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April 04, 2004

Why Iraqi People Hate Bush/Bremer

Listen to the enemies of the United States and you won't be surprised that the rebellion against the Occupation continues to grow. But listen to the friends of the US and you'll understand why it's likely to explode. Take this comment by the head of the PEPSI Bottling company in Baghdad, a man whose two brothers were executed by Saddam Hussein, and who celebrated the US invasion. But now:

"All the trouble in Iraq is because of Bremer," Khamis told me, flanked by a line-up of 30 Pepsi and 7-Up bottles. "He didn't listen to Iraqis. He doesn't know anything about Iraq. He destroyed the country and tried to rebuild it again, and now we are in chaos."...

His list of grievances against the occupation is long: corruption in the awarding of reconstruction contracts, the failure to stop the looting; the failure to secure Iraq's borders - both from foreign terrorists and from unregulated foreign imports. Iraqi companies, still suffering from the sanctions and the looting, have been unable to compete.

Most of all, Khamis is worried about how these policies have fed the country's unemployment crisis, creating far too many desperate people. He also notes that Iraqi police officers are paid less than half what he pays his assembly line workers, "which is not enough to survive"., The normally soft-spoken Khamis becomes enraged when talking about the man in charge of "rebuilding" Iraq. "Paul Bremer has caused more damage than the war, because the bombs can damage a building but if you damage people there is no hope."

The article by Naomi Klein which details these comments also details all the ways the US is making a mockery of the supposed hand-over of power to the Coalition Provisional Authority on June 30th.
  • The $18.4 billion promised by the US for reconstruction will not be administered by the Iraqi government, but instead directly controlled by the US embassy.
  • At the end of March, Bremer passed yet another law further opening up Iraq's economy to foreign ownership, a law that Iraq's next government is prohibited from changing under the terms of the interim constitution.
  • Bremer also announced the establishment of several independent regulators, which will drastically reduce the power of Iraqi government ministries. For example, the new government will be prohibited from modifying the Iraq cell phone contracts granted by the US government.
  • US engineers will begin construction on 14 "enduring bases" in Iraq, capable of housing the 110,000 soldiers who will be posted here for at least two more years.
  • Bremer has issued an executive order stating that even after the interim Iraqi government has been established, the Iraqi army will answer to US commander Lt General Ricardo Sanchez.

    So having starved the government of money and authority, what will the Iraqi government control?

    The hospitals.

    The US is happy to take no responsiblity for the crippled and sick, since they are not a profit center for its corporate contractors.

    So the US will keep control of the infrastructure of the country, while leaving the decrepit hospitals and the inevitable deaths from neglect to the Iraqis.

    These are sick, undemocratic people in the Bush White House. They have no respect for real democracy in Iraq, and, as their lies here at home show, none for it here in the United States.

    The rightwing can remain enraged at myself or Kos for condemning the Bush administration, but it is their stupid actions who are costing our soldiers their lives.

    Posted by Nathan at April 4, 2004 05:29 PM