US – Iraq relations – April 2000

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A decade after Operation Desert Storm, the US is still at war with Iraq. It’s the longest air war in American history. Nearly 12,000 missions last year alone were flown against 300 Iraqi targets. It’s the economic sanctions, though, that are causing the worst collateral damage in Iraq.

After eight years of embargo, Iraq’s currency has lost 98% of its value, and there’s a total break down in health care, education, and basic social services. Even food and water are hard to come by, and UNICEF reports that sanctions cost the lives of 200 children each day, and as many adults.

Two of the highest UN officials in charge of administering the sanctions have resigned in protest. Even Scott Ritter, the maverick arms inspector, calls US policy toward Iraq “morally bankrupt,” pointing out that it has only helped make Saddam Hussein stronger and Iraq’s civil society weaker.

(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)

from April 2000, Connection Archives

Afghanistan War – How Long Will It Last?

We learned some very important lessons in Vietnam,” Bush replied. “People often ask me, ‘How long will this last?’ This particular battlefront will last as long as it takes to bring al-Qaida to justice. It may happen tomorrow, it may happen a month from now, it may take a year or two. But we will prevail.”

I tried to get someone to define for me what winning meant, even before I went over, and nobody could. Nobody would give me a good definition of what it meant,” McNeill told government interviewers. “Some people were thinking in terms of Jeffersonian democracy, but that’s just not going to happen in Afghanistan.”

“From the ambassadors down to the low level, [they all say] we are doing a great job,” said Flynn in a 2015 interview. “Really? So if we are doing such a great job, why does it feel like we are losing?”

Of the leaders who rotated through the country, Flynn recounted, “they all said, when they left, they accomplished that mission. Every single commander. Not one commander is going to leave Afghanistan . . . and say, ‘You know what, we didn’t accomplish our mission.’ ”

“Bad news was often stifled,” said Bob Crowley, a retired Army colonel who served as a counterinsurgency adviser in Afghanistan in 2013 and 2014. “There was more freedom to share bad news if it was small — we’re running over kids with our MRAPs [armored vehicles] — because those things could be changed with policy directives. But when we tried to air larger strategic concerns about the willingness, capacity or corruption of the Afghan government, it was clear it wasn’t welcome.”

Christopher Wilson, yahoo

Memorial Day

The Civil War, which ended in the spring of 1865, claimed more lives than any conflict in U.S. history and required the establishment of the country’s first national cemeteries.
By the late 1860s, Americans in various towns and cities had begun holding springtime tributes to these countless fallen soldiers, decorating their graves with flowers and reciting prayers.