Monday, November 12, 2007

no end in sight

things are worse than even i thought + i lean towards pessimism.

charles ferguson's documentary no end in sight features a number of people (some highly placed) who have firsthand knowledge of the situation in iraq.

the film solidifies my impression that ineptitude + giddy, misplaced confidence characterize the whole mess over there.

not only did bush's associates ignore experienced counsel in planning the 2003 invasion, but the occupation, which has now lasted longer than the u.s. involvement in world war two, got almost two years less preparation than was given to the occupation of germany + japan back in the 1940s.

one witness reports running into a recently graduated american college student in bagdad, who cheerily confessed her good luck in being placed in charge of traffic planning for the city, even though she took no classes in city planning +, one assumes, had zero experience in doing what she was assigned to do.

apparently no one with actual experience in war + postwar nation-rebuilding was called upon (or, if called upon, listened to) as the president blithely ventured where angels fear to tread ... disbanding the iraqi military just when it might have proved most useful (thus basically contributing thousands of trained soldiers to the insurgency), banning all members of the ba'ath party (including elementary school librarians) from public office (thus putting the infrastructure of iraq into the hands of total amateurs), + overpaying contractors to begin but not finish projects that u.s. soldiers, taking some initiative, were able to complete at less than a tenth of the cost.

iraqis who applauded the downfall of saddam hussein now pray for the downfall of the united states.

the u.s. government commanded american military to protect iraqi oil, but expressly forbad them from stopping the looting that gutted libraries + museums containing 6000-year-old (i.e. beginning of civilization) artifacts + municipal buildings needed to re-establish normal life in bagdad.

a scant handful of the american civilians sent to iraq to help build democracy even speak arabic. almost all the american nonmilitary government personnel stay barricaded in the safe 'green zone,' away from all contact with real iraqi life.

film footage of american independent contractors randomly machine-gunning motorists was shot by the contractors themselves, with an upbeat country-western soundtrack, no less. it's the sort of thing one might call 'over the top' in a stanley kubrick satire ... but it's all too real.

clearly, the iraq invasion + occupation have increased anti-american hostility in the middle east, and the problems bush + company have initiated over there will be paid for (in lives, respect, + dollars) for years to come ... with no end in sight.

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