News / Middle East

Iraqis Debate Impact of War

Iraqis Debate Whether War Changed Their Lives for Better, Worsei
X
April 08, 2013 1:29 PM
It has been 10 years since the statue of Saddam Hussein was toppled in central Baghdad, an act that came to symbolize the end of his regime and a new beginning for Iraqis. VOA Correspondent Scott Bobb covered the Iraq War and its aftermath. He returned to Iraq recently and has these observations.
TEXT SIZE - +
Scott Bobb
— It has been 10 years since the statue of Saddam Hussein was toppled in central Baghdad, an act that came to symbolize the end of his regime and a new beginning for Iraqis. Only a single boot remains of the statue of Saddam Hussein today in Baghdad's Paradise Square.

For many, the day Iraqis -- aided by U.S. troops -- toppled the statue marked the the end of a brutal dictatorship and the beginning of a new hope. Today the square is bedecked with campaign posters for this month's local elections, the fifth in Iraq since multiparty democracy was installed.

In central Baghdad, the main streets seem cleaner and in better repair than during the years after the war.  New cars clog the intersections at rush hour. Traffic jams can last for hours. But most Iraqis say democracy has not improved their lives. Unemployed construction worker Mahdi al-Moussawi survives on occasional day-work.

"In general the security situation has improved a little bit, but there still are security problems," said Mahdi al-moussawi, unemployed construction worker.

The bombings have diminished from the height of the sectarian conflict several years ago.  But the largely-sectarian violence continues to kill and maim hundreds of people every month.

In Baghdad's central market, shoppers complain that prices are much higher than before the war, when fuel and basic goods were heavily subsidized. Mother-of-five Intissar Fadl said "It's tragic. Tragic. Some people don't have enough money for one kilo of food. We have something to eat. Others don't. We just live day by day."

Iraq's petroleum industry has largely recovered.  But many Iraqis say its wealth goes primarily to an elite few.  Corruption is rampant.  Public services are poor.

Yet Iraqis try, when possible, to live normal lives.  They take their families to Zawra Park for picnics and boating. Sara Gae'ib is the editor of a local newspaper, Al-Gad Al-Mashriq.

"When we are in the park we feel Iraq is peaceful and we are in a good place. But when we go out of the park everything is different," said Sara Gae'ib, newspaper editor.

The amusement park, long a respite for Iraqis, has been rebuilt.  From its Ferris Wheel, people can see the fortified Green Zone, forbidden to all but the few who live or work there.

Some say life is improving; it will just take more time.  Others say it is becoming more and more like before.  Regardless, no one commemorates the war that -- depending on one's opinion -- changed so much, or so little.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: mayanardo from: LA
April 08, 2013 7:16 PM
And the dozens of bomb blasts that continue to kill hundreds every month? The pending Civil war over Kirkuk or the once between Sunni/Shia? Resurgence of Al Queda? The cross border conflict in Syria, where Iraq Sunni militants travel with impunity? The new coalition between the Ayatollahs of Iraq and Iran? What a fiasco has Iraq become. A dozen Saddam Husseins can and will emerge.


by: shame on the world from: sydney
April 08, 2013 6:48 PM
the people of Iraq should put on trial the leadres of the world that manipulated the un and nato and other world leadres to justify for war against Iraq ..including..goerge bush jnr,dick cheney,donkey Rumsfeld ,peter Wolfowitz,richard perle,tony blair ,all bloombergs and rochefellas and the all rothchields and their cronies..sheme on the world ..

In Response

by: alabaneesee from: mnc australia
April 09, 2013 8:02 AM
Didn,t bush tell the UN basically where to go and jump and also included in the invasion list should be John Howard and the australian governments as they were both so willing without evidence to back the attack and following deaths to this day in Iraq

In Response

by: coup from: ellinmgen austrtalia
April 09, 2013 6:57 AM
And dont forget the howard goverenment of australia ; who wet their pants at the thought of helping the americans in iraq.they should all be made to sit and talk to the mothers of dead iraqy children{ killed as an outcome of the invasion},....and then tried as war criminals.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid