Nicolas J S Davies

A collection of published articles and letters to policymakers regarding the crisis in United States foreign policy by Nicolas J S Davies.

Location: North Miami, Florida, United States

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Letter to Bush on Decomposition of Iraq

President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington DC 20501

Sunday, November 9th 2003

Dear Mr. President,

I am deeply concerned about the ongoing war in Iraq. With all due respect, I am afraid that you have not only rejected every opportunity to restore sovereignty and some chance of peace to Iraq, but that you also seem to be committed to misinterpreting the failure of your policy, thereby ensuring more casualties amongst our troops and the Iraqi population, and the continued “decomposition” of Iraq.

The Iraqi resistance began in small cells of the “Committees of the Faithful” and other mainly Islamist groups, who had been tolerated but kept under close surveillance by the Baath government. Then our soldiers fired on demonstrators and other civilians, there were blood debts to pay, and so the small resistance cells began to grow. This spiral of violence has continued, as it does under military occupation, as every action the occupation forces take to suppress the resistance generates more blood-debts and more resistance. As for the general population, Mao’s old dictum is as true as ever, that the guerilla moves among the people as a fish moves through water. And it doesn’t make it any easier for our troops that they don’t have sufficient numbers to guard, let alone destroy, the estimated 1,000,000 tons of weapons and ammunition scattered around the country.

Recent weeks have seen an average of 33 daily attacks on U.S. troops, in addition to more violence against soft targets. This statistic has risen consistently since it was first reported at 13 attacks per day in May. Official U.S. casualties in Iraq now stand at 393 dead and 2,237 wounded. The rate of casualties has increased in the past month, from 31 killed and 270 wounded in September to 42 killed and 433 wounded in October, to 35 killed and 102 wounded in the first 6 days of November (

More and more of the reality of the war is being hidden from us – military censorship has kept the flag-draped coffins off the television, and Iraqi hospitals are now off-limits to reporters. More and more of Iraq is unsafe for Western reporters and aid workers in any case. The casualty figures tell their story though, as does the increasingly defensive posture of our occupation forces. The radius of the security perimeter around Baghdad Airport has been reduced from 5 miles to 2 miles, so that planes have to take off in a crazy zigzag spiral to reach 8,000 feet before leaving the perimeter – there were at least 3,000 shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles unaccounted for in Iraq, but, of course, they could be anywhere by now. In any case, the incoming mortar fire at the airport makes it clear that “security” is a relative term (Pacifica Radio/The Independent).

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have so far killed between 10,800 and 13,700 civilians and wounded more than 30,000, by the best estimates available ( & Marc Herold at UNH). Casualties among the armies of Iraq and Afghanistan during “major combat operations” in each country are harder to estimate, but 15,000 dead and 45,000 wounded would be a very conservative estimate – much less would mean that we have killed as many civilians as soldiers. So, by any calculation, the “War on Terror” has already killed or wounded more than 100,000 people in those two countries alone, the vast majority being civilians or conscripts rather than the terrorists who are our nominal target.

The only conceivable justification for this carnage would be that somebody somewhere was now safer or that the world was more peaceful or stable, but the opposite is clearly true. One of the fundamental problems with any policy that makes the U.S. government the sole arbiter and enforcer of global security is that issues of war and peace become inextricably entangled with our own commercial interests at the expense of real global security. Halliburton and other U.S. corporations have clearly been planning for their role in the occupation of Iraq for many years, as well as for the seizure and forced privatization of Iraqi industry, even though the latter would violate The Hague and Geneva Conventions, and leave subsequent Iraqi governments with every right to reclaim their property (The Nation).

However, there is much more at stake in Iraq than lucrative contracts and investment opportunities. My friends’ son and his buddies in the 4th Infantry in Tikrit are willing to give their lives to defend our country, and it is unforgivable that they are instead dying and being maimed as expendable pawns in such a clumsy commercial venture. You and your colleagues refused to face the reality of occupying Iraq before you went to war, but you must now discover a new sense of responsibility, engage with the real world, and get our young people out of Iraq with a minimum of additional chaos and casualties. A few months ago, the U.N. might have been able to go in and oversee an orderly transition to sovereignty and stability, but every day that this violent occupation continues requires us to lower our expectations.

While I understand that there are genuine differences of opinion in our country on these questions, it has become a matter of extreme urgency to acknowledge that time is not on our side, and that we must find a way to end the occupation and restore the sovereignty of Iraq. The only alternative is to “stay the course”, but eventually “cut and run”, after many more needless casualties on both sides, leaving a regional war in our wake. A blind determination to “stay the course” with a failed policy would be a de facto commitment to the worst possible outcome.

Meanwhile, other very real problems await our attention; terrorism; the proliferation of nuclear and conventional weapons; global warming and the destruction of our environment; poverty and hunger; inadequate healthcare and education systems; and the structural economic problems of “globalization”. The failure of your “War on Terror” has made international cooperation and the United Nations more relevant than ever, and we all need to work together on all these issues. Let’s bring our brave young people home from Iraq now, and offer them the opportunity to work to build a more peaceful, prosperous and equitable society in our country and the world.

Yours sincerely