Rooted in Reason: Nurturing the Seeds of Liberty


It’s not even close to being over! by grassroothawaii
September 2, 2010, 9:44 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

By Hideo Hikida

On 8/31/2011, President Obama declared an end to combat operations in Iraq, saying that the priority now lies in rebuilding our own country and economy. Stopping short of declaring victory in Iraq, Obama reminded the public as well as the people of Iraq that while control of security and ultimately, the country is now in the hands of the Iraqis, such progress has come at a huge price. As many as 50,000 soldiers will still remain in Iraq to help train Iraqi forces, while the United States will continue to pump currency into the foreign economy to stimulate growth and peace.

With the end of combat operations in Iraq, the President made it clear that the #1 priority the nation faces is to rebuild the economy that has handcuffed the growth of this country. In that light, Obama said his administration would focus on jobs, education and entrepreneurship, without offering any specific initiatives.

I couldn’t help but notice the cruel irony in the fact that just days before the President made his speech on Tuesday, a stunning audit released by the special Inspector General of Iraq Reconstruction detailed billions of dollars that have gone to waste in Iraq. Among the highlights was a $40 million empty prison, a $165 million unused children’s hospital, and a $100 million waste water treatment plant that went 3x over budget that still hasn’t done its job as evidenced by sewage running through the streets of Fallujah.

As the U.S. leaves Iraq, the bill that we have paid for is more than $5 billion in American taxpayer funds  — more than 10 percent of the some $50 billion the U.S. has spent on reconstruction in Iraq, according to audits from a U.S. watchdog agency. The shocking part of this is the fact that the above number might actually be an underestimate as it does not take into account the cost of security. The US strategy on rebuilding Iraq was to reach out to the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people by showing them unparalleled examples of our goodwill. America has committed billions of dollars and numerous lives to help rebuild Iraq, and the jury still seems to be out on whether the Iraqis like us for real or not. As we leave Iraq, the United States Government has left hundreds of projects unfinished to the local government, leaving the locals scratching their heads as to what to do with these unfinished buildings they clearly do not have the currency to complete. Leaving behind our mistakes and trash for the Iraqis to pick up doesn’t seem to be the best way to go about winning the hearts and minds of the locals.

The main problem with all of these projects is the fact that Iraq simply does not have the infrastructure to support such large scale rebuilding in the American image. Buildings in Iraq have been built as if they were to be built on American soil, not taking into account the decreased capacity of Iraq’s electrical grid among other things. While the vision and concept art might have looked good on paper, it seems that we’ve had to learn the hard way that America simply cannot build anything, anywhere without the proper infrastructure and economy to support it. Let alone, we can’t forget the fact that there is still a sizable population in the country that plain hates anything America.

Granted, we have had many significant strides in Iraq. I’m undoubtedly sure that we have made a lasting, positive impact on the people of Iraq. I firmly believe that we have changed the country for the better, and in turn made the Middle Eastern Region a little safer that it was back in 2003. The only thing is that we just went about bringing about that change in the wrong way which in the end made us over-commit militarily and economically. Did it help bring about the current economic downfall that we have been facing for the last couple of years? No doubt.

Obama has undoubtedly lifted a heavy burden off his shoulders by ending combat operations in Iraq. This in turn allows the United States Military to concentrate in Afghanistan (that’s for another day…), and it also allows Obama to direct more of his time to think about what he can do to turn this country around. Let’s just hope that he doesn’t get too distracted with college football season coming up…because we all know how he feels about the BCS. (once again, a topic for another day)

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2 Comments so far
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i don’t think we have done anything constructive in Iraq.regrettably,our gov’t. with the help of so called NATO have managed to kill millions of people in iraq and turn portions of their country into toxic killing fields.

Comment by shaftalley

it’s not over until we file charges against bush/chaney for crimes against humanity.

Comment by shaftalley




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