Column for March 26, 2006

Sinking deeper and deeper into the Iraq quagmire

Three years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, a look back in words and deeds


‘kwag-"mIr, Noun.

1 : soft miry land that shakes or yields under the foot.

2 : a difficult, precarious, or entrapping position: predicament.

— Merriam Webster Online Dictionary

“The successful prosecution of the war would be good for the (U.S. and Iraqi) economy.

— Larry Lindsey, Bush economic advisor, Sep. 15, 2002

“My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators. . . . I think it will go relatively quickly. . . (in) weeks rather than months.”

— U. S. Vice President Dick Cheney, Mar. 16, 2003

“My fellow Americans, major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed… Iraq is more secure. The economy of Iraq is beginning to improve… Banks are now opening up and the infrastructure is improving. In a lot of places, the infrastructure is as good as it was at pre-war levels… And the political process is moving toward democracy.”

— President George W. Bush, May 2003

“Since the collapse of the Iraqi regime, homeless children, often drug-addicted and hungry, have become a common sight on the streets of Baghdad.”

— CNN, May 29, 2003

“Month by month, Iraqis are assuming more responsibility for their own security and their own future.”

— Bush, Jan 20, 2004

“WASHINGTON — CIA officers in Iraq are warning that the country may be on a path to civil war.”

— Knight-Ridder News Service, Jan. 22, 2004

“We have led, many have joined and America and the world are safer.“

— Bush, Sep. 2, 2004

“The World Food Program, a UN agency, reported in September that 6.5 million Iraqis were dependent on food rations… The country’s infrastructure is in disarray, including the sewer system. Sixty per cent of rural residents and 20 per cent of urban residents don’t have access to clean water. Violence has also driven away international aid agencies, who provide food aid and medical help.”

CBC, Nov. 22, 2004

“The State Department on Monday detailed an array of human rights abuses last year by the Iraqi government, including torture, rape and illegal detentions by police officers and functionaries of the interim administration that took power in June.”

— International Herald Tribune

, Mar. 1, 2005

“The level of activity that we see today from a military standpoint, I think, will clearly decline. I think they’re in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency.”

— Cheney, June 20, 2005

“Those of us in public office have a duty to speak with candor.”

— Bush, Jan 31, 2006

“The civilian death toll in Iraq was higher in the last year than at any point since the end of the war, according to figures released today. A study by the Iraq Body Count (IBC) project suggests that 12,617 people have been killed over the past year. That figure does not include the hundreds who have died in the recent upsurge of violence between Shia and Sunni groups.”

— The Scotsman, Mar. 9. 2006

“In less than three years, the Iraqi people have gone from living under the boot of a brutal tyrant, to liberation, to sovereignty, to free elections, to a constitutional referendum, and last December, to elections for a fully constitutional government.”

— Bush, Mar 14, 2006

“We are in a civil war. We are losing each day an average of 50 to 60 people … if not more. If this is not civil war, then God knows what civil war is.”

— Former Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, Mar. 19, 2006

“Iraq on Monday marked the third anniversary of the US-led invasion with new bombings, more sectarian tension and continued indecision on government.”

—BBC News, Mar 20, 2006

“Is the daily discovery of bodies in Iraqi streets the freedom Bush says Iraqis are living in? Is the killing and death that have grown until they have become a beast the same freedom that Iraqis are living in? How can the two pictures, killing and cruelty, freedom and security, be confused?”

— Editorial, Al-Watan

, Qatar, Mar. 20, 2006

“The US military has begun investigating claims published this week in Time magazine that American Marines killed 15 civilians in Iraq in November last year. ‘I watched them shoot my grandfather, first in the chest and then in the head,’ one child was quoted by Time as saying. "Then they killed my granny.’”

London Telegraph

, Mar. 21, 2006

“I thought we would have real freedom after Saddam, but now if you criticize a politician or a party, you can be killed the next day. I cannot relax; I suffer tension all the time. If civil war comes I will lock myself in my house and rot there. I would rather die than kill someone. I hate to say it, but we were better off under Saddam.”

— Abu Yasser, a Baghdad taxi driver, Mar 21, 2006

“We’re making progress because we’ve got a strategy for victory… I’m optimistic we’ll succeed.”

—Bush, Mar. 21, 2006

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