The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[casi] At nine months: No lights, no gas, no security, no jobs


Below is appended a nine-month status report from Iraq by Herbert Docena, who

> Iraqi reconstruction is hamstrung by rules that mandate American suppliers,
precluding urgently-needed spot-repairs to equiupment originally purchased from
France, Russia, and Germany;
> Power outages of 16-hours per day remain common, with Iraq's power sector at
20% needed capacity;
> 12-million Iraqis are now unemployed (this seems high, but the 50%-70%
unemployment is commonly cited in the press); and
> Lengthy waits for gasoline persist.

Iraqi morale has plummeted as a result and a recent Gallup poll (WashPost
synopsis appended) notes: "Almost everyone interviewed -- 94 percent -- said
Baghdad 'now is a more dangerous place than before the invasion,' and 86 percent
said that for the previous four weeks 'they or a member of their household had
been afraid to go outside their home at night for safety reasons,' Burkholder
said in his analysis. He noted that in the two months before the U.S. invasion,
only 8 percent said they had experienced a similar fear."

Ongoing security risks were noted recently in Newsweek
(  "Roads and highways in Iraq are classified
by the U.S. military as green (safe), yellow (dangerous; no travel at night) and
red (closed to military traffic). There are no green routes left except in the
far north; all other routes are usually yellow and occasionally red. Route 1,
the road north out of Baghdad, is routinely red."

As Colin noted in his op-ed on privatization
(, "the Bush administration
... has displayed little sensitivity to Iraqi concerns, has thwarted its own
attempts to plan for the occupation, has fought to remain unaccountable, often
appears confused and will drop Iraq if it becomes politically costly ... the
Bush administration has little incentive to govern Iraq on behalf of Iraqis."

This is echoed by Docena: "The US and its contractors are not even trying for a
simple reason: it’s not the point. To assume that they are striving – but are
merely failing because of factors beyond their control – is to presuppose that
there is an earnest effort to succeed. There isn’t. If there were, there should
have been a coherent plan and process in which the welfare of the Iraqis and –
not of the corporations – actually comes first. Instead, the Iraqis’ need for
electricity comes after Bechtel’s need for billion-dollar projects."

Drew Hamre
Golden Valley, MN USA


The Reconstruction's Bottom-Line

The US-led reconstruction business in Iraq is faltering because it is less about
reconstruction than about business
by Herbert Docena, Focus on the Global South/International Occupation Watch
December 27th, 2003

Summary: Nine months after the invasion, deteriorating living conditions marked
by constant lack of electricity, a severe gasoline shortage, and massive
unemployment highlight the failure of the US-led reconstruction of Iraq. While
insecurity and incompetence are partly to blame, the problems could be more
adequately explained by the US and its contractors’ determination to hang on to
as big a portion of the post-war bounty as possible.

BAGHDAD – EVEN IF THE OCCUPATION were working perfectly well, it would still be
wrong. This has become trite commentary among Iraqis who bitterly want the
occupation to fail but, at the same time, also earnestly hope that the
reconstruction of their country succeeds. Still, no matter how successful the
occupiers try to make the reconstruction go right, the US and its corporations
still have no right staying here.

What seems to be exasperating Iraqis more, however, is that they’re not even

At night, most of downtown Baghdad is still clad in darkness, with only the blue
and red police sirens lighting the streets and only the sound of intermittent
gunfire puncturing the silence – definitely not a picture of a festive newly
liberated capital. With most of Iraq suffering from power interruptions lasting
an average of 16 hours daily, it’s a little hard to party in the dark. How many
US soldiers does it take to change a light bulb? About 130,000 so far but don’t
hold your breath.

South of the city, a double-columned queue of cars – stretched up to three
kilometers in length – snake around street blocks, and cross a bridge over the
Tigris, before finally terminating at a barb-wired gasoline station protected by
a Humvee and an armored tank. Come closing time, so as not to abandon the queue
and line up all over again the following day, most of the car owners decide to
leave their vehicles parked overnight – a nightly vigil for gasoline in a
country with the world’s second largest reserves of oil.

During the day, some of Iraq’s 12 million unemployed hang out in front of
Checkpoint 3 of the Green Zone, the heavily fortified headquarters of the
Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). The chances of an American coming out of
their version of Saddam’s spider hole and handing resumes is next to nil but
they come every day anyway. Others try their luck loitering at the hotel
lobbies, besieging journalists or NGO workers in need of drivers and

With many unemployed former university professors, engineers, and civil servants
choosing to become cab drivers instead, Baghdad probably has the most educated
taxi drivers per square kilometer in the world today. Strike up a conversation
and the cabbies will most likely tell you what seems to have become the
conventional wisdom today: not even Saddam could have screwed up this badly.

Not that they want him back but neither could they have expected the occupation
forces to completely bungle up such simple tasks as switching back the light.
The lack of power is most Iraqis number one gripe but the list is long:
uninstalled phone lines, shoddily repaired schools, clogged roads, uncollected
garbage, defective sewage, a nonexistent bureaucracy, mass unemployment and
widespread poverty – the general unexpected chaos that Iraq still is today.

Iraqis are in broad agreement that life is deteriorating rather than improving.
The prevailing sentiment is a complex mix of resentment and resignation,
frustration and incredulity. On the one hand, Iraqis feel bitter about being
occupied and yet many are resigned to entrusting their day-to-day survival at
the hands of the Americans. On the other hand, they could not quite believe how
– despite all the time and money – the world’s sole superpower can’t make the
reconstruction process go right.

For it’s part, the US says the Iraqis are expecting too much too soon. “The
bottleneck is sheer time,” explained Ted Morse, the CPA’s coordinator for the
Baghdad region. “Wherever you have had a true conflict situation, there is an
impatience in that people think it can be done immediately. It cannot.”

But Iraqis themselves have showed that it can. In 1991, after the first Gulf War
and despite the UN-imposed sanctions, it took Iraq’s bureaucrats and engineers
only three months to restore electricity back to pre-war capacity, boasted Janan
Behman, manager of Baghdad’s Daura power station. Now – after almost nine months
and despite the involvement of Bechtel, builders of the Hoover Dam and some of
the world’s biggest engineering works – Iraq’s power sector is still only
producing less than 20% or 3,600 MW out of the 20,000 MW required. A daily power
interruption of two to three hours would be acceptable after nine months, but 16

The occupation forces would not admit this, of course, but much of the problem
could be attributed to the efforts of the resistance to ensure that nothing
works as long as an illegal occupation stays in place. The resistance has kept
the authorities too busy dodging bombs to spare time for such trifling matters
as providing Iraqis with jobs. With the resistance targeting not just combatants
but also those profiting from the occupation, it’s a little too much to expect
contractors to go out of their tightly guarded bubbles and move around.

Bechtel employees, for example, only travel in military helicopters or armed
convoys with at least one designated “shooter” in every vehicle.[1] Now unless
they find a way of transporting the power plants to the trailer camps where
Bechtel employees live – averse as they are from going to the plants themselves,
nothing much would really get done.

A lot of the mess could also be attributed to the sheer incompetence and lack of
experience of the people running Iraq. Much has been said about how the
administrators housed in the Green Zone have little or no experience whatsoever
in public administration. There have also been various reports about the
confusion and lack of coordination among the different agencies involved.
Moreover, as in previous colonial administrations, it is often difficult to
entice the best and the brightest to pack up, leave everything behind, relocate
to some far-flung hardship post – only to be welcomed with guns.

But insecurity and incompetence – while part of the complete and complex picture
– do not go far enough in explaining why the reconstruction effort has so far
been an evident failure.

First, while only 1% of those surveyed in a recent Gallup poll buy the line that
the US came to establish democracy, a majority of the Iraqis are not actively
fighting the occupation. While the resistance is growing, this is not an
intifida – yet. While a mere 6% of those surveyed believed the US are here to
help [2], Iraqis who are in the position to assist in the reconstruction effort
actually want to make it work – not so much to prop up the occupying forces,
they say, but to ensure that oil and electricity are kept available. Iraqis may
not necessarily like the Americans but they would sure like some hot water in
the morning this winter.

“If this is the system, then I have to follow,” said Dathar al-Khshab, general
director of the Daura oil refinery said. It’s the only way to keep things moving
then so be it, he said, echoing other utilities managers. Rank and file oil
industry workers are likewise hesitant to shut down the refineries as a
bargaining chip for negotiations and as a tactic to undermine the occupation. On
the one hand, they know that this could paralyze the Americans. On the other,
they are afraid of its effect on the Iraqi people. But asked whether they
support the coalition forces, Hassan Jum’a, leader of the Southern Oil Compamy
union, was firm: “You can’t hide the moon. Every honest Iraqi should refuse the

The charge of incompetence is not completely convincing either because, for all
the allegations of unfair competition and shadowy connections, it would be
difficult to accuse Bechtel or Halliburton of not knowing what it is doing.

With projects scattered all over the globe, Bechtel is one of the world’s
biggest construction firms and it has achieved some of history’s most awesome
engineering feats. Halliburton, on the other hand, has been repairing oil wells
and refineries around the world for decades. Even Iraqi officials readily
acknowledge that, technically speaking, they should be in good hands with these
American contractors. As the grudging respect gradually gives way to
disappointment, Iraqis are even more baffled as to how these corporations could
fail their expectations.

Another popular explanation making the rounds alleges that sabotaging the
reconstruction is a conscious and deliberate effort on the part of the
occupation forces to make the Iraqis completely dependent and subservient.
Keeping a dog hungry not only keeps it from barking, it also makes the dog
follow its master anywhere.

The problem with this theory is that due to the relatively decentralized
reconstruction process involving dozens of contractors and subcontractors, an
explicit order for deliberate failure would have been almost impossible to
secretly enforce. Moreover, faced with a mounting resistance, this tactic could
be extremely risky because it undermines the effort to “win hearts and minds.”
Keeping a dog hungry could also turn it desperate and rabid.

The answer to the mystery of why the reconstruction has so far been botched up
could be less sinister – in that it is not a deliberate tactic – and more
charitable – in that it does not assume that the occupying forces are that

A clue lies at the Najibiya power station in Basrah, Iraq’s second largest city
located south of Baghdad. Sitting uninstalled between two decrepit turbines were
massive brand new air-conditioning units shipped all the way from York
Corporation in Oklahoma. Pasted on one side of each unit was a glittering
sticker proudly displaying the “Made in USA” sign – complete with the stars and

It’s just what the Iraqis don’t need at this time. Since May, Yaarub Jasim,
general director for the southern region of Iraq’s electricity ministry, has
been pleading with Bechtel to deliver urgently needed spare parts for their
antiquated turbines. “We asked Bechtel many times to please help us because the
demand for power is very high and we should cover this demand,” Jasim said. “We
asked many times, many times.”

Two weeks ago, Bechtel finally came. Before it could deliver any of Jasim’s
requests, however, Bechtel transported the air-conditioners – useless until the
start of summer six months from now.

But even if the air-con units become eventually useful, stressed plant manager
Hamad Salem, other spare parts would have been much more important. The
air-conditioners, Salem pointed out, were not even in the list of the equipment
and machine components that they submitted to Bechtel.

Ideally, said Jasim, it would be best to get the spare parts from the companies
that originally built the turbines because they would be more readily available
and more suitable for their technology. Unfortunately, Jasim pointed out, Iraq’s
generators happened to have been provided by companies from France, Russia, and
Germany – the very countries banned last week by the Pentagon from getting
contracts in Iraq – as well as Japan. Upon inspection, it was clear that the
turbines don’t carry the stars and stripes logo. The dilapidated turbines in
Najibiya, for example, still proudly wore “Made in USSR” plates.

Why then have the required components not been delivered? Jasim replied
dismissively, as though the answer was self-evident: “Because no other company
has been allowed by the US government, only Bechtel.”

Unlike those of the other banned corporations, Bechtel carries the requisite
brand. Since its founding, Bechtel’s officials have had a long and very cozy
relationship with and within the state now disbursing the billion-dollar
contracts. For example, Bechtel board member George Schultz was former Treasury
Secretary to Nixon, State Secretary to Reagan, and – coincidentally enough –
chairman of the advisory board of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq. Also
once included in Bechtel’s payroll were former Central Intelligence Agency chief
John McCone, former Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger, and former NATO Supreme
Allied Commander Jack Sheehan.

Awaiting urgent rehabilitation, Iraq’s French, Russian, German, and
Japanese-made power infrastructure is slowly disintegrating. At the station,
workers are trying to make full use of the turbines by cooking pots of rice on
the surface of the rusting hot pipes. If the stations are not rehabilitated any
time soon, repairs will no longer be enough to keep them running, warned Jasim.

To finally end Iraq’s crippling power shortage and to ensure that the turbines
are not completely degraded, Bechtel should either quickly manufacture the
required spare parts itself – a very long and very costly process, buy the spare
parts from the Russian company directly, or hire the Russian firm as a
subcontractor. That or they just allow the crumbling turbines to turn completely
useless. Then, they bid for building new billion-dollar power generators

Incidentally, part of Bechtel’s contract includes making "roadmaps for future
longer term needs and investments." In other words, Bechtel is currently being
paid to determine what the Iraqis will “need” to buy in the future – using the
Iraqis and the US taxpayers’ money. According to independent estimates, Bechtel
stands to get up to $20 billion worth of reconstruction contracts in the next
few years. [3]

If Bechtel has grander plans for Iraq’s power sector, however, they’re not
telling the Iraqis. The utilities managers interviewed said they are not being
consulted at all regarding Iraq’s strategic energy plans. Bechtel officials
don’t even bother to explain what’s taking them so long to deliver the parts
they need. “They just collect papers,” said Jasim.

Iraq’s power sector problem is illustrative of the bigger pattern.

Iraqis spend up to five hours lining up for gasoline not only because of the
sabotage of pipelines but also because there’s limited electricity to run oil
refineries that are crying for quicker action from Kellog, Brown, and Root
(KBR), the Halliburton subsidiary and contractor for rehabilitating the oil
infrastructure. According to workers from the South Oil Company in Basrah, which
KBR is obliged to rehabilitate, they are not aware of any repairs KBR has
actually undertaken.

With Iraq’s oil refineries still awaiting rehabilitation, Iraq cannot refine
enough crude oil to meet domestic consumption. The US is instead exporting
Iraq’s crude oil and employing KBR under a no-bid cost-plus-fixed fee contract
to import gasoline from neighboring Turkey and Kuwait.

Last week, an official Pentagon investigation revealed that KBR is charging the
US government more than twice what others are paying for imported gasoline. What
was left unsaid, however, is the conflict of interest inherent in hiring KBR for
both the oil infrastructure reconstruction and the oil importation. If Iraq’s
pipelines and refineries were suddenly fully functional and Iraq is able to
produce all the oil it needs, it would be the end of KBR’s lucrative
oil-importing business.

There has been no evidence that KBR is deliberately delaying the repair the
refineries, only that there is an obvious disincentive to speed things up. There
is a serious but overlooked clash of incentives when the same company tasked to
revive the oil industry is simultaneously making money from a condition in which
that industry stays in tatters.

Just outside the CPA headquarters, a small unorganized group of employees of the
former regime gathered and unfurled their banner: “We Need our Salaries Now.”
They were demanding 10 months worth of back-wages. “We thank you because you
saved our lives from Saddam. But we want to live so you should help us,” their
unofficial spokesperson, Karim Hassin, said indignantly, addressing the
unresponsive 10-foot high wall protecting the compound. “Paul Bremer promised us
salaries. We heard it with our own ears. What happened to these promises?”

A day after that the Pentagon’s investigation on KBR was publicized, 300
soldiers walked out of the US-created 700-member New Iraqi Army decrying
unreasonably low wages. Most of the deserters were recruited from Saddam’s
former army but for only $50 a month, they had decided to transfer their
allegiance to the occupation forces. Trained by the military contractor Vinnell
Corporation, their only demand from their new masters was a raise in pay to $120
a month. That would have amounted to a mere monthly increase in spending of only
$49,000 – small change put beside the US’ $4 billion monthly military spending
in Iraq and a miniscule amount compared to the $61 million in overcharges by

Hearing about all these developments, it would appear as though the occupation
forces have come to liberate Iraq on a really tight budget. The common refrain
of the Iraqis who have chosen to work with the US-installed bureaucracy, is that
there is no quid. Pressed to explain the failure of his ministry to
significantly increase power, for example, Iraq’s electricity chief, Ayhem
Al-Samaraie, grudgingly admitted: “I have no money in my ministry at all.”

Indeed, a quick visual survey of Baghdad – from the unkempt streets, the aging
machines, the raging workers to the unbelievably long lines for gasoline – makes
this explanation for Iraq’s reconstruction problems sound almost convincing.
That the reconstruction effort is in shambles because there is no money almost
seems plausible.

But it isn’t. Last November, the US Congress eventually passed Bush’s $87
billion request for Iraq with nary a fuss. Before that, the US had already spent
$79 billion for both Iraq and Afghanistan. On top of this, the US also has
complete control of the UN-authorized Development Fund for Iraq (DFI), which
contains all of the former government’s assets as well as past and future
revenues from Iraq’s oil exports, including leftover from the UN Oil for Food

By the end of the year, the DFI would have given the occupation forces access to
a total of $10 billion in disposable funds.[4] Though control would be less
direct, the occupation forces can also tap a few more billions from the
estimated $13 billion grants and loans raised during the Madrid donors’
conference on Iraq last October.

On paper, the amount that will be paid to contractors like Bechtel will come
from US taxpayers’ money. In practice, however, all that is being spent on
Iraq’s reconstruction is mixed in a pot containing the US’ and other
coalition-member countries’ grants plus the Iraqis’ own funds.

So there’s money; it’s just not going around. And here perhaps lies the solution
to the mystery of how the world’s superpower and the world’s biggest
corporations can’t even begin to put Iraq together again after almost nine
months: The reconstruction is less about reconstruction than about making the
most money possible.

Firms like Raytheon, Boeing, and Northrop Gruman will get their fair share of
the $4 billion that the US is spending monthly on military expenses in Iraq; but
there will not be an extra dime for the New Iraqi Army recruits. Bechtel’s
useless Oklahoma-made air-conditioners will be paid under the $680 million
no-bid contract; but there will be no money for the direly needed Russian-made
components for Najibiya’s turbines. Halliburton and its subcontractors creamed
off $61 million dollars importing oil from Kuwait; but there will be no
pay-raise for Iraq’s oil refinery workers.

While the US finds it increasingly harder to raise funds for the occupation,
there is still enough money for the most critical aspects of the reconstruction.
Those profiting from it, however, are determined to keep the biggest share
possible to themselves. The bottom-line of the reconstruction mess is the
bottom-line: little gets done because contractors could not see beyond the
dollar sign.

“The profit motive is what brings companies to dangerous locations. But that is
what capitalism is all about,” Richard Dowling, spokesperson of the US Army
Corps of Engineers, the agency that contracted KBR, explained. “If it takes
profit to motivate an organization to take on a tough job, we can live with
that. Yes, there’s a profit motive but the result is the job gets done.”

The problem is, as evidenced most clearly by the case of Bechtel and KBR, the
job is not even getting half-done. Profit-maximization has not resulted in the
most efficient restoration of power and oil production possible. On the
contrary, it gets in the way of doing things right. The power plants will
eventually be built and the oil refineries will run again, but not after
unnecessary deprivation on the part of Iraqis and not after Bechtel has made the
most of the opportunity.

This war to liberate Iraq was never about liberating the Iraqis. Unsurprisingly
then, the reconstruction effort is also not about reconstruction. In this
occupation, the US and its allies’ primary goal is not to rebuild what they have
destroyed; it’s to make a fast buck. Contractors like Bechtel and KBR are
assured of getting paid no matter what; that the power plants will eventually be
constructed is just incidental. They will be built in order to justify the
pretext for the profit-making: that a war had to be waged and that everything
that was destroyed have to be rebuilt.

As Stephen Bechtel, the company’s founder, once made clear, “We are not in the
construction and engineering business. We are in the business of making money.”
Billed as the biggest rebuilding effort since World War II, the reconstruction
of Iraq is expected to cost $100 billion – some even say $200 billion --
depending on how long they stay. For the post-war contractors, this is not a
reconstruction business; it is a hundred-billion-dollar bonanza.

The US and its contractors are not even trying for a simple reason: it’s not the
point. To assume that they are striving – but are merely failing because of
factors beyond their control – is to presuppose that there is an earnest effort
to succeed. There isn’t. If there were, there should have been a coherent plan
and process in which the welfare of the Iraqis and – not of the corporations –
actually comes first. Instead, the Iraqis’ need for electricity comes after
Bechtel’s need for billion-dollar projects. The Iraqis’ need for decent living
wages becomes relevant only after Halliburton has maximized its profits.

Indeed, if there were a sincere attempt to succeed, the US – as responsible
occupying powers – should have had no qualms giving Iraqis what many
empathically say they need to finally make thing’s work: the authority and the
resources. “If only the money and spare parts were provided,” Jasim said, “we
could do a surgical operation.” “If I’m going to do it without KBR, I can do
it,” said Al-Khshab. “We have been doing this for the past thirty years without
KBR. Give me the money and give me the proper authority and I’ll do it.” But the
US won’t because who knows what the Iraqis would do. Ask the Russians to repair
their power plants? Actually succeed in reconstructing their country without the
involvement of Bechtel and Halliburton?

The US taxpayers are not parting with billions of dollars of their hard-earned
pay to give away to some lucky Russian firm. US and coalitions soldiers are not
sacrificing their lives to protect the wussy French. The US did not liberate
Iraq in order to let the long disempowered Iraqis rebuild their own country.

As the reconstruction process continues to disillusion Iraqis, the myth that the
US is here to help is also steadily collapsing. With no light, no gasoline, and
no paychecks, more and more Iraqis are no longer just cursing the darkness. “If
you want to live in peace, Americans, give us our salary,” warned Hassim, the
Iraqi protesting at the gates of the CPA. “If you do not, next time we’ll come
back with weapons.” The logic of this occupation carries with it its own
contradiction: If the resistance succeeds, the drive for more that propelled the
war could also bring it to a halt.

Herbert Docena ( is with Focus on the Global South and the
International Occupation Watch Center.

[1] Steve Schifferes, “The challenge of rebuilding Iraq,” BBC News Oct 21, 2003
[2] Walter Pincus, “Skepticism About U.S. Deep, Iraq Poll Shows,” Washington
Post, November 12, 2003
[3] Elizabeth Becker, “Companies From All Over Seek a Piece of Action Rebuilding
Iraq,” New York Times, May 21, 2003
[4]Christian Aid, “Iraq: The Missing Billions: Transition and Transparency in
Post-War Iraq” Briefing Paper for the Madrid Donor’s Conference, October 23-24,

Skepticism About U.S. Deep, Iraq Poll Shows
Motive for Invasion Is Focus of Doubts
By Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 12, 2003; Page A18

More than half of Baghdad's residents said they did not believe the United
States would allow the Iraqi people to fashion their political future without
the direct influence of Washington, according to a Gallup poll.

With the Bush administration holding consultations on the future of the
U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council, recent analyses of the poll data, which
were gathered three months ago, highlight the roots within that city's populace
of many of the concerns the U.S.-led coalition now faces there.

Only 5 percent of those polled said they believed the United States invaded Iraq
"to assist the Iraqi people," and only 1 percent believed it was to establish
democracy there.

Three-quarters of those polled said they believed the policies and decisions of
the Iraqi Governing Council -- whose members were appointed in July by Coalition
Provisional Authority Administrator L. Paul Bremer -- were "mostly determined by
the coalition's own authorities," and only 16 percent thought the council
members were "fairly independent."

The poll, funded by Gallup, was conducted through face-to-face interviews with
1,178 Baghdad residents between Aug. 28 and Sept. 4. The initial results were
announced in late September, but additional analyses were released to the
polling firm's clients in succeeding weeks. Some Gallup analyses have been
published on the Coalition Provisional Authority's Web site in the past two

Although 52 percent of those polled said they thought the United States was
serious about establishing a democratic system of government in Iraq, 51 percent
said Washington would not allow Iraqis to do that without U.S. pressure and
influence. The margin of error in the poll was plus or minus 2.7 percentage

In an Oct. 28 analysis, Richard Burkholder, Gallup's director of international
polling, noted that most Baghdad residents thought getting rid of Saddam Hussein
was worth the hardships they are enduring. But "most are deeply skeptical of the
initial rationale the coalition has given for its actions," Burkholder added.

The poll showed that doubts about the U.S. motives for invading had led to
doubts about Washington's commitment to creating an independent democratic
government in Baghdad.

Forty-three percent of the respondents said they believed that U.S. and British
forces invaded in March primarily "to rob Iraq's oil." While 37 percent believed
the United States acted to get rid of the Hussein regime, only 5 percent thought
it did so "to assist the Iraq people," the poll found.

An additional 6 percent believed the motive was to "change the Middle East 'map'
as the U.S. and Israel want." Four percent believed the purpose was to destroy
weapons of mass destruction, the primary reason given by the Bush

At a time when the United States faces a growing security threat, the poll
pointed to other possible reasons why coalition forces are being looked upon as
occupiers instead of as liberators.

Almost everyone interviewed -- 94 percent -- said Baghdad "now is a more
dangerous place than before the invasion," and 86 percent said that for the
previous four weeks "they or a member of their household had been afraid to go
outside their home at night for safety reasons," Burkholder said in his
analysis. He noted that in the two months before the U.S. invasion, only 8
percent said they had experienced a similar fear.

Asked about attacks against U.S. troops, 64 percent said they were not
justified; 36 percent said they sometimes were. Burkholder noted that those who
believed such attacks were somewhat or completely justified -- 11 percent and 8
percent, respectively -- would translate to 440,000 adults 18 or older among
Baghdad's adult population of 2.3 million.

Forty-eight percent of those polled said they did not believe that the United
States will "remain in Iraq as long as necessary, but not a day more," as
President Bush has said. Thirty-six percent said they believed that the
Americans would leave as Bush had promised.

Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
To unsubscribe, visit
To contact the list manager, email
All postings are archived on CASI's website:

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]