Anorak News | Iraq – The Cost

Iraq – The Cost

by | 25th, June 2004

‘IF President Bush and Tony Blair are worried about their approval ratings at home, they should be glad they are not standing for election in Baghdad.

‘So, Paul. How about that as a recipe for disaster?’

According to a report in this morning’s Guardian, 80% of Iraqis have expressed no confidence in the US civilian authorities and, after yesterday’s co-ordinated attacks by insurgents in which as many as 100 people are thought to have died, they probably haven’t got that much confidence in the US military.

Nor, judging by recent polls, are the Americans themselves much enamoured by the war which has cost them a staggering $126bn so far.

For their money (the equivalent of $3,415 per household), they have seen 952 coalition soldiers die, 853 of whom have been Americans, 6,370 Iraqi soldiers and 11,317 Iraqi civilians.

Between 50 and 90 civilian contractors and missionaries and 30 journalists are also dead.

The figures, which do not include yesterday’s attacks, were compiled by the Institute For Policy Studies and represent, according to the report’s lead author Phyllis Bennis, an ‘enormously high price for failure’.

‘It’s not as if we’re becoming more safe,’ she tells the Guardian. ‘It’s not as if we are bringing peace to Iraq or democracy to the Middle East.’

With only five days to go before power is, at least nominally, handed over to the Iraqis, the Independent also marks the US card, in particular that of its proconsul Paul Bremer.

‘He alone cannot be blamed for the spiralling violence on the ground,’ it says generously. ‘His resoluteness and decisiveness are much praised.

‘Early on, however, he made what are now universally acknowledged to have been two huge mistakes.

‘He disbanded the former Iraqi army in its entirety and purged Ba’ath party members from their jobs in ministries, schools and universities.’

After the handover next Wednesday, Bremer says he intends to quit public life, write the obligatory book and enrol at a cooking academy in Washington DC.

There he will no doubt learn how to break eggs without making an omelette…’

Posted: 25th, June 2004 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink