A good book that raises more questions than it answers,
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This review is from: Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Baghdad's Green Zone (Paperback)
This well written book is in part sad and in part entertaining, but in no way does it give the necessary background information to the Iraq fiasco. It is a sort of reality TV "crash as it happens" without much or any context at all.
The kind of questions that it raises but doesn't answer are:
Did the US really invade Iraq by mistake (No WMD)?
Why has this unbelievable error (?) not been investigated by Congress?
What happened to the US intelligence services to get it so wrong?
When no WMD were found how was the story so easily switched to "Building Democracy"?
Why was no money or manpower seriously devoted rebuilding Iraq?
Why does the American public so nonchalantly accept torture and kidnapping by its government and the mass removal of its right to privacy?
Why was Chalabi continuously promoted despite having no support among the Iraqi people?
Some "perhaps" answers that Chandrasekaran hints at in the book are that the whole rebuilding project was designed to fail (i.e. it was only a publicity exercise by the US government with no real interest in rebuilding). A good illustration of this on P.131 was the Corliss, Jackson and Carney meeting (tasked with privatizing Iraqi state industries) with German specialists to draw on their experience of the privatization of East German industry. The Germans told them that they had 8000 people working on the project and one of them asked, "How many do you guys have?" Corliss replied that, "You're looking at all of them" (i.e. three people).
The US government delegated after war planning to Douglas Feith, the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy who also handled the so called "Office of Special Plans" which mined intelligence reports for data to make the case that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction and was in cahoots with Al Queda.
The book doesn't say it but this is the same Douglas Feith who co-authored a 1996 paper entitled "A Clean Break, A New Strategy for Securing the Realm" published by an Israeli think tank, the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies. The principal idea was to foment war in the Middle East and consequently destabilize Israel's enemies.
The policy was adopted by the Israeli pro-settler right wing and Jewish activists in and around the Clinton and Bush administrations such as Richard Perle, David Wurmser and Feith himself (who all helped produce the original document). They identified as targets Iraq, Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia, so why should Feith want to rebuild Iraq after it had been successfully destroyed?
There's more on this in Sniegoski's remarkable book, "The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel" which can usefully be read together with this one to maybe start to understand what was going on.