Iraq: 100 days of 'peace'

On 1 May, President Bush declared war over after six weeks. Mission accomplished?

09 August 2003

The Independent

The US Administrator: Paul Bremer, head of US-led civilian administration

"We believe that the attacks against the coalition forces are coming from a number of areas, some of which will be, I think, reduced if we can kill or capture Saddam. Those are attacks that are coming to us from desperados, from the Baathist party, the trained killers of the Fedayeen Saddam and the trained killers of many of the intelligence services which Saddam had.

"We believe that the death of his sons and eventual capture or death of Saddam will have a beneficial effect on reducing these attacks. I said at the time of the killing of the two sons that I expected attacks in the short run to increase ... People are coming in to police stations with evidence of where Baathists are, and providing tips that allow us to arrest these people."

The Café Owner: Burhan Gharib, Baghdad

Many bad things have happened, such as the looting. There is no electricity, the security situation is unstable. If you compare them with Saddam Hussein, the Americans have done nothing for us. They came to Iraq and said, 'We came to protect you' but the only place they protected from the looters was the Ministry of Oil.

They can move tanks all over the world but they can't bring a small generator to the city. We feel angry because they do things against our principles. They search our houses and our women.

This is a good country, a developed country. The resistance are not Fedayeen Saddam, they are mujahedin, Islamic resistance. They are heroes and we pray to God to save them. We can kick the Americans out.

The British Politician: Robin Cook MP

I'm astonished that the coalition have put little thought into what to do after the capture of Iraq. The military preparation was meticulous, but the preparations for how to reconstruct the country are being made up as we go along.

We were told that it was essential to displace Saddam Hussein because of a "clear and present" danger to the UK, but 100 days later we have still not found one single weapon of mass destruction. It would have been better to let weapons inspectors stay ...

The invasion and occupation was a neo-conservative show. They promised it would be easy to win ... the co-operation of the Iraqis. Now that is proving much more difficult and the neo-conservatives are on a retreat in the United States.

The US Politician: Al Gore, former Democratic vice-president

"Normally, we Americans lay the facts on the table, talk through the choices before us and make a decision. But that didn't happen. As a result, many of our soldiers are paying the highest price. I'm convinced one of the reasons we didn't have a better public debate before the Iraq war started is because so many of the impressions the majority of the country had back then turn out to have beenwrong.

"Robust debate in a democracy will almost always involve occasional rhetorical excesses and leaps of faith. But there is a big difference between that and a systematic effort to manipulate facts in service to a totalistic ideology felt to be more important than basic honesty.

"Unfortunately, I think it is no longer possible to avoid the conclusion that what the country is dealing with in the Bush presidency is the latter."

The Journalist: Robert Fisk, Middle East Correspondent of 'The Independent'

It wasn't Mr Bush's remark about the end of major military operations that spelt out the lie. It was the banner hanging from the aircraft carrier upon which he made his notorious remarks. Placed there by the White House publicity men, it said simply: "Mission Accomplished'' ­ the ultimate illusionary end to an invasion that was driven by fantasy and right-wing ideology. True, the mass graves have been opened, many of them containing young people whom we betrayed ­ by urging them to fight Saddam in 1991 and then allowing them to be massacred. True, the regime no longer governs ­ it attacks the US army instead, along with Saddam's old enemies. True, Uday and Qusay are dead ­ but their father still speaks from the underground. A new resistance movement is now cutting down US soldiers every day. Anarchy is widespread. Changing the map of the Middle East is what this illegal invasion was supposed to have achieved, according to the right-wing and pro-Israeli advisers around Donald Rumsfeld. They may be right, but the new map is unlikely to be the one they had planned for. Amid the wilderness of occupation, America may contemplate that its young men are dying for an illusion that will prove as dangerous to Israel as it will to America and the Arab world. Mission accomplished indeed! Leading article, page 18

The Shopkeeper: Sa'id abu Ali, Sadr City

The Shia accepted the Americans at first because we were the ones suffering a tragedy under Saddam. This is the second country in the world for oil reserves but Iraqi families are suffering just to get one gas cylinder. Of course people are against [the Americans]. We think they encouraged the looters, because it suits their aims to keep the chaos here so they can stay. I don't believe America cannot solve these problems like gas and electricity. So there is no difference: Saddam was yesterday, America is today. Is this liberation? Most of the injustices still exist. Can you go out in your car after 10pm? If you manage to escape the looters, the Americans will shoot you. If there is occupation, there will be resistance. All Iraqi citizens want the situation stable and safe and an end to the occupation.

The Aid Worker: Dominic Nutt, Emergencies Officer for Christian Aid

I think the most obvious issue is a lack of security across the country. It is clearly deteriorating. Under the old regime people were too terrified, and law and order was not an issue. Now women and girls are being attacked. Soldiers have two options: shout or shoot, nothing in between. They need an effective police force.

The issue of whether we should have gone to war is a very difficult one. It is an ongoing dilemma ... The Iraqis I have dealt with and spoken to welcomed this invasion and the end of Saddam Hussein [but] one questions the principle that right goes with might. The Iraqis are getting frustrated and no one is benefiting.

The Iraqi Politician: Dr Adnan Pachachi, acting head of Iraqi Governing Council

There are sporadic acts of violence against the Americans. They think that by continuing they are going to force the Americans to get out of Iraq, but they are mistaken. They are delaying the recovery of Iraq. I would like to ask these people: "What do you hope to achieve?"

Right from the very beginning, I wanted the UN to have a central role. I said immediately after the collapse of the regime that the secretary general should appoint a special representative to oversee the whole process. Unfortunately, this did not happen, and we have to deal with a situation where a huge US army is in Iraq.

One way to deal with this would be not to co-operate, but the Iraqi people are tired after three wars, and don't want to start another one.


Armed forces