This is my response to Thomas Friedman article “Dear Iraqi Friends (Published September 23, 2008).
From: Ghazwan Al-Mukhtar
To: President George W. Bush
Dear Mr. President, I am writing to you because I know that your letter to President Talabani and others will not be answered. I suspect that they are busy jockeying for power and the wealth of my country Iraq. As an Iraqi citizen I have taken the liberty to reply for them.
Mr. President, I am writing to you on a matter of grave importance. It’s hard to express how deep the humanitarian crisis in Iraq today. There are nearly 3 million Iraqi refugees living in poverty in surrounding countries. Another 2 millions are internally displaced. Those who lucky not to be forced out of their houses are living in darkness because the electricity generated now is less than that before the fall of Baghdad more than 5 years ago.
To compound the misery of the Iraqi people your friends, Talabani and Maliki, are starving the civilian population of Iraq. Through corruption and inefficiency the food ration system provides now less than that before the fall of Baghdad. The food ration system was installed in 1991 in response to your father’s war on Iraq. The UN said then that the Iraqi food ration system was “the most equitable food distribution”. More than 80% of the population is dependent on the system. It was less than 60% before your war of terror 2003.
Probably your friends, Talabani and Maliki, are too ashamed to tell you that the people of “the land between the two rivers” do not have clean drinking water. As a result now Cholera epidemic is killing hundreds of poor Iraqis mostly children. Last year Cholera started in “Al Qaeda free” Kurdistan. This year it started south of Baghdad and is speeding fast. Your friends, Mr. President, deny it but the death is continuing.
The Sick and injured civilians in Iraq can not find the proper medical care that they used to enjoy in the past.. Nearly half of the Iraqi doctors have fled the country for their own safety. I know, Mr. President that you do not like to be reminded that John Hopkins School of Public Heath study which estimated that more than one million Iraqis died then, because of your war of terror on Iraqis. That is a fact my friend that is a fact.
I know Mr. President that you are now interested in the economic conditions in your county which you called the economic 911. I totally agree with you, that it is too much for America to spend One billion dollars a day in Iraq. America could save hundreds of billion of dollars by pulling your troop out of my country. I am sure that the billions saved could be a great boost to the American economy. It could used to help rebuilding New Orleans, or Galveston. I do trust your wisdom of knowing what to do with the saved Billions.
Do not misunderstand me, Mr. President; I do appreciate Americans effort to establishing the “New Iraqi Army”. What I am criticizing is the wisdom of dissolving the “Old Iraqi Army”. Iraq had compulsory military service which made the “old Army” a truly representative of the Iraqi society. Everybody, irrespective of his ethnicity, or religious sect served in the “Old Army”. It was The Notational Army. What you have created now is an ethnic, secretion and sometimes party affiliated “New Iraqi Army” units. Probably you know that the separate Kurdish parties have separate military units of the “New Iraqi Army”. Those unite follow orders from their respective parties and not the Central government in Baghdad.
I find it strange, Mr. President that you talk about constitutions being imposed on the Arab people by kings or dictators. The current Iraqi constitution was written by Noah Fieldman and was imposed on us by the Americans and not by Arab kings or dictators. It was cosmetically modified to ensure its acceptance. So far after 2 years the parliamentary committee has proposed modification to 60 of the 142 articles. I am sure that the committee will continue quarreling for the next few years without reaching agreement on the supposedly our “Noah Fieldman” constitution.
No doubt you know the Iraqi government has accumulated more than 80 billion dollars deposited in US banks. They have the money to help the poor Iraqi refugees. It is just that your friends do not give a damn. They are busy running their corruption racket. For two years in a row Iraq occupied the top of the list of the most corrupt governments behind only the war lords run Somalia and the military Junta in Myanmar.
Mr. President, Iraq does not need a new oil law to give long term concessions to your oil companies. Iraq in 1980 exported twice as much as the current export figures. Few short term service contracts will double our production in a very short time. Even your best Iraqi friends, Talabani and Maliki, could not accept conditions put to them by the American companies. They activated a Saddam era service contract with the China. Mr. President, we owe it to future generation of Iraqis to safeguard their wealth. It is important that Iraq oil should be explored wisely and rationally. It is important also to keep the oil in the ground if for nothing else to safely keep it away from the hands of the Thieves of Baghdad.
Finally, Mr. President, even your friends in Baghdad, Talabani and Maliki, want the US forces to leave Iraq by 2011. My question, to you and to the American people, are you going to impose yourself on the Iraqi people? Are you going to continue to be un-welcomed guests in our country? I know that no self-respecting American would agree to stay.
It takes courage, Mr. President, to admit a mistake. It is even more courageous to take actions to correct the mistake. Please have the courage to order the withdrawal of your troop from Iraq now before someone else makes that decision. It will save your legacy and will show you as a courageous leader.
I pray to God almighty to open your eyes to see the facts and give you the wisdom.
Ordinary Iraqi Citizen