June 28, 2005
The Independent (UK)

Iraq: A Bloody Mess

by Patrick Cockburn

A year ago the supposed handover of power by the US occupation authority to an Iraqi interim government led by Iyad Allawi was billed as a turning point in the violent history of post-Saddam Iraq.

It has turned out to be no such thing. Most of Iraq is today a bloody no-man's land beset by ruthless insurgents, savage bandit gangs, trigger-happy US patrols and marauding government forces.

On 28 June 2004 Mr Allawi was all smiles. "In a few days, Iraq will radiate with stability and security," he promised at the handover ceremony. That mood of optimism did not last long.

On Sunday the American Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld, told a US news programme that the ongoing insurgency could last "five, six, eight, ten, twelve years".

Yesterday in London, after meeting Tony Blair, the new Iraqi Prime Minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, tried to be more upbeat, commenting: "I think two years will be enough and more than enough to establish security".

Tonight President George Bush will make his most important address since the invasion, speaking to troops at the US army base at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He is expected to seek to assure increasingly sceptical Americans that he has a plan to prevail in Iraq, and that the US is not trapped in a conflict as unwinnable as the one in Vietnam, three decades ago.

The news now from Iraq is only depressing. . . .


James Carroll, "Facing the Truth About Iraq," Boston Globe, September 2, 2003

Robert Fisk, "We shelter behind the myth that progress is being made," Independent, June 23, 2005

"'US Caused More Deaths in Iraq Than Saddam'," Agence France Presse, June 28, 2005

[In the lead-up to the war, Bush presented the invasion of Iraq primarily as a means of preventing the Iraqi dictator from providing nuclear, biological or chemical weapons to terrorists.

After coalition forces failed to find evidence of such weapons, and several investigations did not uncover meaningful links between Hussein and Al Qaeda, the president increasingly stressed the possibility that creating a democracy in Iraq could encourage democratic reform across the Middle East.

In his speech Tuesday before a crowd of soldiers at Ft. Bragg, N.C., . . . Bush defended the war as a means of preventing another terrorist attack on the United States.--Ronald Brownstein, "As War Shifts, So Does the Message," Los Angeles Times, June 29, 2005]

[There have been more than 500 suicide attacks in Iraq over the last year.

The shrill denials by Tony Blair and Jack Straw that hostility to the invasion of Iraq motivated the bombers are demonstrably untrue. The findings of an investigation, to be published soon, into 300 young Saudis, caught and interrogated by Saudi intelligence on their way to Iraq to fight or blow themselves up, shows that very few had any previous contact with al-Qa'ida or any other terrorist organisation previous to 2003. It was the invasion of Iraq which prompted their decision to die.--Patrick Cockburn, "Iraq: This is now an unwinnable conflict," Independent, July 24, 2005]

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