New Iraq “Intelligence” Report Once Again Confirms Administration Lied
A “final analysis” of the intelligence distortions leading up to the invasion of Iraq has placed the majority of the blame on the United States’ spy agencies while leaving the Bush administration largely unscathed despite its pressuring of the CIA to produce intelligence supporting its case for war. The harshly worded report concludes that “the intelligence community was dead wrong in almost all of its prewar judgments about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction,” while concluding that a plethora of dissenting information was ignored in favor of flawed intelligence that supported the rush to war.
However, the report has been criticized by numerous columnists for not holding the Bush administration accountable. The commission, appointed by President Bush, was inherently problematic. The commission was never granted subpoena power and did not take sworn testimony, despite meeting with many high-ranking administration officials. It has also been criticized for closing its hearings to the public and the media. For those interested in reading more about the problems with the committee, Ralph Nader has analyzed both the formation of the commission and its findings in a recent article on counterpunch.org.
US Military Starts Talking about Reducing Troops in Iraq
Over the past two weeks, the United States military has indicated that it has begun talking about when it will reduce the levels of troops in Iraq. Comments two weeks ago by Army General Richard A. Cody revealed that the military is planning to reduce “large units” in Iraq between 2006 and early 2008. However, this week another top army general said that as long as violence levels in Iraq remain “low” until the national elections at the end of the year, the military will begin withdrawing a substantial number of troops in 2006. This news comes as the military announced that it is facing significant recruiting shortfalls, leading to some speculation that a draft will be needed to maintain current troop levels. Of course, none of the talk of reducing troops in Iraq mentions ending the occupation and a large number of soldiers and corporate contractors are expected to remain in Iraq indefinitely to maintain US interests in the region.
New Articles Point to Continued Failures of Iraq “Reconstruction”
According to a top United Nations specialist on hunger, the invasion of Iraq and its aftermath has almost doubled malnutrition rates among Iraqi children. It is estimated that a quarter of Iraqi children do not have enough to eat on a daily basis. The findings were presented to the United Nations and ignored by the United States and its limited “coalition,” despite the fact that they are supported by previous research on malnutrition in post-war Iraq. Its also worth noting the role sanctions have played in affecting children in Iraq over the past twelve years.
Meanwhile, in Baghdad a new article discloses potential corruption present among contractors repairing the city’s damaged public schools. Contractors have reportedly charged multiple times for repairs and have stolen supplies due to a lack of transparency and accountability in the contract process. Since the beginning of the “reconstruction” there have been reports of corruption regarding the Iraqi school system, with US-based corporations Bechtel and ECC International both accused of failing to fulfill contractual obligations.
ACLU Continues Finding New Evidence of Detainee Abuse in Iraq
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) continues to release new documents showing widespread, systemic abuse of detainees held by the United States in Iraq. This week a memo was released showing that the top US commander in Iraq, Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, authorized prisoner interrogation techniques that violated the Geneva conventions. The Sanchez memo was part of a new batch of documents given to the ACLU after a lawsuit that successfully forced the US government to release them. This new batch of documents is reported to detail a large number of abuses including beatings and deaths of detainees. Meanwhile, an analysis of military documents obtained by Reuters shows that detainees were being “systematically and intentionally mistreated” in Mosul.
Iraqi Parliament Fails to Create New Government
The Iraq Parliament failed to create a new government during deliberations this week. The meetings, which turned chaotic, failed to result in the selection of a new parliament speaker or cabinet positions. Tensions between Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis have been sited as a reason for the failure of these meetings as well as questions such as the relationship between church and state and federalism. Despite the lack of progress, President Bush stated “We expect a new government will be chosen soon and that the assembly will vote to confirm it.” Meanwhile, the failure of politicians to form a government runs the risk of the parliament losing what credibility it has in the eyes of the Iraqi public.
New Problems for Halliburton
Several new articles have appeared this week pointing to troubles for Halliburton. In what is expected to the first of several lawsuits, The daughter of a truck driver has brought a federal lawsuit today against Halliburton. April Johnson is seeking redress for the wrongful death of her father, Tony Johnson, who was killed almost one year ago near Baghdad International Airport.
The father of an employee of Halliburton subsidiary KBR has issued a complaint to the Justice Department, alleging that his son was gang-beaten by a group of fellow employees, known as the “Red Neck Mafia,” at the Baghdad airport where he works. Halliburton said that they had sent three of the “Redneck Mafia” members back to the USA and that they were not going to file criminal charges against the perpetrators .
Meanwhile, The financial misdeeds concerning Halliburton’s role in the “reconstruction” of Iraq continue to accumulate: