Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Salon: American reconstruction fails

IN a Thursday, August 16, 2012 editorial appearing at salon.com, Peter Van Buren, a 24-year veteran Foreign Service Officer, writes, "I spent a year with the Department of State helping squander some of the $44 billion American taxpayers put up to 'reconstruct' (Iraq)... To this day I'm left pondering...,: Why has the United States spent so much money and time so disastrously trying to rebuild (this nation)...?"
We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People by Peter Van Buren
Van Buren, author of the 2010 book "We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People", continues -- "Now, it's definitive. Reconstruction in Iraq has failed. Dismally... The accounts of that failure still pour out. Choose your favorites... (From) a $200 million year-long State Department police training program (that has) shown no results (none, nada),... (to) a long official list of major reconstruction projects uncompleted, with billions of taxpayer dollars wasted, all carefully catalogued by the now-defunct Special Inspector for Iraq Reconstruction."

When Van Buren does media interviews now, only two years later, the question of the day is not "Did we succeed in Iraq?" or "Will reconstruction pay off?", but "Why did we fail?"


Jeremiah the hebrew prophet presages Van Buren's lament over latter day Mesopotamia's demise: "Babylon has fallen and been broken; Wail over her! Bring balm for her pain; perhaps she may be healed. 'We applied healing to Babylon, but she was not healed; forsake her and let us each go to his own country, for her judgment has reached to heaven and towers up to the very skies." (Jer 51:8-9)

And so, with reconstruction having failed, miserably, the reconstructionists shall abandon her, each returning to his own country, and she shall fall into the remaining judgments alone and without hope.

Invasion by "a great nation and many kings" (Jer 50:41), humiliating capture and occupation (Jer 50:46, 51:14) and execution of her "arrogant" ruler (Jer 50:31-32) has already occurred. The burning of the cities (Jer 50:32, 51:58) and subsequent abandonment by the reconstructionists (Jer 51:8-9, 58) comes next.

Then her "judgment" really begins: war with and defeat by a horde "from the land to the north" (Jer 50:9), the "Medes" (Jer 51:11,28,48) -- the modern-day Kurds of Kurdistan -- who then "plunder" her "treasures" (Jer 50:10,37), a catastrophic flood event (Jer 51:42) and finally a drought (Jer 50:38-40, 51:43) so severe it renders the land "an object of horror, and there will be no inhabitant in it" (Jer 50:3), so that "she will be completely desolate; everyone who passes by Babylon will be horrified..." (Jer 50:13).

Will the fires that precipitate the final abandonment be lit soon? Will judgments 4 and 5 occur in 2012?

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