17 March 2013, 21:26

George W. Bush 'made bungles on Iraq' - Pentagon chief Wolfowitz

George W. Bush 'made bungles on Iraq' - Pentagon chief Wolfowitz

The former deputy Pentagon chief Paul Wolfowitz has conceded that a series of blunders by George W. Bush's administration plunged Iraq into a cycle of violence that "spiralled out of control".

In an interview with The Sunday Times, he said there "should have been Iraqi leadership from the beginning", rather than a 14-month occupation led by an American viceroy and based on "this idea that we're going to come in like (General Douglas) MacArthur in Japan and write the constitution for them".

"The most consequential failure was to understand the tenacity of Saddam's regime," he said.

Dr Wolfowitz denied he was "the architect" of the Iraq invasion. "It wasn't conducted according to my plan."

According to several insider accounts of Washington policy-making in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz was one of the first to call for an attack on Iraq as well as on Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

Now a think-tank analyst, the neo-conservative has come closer than most to admitting that the public case for war was designed to maximize support for the invasion.

"For reasons that have a lot to do with the US government bureaucracy we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on, which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason," he said.

 


War in Iraq: dubious anniversary

This March is marking a dubious anniversary. 10 years ago, the US started a military operation in Iraq. Recently, Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Stuart Bowen presented a report to the US Congress, where he sums up the results of the war in Iraq. From this report, one can conclude that what the world gained from this war is hardly worth the gigantic sums that the US spent on it.

Since its invasion in Iraq on March 20, 2003, the US spent more than $ 800 bln on this war. However, no money losses, however colossal they may be, can be compared with the losses of human lives. About 5,500 US servicemen and freelance contractors were killed in this war. The exact number of killed Iranians can hardly be calculated. According to various estimations, from 90,000 to 120,000 civilians were killed in Iraq from 2003 to 2012.

“The fact that the money that the US spent on this war was spent in vain is not the worst thing,” Russian analyst Alexander Ignatenko says. “A much worse thing is that the US’s actions in Iraq have resulted in very bad consequences that are now very hard to be improved.”

“For all his features of a totalitarian ruler, Saddam Hussein led a policy of making Iraq a secular state. Even after ousting Hussein, the US, at first, had a chance to support the policy of a secular Iraq. However, instead of that, the US worked out first a temporary and, then, a permanent constitution for Iraq, which made it a confessional state. This caused a conflict, which can be called a real war, between Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq, which is still going on.”

At present, supporters of the already executed Saddam Hussein, who are mainly Sunnis, are concentrated in Iraq’s northwest.

It can be said without much exaggeration that Iraq is now at the brink of a collapse. The Kurdish part of Iraq, is, in fact, ignoring the government in Bagdad. Last spring, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan Erbil started to supply its oil to Turkey, although the government in Bagdad was against this. The authorities of Basra, a province in Iraq’s south that also has oil, do not hide it that they want to make Basra a separate state. In the provinces of Kirkuk and Mosul, clashes between Sunnis and Shiites constantly take place. The border between the Iraqi province of Anbar and Syria is practically controlled by Iraqi and Syrian Islamists, who are linked with Al Qaeda.

Although, as it was mentioned, Iraq produces a lot of oil, at present, it is experiencing serious problems with fuel, as well as with electric power.

When the US attacked Iraq 10 years ago, it did this under the pretext that the Saddam Hussein regime allegedly presented a threat because it had chemical weapons. This alleged threat was in fact very dubious, because no feasible evidence of chemical weapons in Iraq has been found so far. However, the threat to stability in the Middle East, which the situation in Iraq is presenting now because of that US attack, is much bigger than the threat from these alleged chemical weapons.

An expert in Middle Eastern affairs Sergey Seregichev says:

“Unfortunately, the situation in Iraq will most likely only worsen in the future. The US forceful interference in Iraq, Libya and Syria only aggravated the situation in these countries.”

Voice of Russia, The Sunday Times, The Australian, AFP

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