News / Middle East

Iraqis Debate Impact of War

Iraqis Debate Whether War Changed Their Lives for Better, Worsei
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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.
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.

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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
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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.

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