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Iraq Briefs: US in Iraq for a Decade?

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Issue: 2 Section: International News Geography: Middle East Iraq

June 26, 2003

Iraq Briefs: US in Iraq for a Decade?

USA Today reported that "two top U.S. defense officials signaled Congress on Wednesday that U.S. forces might remain in Iraq for as long as a decade and that permanent facilities need to be built to house them there." According to the report, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Marine Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, "gave no explicit estimates for the time U.S. forces would stay in Iraq, but they did not dispute members of Congress who said the deployment could last a decade or more." Pace and Wolfowitz also reportedly "did not dispute" suggestions that the US would need an annual budget of $54 billion to maintain the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Iraqi women at a pre-invasion demonstration; the Washington Post reports that rising Islamic fundamentalism is eroding womens' freedom of movement. Iraq Journal photo: Iraq Journal
A poll conducted by the University of Maryland found that over one third of Americans believe that the US has discovered weapons of mass destruction in Iraq; 22 percent believe that Iraq used banned weapons during the invasion. No such weapons have been found to date. "This level of misinformation suggests some Americans may be avoiding having an experience of cognitive dissonance," suggested one pollster quoted by the Associated Press. An NBC-Washington Post poll found that 54 percent of Americans would support military action against Iran to stop it from acquiring nuclear weapons; 34 percent of respondants were opposed.

In what a Reuters correspondent called "a bizarre musical reprise from Vietnam war film 'Apocalypse Now'," American troops listened to Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" to psyche themselves before raiding Iraqi homes to look for gunmen. At least one journalist claimed to have seen US pilots watching porn movies to psyche themselves up before flying missions in Afghanistan. US and Iraqi officials confirmed the theft of over 6,000 artifacts from Iraq's National Museum of Antiquities during a looting spree.

"This level of misinformation suggests some Americans may be avoiding having an experience of cognitive dissonance," suggested one pollster quoted by the Associated Press.
By the most recent estimate calculated by Iraq Body Count, an organization that compiles press reports of civilian deaths in Iraq, between 5,000 and 7,000 Iraqi civilians been killed since the beginning of the war. 54 US troops have died in Iraq since George W. Bush declared the war over; 139 died during the war. A recent investigation by Human Rights Watch concluded that US troops had "responded with excessive force to a perceived threat" when they shot into a crowd of protesters, killing three and wounding sixteen.

10,000 protestors threw stones at British troops and vehicles and chanted slogans demanding self government; British forces had recently disbanded a town council, replacing it with "a committee of technocrats chaired by a senior British military commander," according to the Telegraph. A recent attempt at a local election was abruptly and unilaterally cancelled by L. Paul Bremer III, the top US official in Iraq. According to the New York Times, "marines had built makeshift wooden ballot boxes," and an Army reserve unit had "conducted a voter registration drive." The report stated that "privately, American officials said they believed Iraq was not ready for elections, and voting could inflame tensions." According to a report in the Washington Post, Iraqi women are increasingly pressured to wear veils, and are discouraged from going to school. (USA Today, Moscow Times, Iraq Body Count, Washington Post, Human Rights Watch, Daily Telegraph, New York Times)

compiled by Dru Oja Jay

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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