My latest New Matilda column reflects on the five years since the invasion of Iraq:
Five years after the start of the Iraq war, a clear majority of Iraqis want American troops to leave. The results of the latest ORB/Channel 4 study are disturbing. The human cost of the conflict is starkly revealed: “A quarter of those surveyed said they had lost a family member to murder. In Baghdad, that figure rose to nearly half (45 per cent). Some 81 per cent had suffered power cuts and 43 per cent had experienced drinking water shortages. In the last month, more than a quarter (28 per cent) had been short of food.”
I’ve been writing about the war since 2003 and watched the slow descent of the country into ethnic cleansing and chaos. The Independent’s Patrick Cockburn (arguably the finest Western reporter on the war), writes this week that “five years of occupation have destroyed Iraq as a country. Baghdad is today a collection of hostile Sunni and Shia ghettoes divided by high concrete walls. Different districts even have different national flags. Sunni areas use the old Iraqi flag with the three stars of the Baath party, and the Shia wave a newer version, adopted by the Shia-Kurdish government. The Kurds have their own flag.” The White House Press Secretary still praises President Bush’s brilliant Iraq strategy.