Daddy, how much money have we wasted in Iraq?
 30 Aug 2010

Seven years in Iraq. One million deaths. Mass destruction. US liberation:

The shell of a prison that will never be used rises from the desert on the edge of this dusty town north of Baghdad, a hulking monument to the wasted promise of America’s massive, $53-billion reconstruction effort in Iraq.
Construction began in May 2004 at a time when U.S. money was pouring into the country. It quickly ran into huge cost overruns. Violence erupted in the area, and a manager was shot dead in his office. The Iraqi government said it didn’t want or need the prison. In 2007 the project was abandoned, but only after $40 million of U.S. taxpayer money had been spent.  
The prison is just one of the more vivid examples of what is likely to be “a significant legacy of waste” in the reconstruction program, said Stuart Bowen, the head of the office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, which audited the project as well as many others littering the battered Iraqi landscape.
Perhaps nothing symbolizes the failure of America’s aspirations in Iraq more than the lack of electricity. Back in 2003, the newly installed U.S. occupation authority announced plans to increase Iraq’s power generation to 6,000 megawatts a day by the summer of 2004, deemed enough to give Iraqis a big boost compared with the Saddam Hussein era.
Six summers and $4.9 billion in U.S. taxpayer money later, Iraqis are sweltering in temperatures that routinely hit 120 degrees with no more than a few hours of electricity a day in most places. Domestic production has peaked at around 5,500 megawatts, public anger is growing, and demonstrations protesting the lack of power have turned violent.
Security accounted for a huge portion of the costs, said Charles Ries, who headed the economics section at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad in 2007-08. He estimates that 30% of the money spent on reconstruction went toward paying foreign security contractors to guard sites and personnel, a cost that Iraqis wouldn’t have incurred.


Better Tweeting ain’t gonna solve Israel’s massive image problem
 30 Aug 2010

This is as tragic as comical. When will the Zionist lobby realise that more “effective” PR isn’t the answer to their problems? Until Israel changes its behaviour, the label “apartheid state” will be an understatement:

An Australian plan to spread good news about Israel via social media will be presented at an upcoming international Jewish conference.
Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) president Robert Goot will set out the strategy blueprint to heads of Jewish communities from around the globe when the World Jewish Congress (WJC) governing board holds a two-day summit in Jerusalem from August 31.
The strategy will target younger people who get their news from blogs and popular websites, including Twitter and Facebook.
“It’s no use trying to communicate with people in forms that aren’t foremost in their minds,” Goot said.
Goot, the action plan’s principal author, told The AJN it was critical to break through to a generation that has been duped by repeated assertions that Israel is “an apartheid state”.
“It is not, but most young people, even those well disposed, would not know why it is not. They would not be familiar with what apartheid was in South Africa and how that is totally alien to Israel and even the territories.
“Young people know little of Israel’s birth and of its triumphs, such as 1967 [the Six-Day War] and Entebbe [hostage crisis], but have been fed a fairly constant diet of Israel as a pariah nation, an apartheid state, a serial human rights abuser, and the like.
“Unfortunately, young Jews are all too familiar with the accusations, but insufficiently familiar with the rebuttals.”
Describing “delegitimisation” as “a strategic threat to Israel”, he said the action plan would target boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns and aim for closer ties with churches, cultural groups, academia and the media.
Goot was asked to prepare the plan on behalf of the ECAJ, after a WJC strategic review looked into the challenges facing Israel, including “the assault on Israel’s legitimacy”.
The roof body’s leader will present the plan before some 150 Jewish community leaders.

“We’re focusing on building and strengthening alliances and coalitions we have internationally,” Goot said.
Further WJC meetings will discuss how to implement the strategy, which will also involve the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office and Foreign Affairs Office.
Senior Israeli leaders will attend the conference.
Goot added that Australia’s central role in devising the strategy was “a great tribute” to the local Jewish community.

And Israel recruiting legal experts to defend Israel internationally again simply misses the point. Anger towards Israel will continue and only increase while the Jewish state believes it can act brutally against the Palestinians.


British aid must now help those noble foreign policy goals
 30 Aug 2010

So does this mean that Britain, involved in countless covert and illegal conflicts across the world, will be dead keen to “aid” one side in a civil dispute or back militias against London’s “enemies”?

The government is to introduce a wholesale change to Britain’s overseas aid budget by demanding that projects in the developing world must make the “maximum possible contribution” to British national security, according to a leaked Whitehall paper.
Labour, which established the Department for International Development to ensure overseas projects are funded on the basis of a country’s needs, warned tonight that Britain’s aid budget was being “securitised”.
The coalition came under fire after a leaked DfID document showed that the new national security council, which oversees all aspects of foreign policy, is requiring that national security considerations are placed at the heart of aid projects.


The Right wakes to the Afghan fiasco
 30 Aug 2010

The day a leading Australian conservative, Tom Switzer, urged a withdrawal from Afghanistan.


Beck on his Christian, God-fearing America
 29 Aug 2010

Fox News interviews Glenn Beck about his “restoring honour” event in Washington DC over the weekend and one gains an insight into a man who truly believes that America is a country that should embrace a Christian God. Shame about those Muslims, Jews and atheists:


Washington doesn’t understand that the Middle East has changed
29 Aug 2010

How does the more enlightened establishment view the Middle East and America’s role?
Robert Malley and Peter Harling write in Foreign Affairs:

In the Middle East, U.S. President Barack Obama has spent the first year and a half of his presidency seeking to undo the damage wrought by his predecessor. He has made up some ground. But given how slowly U.S. policy has shifted, his administration runs the risk of implementing ideas that might have worked if President George W. Bush had pursued them a decade ago. The region, meanwhile, will have moved on.
It is a familiar pattern. For decades, the West has been playing catch-up with a region it pictures as stagnant. Yet the Middle East evolves faster and less predictably than Western policymakers imagine. As a rule, U.S. and European governments eventually grasp their missteps, yet by the time their belated realizations typically occur, their ensuing policy adjustments end up being hopelessly out of date and ineffective.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *