November 2004

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War in Iraq continues with no peace
in sight

by Phil Bloom
November 2004

As I stepped off an Iraqi airways Boeing 737 at Baghdad International Airport I could hear jets overhead and choppers everywhere. At that moment I knew George W. Bush was wrong when he declared the war over.

For the past year and a half the violence has broadened and now seems to be headed towards an all out civil war. Emergency orders were put in effect for everyone in Faljua and the surrounding areas of Ramadi and even Baghdad. The people of these cities have been told to stay away from central areas where fighting will take place.

Baghdad, a city of five million people, has during these last days of Ramadan been quiet in anticipation of an attack on the Green Zone. The streets are empty after 5pm when night falls quickly. During the day there is still a semblance of hustle and a myriad of activities to show signs of normalcy. Every Iraqi who is not involved in this mess stays home or has plans to leave the city. Everyone is talking about conditions prior to the US-led invasion in March 2003. Fear is on everyone’s face, including mine.
Conditions in the city are ripe for attacks and kidnappings against citizens and foreign personnel alike. There is no longer a distinction. Its open season for criminals to piggy back on the mantle of terrorists and collect huge payoffs. The going ransom is in the high six figures regardless of race, creed, color or nationality. Welcome to the 'wild, wild, west.'

The interesting phenomenon in all of this is how America claimed victory when in fact nothing of the sort occurred. The latest casualties show more than fifteen hundred soldiers dead and high numbers of wounded. Other coalition members face casualties. This does not include any Iraqi military and certainly no civilians. For me this is a shameful waste of human life for a victory that never happened.

When will it all end? First there will be civil war, then rebuilding, then sovereignty. This will all take time since there is no will to end hostilities soon. The US committed over $89 billion to reconstruct Iraq. Today, less than $500 million has been spent on these efforts. Why? No one wants to do the work and those companies like mine are hindered by red tape. Simply put, it’s time to re-think and re-deploy. To do that there needs to be in place a political will. From what I read W has no intention of pulling back. He is going to spend his ''political capital'' gained in the election on another four years of war.

The insurgents are clever and are engaged in urban warfare. They are the Davids against the Goliath. While the US and Iraqi troops attack Faluja, they’ve been slowly creeping into Baghdad. They continue daily car bomb attacks, mortar rounds, and small explosive devices around the city in order to disrupt US forces. They are waiting while the major assault hits Faluja and when no one is around will mount their attack on the Green Zone - or worse, neighbourhoods in Baghdad. This would be a disaster and lead to a total collapse.

The above prediction is not far off. The reality is everyone knows this is a possibility and yet nothing is being done except isolating the Green Zone and keeping everyone inside. This is like waiting for Godot. Where are the military planners? Where are the politicans? Where is anybody of authority? Somehow, everyone engages in meetings to hold more meetings and nothing gets done. So, my advice to anyone listening is to tell W the war is in full glory and get him to focus on reality. Certainly I can’t plead to vote him out of office. Four million born-agains decided that for us. Maybe we should enlist them to fight the fight.







Vivid Baghdad Journal archive

October 2004