Oh- That Quagmire

THis is more bad news for those whose hope of election next year are pinned to portraying Iraq as a miserable failure:

lessening the risk of being hit by shoulder-fired missiles. The war-blasted facility is back in full working order, and half a dozen big airlines have been licensed to use it. But the terror threat remains too pressing to admit anything but these costly charter flights, underwritten by the American government, from Amman, neighbouring Jordan’s capital.

To the motley bunch of aid workers, reporters and spies on board, the flights would give travel to Iraq a semblance of the ordinary, were it not for the sharp approach angle and the greeting party of grim, gun-toting ex-Ghurkas at Baghdad’s near-deserted terminal. Similarly, life in the country, for most of its citizens, would be approaching normal patterns, were it not for uncertainty about the future, anxiety over crime and violence, and the heavy footfall of foreign soldiers.

For many Iraqis, living standards have already risen a lot. Boosted by government make-work programmes, day labourers are getting double their pre-war wages. A university dean’s pay has gone up fourfold, a policeman’s by a factor of ten.

Before the war, Kifah Karim, a teacher at a Baghdad primary school, took home monthly pay equivalent to just $6. Her husband earned $13 as a factory overseer. Today, with a combined income of close to $450, they no longer rely on gifts of meat from Mrs Karim’s brother, a butcher, to buttress a diet dominated by government food rations. They buy 2-3 kilos of meat a week, and have recently purchased a new fridge, a television, a TV satellite dish, a VCR and a CD player.

You can hear the ANSWER crowd screaming- look at all that blatant consumer consumption! Here is the money quote:

It is proving much harder than the Americans expected, but the rebuilding of a shattered country is still going steadily ahead.

Bingo.

(via RealPolitik)






11 replies
  1. 1
    Luther says:

    Our problem was with Afghanistan and Al-Queada, not the whole Middle East! This Imperial venture constructed by Republican Social-Democrats benefits Likud and the House of Saud and that slime-ball in Pakistan. Now we have American taxes funding Socialist in Israel, Egypt and Iraq. This is becoming a bigger social welfare program this country has ever seen and the most expensive failed assassination attempt in military history!

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  2. 2
    mg says:

    Who thought it would be easy? Anyone with any sense knew from the beginning that holding together and rebuilding Iraq would be the hard part! That was the main argument for not going in–in the first place. IE. What are we going to do when we win? The occupation is actually going much better, SO FAR, than I thought it would. We could have had a mass uprising, riots, revolution…. It could all still spin out of control, but so far, it’s gone very well.

  3. 3

    I’m so happy that things in Iraq are going so well. Can the troops come home now?

    Please. There were reports like this all thru Vietnam — kids were going to school, the Commies were on the run, the attacks were a sign of desperation. We’ll be there as long as oil gurgles under the sand. It’s “our” oil after all. Why let the Iraqis have it?

  4. 4
    Andrew Lazarus says:

    I wouldn’t have made Janis’s crack about the oil, but it’s certainly true I’ve heard the “schools are opening” story before. Not only in Vietnam, but apropos of Tibet and Southern Lebanon and Ramallah, too. I don’t think the verdict is going to be in for months; I agree it’s MUCH too early to say that the plan has failed. It’s not too early to say that we were underprepared, in no small part because of highly-credulous officials in DC relying on the exile community.

    If we really wanted to show the world that we could build a democracy in the Middle East, why didn’t we just go to Jordan peacefully with our money and infrastructure companies? We have a free trade agreement in place, and the King is Western-educated, speaks better English than Arabic, and has some democratic tendencies. (Janis will now remark they have no oil.)

    I have a suspicion that the point of the Iraq War is not the Peace Corps writ large story, and it’s not really a tactical front in the Global War on Terror (trends in Afghanistan, which is, are neutral to bad), it’s showing the Arabs we have a big f—ing army and, in Bush’s immortal phrasing, daring them to “Bring it On”. They brought on two more US Army funerals today.

  5. 5

    “Our problem was with Afghanistan and Al-Queada, not the whole Middle East!”

    Speak for yourself, Luther.

    If we want to stop future al-Qaedas, we need to drain the swamp that they spawn in, and the only way to do so IS to transform the whole Middle East.

    If we don’t transform them by peaceful means today, we’ll have to transform them with nukes tomorrow.

    Pick one.

    Janis: I don’t mean to be rude, but comments like yours are among the few arguments AGAINST women’s suffrage that I’ll accept as valid.

    If we really REALLY went there to “steal Iraqi oil”, then would you please, PLEASE with sugar on top explain to me why I haven’t received a single gallon of cheap gas yet?

    Oh, and DO try to get off your Vietnam addiction, will you? I can’t stand laughing at it anymore, it’s beginning to hurt.

    And Andrew: I know you like to play one on blogs, but you really aren’t all that smart, are you? Come on, you can admit it.

    If you knew the next thing about how nations work in general, and Arab nation states in particular, you’d know full well that trying to “nudge” them into adopting a fundamentally different method of government wouldn’t accomplish anything, except to ensure full employment of an army of useless ninkompoops such as yourself.

    Think of it this way: Imagine a foreign power trying to make US change our stripes fundamentally, such as in making us adopt Shari’ah law, just to name one example.

    How do you think that would be received?

    If we’d tried that approach with Jordan, and if hauling the Middle East, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century (or just the 16th, it would still be an amazing step forward for those cave-dwelling primitives), we’d have accomplished nothing unless we’d invaded and forced them to accept it, which is what we did with Iraq.

    The difference would be that Jordan isn’t a threat on the same scale that Saddam’s Iraq was.

    Yes, I know that your ilk have decided that Saddam was as peaceful as a butterfly and posed no threat to us at all, but that only goes to exemplify further how your kind are hopelessly left behind on the Gaussian distribution of intelligence.

    Don’t worry, though. We’ll always have a use for people with limited intellectual capacity.

    McDonald’s is still hiring, I believe.

  6. 6
    Kimmitt says:

    Please. We didn’t have to conquer the USSR to keep the US safe for democracy, and we don’t have to conquer the Middle East to do it either. Stop mistaking your Risk-fueled wet dreams for geopolitical necessity.

  7. 7
    Andrew Lazarus says:

    Misha, your Mommy is calling. It’s time to change your diaper and take your nap. (Sigh, when Misha gets tired, he can’t play nicely with the other kids.)

  8. 8
    cameron says:

    “Yes, I know that your ilk have decided that Saddam was as peaceful as a butterfly and posed no threat to us at all, but that only goes to exemplify further how your kind are hopelessly left behind on the Gaussian distribution of intelligence”

    I don’t think that is the case at all.

    I always thought it as more of him being impotent. Sure he had the desire to go nu-klear, but he couldn’t get it up, if you know what I mean.

    The problem was that the Bush admin. was saying he had cases upon cases of Viagra. He didn’t. Then they said he tried to get cases of Viagra. He didn’t. then they said he had the intention of going to try to get case of Viagra. he didn’t.
    Now they are saying it was Levetra he was thinking about trying to get.

    Around and round it goes.

  9. 9
    David Perron says:

    Misha, DNFTFT.

  10. 10

    Ignominious Failure Continues Apace

    It really is horrible to watch, isn’t it? I guess that’s just what happens when you ” target=”_blank”>had no plan. (Howard Dean, call your office….

  11. 11

    Questions, and more

    Last night I got into a short discussion over AIM about everyone’s favorite pet political topic: the war in iraq. I really think this issue is being talked about ad nauseam, and I do believe that in the end our only decision-making in this process i…

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Questions, and more

    Last night I got into a short discussion over AIM about everyone’s favorite pet political topic: the war in iraq. I really think this issue is being talked about ad nauseam, and I do believe that in the end our only decision-making in this process i…

  2. Ignominious Failure Continues Apace

    It really is horrible to watch, isn’t it? I guess that’s just what happens when you ” target=”_blank”>had no plan. (Howard Dean, call your office….

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