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the occupation mission is costing not only American treasure — currently an estimated $3 billion a month From:,8599,461462,00.html --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
And the cost of occupation is estimated at a staggering $160bn for the the fiscal years 2003-2004 - $73bn for 2003 and $87bn in a supplemental request for 2004 submitted at the last minute in September 2003. Of the $87bn, only $20bn is for reconstruction, but the total cost of reconstruction is estimated at $60bn. For comparison, our foreign aid budget for 2002 was $10bn. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Some 10,000 special-forces troops saw action in Iraq, the largest such deployment since World War II and three times the number who participated in Gulf War I. From a secret base in western Saudi Arabia. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
US commercial interests Under President Bush the vice-president of Bechtel, Jack Sheehan, has a place on the Pentagon's defence policy board, and its chairman, Riley Bechtel, was appointed to the president's export council. Its contract for Iraq covers work on power stations, electricity grids and water and sewerage systems. The company has been trying to play down the significance of the recent revelation that it tried to build a $1bn oil pipeline from Iraq to the Red sea port of Aqaba in Jordan in 1983, at a time when Saddam Hussein was regularly using chemical weapons. It was able to get the current defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, to raise the matter with Saddam Hussein and his foreign minister, Tariq Aziz. Mr Rumsfeld was then President Reagan's special envoy to the Middle East. Such was the conglomerate's intertwined relationship with government that President Reagan's secretary of state, George Shultz, was a former chief executive of Bechtel, and the defence secretary, Casper Weinberger, had been its lead ing lawyer. Mr Shultz now sits on its board.,2763,961951,00.html Bechtel gets Iraq contract Foreign companies have complained that they cannot be prime contractors under USAID's Iraq program, although the agency has repeatedly said non-U.S. firms can be subcontractors. "It is anticipated that Bechtel will work through subcontractors on a number of these tasks after identifying specific needs," USAID said Thursday in a statement, adding that Bechtel would also employ local people. Some lawmakers have complained about the U.S. government's decision to award no-bid contracts in certain cases, as well as the closed-door nature of the process. Former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, a proponent of the war in Iraq and a member of the Bechtel board, denied using his political connections to win work for Bechtel and pointed to the company's long history. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
So what was the war for? By Robert Fisk 18 May 2003 More than 70 dead in a week. Thanks for the Iraq war. Thank you, Mr Bush and Mr Blair, for making our world safer by ridding us of the one tyrant – Saddam Hussein – who never had any connection with 11 September 2001, or with the Riyadh bombings or with the bombings in Casablanca. The "liberation" of Iraq was supposed to free us from the bombers of al-Qa'ida. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
And highly touted smart weapons have turned out to be messier than advertised. A 2,000-lb. bomb steered by a JDAM guidance device may rarely miss its mark by more than 13 ft.—the length of the steering system and the explosive—but when the bomb blows, it sends high-speed shrapnel flying as far as a mile. There may be a lot of uncounted innocents in such a big footprint. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
It hasn't always been that way. Up through the 19th century, armies used weapons with ranges limited to hundreds of yards and could therefore witness the ensuing carnage—quite different from Gulf War II, in which incalculable numbers of Iraqi soldiers have died in air bombardments. Even if taking a formal census of the Iraqi dead were possible, it's doubtful the U.S. military would try. Americans got out of the business of counting enemy losses after the Vietnam War. Then, tallying North Vietnamese and Viet Cong casualties became something of a bureaucratic fetish, and the ludicrous methods often used—counting five body parts as five "kills," for example—destroyed U.S. credibility. The Pentagon has never released a formal estimate of how many Iraqis died in the first Gulf War in 1991. During the war in Afghanistan, General Tommy Franks, the theater commander in that campaign as well as in Gulf War II, said flatly, "We don't do body counts."
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