Iraqis see dismal days ahead in the face of rising violence and the
decision by the U.S. administration not to seek any further funds for
"It is obvious that the
situation is much worse than it used to be," retired army general Ahmed
Abdul Aziz told Inter Press Service. "Can you walk free in the
streets? Did you receive your food ration last month? It is essential for
most Iraqis to receive the food ration just to feed their families."
The former Iraqi general added: "When you go to the hospital, do you find
medicines? The answer is no medicines, no services, no sheets or pillows,
no beds, no nursing, and no ambulances to carry you from your house."
World Bank president and former U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul
Wolfowitz had said Iraq could "really finance its own reconstruction." But
such words have fallen flat because the state of the infrastructure is
clearly worse now than even during the harsh economic sanctions of the
As the third anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq approaches, a
study by Linda Bilmes at Harvard University and Dr. Joseph Stiglitz at
Columbia University found that "the total economic costs of the war,
including direct costs and macroeconomic costs, lie between 1 trillion and
2 trillion dollars." A trillion is a thousand billion.
This money has done little for Iraq. The situation on the ground remains
dire, with estimates of unemployment at 70 percent.
"My three sons have graduated from college, yet they still cannot find
decent jobs because there are no jobs available," former deputy minister
for trade Dr. Abdul Hadi told IPS.
The Saddam regime "did not allow any of the graduates to be without jobs,"
he said. Now there is even a severe shortage of teachers in the
"I will not be satisfied until I find that all the people have the will to
rebuild their country instead of humiliating their brothers," said Dr.
Hadi. "I want to tell (U.S. President George) Bush that he has destroyed
our country for at least the next 25 years. He is the greatest terrorist,
Arabs can never forget."
People have no recourse to law any more. "We are not living in a proper
way," restaurant owner Qassim Abdul Hamed told IPS. "We are
suffering at the hands of those who come in their vehicles just to have
meals free of charge."
The restaurant has to go on serving free meals to the Iraqi police, he
said. "We can't say a word because they have guns."
And the free meals have to be served when the cost of food has risen due
to fuel shortages. "There have been scuffles in the restaurant which we
have not seen before," Hamed said.
Munaim Abid Hassan, a 22-year-old waitress at the restaurant said she
is working to feed 12 people in her family, since she was the only one
with a job.
"We used to love the American people but not any more," she said. "Hatred
is spreading all over now, and everyone wants revenge on them. You (Bush)
are bringing disasters to the people of your own country, not only to
With 2,206 U.S. soldiers killed so far, and more than 100 attacks on
coalition forces every day, occupation forces appear unable to protect
either themselves or Iraqis. Under the Geneva Conventions, it is the
responsibility of the occupying power to provide security for citizens.
"The Americans destroyed everything in Iraq," Gen. Aziz said. "I think
every Iraqi should weep all his life over what is going on. Bush should be
among the greatest terrorists along with his colleagues in Britain,
because they are all criminals who have killed hundreds of thousands of
has spent a total of 8 months
in occupied Iraq as one of only a few independent US journalists in the
country. Dahr uses the
DahrJamailIraq.com website, where this article first appeared, and his
mailing list to disseminate his dispatches.
Arkan Hamed writes for
Inter Press Service.
Other Articles by Dahr
Not Telling You About the “Election”
* Baghdad As
Fallujah Refugees Tell of Life and Death in the Kill Zone
Weapons Used in Fallujah
Blood, More Chaos in Iraq
Terrorizing Those Who are Praying
Streets of Baghdad
Repression in “Liberated” Land
Civilians Feared Dead in Fallujah
Other Face of US “Success” in Fallujah
Eating Bodies in the Streets of Fallujah
* The Fire