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Sunday, April 25, 2004

Win the war, lose the peace

Jason Vest writes in this week's Boston Phoenix, Bad days ahead:
AS THE SITUATION in Iraq grows ever more tenuous, the Bush administration continues to spin the ominous news with matter-of-fact optimism. According to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Iraqi uprisings in half a dozen cities, accompanied by the deaths of more than 100 soldiers in the month of April alone, is something to be viewed in the context of "good days and bad days," merely "a moment in Iraq’s path towards a free and democratic system." More recently, the president himself asserted, "Our coalition is standing with responsible Iraqi leaders as they establish growing authority in their country."

But according to a closely held Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) memo written in early March, the reality isn’t so rosy. Iraq’s chances of seeing democracy succeed, according to the memo’s author — a US government official detailed to the CPA, who wrote this summation of observations he’d made in the field for a senior CPA director — have been severely imperiled by a year’s worth of serious errors on the part of the Pentagon and the CPA, the US-led multinational agency administering Iraq. Far from facilitating democracy and security, the memo’s author fears, US efforts have created an environment rife with corruption and sectarianism likely to result in civil war.
This is bad news.

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