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 (@CoxStan) is an editor at Green Social Thought, where this article first ran. He is author of Any Way You Slice It: The Past, Present, and Future of Rationing and, with Paul Cox, of How the World Breaks: Life in Catastrophe’s Path, From the Caribbean to Siberia

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

May 30, 2017
Kenneth Surin
Can the Impossible Happen in Britain?
W. T. Whitney
Why Does the United States Beat Up On Capitalist Russia?
Patrick Cockburn
We Can’t Let Britain to Become a Vast ISIS Recruiting Station
Michael J. Sainato
Leaks and Militarized Policing: Water Protectors are Proven Right
Ted Rall
What Do the Democrats Want? No One Knows
David J. Lobina
The Israel-Palestine Conflict and Political Activism
Martha Rosenberg
Once Again, Mainstream Media Does Pharma’s Bidding
David L. Glotzer
Social Security: Clearing Up the Financial Nonsense
Edward Hunt
If They are Wrong the Planet Dies
Lawrence Wittner
How Business “Partnerships” Flopped at America’s Largest University
Guillermo R. Gil
Poems Must Never be White
Martin Billheimer
Strategies of Rose and Thorn in Portland
Tony Christini
What isn’t Said: Bernie Sanders in 2020
Chandra Muzaffar
Fasting for Palestinian Justice and Dignity
Clancy Sigal
Even Grammar Bleeds
May 29, 2017
Jim Kavanagh
No Laughing Matter: The Manchester Bomber is the Spawn of Hillary and Barack’s Excellent Libyan Adventure
Vijay Prashad
The Afghan Toll
Melvin Goodman
The Washington Post’s Renewed Attack on Whistlblowers
Robert Fisk
We Must Look to the Past, Not ISIS, for the True Nature of Islam
Dean Baker
A Tax on Wall Street Trading is the Best Solution to Income Inequality
Lawrence Davidson
Reality and Its Enemies
Harry Hobbs
Australia’s Time to Recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Sovereignty
Ray McGovern
Will Europe Finally Rethink NATO’s Costs?
Cesar Chelala
Poetry to the Rescue of America’s Soul
Andrew Stewart
Xi, Trump and Geopolitics
Binoy Kampmark
The Merry Life of Dragnet Surveillance
Stephen Martin
The Silent Apartheid: Militarizing Architecture & Infrastructure
Weekend Edition
May 26, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Swamp Politics, Trump Style: “Russiagate” Diverts From the Real White House Scandals
Paul Street
It’s Not Gonna Be Okay: the Nauseating Nothingness of Neoliberal Capitalist and Professional Class Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
The ICEmen Cometh
Ron Jacobs
The Deep State is the State
Pete Dolack
Why Pence Might be Even Worse Than Trump
Patrick Cockburn
We Know What Inspired the Manchester Attack, We Just Won’t Admit It
Thomas Powell
The Dirty Secret of the Korean War
Mark Ashwill
The Fat Lady Finally Sings: Bob Kerrey Quietly Resigns from Fulbright University Vietnam Leadership Position
John Davis
Beyond Hope
Uri Avnery
The Visitation: Trump in Israel
Ralph Nader
The Left/Right Challenge to the Failed “War on Drugs”
Traci Yoder
Free Speech on Campus: a Critical Analysis
Dave Lindorff
Beware the Supporter Scorned: Upstate New York Trump Voters Hit Hard in President’s Proposed 2018 Budget
Daniel Read
“Sickening Cowardice”: Now More Than Ever, Britain’s Theresa May Must be Held to Account on the Plight of Yemen’s Children
Ana Portnoy
Before the Gates: Puerto Rico’s First Bankruptcy Trial
M. Reza Behnam
Rethinking Iran’s Terrorism Designation
Brian Cloughley
Ukraine and the NATO Military Alliance
Josh Hoxie
Pain as a Policy Choice
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail