With the five year anniversary of the American invasion of Iraq and the sixth consecutive year of occupation, countless questions arise – did the invasion fail or did the occupying forces achieve their aims?
The answer, revealed on a daily basis by American polls, is failure. These same polls also reveal the quandary within which the Bush administration still dwells. This is the administration which drew up plans for the Iraq invasion and set out pretenses and moral justifications for it. It is also the administration which comes to an end in just a few months without having laid out any process whatsoever to escape the morass in which they’ve mired themselves.
Come this November, the incoming administration will find itself in an unenviable position, having no immediate strategy to efficiently withdraw with the least damages in life and property.
The slightest reflection can reveal the full scope of the Bush Administration disaster. Failure chased down the administration on three levels – a military failure, security failure, and political failure – in addition to a fourth failure on the rebuilding front. We ought, however, to congratulate the administration on its one resounding success; the total destruction of Iraq.
Militarily speaking, the American army has lost more than 4000 soldiers according to public statistics (these were subjected to precise internal accounting). Add to this the tens of thousands of wounded, the physically, emotionally, and mentally disabled, and then the losses of arms and equipment estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars. And all of this despite the fact that the American President declared the war to be over just two months after the invasion.
In terms of security, Iraq has witnessed a snarled security situation against which all security strategies have so far failed. This failure is so profound that five years into the war the only result has been the deaths of more than a million Iraqis, according to neutral statistics, and the displacement of approximately four million others. At this very moment, Iraq is stuck in a quagmire of chaos caused by the occupation. Violence came into Iraq in stages. The streets are dangerous and the country has slipped into civil and sectarian war against which all attempts at resolution or dialogs have proven futile.
As for the political front, the American administration failed to understand the political situation in Iraq as a sectarian and fractured construction. They resorted to dogmatic methods without giving a second thought for the diverse Iraqi political heritage, instead obliterating the foundation of Iraqi nationhood.
As for rebuilding, these operations are still stuck in phase one. The invasion ended in a few days but Iraqi society is still suffering cruelly in terms of infrastructure, including basic services such as health, education, water and food. This problem resulted from internal displacements and refugee movements, in turn causing violence and lack of services the likes of which the region has not seen since the illegal seizure of Palestine in 1948.
Attempts at rebuilding are hampered by power outages and the lack of perseverance. This is what pushed many Iraqis to resort to violence as a response to the deteriorating living conditions brought about by the occupation.
The worst part of it all is that the United States has not once, not even for a day, stopped boasting of its creation of Democracy, freedom and human rights in Iraq, even while it set a poor example of all these things for the rest of the world. The world saw with its own eyes the violations at Abu Ghuraib prison and heard about the slaughter throughout Iraq, especially in Haditha and Al-Ishaqi, and the degenerate acts perpetrated by Security companies with bad reputations, particularly Blackwater and its ilk.
In the face of this multifaceted failure, the bad situation both Washington and occupied Iraq find themselves in, the time has come for the United States to take account in light of internal and external support for its unjustified presence in Iraq, and in light of both the human and financial costs that the American people, as well as the Iraqi people, are paying. In other words, the time has come for withdrawal to be the unconditional priority of the incoming administration, particularly because the current administration was incapable of such a decision and unwilling to reconsider its accumulated stupidities. Indeed, the Bush administration has sufficient time for just one last thing – to send itself into the junkyards of history.