These revelations by Dahlia certainly put a damper on more positive spins of the consequences of the Bush/Cheney invasion of Iraq. Even though the United States has allocated some $53 billion to the reconstruction of Iraq, more than we spent on the reconstruction of Germany and Japan combined after World War II (even adjusting for inflation over time) progress overall is “spotty” at best in terms of stability, economic prosperity, human rights improvements and a society healing from the wounds of war.
Yes, the backbone of the Iraqi economy, the oil sector, is gradually reviving, but there are still millions of Iraqis in external or internal exile, gross unemployment hovering, some reports say, around 30%, perhaps higher, perhaps lower. The huge number of widows and orphans, as Dahlia has mentioned, create a social nightmare for the present and the future, and terrorist bombs are still going off in Baghdad and elsewhere. Even an American convoy was hit as recently as June 23 in an attack that killed “international development and finance expert Dr. Stephen Everhart and wounded three others.”
The Center for American Progress published an article entitled “The Iraq War Ledger, A Tabulation of the Human, Financial, and Strategic Costs” in May, 2010 that tallies up all the then costs and benefits, human, financial and otherwise in terms of American national security, and it is not a very pretty picture at all. You can read the HERE. To quote from some of the study’s conclusions:
Seven years after that speech, Iraq has made progress, but still struggles with terrorism and deep political discord. Though the level of violence has declined from its 2006-07 peak—when dozens of bodies could be found on Baghdad’s streets every morning—Iraq still endures a level of violence that anywhere else in the world would be considered a crisis. Still, the end of Saddam Hussein’s brutal regime represents a considerable global good, and a nascent democratic Iraqi republic allied with the United States could potentially yield benefits in the future.
But when weighing those possible benefits against the costs of the Iraq intervention, there is simply no conceivable calculus by which Operation Iraqi Freedom can be judged to have been a successful or worthwhile policy. The war was intended to show the extent of America’s power. It succeeded only in showing its limits. (.ibid)
A key strategic cost worth emphasizing from the same report is this:
Loss of moral authority. While abuses are perhaps inevitable in any military occupation, the images and stories broadcast from Iraq into the region and around the world have done lasting damage to the United States’ reputation as a supporter of international order and human rights. Gen. David Petraeus acknowledges the damage done to the U.S. reputation by Abu Ghraib is permanent, calling it a “nonbiodegradable” event.
As Dahlia has already noted in previous statements in this series, the US Government stepped over into the dark side, as was also done, for example, in Vietnam and elsewhere to try to secure, if not victory at least “stability” in a target country. But how, as ethicists keep asking, can the ends justify the means when the means taint and subvert the ends, if not becoming the ends altogether? And this is where we must talk more about death squads and the Salvador Option in Iraq and how they wrecked further havoc, with yet unfinished consequences in that country.
Mac: Let’s talk about death squads. I think I read that you were mentioning the Wolf Brigade. And I am also curious as to how many of these terrorist bombings might have been by the Americans and British.
Dahlia: I don’t know, but the question is an important one. But you really did your homework. I referenced the Wolf Brigade, which was a brigade I believe I am correct in stating was a brigade in the Iraqi police that was basically organized by someone who was a high-ranking general under Saddam, and then became a high-ranking general under Donald Rumsfeld. The name was General Rashid Flayyih. But my resource for that is a journalist named Max Fuller. He’s from Wales. He’s done remarkable work that actually has shown that Operation Phoenix in Vietnam has been brought back.
Mac: Oh yeah, we’ve learned about that, the Salvador Option.[For a riveting video and Max Fuller article posted right below it giving an in-depth look at death squads in Iraq, VISIT HERE.]
Dahlia: That’s it…..Max Fuller has done like a fantastic fifteen minute video on the internet (Who is behind the death Squads in Iraq). But you may have heard of how in September 2005 in Basra there was a suspicious car that the Iraqi police approached, and when the police approached the car, the people in the car shot at the policemen, so they were detained immediately and brought to the police station, and what they found in the car was were that these two guys were British Special Operations.