Growing Unrest in the Military
As the United States military continues to fight what has recently been described as a “classic guerilla war” in Iraq, discontent within the military has started to grow. Articles are beginning to appear with some frequency that point to a fairly widespread lack of morale within the military, two articles this week report troops being threatened with deployment to Iraq if they did not enlist as well as 635 National Guard soldiers under lockdown due to low morale as a result of being assigned to Iraq. It has also been reported that a growing number of soldiers are saying that they will vote against Bush in the upcoming election and that they blame him for a “misguided” war. One army reservist is sueing Donald Rumsfeld over the “stop loss” policy that allows the Pentagon to arbitrarily extend a soldiers stay in the army. A small number of soldiers have even refused to fight in Iraq, and while conditions in the military are nowhere near as dire as they were during Vietnam the fact that soldiers are openly questioning the war is not good for the military.
Final Report: No WMD in Iraq
A draft version of the final report by the Iraq Survey Group on weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq has concluded that Iraq had no WMD. Two of the major justifications given for the war were Iraq’s alleged stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons as well as their supposed efforts to “reconstitute” a nuclear weapons program. President Bush, who has admitted that no stockpiles were found, continues to claim that “Saddam Hussein had the capability of making weapons, and he could have passed that capability on to the enemy,” even as multiple reports have failed to find weapons.
Bush and Kerry on Iraq
While President Bush and Democratic Party candidate John Kerry are often described as having little difference in their foreign policy, the two candidates did outline somewhat opposing views on Iraq. Kerry, in some of his harshest statements yet, argued that “the President has made a series of catastrophic decisions. From the beginning in Iraq, at every fork in the road, he has taken the wrong turn, and he has led us in the wrong direction.” Of course, Kerry’s statement is couched in the rhetoric of ?security??the invasion of Iraq was not wrong because it was illegal or because it resulted in the deaths of thousands of civilians, but rather that “we have traded a dictator for a chaos that has left America less secure,” suggesting that Kerry still does not believe the war was inherently wrong.
For his part, President Bush continued justifying the invasion as he has for the past year in addition to charging Kerry with constantly changing his position on Iraq. President Bush also spoke before the United Nations and defended his decision to invade Iraq (analysis of the UN speech).
Iraq a Dangerous Place for Companies Involved in Reconstruction Contracts
For employees of companies conducting business in Iraq, Iraq is a dangerous place as they are frequently the targets of resistance groups who see the business side of the occupation as a legitimate target, especially after private contractors were implicated in the torture at Abu Grahib. While there has been semi-frequent reporting on attacks on oil pipelines in Iraq, there has been little attention paid to the contracts awarded to private companies to secure oil pipelines in Iraq.