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Iraq War Approaches Fifth Anniversary

March 18, 2008 10:32 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Dire stories dominate reporting, and a former Pentagon adviser says the occupation was ill-planned. But a new poll suggests optimism has grown among Iraqis.

30-Second Summary

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On March 20, 2003, the United States led a coalition force into Iraq. Five years on, the effects of that action are still being assessed.

Amnesty International describes the human rights situation in Iraq as “disastrous”.  In “Carnage and Despair: Iraq Five Years On,” Amnesty chronicles a country plagued by poverty, high unemployment, food shortages and a lack of access to potable water.

The Wall Street Journal reports on the country’s deepening refugee crisis. It is estimated that four million Iraqis—14 percent of the country’s population—have been displaced by the war, including the two million who fled sectarian conflict.

Richard Perle was a prominent Pentagon adviser in the run-up to the war and a vocal advocate for invasion. Writing for the American Enterprise Institute, Perle says that he and his colleagues failed to foresee how difficult it would be to put the country back together.

“We blundered into an ill-conceived occupation that would facilitate a deadly insurgency from which we, and the Iraqis, are only now emerging,” Perle writes. “With misplaced confidence that we knew better than the Iraqis, we sent an American to govern Iraq. L. Paul Bremer underestimated the task, but did his best to make a foolish policy work. I had badly underestimated the administration’s capacity to mess things up.”

Amid the predominantly gloomy reflections, one BBC story offers a ray of hope. A recent poll suggests that “more than 50 percent of Iraqis think their lives are good, more than at any time in the last three years.” 

If Iraq needs American support to get onto its feet, it faces a new problem as the conflict enters its sixth year. Public interest in Iraq is waning in America, according to The Associated Press.

Headline Links: Five years of conflict

Opinion & Analysis: Assessing the conflict

Related Topic: Public apathy

Reference: Declaration of war and photo story

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