Sunday, December 14, 2008

NYT publishes report on failed build-up of Iraq

Is it okay that as western Christians living the Arab World, we are a bit, just a tiny bit upset by Western politics re. Iraq? We must of course be very careful to not sound as if we do not agree with our beloved 'Christian' politicians of the Western world, because our churches back home may not appreciate our viewpoints. We must always take great care, avoid the issues (Israel/Palestine likewise!) and be true patriots. At the expense of speaking the truth. But the least we can do is rejoice in some critical voices back home... especially if the voices are coming from our own government.

An unpublished 513-page federal history of the American-led reconstruction of Iraq depicts an effort crippled before the invasion by Pentagon planners who were hostile to the idea of rebuilding a foreign country, and then molded into a $100 billion failure by bureaucratic turf wars, spiraling violence and ignorance of the basic elements of Iraqi society and infrastructure.

The history, the first official account of its kind, is circulating in draft form here and in Washington among a tight circle of technical reviewers, policy experts and senior officials. It also concludes that when the reconstruction began to lag — particularly in the critical area of rebuilding the Iraqi police and army — the Pentagon simply put out inflated measures of progress to cover up the failures.

In one passage, for example, former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell is quoted as saying that in the months after the 2003 invasion, the Defense Department “kept inventing numbers of Iraqi security forces — the number would jump 20,000 a week! ‘We now have 80,000, we now have 100,000, we now have 120,000.’ ”

Mr. Powell’s assertion that the Pentagon inflated the number of competent Iraqi security forces is backed up by Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, the former commander of ground troops in Iraq, and L. Paul Bremer III, the top civilian administrator until an Iraqi government took over in June 2004. MORE IN THE NYT HERE.

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