Don Nash Interviews Dahr Jamail / Unknown News – 2005-11-08 08:00:04
Don Nash Interviews Dahr Jamail / Unknown News
(November 4, 2005) — Don Nash—What does Iraq actually look like two and a half years after the US invasion?
Dahr Jamail: Most of Iraq is a disaster and in a state of complete chaos.
The security situation is more accurately described as a brutal, guerrilla war which spiraled out of control over a year ago. Attacks on US forces even now average over 70 per day, and are expected to increase in coming months.
The myth that the US military has control over any portion of Iraq is just that-a myth. Even the heavily fortified “Green Zone” is mortared on a regular basis. If one wishes to fly in or out of Baghdad International Airport, get ready for a spiral descent/take off… as this has been necessary for also over a year due to the inability of the military to safeguard the area around the airport. Like in Vietnam, planes will be shot down if they don’t use the spiral method of taking off/landing.
The infrastructure is in shambles. For most of the western companies who were awarded the no-bid cost-plus contracts in Iraq, it’s their dream contract — guaranteed profits with no oversight. Companies like Bechtel have been paid out in full for their initial contract worth $680 million and awarded contracts totaling over $3.8 Billion, despite the fact that many of their projects in their initial contract were not even begun.
Meanwhile, Iraqis suffer and die from waterborne diseases, child malnutrition is worse than during the sanctions, and there is over 70% unemployment.
Don Nash— How do the Iraqi people feel overall about the US occupation?
Dahr Jamail: According to a recent poll commissioned by the British military, 82% of Iraqis want all occupation forces removed from their country, less than 1% feel occupation forces have improved security, and 45% openly admitted to feeling that attacks against US forces are justified.
This is quite similar to what I’ve seen during my 8 months in Iraq as well, aside from the fact that I found a larger percentage (greater than 45%) of Iraqis in support of the Iraqi resistance.
Don Nash—Is there anyway to know how many Iraqis are being held in detention by the US?/
Dahr Jamail: No. But there is now a huge number of missing persons in Iraq (over 100,000 according to two Iraq NGOs [non-government organizations] I know of), many of which are feared to be detained by the US. One NGO, Doctors for Iraq Society, estimates that there are 60,000 Iraqis in US military detention facilities in Iraq.
Don Nash—What really happened in Fallujah and Ramadi?
Dahr Jamail: During the November, 2004 siege of Fallujah, 60% of the city was completely destroyed. Most of the rest of it had moderate to severe damage done as well. Iraqi NGO’s and medical workers in and around Fallujah estimate over 4000 dead, mostly civilians. To this day, over 50,000 residents of Fallujah remain displaced.
The US military used cluster bombs, depleted uranium munitions, and white phosphorous (a new form of napalm) during the siege, and appear to have used forms of chemical weapons as well.
I have described Fallujah as a modern day Guernica, and prefer to call it a massacre rather than a siege. Fallujah is the model of Bush Administration foreign policy. There has been next to no reconstruction completed inside the city, as was promised by occupation authorities.
Don Nash—Are there other towns in Iraq destroyed by the US military that we haven’t heard about?
Dahr Jamail: Many in the US may not have heard that Al-Qa’im, Kerabla, Najaf (from during the Muqtada al-Sadr intifadas), Haditha, Hit and parts of Baquba, Baghdad, Ramadi and Samarra have suffered large scale destruction by US military operations.
Don Nash—Is Iraq already in civil war?
Dahr Jamail: Yes, state-sponsored civil war. The US-backed puppet Iraqi government is using the Badr Army (Shia) and the Kurdish Peshmerga militia to battle a primarily Sunni resistance. Most ordinary Iraqis loath the idea of civil war, but fear the possibility of it occurring as the US-backed tactic of divide and conquer moves forward in occupied Iraq.
Don Nash—How do the Iraqi people feel about the American people?
Dahr Jamail: Fortunately, most are quick to differentiate between the US government and American people. But unfortunately, in places like Fallujah, Haditha and Al-Qa’im where US operations have caused so much death and destruction, that distinction is being blurred and lost.
Don Nash—Is Abu Musab al-Zarqawi alive?
Dahr Jamail: Personally, I don’t believe he is alive. I researched this heavily when I was last in Jordan, by visiting the city where Zarqawi is from (al-Zarqa), and after interviewing many of his neighbors and old friends found that most of them believe he was killed in Tora Bora, Afghanistan during the US bombing campaign which followed the events of 9/11.
Any claim that he is a leader of the Iraq resistance or leading a terror group in Iraq is, I believe, US state propaganda.
Don Nash—Do the Iraqi people have any hope for a future?
Dahr Jamail: Not much nowadays. Most who can afford it are leaving Iraq. Those who have little choice but to stay in Iraq can look forward to continued and increasing violence, no reconstruction, a fundamentalist state and an endless US occupation which was failed before it even began.
Don Nash—Are the American people obligated to help the Iraqi people? And what could be done?
Dahr Jamail: The American people are completely obliged to help the Iraqi people because it is the fault of the American people that the Bush cabal was allowed to invade Iraq. Any US citizen who is not doing everything in their power to end this illegal and immoral occupation as quickly as possible is complicit with the war crimes being committed in Iraq on a daily basis.
©2004, 2005 Dahr Jamail.
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