Saturday, June 16, 2007

Criminal Negligence Causing Death

Can you think of the last time Iraq had a day without a violent death or two or a dozen? If you're like me, you no longer read the daily accounts of the killings because they've lost their meaning except as statistics.

In Iraq people are routinely killed by al-Qaeda terrorists or Sunni insurgents or Shia militiamen or Iraqi security forces or US and coalition ground and air forces. Iraq may not have electricity of even oil but it has no shortage of armed people wandering around looking to kill people. And, when it comes to blame, there's more than enough to spread around.

A good share of the blame for each death that occurs in Iraq today and tomorrow and next month lies with something that's no longer around, the Coalition Provisional Authority, that was put in place by Washington to restore order to Iraq in the wake of the conquest. The CPA was headed, as you may recall, by Paul Bremer who served as pro-consul. His top British aide was Andrew Bearpark who stayed on the job until the CPA was wrapped up.

Bearpark has now accused the Coalition Provisional Authority of criminal negligence. In an interview with The Guardian, Bearpark described a totally dysfunctional civil administration. As an example he cited the total lack of planning for restoring essentials such as electricity:

"...when he asked for details of the plan to restore the Iraqi power supplies, he was given a one-page piece of paper with a list of a dozen Iraqi power stations and their potential output, amounting to what he describes as 'a wish list'. 'That was the CPA plan.'

Mr Bearpark said: "If we are going to take upon ourselves the right to invade people's countries and kill people - which is what we do with maybe the most laudable objectives - it puts an incredible moral responsibility upon us to do it as well as we possibly can."

A veteran of reconstructions in Bosnia and Kosovo, Bearpark, " insists there was a window of opportunity in 2003, following the invasion in April, when the coalition had the support of the Iraqi people, but by the winter 'we were losing them since we were unable to control security'. By January, the people realised the situation would not improve."

And the rest, as they say, is history. He supports the call for an official British enquiry into the failure of planning for the postwar occupation.

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