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.

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
Weekend Edition
July 31-33, 2015
Jeffrey St. Clair
Bernie and the Sandernistas: Into the Void
John Pilger
Julian Assange: the Untold Story of an Epic Struggle for Justice
Roberto J. González – David Price
Remaking the Human Terrain: The US Military’s Continuing Quest to Commandeer Culture
Lawrence Ware
Bernie Sanders’ Race Problem
Andrew Levine
The Logic of Illlogic: Narrow Self-Interest Keeps Israel’s “Existential Threats” Alive
ANDRE VLTCHEK
Kos, Bodrum, Desperate Refugees and a Dying Child
Paul Street
“That’s Politics”: the Sandernistas on the Master’s Schedule
Ted Rall
How the LAPD Conspired to Get Me Fired from the LA Times
Mike Whitney
Power-Mad Erdogan Launches War in Attempt to Become Turkey’s Supreme Leader
Ellen Brown
The Greek Coup: Liquidity as a Weapon of Coercion
Stephen Lendman
Russia Challenges America’s Orwellian NED
Will Parrish
The Politics of California’s Water System
John Wight
The Murder of Ali Saad Dawabsha, a Palestinian Infant Burned Alive by Israeli Terrorists
Jeffrey Blankfort
Leading Bibi’s Army in the War for Washington
Geoffrey McDonald
Obama’s Overtime Tweak: What is the Fair Price of a Missed Life?
Brian Cloughley
Hypocrisy, Obama-Style
Robert Fantina
Israeli Missteps Take a Toll
Pete Dolack
Speculators Circling Puerto Rico Latest Mode of Colonialism
Ron Jacobs
Spying on Black Writers: the FB Eye Blues
Paul Buhle
The Leftwing Seventies?
Binoy Kampmark
The TPP Trade Deal: of Sovereignty and Secrecy
David Swanson
Vietnam, Fifty Years After Defeating the US
Robert Hunziker
Human-Made Evolution
Shamus Cooke
Why Obama’s “Safe Zone” in Syria Will Inflame the War Zone
David Rosen
Hillary Clinton: Learn From Your Sisters
Sam Husseini
How #AllLivesMatter and #BlackLivesMatter Can Devalue Life
Shepherd Bliss
Why I Support Bernie Sanders for President
Louis Proyect
Manufacturing Denial
Howard Lisnoff
The Wrong Argument
Tracey Harris
Living Tiny: a Richer and More Sustainable Future
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
A Day of Tears: Report from the “sHell No!” Action in Portland
Tom Clifford
Guns of August: the Gulf War Revisited
Renee Lovelace
I Dream of Ghana
Colin Todhunter
GMOs: Where Does Science Begin and Lobbying End?
Ben Debney
Modern Newspeak Dictionary, pt. II
Christopher Brauchli
Guns Don’t Kill People, Immigrants Do and Other Congressional Words of Wisdom
S. Mubashir Noor
India’s UNSC Endgame
Ellen Taylor
The Voyage of the Golden Rule
Norman Ball
Ten Questions for Lee Drutman: Author of “The Business of America is Lobbying”
Franklin Lamb
Return to Ma’loula, Syria
Masturah Alatas
Six Critics in Search of an Author
Mark Hand
Cinéma Engagé: Filmmaker Chronicles Texas Fracking Wars
Mary Lou Singleton
Gender, Patriarchy, and All That Jazz
Patrick Hiller
The Icebreaker and #ShellNo: How Activists Determine the Course
Charles Larson
Tango Bends Its Gender: Carolina De Robertis’s “The Gods of Tango”