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InvisibleAlex213
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Iraq "an unbelievable mess"
    #5397800 - 03/14/06 05:31 AM (14 years, 8 months ago)

US postwar Iraq strategy a mess, Blair was told

Senior British diplomatic and military staff gave Tony Blair explicit warnings three years ago that the US was disastrously mishandling the occupation of Iraq, according to leaked memos.
John Sawers, Mr Blair's envoy in Baghdad in the aftermath of the invasion, sent a series of confidential memos to Downing Street in May and June 2003 cataloguing US failures. With unusual frankness, he described the US postwar administration, led by the retired general Jay Garner, as "an unbelievable mess" and said "Garner and his top team of 60-year-old retired generals" were "well-meaning but out of their depth".

That assessment is reinforced by Major General Albert Whitley, the most senior British officer with the US land forces. Gen Whitley, in another memo later that summer, expressed alarm that the US-British coalition was in danger of losing the peace. "We may have been seduced into something we might be inclined to regret. Is strategic failure a possibility? The answer has to be 'yes'," he concluded.

The British memos identified a series of US failures that contained the seeds of the present insurgency and anarchy.

The mistakes include:

? A lack of interest by the US commander, General Tommy Franks, in the post-invasion phase.

? The presence in the capital of the US Third Infantry Division, which took a heavyhanded approach to security.

? Squandering the initial sympathy of Iraqis.

? Bechtel, the main US civilian contractor, moving too slowly to reconnect basic services, such as electricity and water.

? Failure to deal with health hazards, such as 40% of Baghdad's sewage pouring into the Tigris and rubbish piling up in the streets.

? Sacking of many of Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath party, even though many of them held relatively junior posts.

Mr Sawers, in a memo titled Iraq: What's Going Wrong, written on May 11, four days after he had arrived in Baghdad, is uncompromising about the US administration in Baghdad. He wrote: "No leadership, no strategy, no coordination, no structure and inaccessible to ordinary Iraqis."


http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,1730427,00.html


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OfflineThe_Red_Crayon
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Re: Iraq "an unbelievable mess" [Re: Alex213]
    #5398763 - 03/14/06 12:37 PM (14 years, 8 months ago)

I think probably the biggest mistake in Iraq ever made was the dissolving of the iraqi army and the little effort to seal off and protect ammo dumps. Which i honestly dont blame on the soldiers since their wasnt many troops to guard a area the size of texas.


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Re: Iraq "an unbelievable mess" [Re: Alex213]
    #5398844 - 03/14/06 12:54 PM (14 years, 8 months ago)

Here's the first part of an article found here -- http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2006/03/myths_of_iraq.html




During a recent visit to Baghdad, I saw an enormous failure. On the part of our media. The reality in the streets, day after day, bore little resemblance to the sensational claims of civil war and disaster in the headlines.

No one with first-hand experience of Iraq would claim the country's in rosy condition, but the situation on the ground is considerably more promising than the American public has been led to believe. Lurid exaggerations and instant myths obscure real, if difficult, progress.

I left Baghdad more optimistic than I was before this visit. While cynicism, political bias and the pressure of a 24/7 news cycle accelerate a race to the bottom in reporting, there are good reasons to be soberly hopeful about Iraq's future.

Much could still go wrong. The Arab genius for failure could still spoil everything. We've made grave mistakes. Still, it's difficult to understand how any first-hand observer could declare that Iraq's been irrevocably "lost."

Consider just a few of the inaccuracies served up by the media:

Claims of civil war. In the wake of the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra, a flurry of sectarian attacks inspired wild media claims of a collapse into civil war. It didn't happen. Driving and walking the streets of Baghdad, I found children playing and, in most neighborhoods, business as usual. Iraq can be deadly, but, more often, it's just dreary.

Iraqi disunity. Factional differences are real, but overblown in the reporting. Few Iraqis support calls for religious violence. After the Samarra bombing, only rogue militias and criminals responded to the demagogues' calls for vengeance. Iraqis refused to play along, staging an unrecognized triumph of passive resistance.

Expanding terrorism. On the contrary, foreign terrorists, such as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, have lost ground. They've alienated Iraqis of every stripe. Iraqis regard the foreigners as murderers, wreckers and blasphemers, and they want them gone. The Samarra attack may, indeed, have been a tipping point--against the terrorists.

Hatred of the U.S. military. If anything surprised me in the streets of Baghdad, it was the surge in the popularity of U.S. troops among both Shias and Sunnis. In one slum, amid friendly adult waves, children and teenagers cheered a U.S. Army patrol as we passed. Instead of being viewed as occupiers, we're increasingly seen as impartial and well-intentioned.

The appeal of the religious militias. They're viewed as mafias. Iraqis want them disarmed and disbanded. Just ask the average citizen.

The failure of the Iraqi army. Instead, the past month saw a major milestone in the maturation of Iraq's military. During the mini-crisis that followed the Samarra bombing, the Iraqi army put over 100,000 soldiers into the country's streets. They defused budding confrontations and calmed the situation without killing a single civilian. And Iraqis were proud to have their own army protecting them. The Iraqi army's morale soared as a result of its success.

Reconstruction efforts have failed. Just not true. The American goal was never to rebuild Iraq's infrastructure in its entirety. Iraqis have to do that. Meanwhile, slum-dwellers utterly neglected by Saddam Hussein's regime are getting running water and sewage systems for the first time. The Baathist regime left the country in a desolate state while Saddam built palaces. The squalor has to be seen to be believed. But the hopeless now have hope.

The electricity system is worse than before the war. Untrue again. The condition of the electric grid under the old regime was appalling. Yet, despite insurgent attacks, the newly revamped system produced 5,300 megawatts last summer--a full thousand megawatts more than the peak under Saddam Hussein. Shortages continue because demand soared--newly free Iraqis went on a buying spree, filling their homes with air conditioners, appliances and the new national symbol, the satellite dish. Nonetheless, satellite photos taken during the hours of darkness show Baghdad as bright as Damascus.

Plenty of serious problems remain in Iraq, from bloodthirsty terrorism to the unreliability of the police. Iran and Syria indulge in deadly mischief. The infrastructure lags generations behind the country's needs. Corruption is widespread. Tribal culture is pernicious. Women?s rights are threatened. And there's no shortage of trouble-making demagogues.

Nonetheless, the real story of the civil-war-that-wasn't is one of the dog that didn't bark. Iraqis resisted the summons to retributive violence. Mundane life prevailed. After a day and a half of squabbling, the political factions returned to the negotiating table. Iraqis increasingly take responsibility for their own security, easing the burden on U.S. forces. And the people of Iraq want peace, not a reign of terror.

But the foreign media have become a destructive factor, extrapolating daily crises from minor incidents. Part of this is ignorance. Some of it is willful. None of it is helpful.






More at the link. Well worth clicking to read the last few paragraphs.


Phred


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OfflineThe_Red_Crayon
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Re: Iraq "an unbelievable mess" [Re: Phred]
    #5399185 - 03/14/06 02:29 PM (14 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

Claims of civil war. In the wake of the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra, a flurry of sectarian attacks inspired wild media claims of a collapse into civil war. It didn't happen. Driving and walking the streets of Baghdad, I found children playing and, in most neighborhoods, business as usual. Iraq can be deadly, but, more often, it's just dreary.




To me this seems like political correctness. What exactly kind of war would you label Iraq. In my definition ive always considered wars that involved rebels or insurgents fighting a government or coalition always considered these things Civil Wars.
Of course you will see children playing Iraq has seen violence for decades sometimes you kind of get used to it.

Quote:

Iraqi disunity. Factional differences are real, but overblown in the reporting. Few Iraqis support calls for religious violence. After the Samarra bombing, only rogue militias and criminals responded to the demagogues' calls for vengeance. Iraqis refused to play along, staging an unrecognized triumph of passive resistance.





Their is 3 insurgent elements in Iraq. Their is the Nationalist insurgents like the various Muslim Brotherhood organizations who will not attack Iraqi Police but only Coalition forces. You have the religious Sunni/Salafist Factions mostly based out of the Anbar province in Ramadi and Mosul, and of course you have Al Qaeda in Iraq led by Zarqawi whose men only number in the hundreds now. He's responsible for most of the sectarian violence.

The Iraqi resistance can possibly grow because of the massive amount of propaganda that insurgents display that is available on the internet in baghdad. More insurgencies and terrorist groups are being formed all with different agendas. Situations like these could backfire on Coalition forces especially in conjunction with military action in Iran.

Quote:

Expanding terrorism. On the contrary, foreign terrorists, such as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, have lost ground. They've alienated Iraqis of every stripe. Iraqis regard the foreigners as murderers, wreckers and blasphemers, and they want them gone. The Samarra attack may, indeed, have been a tipping point--against the terrorists.




I wouldnt disagree with this argument. Its no secret that most of the Sunni muslims want the shiias to fight with them against the coaltion. Which is why insurgents havent targetted Sadr at all even AQII had once asked a truce from him.When the Mosque was blown up Sadr and the iraqi people immediately knew this was Zarqawi.

Quote:

Hatred of the U.S. military. If anything surprised me in the streets of Baghdad, it was the surge in the popularity of U.S. troops among both Shias and Sunnis. In one slum, amid friendly adult waves, children and teenagers cheered a U.S. Army patrol as we passed. Instead of being viewed as occupiers, we're increasingly seen as impartial and well-intentioned.




Completely Anecdotal. I dont live in Iraq but i can only speculate and with good reason that Iraqi's dont really like us all that much.

Quote:

The appeal of the religious militias. They're viewed as mafias. Iraqis want them disarmed and disbanded. Just ask the average citizen.


Ahaha. Sure just ask the people we are putting into power in Iraq, PKK,SCIRI? Sadrs group. They all have militia's over there.

Ill address more issues when i get back from work.


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InvisibleVvellum
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Re: Iraq "an unbelievable mess" [Re: Phred]
    #5399487 - 03/14/06 03:54 PM (14 years, 8 months ago)

yes. Iraq is a wonderful place!


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Iraq "an unbelievable mess" [Re: Vvellum]
    #5399611 - 03/14/06 04:27 PM (14 years, 8 months ago)

The author's point isn't that Iraq is a wonderful place. He is scrupulous about noting that "grave mistakes" have been made, that there are real factional differences, and that plenty of serious problems remain in Iraq, from terrorism to unreliable police to widespread corruption to tribal culture to threats to women's rights.

His point was to show that many of the media tropes we're getting hammered with are essentially mythical. Rather than ascribe this distortion to willful misrepresentation on the part of the press, he charitably offers an alternate explanation:






"The dangerous nature of journalism in Iraq has created a new phenomenon, the all-powerful local stringer. Unwilling to stray too far from secure facilities and their bodyguards, reporters rely heavily on Iraqi assistance in gathering news. And Iraqi stringers, some of whom have their own political agendas, long ago figured out that Americans prefer bad news to good news. The Iraqi leg-men earn blood money for unbalanced, often-hysterical claims, while the Journalism 101 rule of seeking confirmation from a second source has been discarded in the pathetic race for headlines.

"To enhance their own indispensability, Iraqi stringers exaggerate the danger to Western journalists (which is real enough, but need not paralyze a determined reporter). Dependence on the unverified reports of local hires has become the dirty secret of semi-celebrity journalism in Iraq as Western journalists succumb to a version of Stockholm Syndrome in which they convince themselves that their Iraqi sources and stringers are exceptions to every failing and foible in the Middle East. The mindset resembles the old colonialist conviction that, while other "boys" might lie and steal, our house-boy's a faithful servant.

"The result is that we're being told what Iraqi stringers know they can sell and what distant editors crave, not what's actually happening.

"While there are and have been any number of courageous, ethical journalists reporting from Iraq, others know little more of the reality of the streets than you do. They report what they are told by others, not what they have seen themselves. The result is a distorted, unfair and disheartening picture of a country struggling to rise above its miserable history."







Phred


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InvisibleVvellum
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Re: Iraq "an unbelievable mess" [Re: Phred]
    #5399790 - 03/14/06 05:19 PM (14 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

His point was to show that many of the media tropes we're getting hammered with are essentially mythical.




mythical? killings such as this seem to occur every few days. hardly a "myth"  :rolleyes:

and what about non-western journalism in Iraq? oh, wait - you cant trust that either because it is so anti-american, right?

face it: Iraq is a fucking mess with no end in site. And the war that you supported has been a failure.


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OfflinePhred
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Re: Iraq "an unbelievable mess" [Re: Vvellum]
    #5400008 - 03/14/06 06:01 PM (14 years, 8 months ago)

*Shrugs*

You are of course free to regard it as a "mess" if you so choose. But the fact of the matter is that neither you nor I have been there to see for ourselves, so we must decide which reports give a more accurate picture. Peters is far from the first journalist to comment on the "journalism by stringer" phenomenon in Iraq, just the most recent one.

If you swallow uncritically the reports you read in the MSM you are doing yourself a disservice. I suggest you broaden the base of source material to include reports from people who experience things firsthand -- Peters, Michael Yon, a multitude of milblogs, a multitude of Iraqi bloggers -- before satisfying yourself you know enough about the situation to decide the situation is a mess with no end in sight.

Up to you.





Phred


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InvisibleVvellum
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Re: Iraq "an unbelievable mess" [Re: Phred]
    #5400327 - 03/14/06 07:14 PM (14 years, 8 months ago)

Thanks, but I read plenty of news sources on a regular basis - quit being so presumptuous.

Iraq is a huge mess.

I spoke with a friend of mine who grew up in the Soviet Union. She told me about how her childhood was full of games and running around and how she never remembers going hungry. This does not mean the Soviet Union was not a mess and close to an economic and political collapse. I put little stock in anedotal "blogs" of Iraqi kids playing hop-scotch, rather I pay more attention to stories such as the one I posted above. But, you seem to think such stories are mere myths. Please read the article I linked to and demonstrate the how the story is just "MSM" myth and exaggeration.

and, what of non-western journalists? how does this fit into your analysis of media in Iraq?


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OfflineThe_Red_Crayon
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Re: Iraq "an unbelievable mess" [Re: Phred]
    #5401625 - 03/15/06 12:40 AM (14 years, 8 months ago)

Id like to see those Western Bloggers step their asses outside the green zone and than determine how safe that country really is.

Its a sad fact that Security in Iraq is so bad most people of western origin can barely even go out of the green zone without a military convoy.

To me Iraq is calm like a bomb.


Edited by The_Red_Crayon (03/15/06 02:06 AM)


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InvisibleAlex213
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Re: Iraq "an unbelievable mess" [Re: Phred]
    #5402111 - 03/15/06 04:56 AM (14 years, 8 months ago)

During a recent visit to Baghdad

Get a grip Phred. Which areas of Baghdad do you think this idiot is going to have visited when westerners are being kidnapped off the streets? Do you think you get a clear idea of what is happening in Baghdad behind the green zone?

Driving and walking the streets of Baghdad

I'd like to know exactly which Baghdad streets this moron "walked" around.

collapse into civil war. It didn't happen.

This is the old game of when do you call a civil war a civil war. All we know is there are attacks being reported every day - and those we hear about will only be the tip of the iceberg.

In one slum, amid friendly adult waves, children and teenagers cheered a U.S. Army patrol as we passed

:grin: :grin: :grin:

Those Iraqis sure know what's good for them don't they  :grin:

I wonder what would have happened to "Ralph" if he hadn't been with an army patrol at the time?

Expanding terrorism

What "terrorism" is he referring to? Was there any "terrorism" in Iraq before the US invaded?

Just ask the average citizen.

Thanks for this penetrating analysis  :rolleyes:

Ya think he means "just ask the average Iraqi citizen allowed into my hotel room behind the green zone"?

The electricity system is worse than before the war. Untrue again.

Bullshit.

UN report shows conditions worse than under Saddam:

http://newstandardnews.net/content/?items=1816

Nonetheless, satellite photos taken during the hours of darkness show Baghdad as bright as Damascus

Perhaps if this fucking idiot had walked outside the green zone he would have noticed that one in three Iraqi families now rely on their own generators and not the electricity grid.

The result is that we're being told what Iraqi stringers know they can sell and what distant editors crave, not what's actually happening.



Oh PLEASE  :rolleyes:


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InvisibleAlex213
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Re: Iraq "an unbelievable mess" [Re: Alex213]
    #5402174 - 03/15/06 06:47 AM (14 years, 8 months ago)


Mass grave find fuels sectarian tension in Iraq
By Patrick Cockburn in Amman
Published: 15 March 2006

Iraq moved closer to sectarian civil war as police found the bodies of 87 men killed in Baghdad, many of them showing signs of torture. The dead appear to be Sunni Muslims killed in retaliation for the bombs that slaughtered 58 people and wounded 200 when they exploded in crowded markets in the strongly Shia area of Sadr City.

Some 29 dead men were found yesterday buried in a pit in a playing field. "Some children were playing soccer and they smelt something strong and the police were notified," said a police spokesman. Members of a Shia militia dug in a pit to unearth the bodies. They found that the men had been gagged and bound and were in their underwear. Many of them had been tortured before being shot dead.

A photographer for the Associated Press agency who took pictures of the grave was warned not to publish them. The location of the grave suggests that the dead men were Sunni.

The fear now in Baghdad is that the bombs detonated by Sunni insurgents in Shia neighbourhoods are leading to immediate retaliation against Sunnis.

In another atrocity, 15 bodies of men who had been strangled were found in an abandoned minibus parked between two Sunni districts in west Baghdad. In Sadr City, a further four men were shot in the head and their bodies hanged from electricity pylons. Elsewhere in Baghdad another 40 bodies, both Shia and Sunni, were found said Lt-Col Mohammedawi.

To try to reduce sectarian killings, the Interior Ministry is to enforce a curfew from 8pm tonight to 4pm tomorrow to coincide with the meeting of parliament.

In Sunni districts there is terror of the police commandos, who are seen as death squads capable of arresting, torturing and killing Sunnis simply because of their sectarian identity.

Mr Sadr may be the key to creating a new government since it was his support which determined that Mr Jaafari would be the candidate of the Shia coalition, the United Iraqi Alliance. He has so far called for calm and unity in the wake of the attacks at Samarra and in Sadr City. He has also derided Donald Rumsfeld, the US Defence Secretary, for saying the American military would not intervene to stop a civil war in Iraq. "May God damn you," said Mr Sadr of Mr Rumsfeld. "You said in the past that civil war would break out if you had to withdraw, and now you say that in face of civil war you won't interfere."

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article351350.ece


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Re: Iraq "an unbelievable mess" [Re: Alex213]
    #5402188 - 03/15/06 07:01 AM (14 years, 8 months ago)

UN report shows conditions worse than under Saddam

that report was completed almost 2 years ago now.

http://www.iq.undp.org/ILCS/overview.htm


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InvisibleAlex213
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Re: Iraq "an unbelievable mess" [Re: wilshire]
    #5402194 - 03/15/06 07:04 AM (14 years, 8 months ago)

And?


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Re: Iraq "an unbelievable mess" [Re: Alex213]
    #5402201 - 03/15/06 07:08 AM (14 years, 8 months ago)

so it doesn't prove anything about conditions in march 2006, when the article phred posted, which you are refuting, was published. that survey was a year after the invasion. it's now been almost three.


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Edited by wilshire (03/15/06 07:26 AM)


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InvisibleAlex213
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Re: Iraq "an unbelievable mess" [Re: wilshire]
    #5402279 - 03/15/06 08:00 AM (14 years, 8 months ago)

so it doesn't prove anything about conditions in march 2006, when the article phred posted, which you are refuting, was published

So can you point out where the author of Phreds article says that his "myths of Iraq" only apply since the UN report of 2004 that showed the "myths" were true?

Do you even know what a "myth" is?

In addition can you provide any evidence to show the UN report is now wrong?

Or is the word of someone from the US army at "realclearpolitics" is all the "evidence" you need?  :rolleyes:


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Re: Iraq "an unbelievable mess" [Re: Alex213]
    #5402495 - 03/15/06 09:27 AM (14 years, 8 months ago)

you made this claim:

UN report shows conditions worse than under Saddam

and cited a year old article that cites a two year old survey. what's more, if you read the survey you will find that it makes no comparison between conditions before and after the invasion.

your source does not support your assertion. plain and simple. you could have found a better source than a year old article that sites a two year old survey that in any case does not make the comparison you're trying to prove.

i found this after a single google search:

electricity hits three year low in iraq

it was written yesterday.


--------------------



Edited by wilshire (03/15/06 09:39 AM)


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Re: Iraq "an unbelievable mess" [Re: Alex213]
    #5403384 - 03/15/06 02:05 PM (14 years, 8 months ago)

You posted an article about some memos written nearly three years ago, when the coalition troops had been in Iraq around three months --

Quote:

Senior British diplomatic and military staff gave Tony Blair explicit warnings three years ago that the US was disastrously mishandling the occupation of Iraq, according to leaked memos.

John Sawers, Mr Blair's envoy in Baghdad in the aftermath of the invasion, sent a series of confidential memos to Downing Street in May and June 2003 cataloguing US failures.




The article I posted, on the other hand, was written by someone who had just returned from Iraq. I leave it to the readers of the thread to determine which picture more accurately reflects the reality of modern Iraq.

Quote:

Mr Sawers, in a memo titled Iraq: What's Going Wrong, written on May 11, four days after he had arrived in Baghdad, is uncompromising about the US administration in Baghdad.




My oh my. Here we have a fellow writing a memo a whole four days after he arrived on the scene, a month after the fall of Baghdad. How much walking around Baghdad do you figure this guy did, Alex213? Exactly which Baghdad streets did this moron walk around?

I have no doubt the situation in Iraq a month after the fall of Baghdad could arguably be described as "an unbelievable mess". The same is not true today. The article I posted deals with how things are, not how things were -- unlike the UN report you linked in a feeble attempt to rebut Peters's information on electrical production. From the link you provided --

Quote:

The 370-page report evaluating the survey, which was in turn based on interviews conducted with more than 21,000 Iraqi households during the spring and summer of 2004...




That was almost two years ago, Alex213. But the article wilshire linked for us backs up the figures Peters provides exactly -- a rise in generated electrical output from 4400 megawatts to 5300. The article also backs up (in considerably greater detail) Peters's statement that the problem in Baghdad is less a decline in output than a rocketing surge in demand.




Phred


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Re: Iraq "an unbelievable mess" [Re: Alex213]
    #5403473 - 03/15/06 02:24 PM (14 years, 8 months ago)

Alex213 writes:

Quote:

Or is the word of someone from the US army at "realclearpolitics" is all the "evidence" you need?




-- Peters is a retired US Army officer.

-- RealClearPolitics is probably the most balanced political op-ed site on the web. They publish commentary from all sides of the political spectrum, from writers for The Nation, The Guardian, The Australian and The New York Times, to the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Times. They regularly publish op-ed pieces by Naomi Klein, Paul Krugman, E.J. Dionne and even on occasion Noam Chomsky.





Phred


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InvisibleAlex213
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Re: Iraq "an unbelievable mess" [Re: wilshire]
    #5407207 - 03/16/06 08:07 AM (14 years, 8 months ago)

You are missing the point.

How can something be a myth if it was established in a UN report 2 years ago? Do you know what a myth is?


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