Written by Fumo Verde
It is now the summer of 2007 and by most accounts the Iraq War isn’t turning out the way the Bush administration had planned, or at least that’s what Democrats, the mainstream media, returning vets, the late great Pat Tillman and, by most polls, 68% of the U.S. public say. The few dissenting voices before the invasion stated that winning the war would be easy; it’s winning the peace that really counts. So, what was the Bush Plan? Was it like the Marshal Plan?
In No End In Sight, Charles Ferguson brings us the people who were there to start the rebuilding of that war-torn country after their government had fell. General Paul Hughes was in charge of the total reconstruction. He still can’t believe how poorly and how deliberately the Bush administration took care of its promise to bring peace and democracy. Get ready for the real shock and awe.
Ferguson opens us up with a speech by Donald Rumsfeld where he thanks Pres. Bush for understanding what most Americans didn’t about this “not well known, not well understood, and very complex war.” To think he was talking about the American public. No End In Sight will open your eyes to see how badly the administration handled post-war Iraq and how that relates to the problems we have today.
When invading another country you would like the civilian population to be on your side. To this, humanitarian relief and aid are needed, referred to as “winning the hearts and minds.” During WWII, the allies had planned for the occupation of Germany two years prior to the invasion of Europe. The Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Aid (ORHA) was set up by the Bush administration and were given sixty days to come up with a plan to reconstruct Iraq. Sixty days, that’s what you give your landlord when you’re going to move out of an apartment.
We hear from over a dozen people, civilians and officials, who give first-hand accounts about how they were recruited by the White House to help with the occupation but were then removed when their voices spoke out about how the situation on the ground was truly being handled. Ret. Gen. Jay Garner, who in the first Gulf War was in command of the humanitarian aide and was put in charge of ORHA this time around. He tells of the complete ineptitude the administration had towards ORHA and those who were there to help the Iraqi people. Richard Armitage, then Deputy Secretary of State tells us of the struggle he and his boss, Secretary of State Colin Powell, had with Rumsfeld and others about the troop levels needed for an occupation. Amazingly, Armitage and Powell were the only ones in the Bush administration who had ever seen combat, yet the dogs of war held those battle vets at bay.
We come to understand that the real problems started when the U.S. let the looting begin. Rumsfeld joked that the news channels were showing the same vase being stolen over and over again, and things like this happen even during riots in America. Marines and others on the ground tell a different story, one not of people stealing diapers and food or televisions and golf clubs, but of people stealing heavy machinery parts from power plants and other industrial facilities. It was said people were chipping away at concrete walls to take out the rebar. This isn’t your every day looting, and it actually showed the world this administration didn’t care about the Iraqi people. A report just this month shows that more than half of Iraqis are without clean water, food, and medical aid—all which a devastated nation needs to get back on its feet.