Dispatches - Iraq Reckoning - Wow! Iraq Reckoning is an absolutely riveting analysis/critique/documentary of Iraq war from British reporter, Peter Oborne.

In Iraq Reckoning, Oborne reports how Bush/Blair went into Iraq without a plan for post-war Iraq. Interviews with former officials confirm this. The opinion that Saddam was "evil" seemed justification enough to invade the country for both Tony Blair and George Bush.

Oborne then describes how soldiers fought a losing battle with local insurgents and terrorists for control of the country--or more accurately, regions of the country. At first Baathist party members were shunned, thrown out because of their ties to Saddam. Now they are being welcomed back into the governing fold, at least in Baghdad. Why?

Apparently, deals have been struck. Coalition forces have essentially admitted defeat--they cannot control or police the region. So they are allowing/encouraging others to take over. This is spun by war supporters as progress. But this documentary makes it clear that such deals are a huge step backwards. No democracy is gained in the exchange. Tribal and fundamentalist leaders in respective regions are calling the shots. U.S. soldiers interviewed in the Iraq Reckoning admit this.

Again, this is spun as progress, but take a look at the leaders highlighted in the Iraq Reckoning documentary. Oborne interviewed many people in these region who said they will not vote until they are told how to vote by the region's de facto tribal leader.

No democracy in the voting box means no democracy period.

These tribal and fundamentalist leaders are running their respective regions in much the same way Saddam ran the whole of Iraq. Soldiers in the documentary described how the leaders have execution squads that punish dissenters. In fact, one leader is wanted by coalition authorities for murder, yet the soldier being interviewed revealed that he also had orders NOT to arrest the leader. After disclosing this fact, the soldier admitted that he probably shouldn't have said anything.

Look at how the press covers a story when regional leaders take control of an Iraqi city or region that British and U.S. forces are leaving. These coalition departures are spun as success stories. Yet according to Oborne, the Iraqi people left behind are living under a harsher, more fundamentalist regime than when Saddam was in power. As an example, women under Saddam's reign did not have to wear burqas. Yet now, in many of the tribally controlled regions, women must wear full burqas or risk being targeted by execution squads. It's terrifying stuff. Not the progress reported by the Bush administration.

In the end, U.S. and British forces will leave Iraq. But what they leave behind will not resemble what the soldiers and civilians died fighting for.

Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq
by Thomas E. Ricks

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