Baghdad Demands $1 Billion And An Apology From The U.S.

Iraqi officials aren’t pleased with the manner in which the U.S. occupation of Baghdad has changed the city, and they want us to pay to fix it:

(Reuters) – Iraq’s capital wants the United States to apologize and pay $1 billion for the damage done to the city not by bombs but by blast walls and Humvees since the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

The city’s government issued its demands in a statement on Wednesday that said Baghdad’s infrastructure and aesthetics have been seriously damaged by the American military.

“The U.S. forces changed this beautiful city to a camp in an ugly and destructive way, which reflected deliberate ignorance and carelessness about the simplest forms of public taste,” the statement said.

“Due to the huge damage, leading to a loss the Baghdad municipality cannot afford…we demand the American side apologize to Baghdad’s people and pay back these expenses.”

The statement made no mention of damage caused by bombing.

Baghdad’s neighborhoods have been sealed off by miles of concrete blast walls, transforming the city into a tangled maze that contributes to massive traffic jams. Despite a sharp reduction in overall violence in recent years only 5 percent of the walls have been removed, officials said.

The heavy blast walls have damaged sewer and water systems, pavement and parks, said Hakeem Abdul Zahra, the city spokesman.

U.S. military Humvees, driven on street medians and through gardens, have also caused major damage, he said.

“The city of Baghdad feels these violations, which have taken place for years, have caused economic and moral damage,” he said.

Jonathan Turley calls this an example of unparalleled hubris, citing the fact that we invested lives and resources protecting Iraqis from the insurgents who were trying to plunge their nation into chaos (an attempt that may yet succeed someday).  Frankly, though, I’m somewhat sympathetic to the arguments made by Baghdad officials who look around and see their city turned into the remnants of an armed camp. I can certainly see why they’d be upset about the fact that we’re about to leave the country, but will leave behind the mess that we created while we were there.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War, Quick Takes
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. sam says:

    This ain’t a new development:

    Here’s one fact from Goodbye, Darkness, a highly recommended memoir by twice-wounded Marine sergeant and journalist William Manchester. As the author notes, Guadalcanal was a plantation, farmed by a soap company for coconut oil. According to Manchester, after the war, the U.S. government paid $7 million to Lever Brothers for damages to their coconut palms. There is no glory in battle; stockholding, however, has its moments of grandeur.

  2. DC Loser says:

    James – did you ever take part in any of the REFORGER exercises? I’ve heard from people who did and they all told about the Germans who asked to have their cars driven over by the tanks so they could make a claim to the USG for compensation.

  3. “Frankly, though, I’m somewhat sympathetic to the arguments made by Baghdad officials who look around and see their city turned into the remnants of an armed camp. I can certainly see why they’d be upset about the fact that we’re about to leave the country, but will leave behind the mess that we created while we were there.”

    Couldn’t agree more, Doug. I’m surprised at Jonathan Turley. I thought he was better than that. The hubris is not Iraqis’ for wanting to be financially compensated for the harm and damage we did — it’s ours for going in there in the first place without having been asked to do so by anyone and based on a pack of lies.

  4. anjin-san says:

    > I’ve heard from people who did and they all told about the Germans who asked to have their cars driven over by the tanks so they could make a claim to the USG for compensation.

    And this has what exactly to do with Iraq?