Democrats & Liberals Archives

Fantasy World Of Spin

President Bush has been painting a rosy picture of life in Iraq after the invasion (which Kofi Annan just reluctantly admitted was illegal), assuring Americans that “there’s [sic] ongoing acts of violence,” but, “Iraq has got a strong Prime Minister and national council, and national elections are scheduled in January. The world is changing. Freedom is on the march.”

Bush completely ignores, of course, the difficulty of passing out ballots in Fallujah, Najaf, and other hot spots while dodging bullets, mortar rounds, kidnappers, and air strikes. UN officials doubt the country will be stable enough to hold meaningful elections. Bush's half-full attitude also ignores the glacial pace of reconstruction which has turned many Iraqis against the US occupation.

Christian Parenti wrote an article, "Fables of the Reconstruction", in the last issue of The Nation where he describes how, over a year later, Bechtel still doesn't have Baghdad's waste treatment plants online, allowing 780,000 cubic feet of human and industrial waste to flow directly into the Diyala and Tigris Rivers every day. Parenti also reports that Bechtel is ignoring its contract to maintain the city's drinking water treatment plants.

Parenti's conclusion is that Bechtel's greed and corruption are to blame for the hardship and waterborne disease (it is The Nation, after all), but it seems likely that a lot of work just cannot get done because the security situation in Iraq is so bad. In fact, the Bush administration just requested that $3.4 billion US tax dollars slated for reconstruction be diverted to private security firms operating in Iraq.

President Bush's request puts a spotlight on both Republicans and Democrats in Congress who are wondering why only $1 billion of the $18 billion allocated to public works in Iraq last year has been spent. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska remarked that despite Bush's public claims to the contrary, the shifting of funds "does not add up, in my opinion, to a pretty picture, to a picture that shows that we're winning. But it does add up to this, an acknowledgment that we are in deep trouble."

President Bush's happy vista is also in direct contradiction of his July National Security Estimate that says the BEST possible outcome is "an Iraq whose stability would remain tenuous in political, economic and security terms." Much like the current situation for the foreseeable future.

President Bush is downplaying this intelligence report, just as he downplayed intelligence reports that suggested Iraq had no WMD, just as he glossed over intelligence reports that Iraq had no connection with 9/11, and just as he completely ignored the pre-9/11 intelligence warning, "Bin Laden determined to strike in US".

John Kerry sharply criticized President Bush on this matter, "You deserve a president who will not play politics with national security, who will not ignore his own intelligence, while living in a fantasy world of spin."

Parenti, traveling down the Diyala River met up with a squad of US troops on patrol,

"Everything's pretty mellow," says one of the soldiers. His comrades read magazines in the Humvee or watch the surrounding trees and houses. "Sometimes they take potshots at us from over there." He points to the village. "But when you meet the people, they're not all bad." None of the GIs are aware of the water situation or the sewage problem or the real extent of the economic crisis around them. But they are not unsympathetic. "Living near a river of shit--that would definitely suck," says one of them. "No wonder these people are pissed."
Posted by American Pundit at September 18, 2004 12:30 AM