Letter to Bush from Iraqi engineer
Ghazwan Al-Mukhtar is a 60 year-old engineer, a 1967 graduate of Marquette University, living in Baghdad, who had criticized Saddam Hussein in his time as a "ruthless dictator" and has no intention of holding his tongue now.
Here is his letter addressed to Mr Bush. Sorry if it's long. But I think ppl with a bit of decency will appreciate that things are even longer in Iraq.
To The Honorable Mr. George W. Bush, The President of the United States of America:
Dear Mr. Bush,
It was regrettable that you were not allowed to see and talk to ordinary Iraqi citizens, during your sneak visit to Baghdad on Thanksgiving Day of 2003. Those Iraqis whom you met during that visit were part of the American-installed client state that came on the back of the American tanks. Naturally they told you what they thought you wanted to hear. Moreover, Mr. President, they lived, like your other advisors in Iraq, in their isolated bubbles in the secured "Green Zone" with very little contact with ordinary Iraqis.
I am sure that, had you talked to ordinary Iraqis, you would have gotten different opinions than those being passed to you by your American or Iraqi advisors. As an ordinary Iraqi citizen, I would like to share my thoughts on the Iraqi dilemma that America has found itself in.
More than a year ago you promised the Iraqi people that "the torture chambers and the secret police are gone forever." Mr. President, I honestly wanted to believe you then. I discovered later that your American solders had been torturing the Iraqi people since May 2003. I discovered also that your army generals knew about it and wrote reports to their higher authorities about such abuses of human rights. I will give you, Mr. President, the benefit of the doubt and say that your advisors did not tell you the facts.
Having known the facts, you did not apologize for the victims of the American torture, but went ahead putting the blame on only the "seven bad apples". That did not STOP the torture or the human rights violations committed by your troops in Iraq. Reports are still coming in to date confirming that torture is being committed against the Iraqis in the American detention camps. I am sure that your advisors will tell you that this is necessary to protect the security of America, several thousands of miles away from Iraq.
Your partners in the "coalition of willing" are not doing any better! The British and Danish armies are both torturing Iraqi detainees. Now we discover through human rights reports that the "new Iraqi army," created and trained by your government, is also torturing Iraqis. It is clear to me, Mr. President, that while we were tortured before the "liberation" by one force of evil, now we are being tortured by at least four evil forces after the "liberation." It looks to me, Mr. President, as if, contrary to your announcement, the "torture chambers" may truly be here forever.
Allow me, Mr. President, to suggest that your blaming of "only seven apples" did set the legal precedent for every dictator in the world to escape the responsibility for torture and human rights violations. Like you, every dictator will pin the blame and the responsibility on the seven, ten, or twenty bad apples in his forces. I am sure that decent American legal scholars would tell you this excuse is very dangerous and would not stand in a proper and impartial court of law.
Actions are judged by the results and not rhetoric. Ordinary Iraqis, like your American soldiers, are faced with threats against their lives. The general lawlessness that still exists, as a result of your occupation of Iraq, makes the life of ordinary Iraqis miserable. We Iraqis are afraid to go out for fear of being kidnapped by criminal gangs roaming the country with an ineffective police force. We are also afraid of going out for fear that we might be killed by a bomb directed at your troops, or killed, or shot at by trigger-happy and nervous American troops.
The innocent Iraqi population is not using armored personal carriers, nor do they use armored cars to help them protect themselves. More innocent Iraqi civilians are killed by your troops shooting at them than those killed by the criminal gangs. You probably know, Mr. President, that your trigger-happy and nervous troops enjoy freedom from prosecution for these unlawful killings. From what I have witnessed those killers do not even stop to say "sorry" for their actions.
Allow me respectfully to remind you, Mr. President, that now more than 60% of the Iraqi work force in your "liberated" Iraq is unemployed as compared to 30% before your liberation. It looks like your action has doubled the number of Iraqis "liberated" from earning a decent pay or a decent work.
The U.S. Congress issued a report on Iraq at the end of June 2004. In that report they say that, in May 2003 (just after the invasion), 7 out of the 18 governorates had more than 16 hours of electricity per day. It also says that this number was reduced to one governorate in May 2004, one year after the invasion. Now, we are very lucky if we get 6 hours of electricity per day in Baghdad, a city of 5 million people.
Health services have continued to deteriorate during the past 22 months of occupation. Hospitals still lack even the simplest things. Drugs are not available. Fewer patients seek medical treatments or examination because of the security situation and the closed streets. Doctors are not safe at hospitals. They have been physically attacked by relatives of patients blaming, or venting their frustration on the poor helpless doctors.
Due to lack of security and poor police force, criminal gangs have kidnapped for ransom a few hundred doctors. Some were threatened. As a result, hundreds of highly qualified doctors have fled the country and it has resulted in a further deterioration of health services. These highly qualified doctors did not run away from the tyranny of the dictator, Mr. President, but because of the chaos and lawlessness in your "liberated Iraq."
Records show, Mr. President, that the Iraqi government smuggled up to a hundred thousand barrels a day of refined diesel fuel through Turkey, with your government's knowledge. These figures indicate that the Iraqi refineries had an excess refining capacity allowing the country to export refined oil products.
During the "liberation" of Iraq, refineries were not targeted as they had been In 1991, so one assumes that the damage was minimal. I wonder why refineries are not fixed yet after 22 months of "liberation." I still cannot understand why Iraq continues to import refined oil products from Turkey, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia -- and to my amazement from Israel. We Iraqis need to know why our money is being spent, unwisely, to import gasoline now, when we were an exporting nation. I might understand that Halliburton and KBR needed to import gasoline for a few months, but not after 22 months of "liberation."
In 1991, our refineries were severely damaged by the bombing. We the Iraqi people were able, despite the sanctions and without help from the Halliburtons, to fix the refineries in only a few months. We kept them working and going for 13 years and we were exporting products. Similarly the Iraqi people were able to restore the electricity in a few months. The Iraqi people reconstructed every building damaged by the war of 1991 in less than a year. Seeing the lack of any reconstruction efforts after 22 months of "liberation" makes me sad.
Mr. President, in 1991 America promised that Iraq will be returned to the "pre-industrial" age and they nearly did that by bombing and destroying everything. The Iraqi people surprised the world by reconstructing what was bombed. On top of that, new projects were implemented despite the sanctions. As an Iraqi this makes me extremely proud of our achievement in 1991. We the Iraqis set the standards of reconstruction. After 22 months of "liberation" and the lack of honest and visible reconstruction work I feel that America miserably failed to meet that standard.
For 13 years, Iraqis were living on food rations given by the government. We were told that our government was robbing us and providing us with only 2200 Kcal per day. The "liberated" government of Iraq after the liberation is still providing us with about 2200 Kcal per day of food rations.
The government of Iraq used to spend about $150 million a month to import and distribute the food rations. According to your CPA Inspector General, $8.8 billion dollars were unaccounted for in one year. Mr. President, these $8.8 billion are enough to feed all the people of Iraq for nearly 60 months. This fiscal irresponsibility and the lack of transparency in spending our money make me wonder about the aim of the "liberation" of Iraq. I'm sorry to say that the Iraqi people are being robbed blind. We are also being "liberated" from our wealth.
I am sure, Mr. President, that our traumatized kids will never forget what was done to their future by your "liberation." I am sure that your kids will have to deal in the future with our traumatized kids. I am also sure that your kids will have to repay for all the damages and the stolen money. I can see that the price will be very high.
I do not want to be like the rest of your advisors giving you the rosy picture. They have told you about the WMD, the Al-Qaeda link, the 9/11 link, the Iraqis welcoming your troops as "liberators"… and it is proved that they were not telling you the truth. It is about time that you listen to other people.
We do not hate America for its "freedom or democracy." We don't hate America. We hate the crimes, the destruction, and the devastation committed by America against the innocent people in our country.
Ghazwan Al-Mukhtar Baghdad,