FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Did You Know This About Iraq?

by STAN COX

 

Did you know that there are five police academies in Iraq that produce over 3500 new officers each 8 weeks? Well, if you’re among the millions of recipients of that “Did You Know?” email proliferating on the Internet, you “know” that “fact” along with a whole lot of other good-news items about Iraq — astonishing nuggets of information like “Did you know that there are 1,192,000 cell phone subscribers in Iraq?”

I’ll refrain from making Counterpunch yet another place on the web where the entire list is reproduced. There are plenty of those already. But I did wonder where the list was coming from.

The urban-legend trackers at snopes.com have followed emails of this type back to mid-2003, not long after President Bush declared “major combat operations” in Iraq completed. They write, “The earliest known antecedent appears to be a Coalition Provisional Authority briefing given by L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. Presidential Envoy to Iraq, on 9 October 2003.”

But the “Did You Know” email itself provides no links or sources to support any of its assertions. As snopes.com notes, it’s impossible to attach a “truth value” to such lists, “because they typically contain a mixture of fact, opinion, subjective statements, inaccuracies, and literally true but often misleading claims.”

As you already know — because you’re reading Counterpunch — one look beyond your inbox shows that there’s no shortage of documented facts about conditions in Iraq. Most of them, unfortunately, are pretty grim.

To cover one’s eyes and pluck one example: The October 9 edition of USA Today carried a story by Rick Jervis headlined “Iraq rebuilding slows as U.S. money for projects dries up.” From the information in that single article (which ran in a publication not known for publishing radical peacenik propaganda), you can assemble your own “Did You Know” email, and forward it all your friends and foes:

Did you know that half of all Iraqi households still don’t have access to clean water?

Did you know that only 8% of Iraqi households outside Baghdad are connected to sewage networks?

Did you know that out of 81 water and sewage treatment projects planned as part of the reconstruction effort, 68 have been abandoned?

Did you know that the power in Baghdad is out for 14 hours a day?

Did you know that 330 reconstruction contractors, mostly Iraqis, have been killed?

Did you know that a quarter out of every dollar allocated for reconstruction is being spent on security instead?

Did you know that Iraq’s oil production is lower than before the 2003 war, and 46% lower than before the 1991 Gulf War?

Did you know that nearly $100 million in US taxpayer-funded reconstruction money for Iraq is unaccounted for? [This figure is far too low. Other estimates of missing funds range from $1 billion to $8.8 billion .]

Did you know that the unemployment / underemployment rate in Iraq stands at 50% ?

Did you know that all 11 multinational firms working through the Iraqi Project and Contracting Office have “cost-plus” contracts, which guarantee that they will be paid all of their costs, no matter how high they go, plus a profit?

Did you know that expenses for construction of one water treatment plant under a “cost plus” contract have grown from $80 million to $200 million, with taxpayers, not the contractor, making up the difference?

* * *

Many Americans, understandably, don’t want to believe that there’s a situation that Americans can’t resolve, if we just try hard enough. But in Iraq, we’ve created exactly that sort of dead-end predicament. Those of us who are paying for the occupation have to be confronted with the degeneration of Iraq — a process that will continue, whether our intentions are good or bad, as long as there’s even one US miltary unit patrolling or one US corporation profiteering anywhere in the country.

So find some hard facts, identify the sources, put them in a message, and start hitting your “Send” button.

STAN COX is a plant breeder and writer in Salina, Kansas. Did you know he can be reached at t.stan@cox.net?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLARIFICATION

ALEXANDER COCKBURN, JEFFREY ST CLAIR, BECKY GRANT AND THE INSTITUTE FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF JOURNALISTIC CLARITY, COUNTERPUNCH

We published an article entitled “A Saudiless Arabia” by Wayne Madsen dated October 22, 2002 (the “Article”), on the website of the Institute for the Advancement of Journalistic Clarity, CounterPunch, www.counterpunch.org (the “Website”).

Although it was not our intention, counsel for Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi has advised us the Article suggests, or could be read as suggesting, that Mr Al Amoudi has funded, supported, or is in some way associated with, the terrorist activities of Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda terrorist network.

We do not have any evidence connecting Mr Al Amoudi with terrorism.

As a result of an exchange of communications with Mr Al Amoudi’s lawyers, we have removed the Article from the Website.

We are pleased to clarify the position.

August 17, 2005

 

Stan Cox is a senior scientist at The Land Institute in Salina, Kansas and author most recently of Any Way You Slice It: The Past, Present, and Future of Rationing (The New Press, 2013). Contact him at t.stan@cox.net.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
May 27, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Silencing America as It Prepares for War
Rob Urie
By the Numbers: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are Fringe Candidates
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Gunnar Westberg
Close Calls: We Were Much Closer to Nuclear Annihilation Than We Ever Knew
Jeffrey St. Clair
Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump
S. Brian Willson
Remembering All the Deaths From All of Our Wars
Dave Lindorff
With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sanders Must Demand Answers
Pete Dolack
Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!
Peter Lee
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Karl Grossman
Long Island as a Nuclear Park
Binoy Kampmark
Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling
Robert Fisk
Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go
Martha Rosenberg – Ronnie Cummins
Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell
Brian Cloughley
Pivoting to War
Stavros Mavroudeas
Blatant Hypocrisy: the Latest Late-Night Bailout of Greece
Arun Gupta
A War of All Against All
Dan Kovalik
NPR, Yemen & the Downplaying of U.S. War Crimes
Randy Blazak
Thugs, Bullies, and Donald J. Trump: The Perils of Wounded Masculinity
Murray Dobbin
Are We Witnessing the Beginning of the End of Globalization?
Daniel Falcone
Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen, an Interview with David Hilfiker
Gloria Jimenez
In Honduras, USAID Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers
Kent Paterson
The Old Braceros Fight On
Lawrence Reichard
The Seemingly Endless Indignities of Air Travel: Report from the Losing Side of Class Warfare
Peter Berllios
Bernie and Utopia
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
Indonesia’s Unnatural Mud Disaster Turns Ten
Linda Pentz Gunter
Obama in Hiroshima: Time to Say “Sorry” and “Ban the Bomb”
George Souvlis
How the West Came to Rule: an Interview with Alexander Anievas
Julian Vigo
The Government and Your i-Phone: the Latest Threat to Privacy
Stratos Ramoglou
Why the Greek Economic Crisis Won’t be Ending Anytime Soon
David Price
The 2016 Tour of California: Notes on a Big Pharma Bike Race
Dmitry Mickiewicz
Barbarous Deforestation in Western Ukraine
Rev. William Alberts
The United Methodist Church Up to Its Old Trick: Kicking the Can of Real Inclusion Down the Road
Patrick Bond
Imperialism’s Junior Partners
Mark Hand
The Trouble with Fracking Fiction
Priti Gulati Cox
Broken Green: Two Years of Modi
Marc Levy
Sitrep: Hometown Unwelcomes Vietnam Vets
Lorenzo Raymond
Why Nonviolent Civil Resistance Doesn’t Work (Unless You Have Lots of Bombs)
Ed Kemmick
New Book Full of Amazing Montana Women
Michael Dickinson
Bye Bye Legal High in Backwards Britain
Missy Comley Beattie
Wanted: Daddy or Mommy in Chief
Ed Meek
The Republic of Fear
Charles R. Larson
Russian Women, Then and Now
David Yearsley
Elgar’s Hegemony: the Pomp of Empire
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail