The Bush administration is busy boasting about the success of the “surge” which it claims has reduced the level of violence within Iraq. Lost in discussions concerning Iraq are the human dimensions as to what has occurred in that nation over the past five years since American troops first toppled the Saddam Hussein dictatorship. Um Saad, a middle-aged woman living in the Sunni district of Khadra in west Baghdad, blames America for the death of her husband and two of her sons. “One day,” she says, “I will put on an explosive belt under my clothes and then blow myself up among the Americans. I will get revenge against them for my husband and sons and I will go to paradise.”
Bush insists the surge is working. At the height of the sectarian civil war in 2006 and 2007, about 65 Iraqis were being killed each day. By February that figure had dropped to 26 a day but since March 1 it has risen to 39 per day. The life of this woman has dramatically changed since American air raids killed her pilot husband during early days of the war. One of her sons became a policeman and his police station was the target of militant bombing. As he ran out to fight the militants, American soldiers mstakenly thought he was one of the attackers and shot and killed her son. Her youngest boy joined the American sponsored al-Sahwa, the “Awakening Council, and he was killed by al-Qaida.
This is merely another story about an Iraqi family whose lives have been impacted by war and terror. One could argue for days as to whether or not her life would have been different had Saddam remained in power. The real issue is whether regime change in Iraq could have been conducted with greater intelligence on the part of the Bush administration.