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28 June 2005

How America Lost Iraq

Aaron Glantz's How America Lost Iraq is a compelling read, and offers a detailed examination of the war from an unembedded reporter's perspective. Glantz starts his volume off by expressing his belief that Saddam Hussien was an evil tyrant in need of action for regime change, and feuded with his leftist editors who desired an anti-war, non mainstream media perspective of the American invasion. Initially, his interviews with Iraqis revealed support for Bush's overthrow of the Hussien government. Many Iraqis, but not all, were thankful for Saddam's ouster.

However, the goodwill earned quickly dissipated as the United States bumbled the occupation and transformed infuriated Iraqis into a majority who oppose the American occupation. The 2004 campaign in Fallujah was the big turning point that enacted a metamorphisis of the insurgency from fringe elements to a significant segment of the Sunni and Shia population. In the north, rival Kurd tribal factions enjoy their status, and in many respects have implemented same sorts of controls Hussien imposed on the nation at large. Huge money flows to contractors and foreign mercenaries, yet the social situation deteriorates for Iraqis, as they pull their children out of school, and unemployment rises to obscene levels.

A cycle of violence is lodged in perputuity, American forces are heavy handed in retribution that pushes innocent Iraqis into sympathy for the insurgency. Every civilian caught in the cross fire and deemed colatteral damage hardens the hearts of natives. Women and children are picked off by snipers, ambulances riddled with bullet holes, and in one shocking account, shieks shot in the head at a human rights office. Roundups and detention of Iraqis, with no probable cause, and no information given to the family on where suspects are taken and what the charges are, enrage many. Understandable that our forces must exercise caution in a dangerous locale, but from the perspective of the Iraqi native, the American occupation has wrought a great wrong.

Mr. Glantz has penned a recent article stating that immediate withdrawl may be the only way to avert a civil war. As in his book, he describes how the Bush administration hired a North Carolina company called Research Triangle International (RTI) to appoint new political leaders for the country.

A final note regarding general Iraqi dislike of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, but disapproval of American persecution of him due to the history of his family, specifically that they were martyrs who suffered and died speaking out against Saddam Hussien.