This article mainly weighs the benefits of the invasion of Iraq against the damage done to a country. The priority of any project is to predict its possible outcomes and compare the expected benefits to the possible risks and to determine if such alleged benefits could be attained by more efficient, less costly means ...
The Iraqis suffered during Saddam's era, that much is undisputable- we're yet to determine how the current situation is any better than that under Saddam.
With the invasion came promises of democracy and liberty to the oppressed Iraqi masses that are yet to be fulfilled. The current deteriorating conditions are no longer limited to the escalating civilian mortality rate, rather it encompasses everyday living in Iraq..
Besides reference to the mortality rate and the inefficient security levels, this article will shed light on the damage on ecological as well as economical and political levels. It will discuss the damage to the Iraqi infra-structure as well as hopes for reconstruction...
The only benefit of the invasion that peaks at us in the horizon is the absence of Saddam.
On the Security level
Violence is increasing in scope, complexity, and lethality. October 2006 was the deadliest month for U.S. forces since January 2005, with 102 Americans killed. Total attacks in October 2006 averaged 180 per day, up from 70 per day in January 2006. Daily attacks against Iraqi security forces in October were more than double the level in January. Attacks against civilians in October were four times higher than in January. Some 3,000 Iraqi civilians are killed every month *1
But instead of simply using the measurement of violence as a sign of the decreased security level in Iraq, one shall inspect why such a situation took place.
The Iraqi army is making very little progress towards being a reliable and disciplined fighting force loyal to the national government inspite of increasing funding by the coalition forces.
It is made up of Iraqis who signed up to serve in specific areas and have been reluctant to deploy in other areas of the country for fear of leaving their families behind in the light of the growing violence.
As a result elements of the Army have refused to carry out missions
The state of the Iraqi police is substantially worse than that of the Iraqi Army. It is responsible for local policing. It has neither the training nor legal authority to conduct neither criminal investigations, nor the firepower to take on organized crime, insurgents, or militias. The Iraqi National Police numbers roughly 25,000 and its officers have been trained in counterinsurgency operations, not police work. The Border Enforcement Department numbers roughly 28,000.Iraqi police cannot control crime, and they routinely engage in sectarian violence, including the unnecessary detention, torture, and targeted execution of civilians. 1*
Even though a national unity government that is representative of the Iraqi population, the newly elected Iraqi government remains a sectarian one and key players often act in their sectarian interest and fail to demonstrate the will to act in Iraq's cause.
One senior Iraqi official estimated that official corruption costs Iraq $5â€“7 billion per year.
The Prime Minister has identified rooting out corruption as a national priority. But too many political leaders still pursue their personal, sectarian, or party interests. There are still no examples of senior officials who have been brought before a court of law and convicted on corruption charges.
Economic development is hobbled by insecurity, corruption, lack of investment, dilapidated infrastructure, and uncertainty. As one U.S. official observed to us, Iraqâ€™s economy has been badly shocked and is dysfunctional after suffering decades of problems only to receive the final blow with the toppling of the government without providing a more competent alternative government to it.
Instead of meeting a target of 10 percent, growth in Iraq is at roughly 4 percent this year. Inflation is above 50 percent. Unemployment estimates range widely from 20 to 60 percent.
The oil sector
Oil production and sales account for more than 95 percent of government revenues Despite Iraq's enormous oil reserves, experts say money from the sale of Iraqi crude wouldn't cover the costs of rebuilding the country's power plants, bridges and other vital infrastructure after a war with the United States.
Of Iraq's current oil revenues, 72 percent pay for humanitarian needs, leaving just $3 billion to $4 billion a year that might go toward economic reconstruction which in turn suggests that Iraq's oil revenues can't cover cost of rebuilding after a war *2
The hasty dismembering of the former Iraqi regime and government led to a huge confusion in the Iraqi society and whereas the oil sector was spared such chaos by preserving its ministry, it wasn't spared the looting incidents by the insurgents and the governmental corruptions. It remains an incomplete unreliable means to sustain an economy.
In 2003 analysts has determined that it would cost from $84 billion to nearly $500 to rebuild Iraq. *3 Amore recent study showed that the cost of war could top 2$ trillion. *4
Another recent report condemned that Pre-invasion reconstruction plan and described it as "mistakes made, plans poorly conceived or overwhelmed by ongoing violence " *5
A glimpse at the formal official reconstruction progress report according to the federal congress formed Special Inspector General for Iraqi Reconstruction SIGIR *6 shows that most of the challenges still persist.
A small Greenpeace team went to Iraq in June 2003 to discover the true extent of nuclear contamination that had resulted from the extensive looting of the nuclear facility at Tuwaitha near Baghdad...
The radioactive material found by the Greenpeace team was taken from the facility by scavengers from the local community who were unaware of its dangers but were seeking useful material for private purposes such as building material, scrap metal recycling, or for use as storage containers. Some of the material has been confirmed to be yellowcake, a slightly- radioactive uranium powder that is dangerous if inhaled. *7
"A major threat to the Iraqi people is the accumulation of physical damage to the country's environmental infrastructure," the U.N. Environment Program said in conjunction with the release of a study of Iraq.
The destruction of military hardware and factories during Iraq's various wars has released heavy metals and other dangerous substances into the air, soil and water. Smoke from oil-well fires and burning oil trenches during the current war caused localized air pollution and soil contamination.
Heavy bombing and the movement of large numbers of vehicles and troops also has degraded the ecosystem, UNEP said. "When the desert's hard-packed surface is disturbed, the underlying sand is exposed and often erodes or blows away." *8
As well as the looting of the oil fields by the armed insurgencies.
Oil fire in Southern Iraq.
While some of the extensive damage caused by the last Gulf war to the electricity infrastructure was repaired prior to last years war the situation was precarious. Sanctions led to a shortage of spare parts and an inability to carry out major maintenance.
Damage caused by the war and the subsequent looting to generators and transmission lines means that Iraq is currently only able to generate half the electricity its population actually needs and power cuts and blackouts are a daily occurrence in most areas.
There was also the complete destruction of the administrative side of this sector. Â€œin the present generation system in Iraq, the lack of normal environmental protection schemes poses a serious threat. Uncontrolled power station emissions and thermal pollution of waterways severely affect the local ecosystems and are among the problems that need addressing.
After almost 14 years of wars, international sanctions and governmental€™s stranglehold, the sector has virtually collapsed save for the lifelines of food and input studies. The war resulted in the complete collapse of technical support such as animal health centres and seed production facilities as well as the national distribution infrastructure. The two main fertilizer plants that supplied more than a half a million tons of fertilizer to farmers are out of commission. Damage to water pumps by bombing and subsequent looting as well as the lack of a sustained electricity supply are affecting the much needed irrigation of crops.
Concerns are now being raised about this yearâ€™s crop unless there is serious technical and financial investment in the industry.
Water and Sanitation
Although degraded by years of neglect in the 1990s, water and sewage treatment services were largely functional in Iraq before the war.
According to the UN/World Bank report: â€œAs a result of the 2003 conflict, the situationâ€¦ has deterioratedâ€¦ by 50% compared to the pre-war situation. In addition there was serious damage to the water networks, resulting in contaminated water supplyâ€¦ This was exacerbated by the collapse of the sewage network.
This situation was further exacerbated by the direct damage of power supply stations, office buildings, and other infrastructure. In addition to this, widespread looting, the collapse of management systems and operations and lack of maintenance all contributed *7
Health care system
A report surveys 13 Iraqi Hospitals to picture the continued deterioration of equipment, supplies, and staffing, further complicated by an astronomical increase in patients due to the violent nature of the situation in Iraq, the disastrous effect that the lack of basic services like water and electricity have on hospitals and the disruption of medical services at Iraqi hospitals by US military, and the brain drain Iraq faces where medical personnel and the well educated are fleeing the intolerable living conditions in Iraq.
Throughout Baghdad there are ongoing shortages of medicine of even the most basic items such as analgesics, antibiotics, anesthetics, and insulin. Surgical items are running out, as well as basic supplies like rubber gloves, gauze, and medical tape. *9 hospitals attempt to function in dismal conditions.
Adopted by the UN Security Council on 8 June 2004, Resolution 1546 stresses "the need for all parties to respect and protect Iraq's archaeological, historical, cultural, and religious heritage *10 Yet as early as April 2003, it was discovered that thousands of artifacts were discovered missing from the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad *11
3o of which are considered leading artifacts in the Iraqi heritage, and even though the US department of State made the pictures of those artifacts available online in hope to ensure their recovery they remain missing *12
Iraqi heritage being looted
24,865 civilians were reported killed in the first two years.
Men accounted for over 80% of all civilian deaths.
Baghdad alone recorded almost half of all deaths
30% of civilian deaths occurred during the invasion phase before 1 May 2003
Children were disproportionately affected by all explosive devices but most severely by air strikes and unexploded ordnance (including cluster bomblets) *13
A study, led by Dr. Les Roberts and a team of epidemiologists from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland was based on a survey of 1,849 households, containing 12,801 people, at 47 different locations chosen at random in Iraq. Teams of four Iraqi doctors â€” two men and two women â€” went from house to house and asked the residents if anybody had died in their family since January 2002 (15 months before the invasion).
If anybody had, they then inquired when and how the person had died. They asked for death certificates, and in 92 percent of cases the families produced them. Then the Johns Hopkins team of epidemiologists tabulated the statistics and drew their conclusions
Results showed that the deaths reported by the 12,801 people surveyed, when extrapolated to the entire country, indicates a range of between 426,369 and 793,663 excess deaths â€” but the sample is big enough that there is a 95% certainty that the true figure is within that range *14
Key points of the study include:
â€¢ Estimated 654,965 additional deaths in Iraq between March 2003 and July 2006
â€¢ Majority of the additional deaths (91.8 percent) caused by violence
â€¢ Males aged 15-44 years accounted for 59 percent of post-invasion violent deaths
â€¢ About half of the households surveyed were uncertain who was responsible for the death of a household member
â€¢ The proportion of deaths attributed to coalition forces diminished in 2006 to 26 percent. Between March 2003 and July 2006, households attributed 31 percent of deaths to the coalition
â€¢ Mortality data from the 2006 study reaffirms 2004 estimates by Hopkins researchers and mirrors upward trends measured by other organizations
â€¢ Researchers recommend establishment of an international body to calculate mortality and monitor health of people living in all regions affected by conflict *15
2,890 dead: (KIA).
22,021 wounded in action.
Human casualties only mentioned. Equipment is not a big deal.
American soldiers killed in Iraq till 19/02/2004
Casualties and deaths
Military Fatalities: By Time Period
*16 and Santa Barbara, in a place usually reserved for sunbathers and tourists, a memorial for fallen American soldiers stands on an acre of Pacific sand, where each Sunday volunteers array handmade wooden crosses in regimental columns to honor U.S. service members lost in Iraq.
Now, as the nation approaches the grim milestone of 3,000 war fatalities, the seaside memorial in one of California's most popular coastal destinations has reached a crossroads of its own. The group of veterans that organizes the weekly tribute has decided to stop adding crosses because it is struggling to keep pace with the tally of death.
It's a lost generation," said Melida Arredondo of Boston, after kneeling beside a cross dedicated to her stepson, a Marine killed by a sniper in 2004. *17
Unexploded ordnance from the most recent war is another huge problem. The US military estimated that they dropped 10,782 cluster bombs containing 1.8 million sub munitions on Iraq during the war with the British using over 2,000 that contained over 110,000 sub munitions. The UN estimate that in Baghdad alone there are 800 sites where munitions have been dumped or cluster bomb munitions8 â€“ all of which will require clearing. In just one month in one region of Iraq 250 casualties caused by unexploded ordnance were reported.
A report by Washington-based Refugees International said an influx of Iraqis threatened to overwhelm other Middle Eastern countries, particularly Syria, Jordon and Lebanon.
Last month, the UN estimated that 100,000 people were fleeing the country each month, with the number of Iraqis now living in other Arab countries standing at 1.8 million. Refugees International said the acceleration in the numbers fleeing Iraq meant it could soon overtake the refugee crisis in Darfur *18
As they leave Iraq at a rate of nearly 3,000 a day, the refugees are threatening the social and economic fabric of both Jordan and Syria. In Jordan, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are trying to blend into a country of only 6 million inhabitants, including about 1.5 million registered Palestinian refugees. The governments classify most of the Iraqis as visitors, not refugees.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimated in a report released last month that more than 1.6 million Iraqis have left since March 2003, nearly 7 percent of the population *19
Emotional status and psychological consequences
The Iraqi citizen was envied by his fellow Arab brother in the Arab countries, for his well being and the fast rate of growth of his country Iraq.
Indeed many Arabs has immigrated to Iraq in the 1980's to work there, they have chosen Iraq as it has appeared the paradise of any worker, many Arabs married Iraqi women and has blended in the Iraqi society, others came back to their native country with a fortune.
Aside from many vital facilities that has been destroyed, the Iraqi citizens feels destroyed within his spirit, as his land were trespassed many times by foreign forces.
The Iraqi citizen now feels that he cannot deal with internal issues of his country anymore; he is in need of extra foreign hand to revive him.
An Iraqi woman, weeping the death of her relative.
Unesco reports that The Education system in Iraq, prior to 1991, was one of the best in the region, with over 100% Gross Enrolment Rate for primary schooling and high levels of literacy, both of men and women. The Higher Education, especially the scientific and technological institutions, were of an international standard, staffed by high quality personnel.
Since that time education has suffered as a result of war, sanctions, and instability *20
Enrollment in Iraqi schools has risen every year since the American invasion, according to Iraqi government figures, reversing more than a decade of declines and offering evidence of increased prosperity for some Iraqis.
Despite the violence that has plagued Iraq since the American occupation began three years ago, its schools have been quietly filling. The number of children enrolled in schools nationwide rose by 7.4 percent from 2002 to 2005, and in middle schools and high schools by 27 percent in that time, according to figures from Iraq's Ministry of Education.
The increase, which has greatly outpaced modest population growth during the same period, is a bright spot in an otherwise gloomy landscape of bombs and killings that have shattered community life in many areas in western and central Iraq. And it is seen as an important indicator here in a country that used to pride itself on its education system but that saw enrollment and literacy fall during the later years of Saddam Hussein's rule.
But while life in Baghdad grows more paralyzed - it was the only province in the country where primary school enrollment fell - the figures for the rest of Iraq show that everyday life goes on, particularly in the largely peaceful south, which experienced the biggest jumps, with some regions having above 40 percent enrollment increases since 2002. *21
Sister Anne Montgomery examines the damage done to Yarmouk college, Iraq (photo: CPT)
The United States has made a massive commitment to the future
of Iraq in both blood and treasure, the world is yet to see the outcome of such a commitment especially with the cost of war elevating to $349,448,761,623 ,so far *22
The war became a nightmare for the average Iraqi and if it proves one thing, it proves that a war is easily started but never simply ends. A situation where the Iraqi measures "peace" by his waking up alive the next day along with the rest of his family.
As a matter of fact the whole picture of Iraq is not black as it seems, yes the death rate is climbing high very fast, and yes the insurgents are getting their acts together, but there is light at the end of the tunnel, there is hope, there is expectations that the world will wake up someday on the fact the Iraq became huge time bomb, millions of kids will grow up with no fear, millions of terrorists will be born in a matter of years.
Indeed the world will wake up someday rushing to put out the fire in Iraq before it extends to the whole planet.