BAGHDAD – Many Iraqis see dismal days ahead in the face of rising violence and the decision by the US administration not to seek further funds for reconstruction. “It is obvious that the situation is much worse than it used to be,” retired Iraqi army General Ahmed Abdul Aziz said. “Can you walk free in the streets? Did you receive your food ration last month? It is essential for most Iraqis to receive the food ration just to feed their families. “When you go to the hospital, do you find medicines? The answer is no medicines, no services, no sheets or pillows, no beds, no nursing and no ambulances to carry you from your house.” Paul Wolfowitz, World Bank president and former US deputy defense secretary, had said Iraq could “really finance its own reconstruction”. But such words have fallen flat because the state of the infrastructure is clearly worse now than even during the harsh economic sanctions of the 1990s. As the third anniversary of the March 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq approaches, a study by Linda Bilmes at Harvard University and Dr Joseph Stiglitz at Columbia University found that “the total economic costs of […]

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