to take part in. Rumsfeld knew by the beginning of 2004 that his and Bremer’s management was in deep trouble. ‘Iraqis are puzzled; they truly don’t know what the US really intends for them. We haven’t communicated well. The “story” has not been believed,’ a Personnel Assessment Team reported to Rumsfeld on 11 February 2004. ‘We have in essence a pick-up organisation in place to design and execute the most demanding transformation in recent history.’

Last September was the crucial month. By then the US government had spent $60 billion on the US forces in Iraq, and $1 billion on the Iraqi security forces. The Americans knew that they were widely hated. ‘In the war of ideas or the struggle for hearts and minds . . . American efforts have not only failed, they may also have achieved the opposite of what they intended’ was the principal finding of the Pentagon’s Defense Science Board. The answer was a big rethink – a strategic spending review. The $18.4 billion Iraq Relief and Reconstruction Fund that Congress had voted to rebuild Iraq, and which Bremer had left largely untouched and possibly never intended to spend as mandated, would be spent on counter-insurgency warfare directed by US commanders and John Negroponte from the new US embassy in Baghdad.

First, $3 billion was diverted from the budgets to restore Iraq’s destroyed electricity supply, water supply and sewers to security and law enforcement. The reduced electricity budget (down from $5.6 billion to $4.4 billion) was to be spent patching up neighbourhoods flattened by American fire power, and electricity pylons and stations sabotaged by the insurgents. The electricity supply had become one of the war’s main battlegrounds.

This meant fewer large contracts for American and international energy firms, which were further discouraged from staying in Iraq as their personnel were attacked and the price of private security soared. It also meant flickering lights and hours of power cuts for ordinary Iraqis. Yet development and reconstruction were officially deferred. Or, as the auditors put it, ‘this redistribution of funds . . . appears to be generally consistent with the stated management objective of de-emphasising longer-term development projects as funds are shifted toward more immediately realisable goals.’

‘The country’s widely failing sewage management infrastructure and the sporadic availability of potable water,’ the auditors wrote, ‘continue to pose health threats and tarnish overall impressions of reconstruction achievements.’ Yet the water and sanitation budget was cut almost in half, as long-term development was again handed over to the Iraqi government so US funds could be doled out to Iraqis in neighbourhoods where the insurgents held sway and it was now unsafe for foreigners to go. ‘Initial plans to rehabilitate large portions of the country’s water and wastewater system through the IRRF have been curtailed,’ the auditors wrote. ‘Water resources and sanitation sector funds have been reallocated to security, governance, debt relief and efforts to boost Iraqi employment opportunities . . . creating local water and wastewater projects to stimulate Iraqi employment and deliver needed services to high-risk areas.’

The budget for employing Iraqis rose by more than 350 per cent, to be spent largely on ‘local projects that will visibly impact Iraqi communities before the 30 January 2005 national election’. At the same time, ‘the construction sector saw the withdrawal of the prime design-and-build road contractor from Iraq, reportedly because of concern for personnel and site security.’ The insurgents had forced a fundamental reshaping of US spending priorities, further widened the no man’s land between themselves and US troops, polarising Iraq, and assuming the initiative in the war.

None of this has changed. In December 2004, the US Mission in Iraq allotted an extra $457 million to keep the electricity working and ‘to boost short-term employment through health, electricity and water initiatives in Najaf, Samarra, Sadr City and Fallujah. Together,’ the auditors reported, ‘the two adjustments reflect a significant change in US spending priorities.’

In March this year, a further $832 million ‘was reprogrammed for management initiatives’, largely ‘for operations and maintenance at various power and water plants, urgent work in the electrical and oil sectors’ to repair sabotage damage, and to pay for building contracts on which it had become extremely dangerous and expensive to work. The most recent audit, issued in April, reports that projects are running between 50 and 85 per cent above the original estimated costs. The free-spending days are over. Americans are having to divert increasing amounts of US development money just to keep what remains of Iraq’s damaged public utilities working, and to finance the Iraqi police and army.

Six months into the occupation, in autumn 2003, the Americans planned to transfer security to the Iraqi police and army so they could ‘draw down US forces from Iraq’. The goal was to have 250,000 Iraqis in the security forces by the following summer. However, as a GAO report submitted to Congress in March this year explains, most of the recruits were neither vetted nor properly trained. The result has been that the ‘Ministry of Interior’s security forces committed numerous serious human rights abuses’; the Iraqi police and army have been easily infiltrated by former Ba’athists and other insurgents; and morale is low.

As the GAO put it,

police and military units performed poorly during an escalation of insurgent attacks against the Coalition in April 2004 . . . Many Iraqi security forces around the country collapsed during this uprising . . . units abandoned their posts and responsibilities and in some cases assisted the insurgency . . . Police manning a checkpoint in one area were reporting convoy movements by mobile telephone to local terrorists. Police in another area were infiltrated by former regime elements.

‘In response to the unwillingness of a regular army battalion to fight Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah’, the Americans created a special Iraqi Intervention Force. Then last autumn they decided to beef up the Iraqi police service from 90,000 to 135,000, to add 20 battalions to the Iraqi National Guard and double the border guard. This February, the State Department glowingly reported that almost 82,000 Iraqi police and 60,000 troops had been trained.

These figures are grossly misleading. According to the GAO’s March report to Congress ‘the reported number of Iraqi police is unreliable because the Minister of the Interior does not receive consistent and accurate reporting from the police forces around the country. The data does not exclude police absent from duty.’ As for the army, ‘Ministry of Defense reports exclude the absent military personnel from its totals. According to DOD officials, the number of absentees is probably in the tens of thousands.’ Furthermore the State Department no longer reports on whether Iraqi security forces have the required weapons, vehicles, communication equipment and body armour. Bluntly, ‘US government agencies do not report reliable data on the extent to which Iraqi security forces are trained and equipped.’ The GAO further found that the Iraqi police are being trained for ‘community policing in a permissive security environment’ rather than getting ‘paramilitary training for a high-threat hostile environment’. It’s hardly surprising that close to 2000 Iraqi police have been killed.

This is all horribly reminiscent of American policy in Vietnam. American troops are staying in Iraq to stiffen Iraqi forces who are dying in droves in an escalating counter-insurgency war that neither the Americans nor the Iraqi forces are prepared for. The Americans originally allocated $5.8 billion to build the Iraqi security forces. In February this year, George Bush asked Congress for another $5.7 billion to go towards this task.

What’s happened to the rebuilding of Iraqi society, and real governance based on transparency and accountability? In the few weeks before Bremer left Iraq, the CPA handed out more than $3 billion in new contracts to be paid for with Iraqi funds and managed by the US embassy in Baghdad. The CPA inspector general, now called the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, has just released an audit report on the way the embassy has dealt with that responsibility. The auditors reviewed the files of 225 contracts totalling $327 million to see if the embassy ‘could identify the current value of paid and unpaid contract obligations’. It couldn’t. ‘Our review showed that financial records . . . understated payments made by $108,255,875’ and ‘overstated unpaid obligations by $119,361,286’. The auditors also reviewed the paperwork for a further 300 contracts worth $332.9 million. ‘For 198 of 300 contracts, documentation was not available . . . to indicate that contract execution was monitored for performance and payment . . . Files did not contain evidence that goods and services had been received for 154 contracts, that invoices had been submitted for 169 contracts, or that payments had been made for 144 contracts.’

Clearly the Americans see no need to account for spending the Iraqis’ national income now any more than they did when Bremer was in charge. Neither the embassy chief of mission nor the US military commander replied to the auditors’ invitation to comment. Instead, the US army contracting commander lamely pointed out that ‘the peaceful conditions envisioned in the early planning continue to elude the reconstruction efforts.’ This is a remarkable understatement. It’s also an admission that Americans can’t be expected to do their sums when they are spending other people’s money to finance a war.

Not only the Americans are guilty of a lack of accountability. In January this year, the SIGIR issued a report detailing evidence of fraud, corruption and waste by the Iraqi Interim Government when Bremer was in charge. They found that $8.8 billion – the entire Iraqi Interim Government spending from October 2003 through June 2004 – was not properly accounted for. The Iraqi Office of Budget and Management at one point had only six staff, all of them inexperienced, and few of the ministries had budget departments. Iraq’s newly appointed ministers and their senior officials were free to hand out hundreds of millions of dollars in cash as they pleased, while American ‘advisers’ looked on. ‘CPA personnel did not review and compare financial, budgetary and operational performance to planned or expected results,’ the auditors explained. One ministry gave out $430 million in contracts without its CPA advisers seeing any of the paperwork. Another claimed to be paying 8206 guards, but only 602 could be accounted for. There is simply no way of knowing how much of the $8.8 billion went to pay for private militias and into private pockets.

‘It’s remarkable that the inspector general’s office could have produced even a draft report with so many misconceptions and inaccuracies,’ Bremer said in his reply to the SIGIR report. ‘At Liberation, the Iraqi economy was dead in the water. So CPA’s top priority was to get the economy going.’ The SIGIR responded by releasing another audit this April, an investigation into the way Bremer’s CPA managed cash payments from the Development Fund for Iraq in just one part of Iraq, the region around Hillah: ‘During the course of the audit, we identified deficiencies in the control of cash . . . of such magnitude as to require prompt attention. Those deficiencies were so significant that we were precluded from accomplishing our stated objectives.’ They found that CPA headquarters in Baghdad ‘did not maintain full control and accountability for approximately $119.9 million’, and that agents in the field ‘cannot properly account for or support over $96.6 million in cash and receipts’. These agents were mostly Americans in Iraq on short-term contracts. One agent’s account balance was ‘overstated by $2,825,755, and the error went undetected’. Another agent was given $25 million cash for which Bremer’s office ‘acknowledged not having any supporting documentation’. Of more than $23 million given to another agent, there are only records for $6,306,836 paid to contractors. Many of the American agents submitted their paperwork hours before they headed to the airport. Two left Iraq without accounting for $750,000 each; the money has never been found. CPA head office cleared several agents’ balances of between $250,000 and $12 million without any receipts. One agent who did submit receipts, on being told that he still owed $1,878,870, turned up three days later with exactly that amount. The auditors thought that ‘this suggests that the agent had a reserve of cash,’ pointing out that if his original figures had been correct, he would have accounted to the CPA for approximately $3.8 million more than he had been given in the first place, which ‘suggests that the receipt documents provided to the DFI account manager were unreliable’.

Staff at the CPA head office in Baghdad usually worked 12 hours a day, seven days a week, often on three-month postings. They didn’t trust the computer network so many of them put their records on USB sticks and in private computer files that couldn’t be opened by their replacements. At one point there was only one officer at the CPA account manager’s office clearing all the paying agents throughout Iraq. Paying agents in the field often couldn’t get – let alone be bothered with – the paperwork, which was frustrating for the honest ones and a boon to their crooked colleagues. So where did the money go? You can’t see it in Hillah. The schools, hospitals, water supply and electricity, all of which were supposed to benefit from this money, are in ruins. The inescapable conclusion is that many of the American paying agents grabbed large bundles of cash for themselves and made sweet deals with their Iraqi contacts.

And so it continues. The IAMB’s most recent audit of Iraqi government spending, which is yet to be published, talks of ‘incomplete accounting’, ‘lack of documented justification for limited competition for contracts at the Iraqi ministries’, ‘possible misappropriation of oil revenues’, ‘significant difficulties in ensuring completeness and accuracy of Iraqi budgets and controls over expenditures’, and ‘non-deposit of proceeds of export sales of petroleum products into the appropriate accounts in contravention of UN Security Council Resolution 1483’.

Bremer re-established the Iraqi Board of Supreme Audit a month before he left Baghdad. It is now said to have more than a thousand auditors and support personnel spread throughout Iraqi government ministries. A new Iraqi Commission on Public Integrity, the equivalent of the FBI, is said to have 200 staff and 15 US advisers. Yet according to the latest American figures, of more than 3400 complaints, only about one in 50 has been passed to the Commission on Public Integrity for possible prosecution.

There is an explanation for this lack of activity. On Thursday, 1 July 2004, two days after Bremer left Baghdad, Ehsan Karim, the new head of the Board of Supreme Audit, was killed by a bomb as he left the Finance Ministry. Two weeks later, Sabir Karim (no relation) was murdered in a drive-by shooting as he set off for work at the Ministry of Industry, where he was in charge of investigating corruption. A few weeks ago, another senior official investigating corruption was murdered. The IAMB keeps the names of its Iraqi delegates secret to keep them alive.

In the absence of any meaningful accountability, Iraqis have no way of knowing how much of the nation’s wealth is being handed out to ministers’ and civil servants’ friends and families or funnelled into secret overseas bank accounts. Given that many Ba’athists are now back in government, some of that money may even be financing the insurgents.

Both Saddam and the US profited handsomely during his reign. He controlled Iraq’s wealth while most of Iraq’s oil went to Californian refineries to provide cheap petrol for American voters. US corporations, like those who enjoyed Saddam’s favour, grew rich. Today the system is much the same: the oil goes to California, and the new Iraqi government spends the country’s money with impunity.""
End.

I think it is clear to you now, who is the Terrorist..!

Dan said...

Truth Teller:

Thank you for posting the un-edited version of the original version you posted as an original. I challenge anyone reading this to go to the links that are included as a bibliography and validate the truth of this article. This is where I have been the last couple of days.

Given the political situation in America, if this was all true, I am sure that your friends in the US Congress, Dick Turban et al., would have Bremer's head on a stick and Bush would be facing impeachment.

Also, I submit that if one reads these articles, one sees that all the corruption unearthed so far was done by investigations sponsored by US officials.

It is a waste of my time to seek around the Internet checking on the questionable validity of articles that people post here who are NOT interested in valid solutions to world problems but are simply venting negative their emotions.

More later.

---Dan

madtom said...

"why on earth would they put up false information? Do you think they are unable to figure out how people really died, when they have died right in front of their eyes?"

Well when someone die as a result of a terrorist bomb, kidnapped, or is decapitated. What about the people that end up in the river. What gets written on the signs in those cases? You would think those signs would out number the "killed by the Americans" signs 3 to 1.

Truth teller said...

madtom

There are signs said: "killed in an explosion", "assassinated by a terrorist", or "Killed in car accident"
Every thing is written as it is. No body care to write false reasons for death.

The people that end up in the river, are usually killed at the hand of the police during interrocation..!!
Don't be surprised, it is a fact. The US army and the allied forces are the major cause of death.

Dan said...

Religious jihadists and terrorist goons are the biggest cause of death in Iraq.

The fact that you do not like this, Truth Teller, does NOT change reality. It is just more evidence of your inability to deal with the bitterness you feel for losing your unearned and indefensible position in society and your delusional thinking.

Unfortunately for you, your ability to hide this information from yourself, and the world at large, is now limited to deleting the comments in this blog.

---Dan

madtom said...

"There are signs said: "killed in an explosion","

OK, thanks. Your original post on this made it sound as if all the signs said killed by the American.
Of course there is yet another possibility, that being, that there are a lot of insurgents living in your area, which might also cause those flags to cluster there.
Maybe we should watch for this.

"The US army and the allied forces are the major cause of death."

I won't dispute this statement, as that is what they are supposed to do.

waldschrat said...

In keeping with my tradition of redirecting the topic of conversation I am pleased to post the following:

=============================================================================================
Perseid to bathe sky in brief light

By DANA BARTHOLOMEW

Los Angeles Daily News

LOS ANGELES - Fireballs will fly across the heavens early Friday during the Perseid meteor shower, one of the most dazzling astronomical events of the year.

And veteran stargazer Tony Cook will crane his neck -- in a northeasterly direction -- to greet it.

''Even if I can't drive out to dark skies, I always get up to watch these meteors,'' said Cook, an astronomical observer at the Griffith Observatory.

''Some are fireballs bright enough to cast shadows on the ground, like fireworks, which increase in velocity toward dawn.''

The Perseid meteor shower has wowed night owls for eons.

Also known as ''The tears of St. Lawrence'' after a Christian saint reportedly martyred by Romans over a red-hot iron stove, the meteors radiate out of the constellation Perseus each August.

This year, the Perseid meteors can best be seen looking northeast under moonless skies before dawn Friday -- and to a lesser extent Saturday -- from a lounge chair or sleeping bag.

But the real magic will occur under blackened skies over nearby mountains or deserts, where a barrage of meteors is expected to ignite the Milky Way with a meteor a minute once the moon sets, from about 11 p.m. until dawn.

''Every minute is exciting,'' said Bob Alborzian, 60, of Burbank, a member of the Los Angeles Sidewalk Astronomers board who has observed the Perseids for decades. ''These objects live billions and billions of years. In comparison, we're insignificant.''

=============================================================================================

Meantime, a shipment of procarbazine has reached Dubai on it's way to Mosul, a shipment of vincristine and adriamycin will hopefully leave Minneapolis next week destined for the hospital, and a shipment of ostomy supplies larger than anything I could ever afford is being prepared by FOW-USA.

Bruno said...

Dan -

Official statistics by IBC state that resistance attacks have resulted in 9,5% of deaths and attacks by US forces 37 % of deaths. Your statement is incorrect. The Coalition is the greatest cause of casualties in Iraq.

Waldschrat -

Tell me, is the Perseid shower visible from the Southern hemisphere this time of the year? If so, methinks I'll have a few late nights ...

strykerdad said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dan said...

Bruno:

Your earlier statement "Well, THEORETICALLY, of course." responding to my inability to locate my file listing over 2000 COMPLETED Iraqi projects just underscores how you imagine fantasies in your mind to substantiate your arguments.

The 2000+ COMPLETED PROJECTS are REAL. They are NOT subject to your theorizing (fantasizing) that the money for them was somehow hijacked by George W. Bush and company. Many of the projects were improvements on facilities that Saddam's government neglected so he could build palaces for himself and rape rooms for his sons...not to mention throwing an occasional bone to the likes of Truth Teller.

As for your allegation that United States forces are responsible for 4 times as many deaths as the "resistance," I think this is great. This illustrates that the U.S.military is doing what I love it to do: KILL THE ENEMY.
In this case, "the enemy" is all those who "resist" American efforts to establish civilization in the region.

This also shows how public service minded our military is. As many, if not MOST of the "resistance" are really just mentally deficient Islamic Jihadists who are trying to get killed so they can then go rape virgins in an imagined afterlife, we are granting them their wishes. You, Truth Teller, and all involved should be happy with this and should COMPLIMENT the American military for doing God's will. Shame on you for NOT doing so!

You, of course, see those who wish to establish a freethinking, capitalistic society as detrimental to YOU. As a hallucinating psychopath like yourself is of no intellectual value to civilized men, you desire to see civilization brought down by brutes who you MAY be able to outsmart.

---Dan

strykerdad said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
waldschrat said...

bruno -
I do not know if the Persied meteors can be seen from the southern hemisphere, but it never hurts to gaze at the stars a while.

Dan said...

Topical truce for Bruno and Waldschrat:

Perhaps I am too late according to the calendar. However, there is an interactive sky chart .

In any case, the Persids ae named after the constellation of Perseus from whence they originate. And having just checked my astronomy program (Starfinder II, from Meade telescope company), I see that the southern point of the constellation Perseus is at least 8 degrees above the ecliptic.

This makes it about centered in the northern sky for anyone living in the Republic of South Africa or so. If one lives in southern Chile, southern Argentinia, or Austrailia, then this meteor shower will hover just above the northern horizon.

However, all be warned! A meteor shower requires a VERY dark night, such as MAY be found in a desert in the Middle East. Even then, during an active meteor shower, one may only be able to see one meteor per minute...hopefully this one will produce one every 5 or 10 seconds. We shall see!

---Dan

Dan said...

Damn these "blog links!"

Am I too late in posting? Hell, I don't know. You can only see about 20 or 30 bright stars per night in Oklahoma City where I live. Under such conditions, it is easy to lose track of meteor showers.

Thank you.

---Dan

Hurria said...

"Your original post on this made it sound as if all the signs said killed by the American."

Not to anyone who actually read it.

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

Ahhh, Hurria, there you are. We've kind of missed your scalpel like prose.

So, what is your opinion on the constitution being drafted?

madtom said...

"Not to anyone who actually read it."

You are correct, my mistake.

jemyr said...

Here's the brochure that shows how you can donate to the ostomy organization:

http://www.fowusa.org/text/FOW-USA%20Brochure.pdf

Bruno said...

Here is an excellent source of information for anybody who wants to learn more of the events in Iraq:

http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=6654690&postID=112412765662154172

contains posts and links by Sahir.

Dan said...

Bruno:

http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=6654690&postID=112412765662154172 = "Raed in the Middle"...HA!

There are probabaly more comedians out of work on this planet than there are Iraqis and YOU are trying to be funny!

---Dan

Dan said...

One good read:

http://messopotamian.blogspot.com/

"And the wind cried back..."

Dan said...

Meanwhile, in

---Dan

Dan said...

Screw these fucking computer links that "Truth Teller" has in Iraq! There were ZERO under his hidden hero, the BAD-ASS SADDAM! These computers that he is treating his daughters to are located in California, U.S.A.!

You fucking cowardly TURD "Truth Teller!" (Delete THIS YOU COWARDLY BA'ATHIST BITCH!)

In the meantime...Michael Yon: http://michaelyon.blogspot.com/

---Dan

Dan said...

Yes. And YES AGAIN...just because I am pissed off:

Up until now, I have left "Truth Teller's" daughter's blogs alone because I believed in family values. Yet, "Truth Teller" has done nothing but insult his liberaters and provided aide and comfort to those who want to elevate him to his previous unearned status in a society that thrives upon torture and distruction. So, sir(and I use that term because of my American culture), get your daughters off the Internet! They are FREE GAME NOW!

---Dan

Dan said...

"Truth Teller:"

Oh. I see: Your daughter does not allow comments on her blog.

Nice going daddy. Perhaps you would prefer that I had tape over my mouth as I was being fed feet first into a plastic shredder. THAT would certainly keep my opinions about your precious daughters from being heard while you are attending med school in the Good Ole U.S.A.

Hopefully, your religion-of-war will see you, and your daughters, KILLED.

---Dan

jemyr said...

Dan,

What are you talking about?

waldschrat said...

Dan seems to have gone off the deep end a bit.

Dan, TT's daughters shut off comments in their blogs because they were recieving obscene, hurtful ravings from pseudo-patriots so wrapped up in misguided emotions that they imagined it was reasonable to send abusive messages to teenagers who are simply trying to live some sort of normal life in a war zone where chaos, destruction and death have become all too routine.

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

"These computers that he is treating his daughters to are located in California, U.S.A.!

Dan,

Please clarify.

Maybe you mean their servers for their internet provider are located in CA? I know there was a question with Riverbend and other Iraqi bloggers going through computers in Texas? If I recall correctly. It brought up the question of whether or not they were really in Iraq. But it was simlply a routing thing within the Internet. I am not an expert on the Internet, so I cannot be more specific.

Is this what you are upset about?

Hurria said...

Lynette,

Riverbend and "other Iraqi bloggers" use Blogspot. They "go through" Blogspot's servers, wherever those servers happen to be located. That's how this web thing works.

Hurria said...

"what is your opinion on the constitution being drafted?"

My opinion is the same as the majority of Iraqis' opinions. It is irrelevant except for Bush's desperately needed P.R., and to make the Iraqi politicians look like they are doing something useful. In the meantime, the immediate, urgent and critical needs of the Iraqi people are being ignored so that politicians can sit together and pleasure themselves. It has nothing to do with us and will not change any of the things that so urgently need to be changed.

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

"this web thing"

And an amazing "thing" it is, isn't it?

"It is irrelevant except for Bush's desperately needed P.R..."

Now you disappoint me, Hurria. You are just spouting the party line. Don't you even want to take a stab at voicing an opinion on federalism, Islam in government or the oil revenue sharing question?


"In the meantime, the immediate, urgent and critical needs of the Iraqi people are being ignored.."

Maybe in some areas. But in others the story is a little different. (Yes, I am deliberately leaving off the source of this piece. I think they deserve a chance without interference from insurgents or others who would seek to spoil their progress. Just on the off chance that those types read this comments section.)


"The area's resurrection, and the accompanying construction boom, has come in part because of American forces, who have spent $2 million on new schools, water wells, and roads in this one northern sector since January.

"We consider this a success story," said Staff Sgt. Mike Blair, with the 1st Battalion 148th Field Artillery Regiment from Idaho, who has helped coordinate infrastructure projects as part of the unit's civil affairs team.

"Seven months ago, nothing was here. Only a few foundations had been laid. It's amazing what's happened here," he said.

Citing close cooperation with coalition forces, Karim happily rattled off a list of American-supported projects, among them $81,000 to rehabilitate the government buildings, $29,000 for the police headquarters, and $49,00 for a primary school named after an American military commander.

Earlier on, the area had been a "tent city" with many returnees setting up temporary shelter, but most of the tents are now gone since most people have managed to put up roofs and start rebuilding homes.

Many have gotten help from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, one of the two main Kurdish political parties, which has given each returning family $1,500 and 10 tons of cement, Karim said.

The rebuilding boom has left much of the village in a state of dust-covered construction. Tractors and bulldozers rumble over the roads as new water and sewer pipelines are being installed."


The only difference between that area and others is the violence. Support the fighters and no progress will be made. A wise man once said "Pride goeth before a fall".

strykerdad said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lynnette in Minnesota said...

Here is an interesting excerpt from an opinion piece in the August 19 Wall Street Journal:

"How the U.S. adventure in Iraq ends is anybody's guess. However, it's repercussions will be felt, first, by the Arabs themselves. By refusing to profit from the prospective democratic upheaval that Saddam's removal ushered in; by never looking beyond the American messenger in Iraq to the message itself; by lamenting external hegemony while doing nothing to render it pointless, Arabs merely affirmed their impotence. The self-pitying Arab reaction to the Iraq war showed the terrible sway of the status quo in the Middle East. An inability to marshal change for one's benefit is the stuff of captive minds."

"Mr. Young, a Lebanese national, is opinion editor at the Daily star in Beirut and a contributing editor at Reason magazine."

He was referring to the greater Middle East, but it speaks to some peoples reactions within Iraq as well.

johninnz said...

Just passing by this Blog, the Comments section takes forever to load on my machine. But I’m unable to resist commenting on Strykerdad’s contribution above.
What a display of sheer nastiness and spleen! All because GWB’s foolish war hasn’t turned out the way he wanted - because the US is in the process of disintegrating Iraq, not liberating it.
Truthteller, I’m not involved in this farce - I’m a citizen of a small independent country which has very wisely kept out of this nonsense. But I must say to you that I think more and more of the world’s people are coming to see Strykerdad’s country as not any longer the defender of freedom and democracy, but the main enemy of freedom, democracy, peace and justice in the world. Because of people like him.
And no, Strykerdad, I’m not a liberal lefty. But my country, New Zealand, sacrificed more of its men, proportionally, than any other nation on earth in the wars of the 20th century, in defence of freedom and democracy. Our system of democracy is far more evolved, far more representative, far more fair and responsive than yours will ever be. We have no lobbyists, no corruption, we’ve never had a wealthy Prime Minister. We have our fair share of murders, but not by handgun - nobody here is allowed to own one. Suck on that!
Oh yeah, and we’re spending millions right now on putting right the injustices that our indigenous Maori people were subjected to in the 19th century. You’re an American Indian, right, but you wouldn’t go along with that?
Keep blogging, Truthteller, I believe there’s more of me out here than there are of him.

johninnz said...

Yeah, and every three years at least 80% of eligible adults in NZ turn out to vote - highest turnout in the world, except for our Australian cousins, who have no choice - they can get fined if they don't vote. So much for your bloody-minded Aussies - they really value their democracy.
Both much better than the miserable 50% that the US manages.
And whenever a government here suggests the need for a national ID card, we just say Sorry, mate, you can put ear-tags on the sheep, but you're not bloody tagging me.
You're not in a position to tell Truthteller anything about freedom and democracy.

strykerdad said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
waldschrat said...

A question to ponder for all who live in neighborhoods where things do not blow up atrandom and kidnappers and nervous people with guns do not wander the streets:

If you were an Iraqi doctor on vacation in a neighboring country with your family, and it became clear that not all parts of the world involve daily risks to your life and shortages of the good things of this world, WOULD YOU RETURN HOME?

Many doctors have fled Iraq.

strykerdad said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lynnette in Minnesota said...

Yes, many professionals have fled Iraq. This is what Truth Teller and his family have received in the past.

"I talked to you about it before.. This is one side of the flyer we got.. It says: "They didn't think that we saw them, but those who work with al-Zarkawi are being watched" Najma

johninnz said...

StrykerDad. Why do you have to sneer and belittle, rather than debate like an honest man?
Well, if you want a discussion: I hope to God your information about Iraq comes from a better source than your information about NZ. (And I hope Truthteller will excuse me for sidetracking his Blog for a moment.)
What is this "socialist sheep haven" nonsense? NZ has always been a totally capitalist country - who is more capitalist than a farmer, for goodness sake? How old was your information? Our farmers, unlike yours, trade on world markets without any form of Government subsidy or protection. So do our manufacturers. The fact that we have just announced the lowest unemployment rate in the world has everything to do with private enterprise, and nothing to do with "socialist" Government manipulation or intervention.
A "token" effort in Afghanistan? Our contribution, under UN auspices naturally, is quite proportionate. Do a little maths. In the late 90’s, we put a battalion-sized force into East Timor, alongside other UN forces, to protect the new nation against Indonesian militiamen.
Given our population, that was equivalent to a USA force of about 75,000. (The militia very rapidly went home from the Kiwi sector, when they found they were up against better jungle fighters than they were - better than anyone, probably.)
You may not have noticed, but your President Bush last year gave our Special Forces a Presidential Unit Citation for their work in the Afghan mountains. Probably because he doesn’t read too good, and didn’t realise what he was signing until it was too late. He hates us for our independent view on world affairs.
But Kiwis tend to be very practical, down-to-earth, sceptical people, who recognise bullshit when they hear it and can spot a balls-up from miles away. That’s why we’re not in Iraq. The reasons for war were bullshit, and the result has been a balls-up.
What "Islamic terrorists" see NZ as "a good place to do business?" There are none here and unlikely to ever be any. Islamic immigrants here very rapidly assimilate into an open, honest and just society.

strykerdad said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
strykerdad said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
johninnz said...

StrykerDad
The NZSIS is a weak joke, staffed by superannuated police officers.
The NZ Police are an efficent and modern force. They can't find any Islamic Extremists in NZ. Just more bullshit.
God knows what you are reading. The Communist or Socialist parties have been defunct in NZ for ages and are probably standing no candidates at all in the forthcoming elections. Any who do stand will get about 5 votes each.
A middle-of-the-road NZer would be a tradesman, salesman, health worker, farmer, etc etc. No different from his counterpart in the USA. Just much better educated and much more immune to bullshit. In terms of book and magazine purchases, we are the most literate country in the world.
And no one watches Fox News here, we can't. Instead we get the real world news.

strykerdad said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lynnette in Minnesota said...

" But I must say to you that I think more and more of the world’s people are coming to see Strykerdad’s country as not any longer the defender of freedom and democracy,.."


"But my country, New Zealand, sacrificed more of its men, proportionally, than any other nation on earth in the wars of the 20th century, in defence of freedom and democracy."

Well that says it all. I for one am perfectly willing to let New Zealnd have a crack at it. Be my guest, John.

strykerdad said...

Someone deleted all of my comments and responses--why? I don't know, I thought we were having a reasonable discussion. I'm not really bothered by it as it isn't important, just want those to whom I responded to know I did not remove the comments myself and that those comments wouldn't appear to be offensive, I hope-despite NZ's reprsentation in his response which you can judge that for yourself for its level of hypocrisy--. There was nothing malicious or blatantly offensive in any of them. Who ever deleted my comments, care to explain?-- I assume TT or someone with his level of access did it, or someone with my password. It is no great loss, as I said, I'm just curious.

strykerdad said...

Here is an email I recieved--I don't think it really originated from the White House, but it is true in all other aspects. Read it and then go read Michael Yon's latest entry------good thing his words will not be deleted. You want to know the real story of Mosul and America, read it. I am emabarrassed to say that I actually bothered Mr Yon by suggesting he meet with TT at one time.


(2005-08-24) -- An internal White House memo, leaked today, indicates how President George Bush initially planned to address Cindy Sheehan's question: What "noble cause" did my son die for?

The draft memo includes suggestions from White House communications staff, followed by several paragraphs apparently handwritten by the president.

While handwriting experts from CBS News continue to pore over the document to verify its authenticity, here is the text of the president's alleged response to the grieving Mom whose protest has captured the hearts of America's journalists.

Dear Mrs. Sheehan, You have asked me to identify the noble cause for which your son died. I have not answered you personally out of respect for the nobility of your son's sacrifice.

Being president forces me into the spotlight, but I would rather stand in the shadows of men like Casey Sheehan.

Directing national attention on my response to your protest creates a distraction from what matters. The focus of our attention, and our admiration, should rest on people like Casey Sheehan, who stand in the breach when evil threatens to break out and consume a helpless people.

The running story on the news networks should be the valiant efforts of our troops -- the merchants of mercy who export freedom and import honor. They trade their own lives for the sake of others.

As a result, we live in a nation where a woman can camp outside of the president's house and verbally attack the president for weeks on end without fear of prison, torture or death. And the number of nations where such protest is possible has multiplied thanks to the work of our military.

You ask for what noble cause your son died?

In a sense he died so that people like you, who passionately oppose government policies, can freely express that opposition. As you camp in Crawford, you should take off your shoes, for you stand on holy ground. This land was bought with the blood of men like your son.

Now, 25 million Iraqis cry out to enjoy the life you take for granted. Most of them will never use their freedom to denigrate the sacrifice of those who paid for it. But once liberty is enshrined in law, they will be free to do so. And when the Iraqis finally escape their incarceration, hope will spread throughout that enslaved region of the world, eventually making us all safer and more free.

The key is in the lock of the prison door. Bold men risk everything to turn it.

Mrs. Sheehan, everyone dies. But few experience the bittersweet glory of death with a purpose -- death that sets people free and produces ripples of liberty hundreds of years into the future.

Casey Sheehan died that freedom might triumph over bondage, hope over despair, prosperity over misery. He died restoring justice and mercy. He lived and died to help to destroy the last stubborn vestiges of the Dark Ages.

To paraphrase President Lincoln, the world will little note nor long remember what you and I say here. But it can never forget what Casey Sheehan did during his brief turn on earth. If we are wise, we will take increased devotion to that cause for which he gave the last full measure of devotion.

Our brave warriors have blazed a trail. They have entrusted the completion of the task to those of us they left behind. Let's, you and I, resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain.

Let's finish the work that they have thus far so nobly advanced.

Dan said...

Yes, I did go off the deep end a bit. After all, there IS a war going on.

For the record, I have only posted on the daughter blogs once or twice. That was months ago, before I even knew the father was Truth Teller and I only offered words of encouragement

I will add that I am extremely frustrated by Truth Teller's (unstated) lack of ANY contribution to a peaceful, civil, governmental solution to the situation in Mosul...other than that the Americans should leave so that his Jihadist buddies can more easily effect their reign of terror on his neighbors. The wisdom of his years and his higher education is being wasted.

I am beginning to doubt the value to civility in Mosul of me to continue posting on this blog. So, I may be gone for a while.

Read THIS. Surely there ARE crooked judges in Iraq...and one new eunich

---Dan

johninnz said...

Quick comment and I’ll sign off. Just want to say that it certainly wasn’t me who deleted Strykerdad’s comments - I was starting to enjoy our discussion, if that’s what it was, and he seemed to be learning something.
Apropos of which, I was being less than fair with him. From the 1940’s to the 1970’s NZ was indeed "socialist" from his point of view, very much a welfare state with a lot of state control. But it didn’t mean we all grew horns and started drooling at the mouth - we were the same genial, easy-going, fair-minded and hard-working people that we are now. It just seemed a good idea at the time, and I doubt that many of us, even among the rich, regret the experience. It was nice, while we could, to have the highest standard of living in the world, to be the best place in the world to bring up children, to be an egalitarian and just society that looked after all its citizens. Economic changes have now forced us down a different path, but the legacy of those dull but golden years remains in the good old Kiwi expression "Give us a fair go, mate!"
Everybody who visits us seems to like us - they seem to see us as good people, not Socialist devils. Certainly not objects of such hatred as Stryderdad and Lynette project.
And I’d like to believe that few Kiwis would say something like this from Lynette:
"I for one am perfectly willing to let New Zealnd have a crack at it. Be my guest, John."
In reference to sorting out the Iraq mess. What a vicious, pointless thing to say about a tiny country smaller than most US cities! What does it possibly add to the discussion?
All I’ve been saying is, "Hey, from down here it looks like you’ve got things a bit wrong." Surely this calls for a reasoned answer, not a spiteful one.
It seems to me also that Truthteller is a reasonable and decent man, a dedicated doctor, dismayed at what is happening in his country and his city, and I genuinely can’t understand the hatred projected at him.
If someone here displayed those sorts of attitudes, I doubt they’d have many mates.

strykerdad said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
johninnz said...

Strykerdad. It makes perfect sense to me - if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.
Anti-American? I along with the much of the rest of the world felt admiration and respect for your armed forces in Gulf 1. Bush Senior and Schwartzkopf enabled them to get the job done.
You seem to be a man of ideals. Bush Junior has betrayed your ideals - he hasn’t got the job done. After 30 months Iraq is an unholy mess.
When the Kiwi military told the Government they’d need a battalion to do their share of the peacekeeping, reconstruction, democracy-building etc in East Timor, the Government didn’t tell them to go and do it with just a company. And East Timor today is not an unholy mess.
And the Kiwis, Aussies, Irish, Kenyans, Fijians etc who served there are doubtless remembered fondly, because they didn’t kill any Timorese at all by mistake or accident.
Truthteller’s "lies" presumably are his tale about the funeral signs saying "killed by the Americans."
Silly gullible me, believing his lies just because I’ve seen so many similar stories on TV here, and in the New Zealand Herald, and the Australian, the Guardian, the Independent, the Times of London, the BBC (all those are your allies’ news sources, remember) Reuters, Bloomberg, the Times of India, Xinhua Net, etc etc etc and etc.
Tragic stories, and funny ones like two Iraqi Police Generals recently shot by passing US patrols while going about their lawful business. Funniest of all, reports from the South that the British military had to ask your Command to train its troops in recognition of the Union Jack, to stop US convoys passing through from firing on British vehicles, on the "force protection" principle - if it’s moving, and it’s in Iraq, blow it away! Good thing there’s no British Paratroops patrolling there - you’d be minus a few convoys if you shot at them.
I’ve got no connection with Iraq, no particular reason to be passionate about freedom and democracy there: but I’d be all for it if I thought there was someone with adequate forces, and the right tactics, to achieve that. Do you know of anyone?

strykerdad said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
johninnz said...

Strykerdad. Sorry for making you dizzy, I’m just trying to be logical.
"If we leave there will no doubt be an ensuing bloodbath, but as long as America can be seen as defeated that is OK with you?" There’s already a bloodbath, and no, I don’t particularly want to see America defeated, but from where I’m sitting it looks very like it already has been.
Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney and all, men who had never served in the field, were deluded by memories of the post-WWII occupations of Germany and Japan, countries which had been completely defeated and more or less destroyed in total war. It turns out that nowadays invading, occupying, and re-making an alien land the way you want it is not so simple. It requires a huge number of troops, as your senior generals told Bush at the start, or humane, intelligent and flexible tactics, as the Brits have shown in the South.
The natural leaders of Iraq were ready to discuss a democratic constitution, or something at least suitable for the realities of Iraq, about three weeks after the invasion, when Garner got them together. Something might have come of that. Instead along came Bremer, and with Washington’s blessing he made every mistake he possibly could.
And just like in building a house, mistakes produce a mess - make enough of them and you end up starting over from scratch, or just giving up. Now the Shia are fighting each other, presumably having learned too well the occupation lesson that the only solution to all problems is a gun.
Sorry, I hope I’m wrong, but I just can’t see any realistic reason for optimism about Iraq. Whether you stay or leave.
And I’m very unimpressed by the unwise leaders who got you into this.

strykerdad said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
johninnz said...

Strykerdad, I think we better call it quits - we might be considered discourteous for taking up too much of Truthteller's Blog.
Tell you what, you've got kids in Iraq, haven't you? When they can can walk unarmed through an Iraqi market in their off-duty time, I'll be glad to eat humble pie. Or my hat, whichever you prefer.

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

John,
Just for the record I don't hate you. In fact I don't really hate anyone. No, not even the terrorists we are fighting. They are deserving of pity and contempt but nothing so intense, as far as I am concerned, as hatred. Maybe our people actively fighting them would, of course, feel differently.

But the point of my comment was simply to point out that you are very ready to criticize people when you are not in their position. You are right, New Zealand is a small country, and as such has managed to fly beneath the radar of the al-Queda types. Neither do you know what it is like to have so many people expect so much from you. We are doing what we feel is the right thing. We cannot please everyone, and frankly do not have any desire to please al-Zarqawi or Osama bin Laden.

As for your dicussion, I see only your comments. The others have been deleted by someone. Strykerdad says it was not him. Sorry, this does not appear to be a fair and balanced discussion.

BTW, we certainly cannot hope to match the level of spite that is directed at us. After being called a beast, an ape, a warmonger etc. I do not have much respect for some of the people who frequent this blog.

madtom said...

"Now the Shia are fighting each other, presumably having learned too well the occupation lesson that the only solution to all problems is a gun."

As opposed to what John, to the political process they had before the war? What you see in Iraq to day is not "because of the war and occupation", it's the result of years of tyranny and oppression and a tribal society. And the peace and tranquillity that you used to read about before the war were a result of the Ministry on Information. And did not reflect really of the situation on the ground for the majority of Iraqis.

You should in fact be happy, as the administration is currently in the process of bringing back the MoI of sorts. Maybe within the next few months you'll again be treated to your favorite reports of peace and tranquillity. it's the 10 o'clock news, and all is well.

johninnz said...

Lynette:
"As for your dicussion, I see only your comments. The others have been deleted by someone. Strykerdad says it was not him. Sorry, this does not appear to be a fair and balanced discussion."
I hope I’m just being over-sensitive, but I draw from this an implication that it may have been me somehow deleting Strykerdad’s comments, presumably to make our discussion unbalanced and unfair.
Does that really make sense? Without Strykerdad’s side of the debate, my replies are meaningless, and I’ve wasted my time making them.
I suspect that TT may have decided that Strykerdad was too angry and aggressive to participate in his Blog, and I guess that’s his decision to make. I thought Stryker was reasonably civil with me, but I seem to recall him making some pretty nasty personal attacks on TT at times. Maybe that was it.
Lesson for us all perhaps?

Hurria said...

Lynette, Strykerdad, JohninNZ,

Participants cannot delete one another's comments. Only the owner of the blog or the author of a comment can delete. When the owner deletes, typically the comment simply goes away. When the author deletes, there will be a notation to that effect.

Hurria said...

"Don't you even want to take a stab at voicing an opinion on federalism, Islam in government or the oil revenue sharing question?"

I am opposed to federalism.

I am opposed to government by religion.

Regarding the oil revenue sharing issue, the devil is in the details.

Hurria said...

JohninNZ,

Don't you just love it? They bomb the country to smithereens, destroy whatever quality of life Iraqis had left, continue to try impose their presence and their will by means of massive violence, death, destruction, abuse and torture, and then when citizens object they make nasty comments.

johninnz said...

Hurria.
I think you have to always remember that the Blogosphere is very unrepresentative. The likes of Lynette, Strykerdad and the appalling Dan above actually represent the views of about 1% of humanity - US is 5%, right, rabid right wingers about 20% of US? But they make up a huge proportion of the Iraqi Blogosphere.
I was just toying with Strykerdad really. He made some automatic denigratory remark about left-wingers or socialists, and it is so easy from here in NZ to deflate that sort thing by pointing out the present virtues of a nation with a supposedly left wing heritage.
Still, I guess it’s worthwhile making a bit of an effort. Like you say, the devil is in the detail, and each minor point achieved with these characters is a tiny blow for freedom and honesty.
Not that I give a damn about Sunnis, Shiites or Iraq in general, except insofar as I’m naturally upset by avoidable suffering - I’m just very impressed by the efforts of people like Truthteller and his daughters to reach out to the world. And very depressed by the reception he gets from the likes of those mentioned above. So I try to do my tiny bit occasionally.
Have you ever visited Abu Khaleel (http://iraquna.blogspot com)? IMHO he’s the sanest voice coming out of Iraq.

johninnz said...

Sorry, and I also meant to say, I was completely blown away by the practical help arranged by Waldschrat.
Now there's a real mensch.

madtom said...

"Not that I give a damn about Sunnis, Shiites or Iraq in general,"

Thank you for being honest about where your coming from. Now we know, and can judge your comments in their correct context.

I guess it's safe to assume you don't give a damn about Cubans or anyone else, or is it just them brown folk you don't care for. Maybe someone out there living in the state of tyranny might still have a chance at you giving a damn. Do they? and do they require any special qualifications.

Hurria said...

JohninNZ,

I almost never read anything that comes from the "Stryker" family. It is all so predictable, and all such utter rubbish, and I just don't have time to deal with that kind of thing anymore. Based on the polls the number of Americans who are deluded about their president and this unspeakably criminal war is a rapidly shrinking minority. The likes of the "Strykers", Lynette, and Dan are looking more and more like those Japanese soldiers they supposedly discovered on isolated islands years after the war was over who still thought it was going on, and that Japan was winning.

johninnz said...

Yes, Madtom, I try to be honest. During my adult years I have been moved by the situation and suffering of billions of people - prisoners in the Soviet Gulag, blacks in apartheid South Africa, and in the southern states of the USA, the US POW’s in Vietnam and the Vietnamese people under US bombs, the Jews fighting to build a homeland after WWII and the Palestinians persecuted by them today, the Chinese under Mao and the Tibetans under the Chinese - the list is literally endless, I think you’ll get the point. What was I meant to do, pick and choose a cause, or only give a damn about what affected me personally? It so happens that none of it has come particularly close to home for me, except I suppose I did give some support to the massive protest here in 1981 against the Rugby tour by a racially selected South African team.
So in the sense that I’ve done nothing, I literally haven’t given a damn.
And whatever the outcome in Iraq, it’s unlikely to affect me personally, except in the price of petrol.
But also during my adult years I’ve looked up to the USA and, despite its massive flaws, the basic values it has represented. I cheered for it in Gulf One, I was appalled by the Twin Towers, I was conned by the WMD nonsense and cheered initially during Gulf Two. And then I stumbled across some Iraqi Blogs, and looked deeper and learned more and more about the truth of what’s been going on, what’s really been happening in Iraq. And I’m afraid I now feel betrayed, just as I think America is coming to feel betrayed by the errors and dishonesty of its current government.
So now I guess I give a tiny bit of a damn, and the Blogosphere gives me a chance to express a little bit of that.
I repeat, Truthteller seems to me to be a good and honest man. He doesn’t deserve the nastiness that has come to dominate his Blog.

waldschrat said...

Hurria said...
"I am opposed to federalism. I am opposed to government by religion. Regarding the oil revenue sharing issue, the devil is in the details."

It's not my place to have an opinion on Iraqi politics but I find no fault with your position. You are certainly not alone in such opinions. Perhaps the end result will be that the constitution will be rejected, a more representative assembly will be elected, and a better constitution will be drafted. I could live with that. I could even applaud it!

madtom said...

John,
"And I’m afraid I now feel betrayed, just as I think America is coming to feel betrayed by the errors and dishonesty of its current government."

Well, I have to give this one. I am currently in a state of shock with the new "Iraqi Islamic Republic", may god save us all from this same fate.

waldschrat,
"Perhaps the end result will be that the constitution will be rejected, a more representative assembly will be elected, and a better constitution will be drafted. I could live with that. I could even applaud it!"

I second that motion, I would invite all my Iraqi friends to vote "No" in the upcoming referendum. There is no reason why you should have to settle for second best. I advise you to insist on and open and fair democracy, and reject the theocracy currently being presented. Just look around you, and ask yourself where has it ever worked before.

Dan said...

Thank you Johninnz.Coming from YOU in a comment directed to Hurria, I'll take that as a compliment.

"...the appalling Dan "

PS
I am not partaking in some kind of popularity contest. If that is what this is, then it is time to unplug my computer. Nay, just take down the whole power grid.

---Dan

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strykerdad said...

I don't know who deleted my comments, but I don't think that even NZ characterized them fairly. NZ and I may have disagreed on the meaning of some terms I used and thought I was being insulting, but it was not my intent. That NZ's government is comparitvely left of center and has some socialistic aspects and history is true, but through his prompting I have a much better understanding than I did before, and appreciate the discusion we had. I now know much more about NZ that I did before, which is saying a I know a little more than nothing on the subject. And I am interested that he found the terms socialist and left as being insulting, then in what seems to be a thread in all his responses, he hypocritically threw out simililar terms in what he probably intended to be insulting. Just like a leftist! Hah! I find NZ intersesting, but self contradictory, just as he was in his last post and all others preceding it.

The charge that I should be included in some 'I hate Trughteller society' is ridiulous. Frustrated, certainly. But TT gets to come to this worldwide town square and repeat outlandish lies about the US military and I get to refute them. That he seems free to do that while that same military is there battling the same people who would put him and his whole family in a shredder for saying similar things about them, I find very gratifying. And exasperating. But do I hate him for it? Of course not.

strykerdad said...

I would like to hear some specifics as to the negative comments left concerning the proposed constitution. Why so much antipathy? Was it not formulated by elected members? Will it not be put before the citizens for approval? If the majority want federalism, Islamic based laws but includes language protecting individual human rights, how is that seen as losing? Who imagined that a country dominated by Islam would not have such language about conforming to its teachings? But a recogniton that its citizens have certain basic inviolable rights is unprecedented. Sounds contradictory, but they will get to work out the implemntation--is that losing?

If an elected government asks the US to remove all troops from Iraq, I will cheer those troops when they parade down main street as they deserve. If the Kurds end up with an autonomous state and invite us to stay in some permanent bases, I will rejoice as we will have done a great thing in giving them a state which I feel they deserve. They have been and will continue to be great allies in a region where they are badly needed.

And NZ, mine have been in some Kurdish towns and villages, and a few Christian ones, and they have interacted freely with the people there, shopped, played with the kids and were invited to dinner, without any concern for their safety. Had a great time and ate too much---I believe you said you would eat a little crow when such things happened, didn't you?

Hurria referenced US polls saying the US citizenry is turning against the war--mostly they are against paying 3 bucks for a gallon of gas and if gas cost them less they'd be all for it, but a majority of people with family members still support the war. You'd think they would be the ones most opposed as they are the ones sacrificing, but they hear the true story of what is being accomplished and experienced from their soldiers. Those who don't have that source get to hear all the negatives from a press which thinks its purpose is to bring down the mighty.

By the way Hurria, when you said you never bother to read any stryker*** post you confirmed my suspicions about your several criticisms of things I've written--you really didn't read them.

The violent death rate among all Iraqis is half what it was under Saddam-- is that seen as losing? The violence and death being dealt by the coalition at least has some possibility of having been for some purpose other than to perpetuate a system which promises more of the same. I have seen two studies that support that statement, and the deaths from the Iran- Iraq war were not even included! BBC, CBS and al Jazeera weren't there to show the perpetual Baathist bloodbath and couldn't easily blame America--so those atrocities did not matter. Hurria and TT didn't care, the victims were the not 'good Iraqis'--they were Kurds and marsh dwellers and people who said imprudent things or looked at the wrong people in the wrong way-they were threats to the system that gave the Iraqis such as Hurria and TT relatively secure and comfortable lives-those 'bad' Iraqis don't count, apparently.

30 months after removing one of the worst tyrants in one of the most repressive regimes in modern history we have elections and constiutional conventions and it is a loss? Radical Islamists have a place to go and die without striking the mainland, or embassies or ships---good! I'd rather they die in their sleep, but if they have to go and practice their religious beliefs somewhere, I'm glad they chose to go where the US military can deal with them effectively.

That the process is flawed, that the people involved with it and are facilitating it are imperfect, that there is corruption-- all that is foreseeable and must be expected. That is the way human beings have done things and will continue to do things, especially in that part of the world. That doesn't mean that everything that results from those often flawed efforts are neccessarily undesireable and should not be honored when they give some measure of freedom to people who desire it. The cost that has been paid for freedom in other places and times is far greater than what Iraq is having to pay today. But that is just taken for granted by most of us who have it. Hope that isn't viewed as too aggressive or personal to whoever may have had my password-- no, to be Truthfull, I sincerely hope that it is.

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

John,

Yes, you are being overly sensitive. My statement regarding the discussion should have been taken at face value. No insult meant to you.

Also, if you think I am a "rabid right winger", you haven't really met one. But, I will certainly defend my country to the best of my ability.


"Not that I give a damn about Sunnis, Shiites or Iraq in general.."

Try and explain that as you may, it still sounds cold to me. It also explains why you apparently would not lift a finger to help them be rid of Saddam. Who by the way did have the capability and willpower to create and use WMD's. As he has shown in the past.

Think what you like of the United States, that is your choice. Just as it is your choice on what you want to believe when reading the internet. I personaly take everything I read on the internet or elsewhere with a grain of salt. But gullibility can be an endearing personality trait.

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

"I am opposed to government by religion.

Regarding the oil revenue sharing issue, the devil is in the details."



I strongly agree with you on these two points. But I feel that if they can be resolved in a fair and equitable manner than the issue of federalism would not be such a scary (for want of a better word) one.

I do realize that there are people in Iraq who prefer the stronger central government. But I question their motives on that. As it is easier for a minority to dominate the country in that situation. Like Saddam and the Baath party did for so long. No I do not necessarily think that that is your reasoning, Hurria. But it is a distinct possiblity.

Dan said...

Shhh!!!

Secret photgraphs of Hurria at the beach HERE.

Click NEXT/PREVIOUS at the bottom to view the entire series.

---Dan

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

""Strykers", Lynette, and Dan are looking more and more like those Japanese soldiers they supposedly discovered on isolated islands years after the war was over who still thought it was going on, and that Japan was winning."

Oh, Hurria, we all have our little illusions. Only time will tell who's turn out to be reality.

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

Hmmm, a slip of the brain.

Who's = whose.

johninnz said...

Strykerdad
Well, since Truthteller seems content to let us nut cases continue to rave on, and since you seem to be a little calmer, perhaps I’ll reply to some of your points.
1) "And NZ, mine (my children?) have been in some Kurdish towns and villages, and a few Christian ones, and they have interacted freely with the people there, shopped, played with the kids and were invited to dinner, without any concern for their safety."
Not ready to eat my hat yet. Obviously I was not thinking of Kurdistan or Kurdish-controlled areas. I was thinking of downtown Mosul as described by Michael Yon.
2) Could you perhaps stop repeating the "more died under Saddam" theme? Different sources give different figures, we’ll probably never know for sure. The point is that if the mightiest power on earth decides to come and "liberate" you, the question surely shouldn’t even arise if they’ve done it properly. This I think is Truthteller’s main point, the reason for his quote from the Guardian that prefaces his Blog. All he wants is to get the medicine he needs for his patients, the Coalition definitely took charge of his country 30 months ago, they took responsibility, and he’s saying "hey, Big Guy, where’s my medicine?" In view of the arrogant way your leadership went into this thing, dismissive of cautious advice and world opinion, it seems to me a legitimate question. My take is that just because Rumsfeld succeeded with "Invasion Lite," he thought he could do "Occupation Lite." He was wrong.
3) Your answer of course is "OK, sure, we made some mistakes, that’s life." That’s fine said once or twice, but if it’s repeated too often, aren’t you in danger of saying the whole thing has been a mistake? Seems to be what an increasing number of US citizens are saying now.
4) I detect perhaps some defensiveness in your tone - you seem to be saying, "despite all the mistakes and "collateral damage," we meant well, our intentions were good." That’s doubtless true for yourself and your kids, but I honestly don’t believe it’s true of your leaders. I think Bush just wanted to be a War President like his Daddy, and the people around him had all sorts of dubious motives.
5) As Lynette says to Hurria, only time will tell. I must say I’m not too excited about this Constitution as a great step forward. Iraq had a perfectly good Constitution under Saddam - he just happened to ignored it. The test will be whether whatever Iraqi Government eventually emerges will observe the provisions of the new one. And I see that as primarily a "Law and Order" issue - before you can put noble aspirations into effect, you need a certain minimum level of peace and stability. And a bit of prosperity.
Years away yet if you ask me.
6) And finally, I’m not too sold on "fighting the terrorist over there so we don’t have to fight them here." Possibly justifiable in say Saudi Arabia, where most of them seem to come from, but in Iraq doesn’t it come a little bit too close to fighting them with Iraqi women and kids as shields? I don’t mean to be offensive.

waldschrat said...

johninnz said...

Strykerdad
Well, since Truthteller seems content to let us nut cases continue to rave on...
======================================================================================

Er, Truthteller is out of own on vacation. You folks have been tilting at a vacant windmill for a few weeks now. I had supposed you knew. See This Link for confirmation.

waldschrat said...

A quote from Sistani posted in another blog:

Today the differences reached the peak when Sistani dropped a bomb by rejecting federalism and thus rejecting the constitution of the Kurdish-Sheat alliance putting the current ruling parties in a difficult position.
Sistani in his statement said "The Sunnis are your family. Stay by their side this time so that they stay by your side in the coming times…"

johninnz said...

Waldschrat
So who's been deleting Strykerdad's comments?

Hurria said...

"Hurria referenced US polls saying the US citizenry is turning against the war--mostly they are against paying 3 bucks for a gallon of gas and if gas cost them less they'd be all for it"

Pure speculation. There isn't a shred of evidence that this is the case.

"Hurria, when you said you never bother to read any stryker*** post you confirmed my suspicions about your several criticisms of things I've written--you really didn't read them."

Wrong as usual. I stopped criticizing things you've written when I stopped reading your posts.

strykerdad said...

Hurria--Okay, I won't say what seems too obvious--even for me. You and my wife would be great friends as you would both agree on one basic point--I am, therefore I am wrong. Must be a female thing that knows no borders.

Walschrat--Thanks for the info as to TTs situation. I did not know he is/was out of pocket, but that is partly because his own pariticipation has been pretty spotty all along. This blog is more driven by others and seems to be more of a place to engage in back and forth than most. I assume TT finds that acceptable as he has let it continue throughout and occaisionally participates. I didn't think he had deleted my posts and wouldn't really mind if he did, it was no great loss anyway and I am not bothered by it. My own reasons for posting here are to prompt my own thinking and to have others challenge what I think while arguing their own points. I like to believe I learn things that way, sometimes. I have no delusions that anyone else really cares what I think or write, but I am curious as to why I warranted such an effort to delete everything I wrote.

NZ, I will have to respond later as there is too much for me to cover in the time I have available.

To whomever it concerns: yes, my password has been changed. A hint: the new one is pretty vulgar and is meant to describe an act I wish you would commit on yourself. Have fun thinking about the various options if you are so inclined.

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

"So who's been deleting Strykerdad's comments?"

Good question. The notation on those deletions say it was by the author. So, if it's not Strykerdad than someone has access to his account. Usually if the blog administrator does the deleting, than the notation on the deletion states that.

Maybe Strykerdad needs to bring it up with Blogger.

strykerdad said...

Walschrat--thanks for the link to 'another blog'--some good stuff there.

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madtom said...

"I would like to hear some specifics as to the negative comments left concerning the proposed constitution. Why so much antipathy?"

strykerdad,
I have made my most specific criticisms of the constitution here.

johninnz said...

This comments section is going all funny and I can't read the most recent posts.
I did read part of one though.
Strykerdad, a question for you: "If a man speaks his thoughts in a forest, where no one can hear him, is he still wrong?"

waldschrat said...

Dan, your comments seriously dismay me. Have you thought of seeking psychiatric help?

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

Waldschrat,

ITM is always a good read. Iraq needs more people like "the brothers".

Dan,

Take a deep breath and count to 10. Now exhale.....slowly.

strykerdad said...

Thanks Mad Tom! Very well done, I will share the link to your blog with others. Great resource.

NZ, to answer your question--YES. At least among approximately half the population, he will be wrong. Or is it just me?

Dan--seriously man, if you have meds you need to stay with them or get them adjusted. I've suspected from the wide ranging tone of your posts that you are battling with some problems and your last efforts reinforce that suspicion. Take care of yourself--you have things to offer and should not allow them to be wasted. It'll get better, but you oughta consider seeking some help. Perhaps I'm out of line with my 'diagnoses', but your posts sound familiar to me having had a friend who had to fight some personal battles with things related to brain chemistry, so maybe I'm being overly sensitive to it. Hurria won't read this (will you), but she is probably thinking I should take my own advice.

madtom said...

"Thanks Mad Tom! Very well done, I will share the link to your blog with others. Great resource."

Thank you very much, but that's not my blog! That was Mad Canuck's blog. My contribution was in the comments

strykerdad said...

I get you Mad guys confused, but thanks still. I haven't seen any better reviews of the document--including many of the comments--anywhere.

Truth teller said...

Strykerdad

I read just now, that some of your comments were deleted! not by you or by me.
My PC save every comment the as soon as it is published, that means all your comments are saved.
if you want, I can publish them again. just aske me to do that.

strykerdad said...

No thank you...nothing I had to say was worth the effort and I had no reason to think you had deleted them. I found where someone had posted under my screen name elsewhere, so it appears someone had my password. I made my password very easy as I had no reson to think anyone would try to use it and I am not great at remembering all the different logons and passwords for all the different things I need thme for--I still can't understand why someone would bother, but it is a big world full of folks I don't understand. But again, thank you just the same and glad to hear you are home 'safe'.

Mad Canuck said...

Strykerdad - hehee... first time my blog's been mistaken for MadTom's. Thanks for the compliment on the constitution writeup, though. I have a complete translation now and am working on a full paragraph-by-paragraph analysis of the complete draft that should be ready by this weekend.

Thanks again... :)

Truth Teller: Welcome back, I'm glad you all enjoyed Syria and Jordan.

waldschrat said...

Mad Canuck -

I'd certainly like to look at a full translation of that constitution! Not that I'm a constitutional scholar or anything, but I used to proofread gibberish written in govermentese in my former life as a bureaucrat before I retired.

Constitutions are supposedly important documents, at least that's the way they teach kids in American schools. I have to say I'm more comfortable being defensive about America's consttution than I am defending the policies of any particular American president.

madtom said...

"Iraqi Constitution Draft

Translated by the AP"
here

Mad Canuck said...

Hi Waldschrat, the full AP translation with my comments is here if you are interested.

richsanter said...

you should really do a better job in allow the reader to know what part of the post is quoted from the guardian and which is your own opinion. you blend it all in as if the whole post is from the guardian, which is clearly not.

Skippy said...

I have just read the post and its comments in their entirety, with the exception of the deleted posts.
I was looking for a Blog to give me some insight from inside Iraq, and being a Physician myself was delighted to find this one. Please forgive me for being lengthy as there is a great deal to comment on.

First I was dismayed at the waste, graft, and theft of so much of the money that was intended to rebuild Iraq. Some of the problems I had heard about (i.e. Halliburton overcharges) but much of the other is new to me. This is not a small matter and it is my sincerest hope that in time those who are responsible are held so. I don't however appologize for the Iraqi money being spent to rebuild the country. That is as it should be.

It appears that Truthteller does not appreciate the expense that it has cost America to depose Saddam Hussein, in both capital and human life. I suspect TT is a Sunni, and since he just spent several weeks on vacation in Syria and Jordan is a wealthy one. His life is certainly not as comfortable or secure as it was before the war.

Unfortunately, it seems that most Iraqiis have found themselves in the same situation and that this is increasingly leaving them wishing we had left them alone. The faulty believe that Saddam had WMD(a believe he seemed to foster) and a concern that he would be willing to share those with groups wanting to use them against the US is the basis for most Americans supporting invading Iraq. The fact that he was a heinous leader that had slaughtered hundreds of thousands of his own people was all the better in our eyes.

The lack of WMD and the misery that the Iraqi people are now living in is the reason most Americans are questioning the wisdom of our actions. Don't be misled however. While only 40% of Americans believe we should have invaded Iraq, 70% believe we now must stay until the situation has been stablized. That is not only the opinion of supporters of Pres. Bush but also his opponents in Govt. Only a few marginal members of the opposition believe we can leave without control of the situation being established. To do otherwise will result in a much worse situation than Iraq finds itself now.

Americans love the Govt and country they have. Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Athiests and all others can live on the same street, work togather, play togather, and if they desire intermarry without so much as raising an eyebrow. It has been our wish to be able to help the Iraqiis, as well as the rest of the world, attain a similar situation. That desire may be based on naivete, but it is sincere.

That the Americans, as one poster put it, are being viewed more and more as the cause of danger and oppression rather than the answer to it, is in a word absurd. Although we are becoming more so, we are not as uncaring or as cowardly as it seems those in Western Europe and Mr. NZ are. New Zealand has the luxury of sitting on the sidelines and wringing its hands when it sees injustice in the world. It can even join in with us when it sees fit. But New Zealand is not viewed as being a champion of human rights around the world and does not feel the burden of being compelled to protect those who are oppressed. The US is. It has repeatedly been placed in the position of being expected to intervene. When the Tsunami hit Sumatra the same people who would chant "Death to America" on one day were crying out that we didn't respond as quickly as they thought we should on the next. My father, at the age of 78, personally made two trips at his expense to Bandeh Aceh to give medical assistance.

The US has never been and empire builder and for anyone to assert such is laughable. There was no reason for the US to help rebuild Germany, France, Italy, and Japan after WWII and then leave them to gain or regain thier wealth at our expense. Despite detractors assertions there was no financial benefit to the US going to Viet Nam or S. Korea. New Zealand may have been represented greater than the US proprtionately in various theatres of war, but New Zealand would not have been there without the leadership of the US.

The US essentially single handedly resisted the Communist aggression of the Soviet Union and China. Without the efforts of the US Eastern Europe would still be controlled by the Soviets and their repressive government. That is why the countries of Eastern Europe appreciate the efforts of the US much greater than Western Europe.

For us to want to share that freedom with the people of Iraq is a noble cause. The insurgents in Iraq want to have a country where Truthteller's daughters, not only can't have a Blog of their own, they want a country where his daughters can't even go to school. I understand that under Saddam women had more freedom than in most muslim countries, but don't kid yourselves. They will not have that freedom if we are unsuccessful in Iraq. Women had that freedom because Saddam was a secular leader and that is not what they are going to have if the insurgents win.

One more point for Mr. NZ. New Zealand is, by all reports, an enviable place to live. Although I have yet to visit there, I have friends who have. It is also a tiny isolated country with very restrictive immigration laws. Singapore is also quite nice. Neither of these places is a beacon of hope for the oppressed people of the world. That is a role that only the US has. You may be able to sit smuggly in your comfort but you don't offer comfort to others. While Western Europe has immigrants from poorer countries the assimilation into that society is essentially nil. In the US immigrants no matter what class, religion or race can succeed and become equals with all others. If one is wealthy enough or skilled enough he may be able to migrate to New Zealand, but not if one is poor and unskilled.

The US has its faults, but it is a country where Mr. Truthteller's daughters can move and be welcomed as equals with all others. The only other countries they could have that opportunity are those that are predominately Sunni with oppressive dictators as rulers. I suppose one could make and argument for Australia and Canada, but the opportunities in Canada are not as great and I am not that familiar with Australias immigration laws.

I am sorry that many of the people of Iraq don't appreciate our efforts and the cost of our loved ones sacrifice in order to give them something as great as we have. I would expect Truthteller to be more discerning since he is an educated man. I would expect that he would believe it better for all the members of his country to have that. I guess I would be wrong.

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