"> American Troop Withdrawal from Iraq: Doom and gloom upon Iraq: Part One

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November 27, 2011

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American Troop Withdrawal from Iraq: Doom and gloom upon Iraq: Part One 

Kurdishaspect.com - By Rauf Naqishbendi 

"Even as our troops come home, the United States' commitment to Iraq's future as a secure, stable, democratic nation remains as strong as ever," said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Tajik capital following the Obama Administration’s decision to withdraw American troops from Iraq. President Obama asserted, "As promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year.” He added, "After nearly nine years, America's war in Iraq will be over." What he didn’t say is that the Iraqis will be left on their own to succeed or to fail. 

Regarding the Secretary of State’s comments, Iraq is neither secure nor democratic. Iraq, in a sense, is in chaos with its leaders fomenting self-destruction. Iraq is threatened by its neighbors, mainly Turkey and Iran. President Obama admitted that the Iraq War was costly with a price tag over a trillion dollars. Be sure that all the money has gone in vain for this has been a losing war, not only because of its monetary cost, but also because of the human toll and disheartening misfortune that ensued as tens of thousands of Americans have been crippled or killed. In addition, most of those who made it home or who are about to do so need to be treated for Post-traumatic Iraq Syndrome. These are the disheartening tragedies that are America’s challenge for decades to come.  Turning the leaf over to the Iraqi people, who also have lived with the burden of hundreds of thousands who have been perished or vanished by the hands of terrorists and during U.S. bombings of Iraq. The Iraqi people have seen the demise of the Butcher of Baghdad, Saddam Hussein, but in his place they found new leaders who are neither the beacon of prosperity nor agents of the Iraqis’ dream. Instead the leadership is comprised of corrupted leaders who are looting the Iraqis for their own self-promotion and affluence. Unemployment in Iraq exceeds 30 percent by all accounts, and only a few of the cronies of those in power are reaping the benefit, while the majority are struggling for survival, living from one paycheck to another, with a labor force that lives hand to mouth. This is the economically inequitable situation fashioned by the government of Talabni-Maliki.  In the agricultural arena, Iraq is able to feed itself. However, farm subsidies are nonexistent, and so is planning for and assisting farmers. As a result, great numbers of farmers have forfeited their farms, seeking construction labor jobs in big cities. Sadly, the Iraq authorities has done no material good in any arena. Rest assured that the only good they have done is for themselves and their cronies. The Kurdish leaders are living proof of the corrupted mentality of Iraq’s leaders.  Presently, Iraq is a country that it imports everything it consumes, from vegetables, to cheese, clothing, every tool they use, every car they drive, every carpet they recline upon, every appliance in their houses, including silverware, every medicine they take, every bed they sleep on, every piece of stationery they use, every beverage they drink, every chemical they use. They are all imported. Therefore, what is it keeping more than 25 million Iraqi people busy? The answer is the oil money that has created an unproductive society, one that is unable to produce anything above the ground. All their revenue comes from underground oil, of which the government spent a portion to pay for the social programs, but the rest of the money is deposited in the coffers of the ruling authorities and their cronies. These cronies embark on the construction of big hotels, shopping malls, and fancy restaurants, even gorgeous golf courses that all together paint Iraq as a prosperous country to the eyes of foreign visitors. The emphasis on construction is the reason for the lack of investment and finances in other industries.  Notably, Iraq is a country with a population of 25 million, having a wealth of oil reserves and fertile land. Given the little industry the country possesses, there exists an immense number of industries the government can embark upon to at least accommodate for domestic consumption. These disturbing facts are a direct result of the Iraqi government, both in the south and north, being dominated by fledgling leaders who are lacking the knowledge even to run an elementary school. They have no sense, experience, or expertise regarding matters of democracy, governing, financing, or management.  While the money is available for these construction extravaganzas, yet there is a shortage of school buildings. Consider the city of Sulaymania where most of the students attend two schools. Deteriorating education standards is a matter of troubling concern. Iraqi universities and high schools, even during the time of Ba’ath leadership, used to be some of the most advanced in the region. Iraqi college graduates, to a great extent, had no problem finding employment in their fields of study, even during Saddam’s time, but under the new Iraqi government that is just an empty dream. Gaining employment is not a matter of excellence, knowledge, experience, or high education, but rather the connections and affiliation. Those unaffiliated with the ruling parties are locked out from prestigious public posts. This atmosphere of unfair employment practices has been discouraging, as a majority of college graduates are left with dismal future employment prospects.  Other areas of concern are the lack of basic and necessary public services such as electricity and clean drinking water, which was unknown to Iraqis during Saddam’s regime. In the health care arena, Iraq has left behind all its neighboring countries. Health care in Iraq is dismal, and serious illnesses have to be treated in Jordan, Iran, Turkey, or Europe. The richest can afford to travel abroad while the less unprivileged citizens go untreated.  True statistics concerning the number of millionaires created post American invasion is not available, but the facts on the ground suggest that Iraq has since bred more millionaires than any other country in the region, if not the world. Sadly, these millionaires are the cronies and family members of the newly established leadership both in Kurdistan and Iraqi Arabia.  President Obama’s decision to disengage Iraq militarily is well justified. In hindsight we know the Iraqi invasion was a historic American blunder. Judging by what the Iraqi leaders have accomplished with American aid, one should not have high expectations for Iraqi leaders to do better without America. It must be realized that Iraq is a special case, special in its vices not virtues, for the Iraqi people have never been united to secure or prosper their country. Now, more than ever before, given Iraq’s internal division, power struggles in lines of ethnicity and religion, hideous neighbors, and corrupted leaders, one can only project doom and gloom.  As things will turn sour in Iraq post American troop withdrawal, Iraqis shouldn’t blame America but rather their selfish, corrupted, and incompetent leaders. Besides, Iraq was a mess before the American invasion and will be the same after America’s disengagement.  Rauf Naqishbendi is a contributing columnist for Kurdishaspect.com, American Chronicle, Kurdishmedia.com and has written Op/Ed pages for the Los Angeles Times. His memoirs entitled "The Garden Of The Poets", recently published. It reads as a novel depicting his experience and the subsequent 1988 bombing of his hometown with chemical and biological weapons by Saddam Hussein. It is the story of his people´s suffering, and a sneak preview of their culture and history. Rauf Naqishbendi is a software engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area. ISBN: 978-1-4626-0187-5 ( get The (Zoftcover) ($7.95) Link: http://www.publishamerica.net/product41368.html Your comments welcome at  rxa12@yahoo.com

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