Iraq: Lack of Security and Deteriorating Conditions

Author and Page information

  • by Anup Shah
  • This Page Last Updated Sunday, September 10, 2006

This web page has the following sub-sections:

  1. Resistance, Militants, Insurgency
  2. Concerns About Inhumane Treatment of Civilians and Detainees
  3. Torture Revelations
  4. Fighting in Fallujah
  5. Deteriorating Living Conditions for Iraqis
  6. The Future Does Not Look Good

Resistance, Militants, Insurgency

Ever since the war ended, British and American forces have faced a rising death toll from groups fighting back. These groups have been characterized as being from isolated groups, to fully organized units that are pro-Saddam, or fighting the occupation. At time of writing, in the mainstream, it appears a bit vague as to the nature of these groups, but there is already talk of coalition forces being bogged down in a quagmire, evoking the days of the Vietnam war. Whether that is premature or not is early to say, but already the loss of American and British lives is raising questions in those countries about the progress of various aspects of post-war Iraq, such as setting up an Iraqi government.

As former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter notes, not all the resistance is foreign in nature:

The growing number, sophistication, and diversity of attacks on US forces suggests that the resistance is growing and becoming more organized—clear evidence that the US may be losing the struggle for the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people.

To properly assess the nature of the anti-American resistance in Iraq today, one must remember that the majority of pro-regime forces, especially those military units most loyal to Hussein, as well as the entirety of the Iraqi intelligence and security forces, never surrendered. They simply melted away.

Despite upbeat statements from the Bush administration to the contrary, the reality is that the Hussein regime was not defeated in the traditional sense, and today shows signs of reforming to continue the struggle against the US-led occupiers in a way that plays to its own strengths, and exploits US weakness.

Scott Ritter, Defining the Resistance in Iraq—It’s Not foreign and It’s Well Prepared, Christian Science Monitor, November 10, 2003

There have also been criticisms of the conduct of the coalition forces in Iraq from various angles. For example, there has been signs of finger-pointing as if it were, between American and British forces, about why Baghdad has had such high crime levels and lack of security compared to other parts of the country, as The Guardian reported (May 24, 2003).

There have been so many incidents of attacks on U.S. troops that it would be futile to attempt to mention them all. Yet, it is not just U.S. troops under attack, but aid workers, foreign/western jounalists, and even Iraqis themselves, being kidnapped, and in many outrageous cases, beheaded. U.S. forces using “precision bombing” where civilians are killed for the world to see, further fuels outrage, and gives militants excuse for more insurgency. As Newsweek suggests, it’s worse than you think, and “insurgents are still getting stronger”

The Guardian also notes that Most senior US military officers now believe the war on Iraq has turned into a disaster on an unprecedented scale.

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Concerns About Inhumane Treatment of Civilians and Detainees

There have also been concerns at the inhumane treatment of civilians and detainees. For example:

  • The Observer, part of the Guardian newspaper in UK, reported (May 25, 2003) that, “The United States is illegally holding thousands of Iraqi prisoners of war and other captives without access to human rights officials at compounds close to Baghdad airport.”
  • Some of these are civilian they also pointed out.
  • In addition, they add that “The International Committee of the Red Cross so far has been denied access to what the organisation believes could be as many as 3,000 prisoners held in searing heat. All other requests to inspect conditions under which prisoners are being held have been met with silence or been turned down.”
  • The article also discussed possible inhumane treatment of prisoners, which also goes against the Geneva Conventions.
  • Amnesty International, likewise, raises concerns though differs on the estimated number of people held, but claims that “Iraqis taken prisoner by coalition forces have been tortured, and about 2,000 are still detained without any outside contact”, as reported by Inter Press Service (May 16, 2003).

As further examples of the effect the lack of security has had, consider a documentary aired by BBC on September 28, 2003, in their regular Panorama program that followed a number of American troops in Baghdad for three months:

  • The documentary describes the soldiers as those who came to help rebuild but found themselves sucked into an urban guerilla war, instead.
  • It also noted that the people of Baghdad’s gratitude over liberation is in danger of being squandered amidst a deepening unease over occupation.
  • The documentary also featured the last television interview with UN Special Envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello, just 48 hours before his office was destroyed in a car bomb attack.
  • The documentary noted various examples of increasing tension and for various reasons, U.S. soldiers reacting badly. For example:
    • A mass protest of some 400,000 ex-Iraqi soldiers had taken place due to being dismissed without pay.
    • As the protests got louder and more angry, the U.S. army shot into the crowd, killing someone.
    • Their press release claimed that they believed someone had a weapon and shot at them, and they were retaliating, but an interview with a U.S. military doctor at the scene said he heard no shots.
    • A “morale deficit” was leading to a “shoot first, ask later” scenario, even though it wasn’t something U.S. troops wanted to happen.
    • Of many reasons for the low morale of the U.S. troops, one was the lack of support from their superiors, some of whom, the documentary also noted, were living in those lavish palaces, that were once the subject of criticism when Saddam Hussein was living in them.
    • One soldier admitted that the lack of support from above, meant in turn, that they took some of their frustrations out on Iraq civilians, which, while they didn’t want that to happen, was hard to avoid. The documentary showed some disturbing or violent scenes or in appropriate level of beating or aggression by U.S. forces, and very angry Iraqis in return, vowing all sorts of things against American troops.
    • In effect, the U.S. military personnel on the streets had to perform many roles that they were not trained or prepared for.
    • Sergio Vieira de Mello noted that a military is not equipped or meant for rebuilding, but for attack or defence.
    • Many times the documentary showed interviews with head of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) that is the name given by the U.S.-led occupation forces, headed by Paul Bremer, who, when confronted by claims of being removed from what was happening on the streets, would simply reply that this was not the case, etc.
    • Iraq, being one of the wealthiest countries in the Middle East was now described and shown by the Panorama team as lacking basic facilities such as waste management. The busiest hospital in Baghdad was shown to be almost completely empty and unusable because power was being tapped away by nearby residents, because they didn’t have any of their own.
    • Restoring power to pre-war levels, which the documentary pointed out as being one of the obligations of an occupying power was proving difficult.
    • Iraqis couldn’t understand, the documentary pointed out, how such a mighty superpower couldn’t even get this done.
    • The violence and deteriorating security situation was also highlighted by filming a morgue, where what used to be about 5 bodies a day during Saddam’s regime, was now seeing as many as 45 per day.
    • During Saddam’s reign, anyone shooting guns in the air at weddings or funerals etc would have been jailed or put to death, an Iraqi said on the program. Instead now, it happened all the time, with the reporter noting a loud series of gun shots going on for half an hour, with the U.S. troops helpless to do anything about it, and the documentary suggesting that troops were losing control and violent segments of Iraqi resistance getting bolder as a result.
    • The documentary showed what Mello described as “unnecesarily rough” treatment of detainees, using hoods over detainees, bare cells with no beddings, etc. which Paul Bremer just shrugged off.
    • Soldiers seemed passionate about why they were there, but some methods used by soldiers raised questions about their suitability to peacekeeping as Mello and the documentary raised on various occassions.
  • While there were signs of development and reconstruction, lack of security was undermining all this.
  • Soldiers were seen firing on a busy group of Iraqi onlookers near a skirmish, killing at least one. These onlookers were not in the direction of the skirmish.
  • When asked how many Iraqi civilians had died, CPA head Paul Bremer said he was not keeping count. As mentioned further above on this page, Iraqi civilian casualties has not been something followed by the U.S.
  • The claim that attacks on occupation forces were by Saddam Hussein and Ba’ath loyalists looked increasingly unrealistic, the documentary said.

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Torture Revelations

One year on from the above concerns of abuse and torture, the U.S. and British governments appeared surprisingly to be stunned about new revelations of torture.

In May, 2004, a scandal broke where pictures were revealed in major newspapers around the world, of coalition troops committing torture on Iraqi prisoners and gloating about it.

The major incidents published worldwide were about U.S. troops. There was also a scandal about British troops. The editor of The Mirror newspaper was sacked for publishing hoax photos of British troops abusing Iraqi troops. The anti-war tabloid paper had fallen victim to a “calculated and malicious hoax” it said in a statement.

But two other types of issues came out from this hoax:

  • On the one hand, as critics noted, such lies provided excuses for retaliating against occupation forces, thus endangering lives of soldiers doing their job.
  • However, it turned out that even if these photos were a hoax, it was later spun as a reconstruction of real events (though that did not save the paper’s editor). But the event revealed that there were other soldiers who had expressed such concern, and that the British government knew about such problems some time ago, as raised by human rights groups such as Amnesty International and the International Red Cross.

Furthermore, as Media Lens notes, the sacking highlights another contradiction: those that have inadvertently produced lies that are pro-war are usually unaffected compared to those that have inadvertently produced lies that are anti-war.

The scandal about U.S. troops torturing Iraqis in the Abu Ghraib detention center and elsewhere has put the Pentagon and the Bush Administration on the defensive. Many are debating whether this whole saga was from “a few bad apples” where it was an isolated case of some soldiers committing deplorable acts, or whether this was indeed official policy coming from very high up. It would be futile to try and investigate all those points here, and the mainstream media appears to be pursuing this in detail:

  • U.S. Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld claimed he was “stunned” by the grotesque revelations of abuse. However, it turns out that groups such as Amnesty International are pointing out that the U.S. has known about these and it should not be a new revelation:

    ... Amnesty International said that abuses allegedly committed by US agents in the Abu Ghraib facility in Baghdad were war crimes and called on the administration to fully investigate them to ensure that there is no impunity for anyone found responsible regardless of position or rank.

    Despite claims this week by Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld to be “stunned” by abuses in Abu Ghraib, and that these were an “exception” and “not a pattern or practice”, Amnesty International has presented consistent allegations of brutality and cruelty by US agents against detainees at the highest levels of the US Government, including the White House, the Department of Defense, and the State Department for the past two years.

    USA: Pattern of brutality and cruelty — war crimes at Abu Ghraib, Amnesty International Canada, 7 May 2004
  • Veteran journalist, Seymour Hersh, perhaps produced the most visible damning report to date, in The New Yorker citing intelligence sources that the decision to use torture ultimately came right from the top, maybe not in those words, but in the way policy was formulated. Furthermore, harsh interrogation policies had been devised in secret for a long time. Citing Hersh at length:

    The roots of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal lie not in the criminal inclinations of a few Army reservists but in a decision, approved last year by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, to expand a highly secret operation, which had been focussed on the hunt for Al Qaeda, to the interrogation of prisoners in Iraq....

    According to interviews with several past and present American intelligence officials, the Pentagon’s operation, known inside the intelligence community by several code words, including Copper Green, encouraged physical coercion and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners in an effort to generate more intelligence about the growing insurgency in Iraq. A senior C.I.A. official, in confirming the details of this account last week, said that the operation stemmed from Rumsfeld’s long-standing desire to wrest control of America’s clandestine and paramilitary operations from the C.I.A.

    ...Who was in charge of Abu Ghraib — whether military police or military intelligence — was no longer the only question that mattered. Hard-core special operatives, some of them with aliases, were working in the prison. The military police assigned to guard the prisoners wore uniforms, but many others — military intelligence officers, contract interpreters, C.I.A. officers, and the men from the special-access program — wore civilian clothes. It was not clear who was who, even to Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, then the commander of the 800th Military Police Brigade, and the officer ostensibly in charge.

    ...In a separate interview, a Pentagon consultant, who spent much of his career directly involved with special-access programs, spread the blame. “The White House subcontracted this to the Pentagon, and the Pentagon subcontracted it to Cambone,” he said. “This is Cambone’s deal, but Rumsfeld and Myers approved the program.” When it came to the interrogation operation at Abu Ghraib, he said, Rumsfeld left the details to [Stephen] Cambone, [U.S. Under-Secretary for Intelligence]. Rumsfeld may not be personally culpable, the consultant added, “but he’s responsible for the checks and balances. The issue is that, since 9/11, we’ve changed the rules on how we deal with terrorism, and created conditions where the ends justify the means.”

    ...One puzzling aspect of Rumsfeld’s account of his initial reaction to news of the Abu Ghraib investigation was his lack of alarm and lack of curiosity. One factor may have been recent history: there had been many previous complaints of prisoner abuse from organization like Human Rights Watch and the International Red Cross, and the Pentagon had weathered them with ease. Rumsfeld told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he had not been provided with details of alleged abuses until late March, when he read the specific charges. “You read it, as I say, it’s one thing. You see these photographs and it’s just unbelievable. . . . It wasn’t three-dimensional. It wasn’t video. It wasn’t color. It was quite a different thing.” The former intelligence official said that, in his view, Rumsfeld and other senior Pentagon officials had not studied the photographs because “they thought what was in there was permitted under the rules of engagement,” as applied to the sap. [A special-access program — subject to the U.S. Defense Department’s most stringent level of security] “The photos,” he added, “turned out to be the result of the program run amok.”

    The former intelligence official made it clear that he was not alleging that Rumsfeld or General Myers knew that atrocities were committed. But, he said, “it was their permission granted to do the sap, generically, and there was enough ambiguity, which permitted the abuses.”

    ...The former intelligence official told me he feared that one of the disastrous effects of the prison-abuse scandal would be the undermining of legitimate operations in the war on terror, which had already suffered from the draining of resources into Iraq....

    “In an odd way,” Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, said, “the sexual abuses at Abu Ghraib have become a diversion for the prisoner abuse and the violation of the Geneva Conventions that is authorized.” Since September 11th, Roth added, the military has systematically used third-degree techniques around the world on detainees. “Some jags [Judge Advocate Generals, senior military legal officers] hate this and are horrified that the tolerance of mistreatment will come back and haunt us in the next war,” Roth told me. “We’re giving the world a ready-made excuse to ignore the Geneva Conventions. Rumsfeld has lowered the bar.”

    Seymour M. Hersh, The Gray Zone: How A Secret Pentagon Program Came to Abu Ghraib, The New Yorker, May 15, 2004 (for the May 24, 2004 Edition)
  • Newsweek International also makes similar claims to Hersh whereby the policies that led to torture were set out after 9/11 when Washington wrote new rules to fight a new kind of war.
  • Senators in the U.S. had privately been shown many, many more pictures of horrific torture. At the time of writing, the Pentagon is resisting releasing even more pictures.
  • Appearing to be in retaliation for these terrible acts, extremists responded in cruel fashion in Iraq by beheaded an American captive (which groups such as Amnesty International likewise condemned).
  • Yet, as with some British soldiers, some American soldiers are coming forward with abuse stories and claims of cover-ups, The Sacramento Bee for example, interviewed a staff sergeant who was in Iraq but then resigned because he had raised concern about what was going on and that U.S. troops were killing many civilians. “We killed a lot of innocent people” in Iraq, the soldier noted in an interview As ABC News reported, they had spoken to a witness who had revealed a possible coverup but was stripped of his security clearance and told he may face prosecution because his comments were “not in the national interest.” It is ironic that standing up against incredible pressure for some truth would result in such an excuse of “national interests”. The torture tactics themselves should not be in the “national interest” in the first place, itself, it could be argued.
  • It turns out also, that women have also been raped, some made pregnant, resulting in their suicide or killings when eventually released:

    Astonishingly, the secret inquiry launched by the US military in January, headed by Major General Antonio Taguba, has confirmed that the letter [claiming US guards had been raping women detainees, some of whom were now pregnant] smuggled out of Abu Ghraib by a woman known only as “Noor” was entirely and devastatingly accurate. While most of the focus since the scandal broke three weeks ago has been on the abuse of men, and on their sexual humilation in front of US women soldiers, there is now incontrovertible proof that women detainees — who form a small but unknown proportion of the 40,000 people in US custody since last year’s invasion — have also been abused. Nobody appears to know how many. But among the 1,800 digital photographs taken by US guards inside Abu Ghraib there are, according to Taguba’s report, images of a US military policeman “having sex” with an Iraqi woman.

    … Honour killings are not unusual in Islamic society, where rape is often equated with shame and where the stigma of being raped by an American soldier would, according to one Islamic cleric, be “unbearable”. The prospects for rape victims in Iraq are grave; it is hardly surprising that no women have so far come forward to talk about their experiences in US-run jails where abuse was rife until early January.

    … According to Swadi [one of seven female lawyers now representing women detainees in Abu Ghraib], who managed to visit Abu Ghraib in late March, the allegations against the women [as to why they are at the prison] are “absurd”. “One of them is supposed to be the mistress of the former director of the Mukhabarat. In fact, she’s a widow who used to own a small shop. She also worked as a taxi driver, ferrying children to and from kindergarten. If she really had a relationship with the director of the Mukhabarat, she would scarcely be running a kiosk. These are baseless charges,” she adds angrily. “She is the only person who can provide for her children.”

    The women appear to have been arrested in violation of international law — not because of anything they have done, but merely because of who they are married to, and their potential intelligence value. US officials have previously acknowledged detaining Iraqi women in the hope of convincing male relatives to provide information; when US soldiers raid a house and fail to find a male suspect, they will frequently take away his wife or daughter instead.

    Luke Harding, The Other Prisoners, The Guardian, May 20, 2004
    Note that in the above there is an implication that the U.S. may also be blackmailing Iraqis by threatening their wives, etc.

U.S. News and World Report summarized a major review that found pressure for torture came right from the top because of the need to squeeze intelligence out of detainees:

The most comprehensive view yet of what went wrong at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison, based on a review of all 106 classified annexes to the report of Major General Antonio Taguba, shows abuses were facilitated — and likely encouraged — by a chaotic and dangerous environment made worse by constant pressure from Washington to squeeze intelligence from detainees.

Daily life at Abu Ghraib, the documents show, included riots, prisoner escapes, shootings, corrupt Iraqi guards, filthy conditions, sexual misbehavior, bug-infested food, prisoner beatings and humiliations, and almost-daily mortar shellings from Iraqi insurgents. Troubles inside the prison were made worse still by a military command structure that was hopelessly broken.

U.S. News Obtains All Classified Annexes to the Taguba Report on Abu Ghraib, U.S. News and World Report, July 9, 2004

In discussing both Iraq and the wider war on terror, in early September 2006, President Bush acknowledged for the first time that the CIA has been operating a secret network of overseas prisons. However, he denied that the U.S. ever uses torture but he admitted the CIA had used what he described as alternative procedures to force some prisoners to talk.

Radio station Democracy Now! talked to an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights who noted the following:

And when [President Bush] says the United States doesn’t torture and I never authorize torture, that is a very interesting word play, because all of the government’s documents, all of the White House documents, go to this issue of redefining torture in a way that we don’t define it in the United States or in the world. And that definition says torture only occurs when someone’s at the risk of immediate full organ failure or death. So that’s the word “torture” that the president is using. That’s not our constitutional definition of torture. That’s not the international definition of torture. And you know what? That’s not the American people’s definition of torture.

Barbara Olshansky, As CIA Detainees Transferred to Guantanamo, President Bush Acknowledges Secret Prisons, Interviewed by Democracy Now!, September 7, 2006

Campaign organization, Alliance for Justice has created this short video looking at the role lawyers played in authorizing torture, and calls for a full investigation of those who ordered, designed, and justified torture:

Tortured Law, Alliance for Justice, October 7, 2009

An irony in this is that one of the justifications for the war (later on, when the Weapons of Mass Destruction argument was meeting stern criticism) was that Iraq had to be freed from the tyrant, Saddam Hussein. There is no argument that Saddam Hussein was a tyrant, especially in earlier decades (with U.S. support, as mentioned before). Yet, in the views of many Iraqis, how are things different now if torture still continues, especially in the name of freedom and other such values?

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Fighting in Fallujah

In the city of Fallujah, April 2004 saw some of the worst fighting, where many civilians as well as American soldiers were killed. As reported by the International Herald Tribune, the manner of this military operation as well as others have drawn considerable criticism of the U.S. by Iraqis. Reporting on this the Tribune noted common perceptions of the U.S. by Iraqis:

  • That the fighting in Falluja had proven the occupiers to be barbarians;
  • that encircling Najaf to capture a rebel cleric was a step toward violating one of the holiest cities in Shiite Islam;
  • and that the nearly three-week-old uprising—and the American failure to handle it—had essentially turned Iraq back to last summer’s lawlessness.

In Falluja alone, as The Guardian notes:

For the past three weeks, around 2,000 troops from the US 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, supported by jet fighters and attack helicopters, have carried out the most ferocious urban street fighting in Iraq since the start of the war last year.

The battle has taken a horrific toll. Doctors in Falluja say up to 600 people have died. The US military says more than 100 of its troops have been killed in combat in Iraq since April 1, many in the battle for Falluja. More American soldiers have died in Iraq this month than in the war against Saddam Hussein a year ago.

Inside Falluja, a city of 300,000, the marines prevented access to the city’s only hospital for more than two weeks. Dozens of houses were destroyed, mosques were bombed and clerics turned a football ground beside the Euphrates into a crude cemetery.

Rory McCarthy, Uneasy truce in the city of ghosts, The Guardian, April 24, 2004

The Guardian also described it as “US military’s bloodiest battle in Iraq”. And it was to avenge the murder and mutilation of four U.S. security guards contracted for a company there with what Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, deputy director of operations for the US military in Iraq, promised to be an “overwhelming” response. “We will pacify that city,” he said. The U.S. indeed seems to have done that, to the anger of many Iraqis.

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Deteriorating Living Conditions for Iraqis

On May 9, 2003, the United Nations reported that in Iraq’s second largest city, Basra, there were now fears of a cholera epidemic because of the current security situation and the difficulty in restoring safe water supplies, weeks after the war had ended. The same news report also noted that many could be left homeless, due to the eviction of Palestinian refugees.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports (May 24, 2003) that in some parts of Iraq, women are losing freedoms in the chaos of postwar Iraq. Inter Press Service (IPS) adds at the beginning of October, 2003, that in effect, women’s rights have been put on hold.

IPS also reported (June 30, 2003) that 27 million Iraqis, or virutally 100 percent of the Iraqi population are now entirely dependent upon food aid. Before the war started in March, it was about 60 percent of the population.

In October 2003, a study by the medical charity Medact said that the consequences of the war in Iraq on people’s health may be felt for generations. It noted, amongst many other things that:

  • “The impact of war on health is usually assessed primarily in terms of its most direct and visible effects—death and injury through conflict.”
  • In the period between March 20 and October 20, 2003, between 7,800 and 9,600 Iraqi civilians are estimated to have died from death and injury through conflict, and 394 Coalition combatants. Estimates of the number of Iraqi military deaths range from 13,500—45,000.
  • Yet, “The full effects of war are, however, felt through many other less direct but potentially equally deadly or more deadly pathways. Here the death toll and disease burden could be numbered in tens of thousands. Yet it may never be known for certain, owing to the lack of accurate data, lack of functioning health information systems, lack of commitment to collecting or disseminating the data, and the absence of agreed conceptual models for measuring the effects of conflict on health.”
  • Noting the principle that health and health care are fundamental social rights, the study also suggested a re-establishment of an Iraqi health sector.
    • Given the deteriorating conditions where people are generally worse off then before the war, the importance of this is more urgent.
    • The report also noted that Europe and Japan benefitted from investment in a public health system after World War II.
    • Instead, in Iraq, the Coalition administration and other agencies are proceeding in an “uncoordinated and fragmented way” In addition, “There is also a reported policy intention to model the future health system on the American model of commercialised and market-oriented health care, and little commitment to exploring the various options of rebuilding and restructuring the health system through an Iraqi-led process.”

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The Future Does Not Look Good

As the New York Times reported at the end of September, 2004, U.S. government officials spoke of a classified National Intelligence Estimate prepared for President Bush in late July. This Intelligence Estimate spells out a dark assessment of prospects for Iraq.

The estimates ranged from the best scenario saw an Iraq whose stability would remain tenuous in political, economic and security terms. The worst scenario saw civil war. These conclusions were reached before the recent violence, as well.

Two years on from the above concern, and the continued violence points towards civil war, as the mounting sectarian violence continues to take its toll daily, almost 100 people per day dying. As reported by the Associated Press at the start of September 2006, a Pentagon report described spreading sectarian violence and increasingly complex security problems in Iraq and that “death squads increasingly targeting mainly Iraqi civilians heighten the risk of civil war.” The AP noted in the same report that President Bush tried to paint a rosier picture, though acknowledged some of the existing troubles.

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During the war, it was reported well how employees from the Ministry of Information in Iraq had to accompany foreign journalists and were often trying to obstruct them in their work. Some of the most ludicrous forms of blatant propaganda and lies came from the ministry’s spokespeople. And yet in terms of propaganda upon the Iraq people, could there be a worse irony than the following:

Almost all of the bureaucrats at the information ministry have done very nicely for themselves since the war. The government minders who spent their days reporting to the intelligence services on foreign reporters or doing their best to obstruct their work have gone on to well-paid jobs—for the same foreign news organisations they once hounded.

The second-in-command at the information ministry, who spent his days reading the reports the minders wrote about visiting foreign journalists, has been employed by Fox News.

Suzanne Goldenberg, Everywhere and nowhere, Saddam retains his grip on Baghdad’s imagination, The Guardian, October 9, 2003

Side Note

To further add to the irony, Fox News was described by media watchdog, Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting, as the most biased name in news.

Where next?

This article is part of the following collection:

Author and Page Information

  • by Anup Shah
  • Created: Sunday, March 30, 2003
  • Last Updated: Sunday, September 10, 2006

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Document Revision History

DateReason
September 10, 2006As sectarian violence increases, the Pentagon predicts a possible civil war as one of the realistic outcomes. More also added about torture revelations (that Bush claims the US doesn’t do torture, but conveniently uses a definition of torture that most do not accept).
September 28, 2004The situation seems to be getting worse, not better
July 31, 2004Torture report reveals pressure from Washington to squeeze out intelligence from detainees in effect encouraged more torture
May 21, 2004Overview and issues regarding torture revelations by American and British troops and the impact on the British paper that revealed some of this.
April 24, 2004Added a bit about the violence in Falluja

Alternatives for broken links

Sometimes links to other sites may break beyond my control. Where possible, alternative links are provided to backups or reposted versions here.