Four years too late
Bush $1bn jobs plan to draw Iraqis into fold
Ed Pilkington in New York
Monday January 8, 2007
President George Bush will this week announce a renewed reconstruction package for Iraq costing up to $1bn (£500m) and a fresh push by a reinforced Iraqi army to quell the insurgency in Baghdad to sweeten the pill of his decision to dispatch up to 20,000 more US soldiers to the fray.
Mr Bush's determination to reject the advice of the Baker-Hamilton review, which recommended a gradual withdrawal, continues to cause deep unease both in military and Congressional circles.
In a speech on Wednesday, Mr Bush will give details of a deal thrashed out last week between him and the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, in which the US troop increase of up to five combat brigades, on top of the 130,000 personnel already on the ground, would be matched by a rise in Iraqi army numbers.
Three more Iraqi brigades are to be sent to Baghdad over the next weeks. Two of those brigades will be made up of peshmerga fighters from the Kurdish north of the country, which is likely to prompt questions about their effectiveness. Kurdish leaders have shown a desire to remain outside the sectarian violence escalating between Sunni and Shia communities to the south.
The other sweetener will be a doubling of reconstruction efforts. Up to $1bn is to be spent on a programme in which Iraqis are employed to clean the streets and repair and paint schools.
The Pentagon-run scheme would try to draw young men away from insurgent groups and back into the mainstream economy. It would be administered by officials embedded in US combat brigades in a bid to persuade Iraqis that the Americans were there as a force for good and not just of occupation.
After so many dead and so much failure, they think jobs will change people minds? Oh yeah, sign up for this and wait for the car bombs to show up. Who the fuck are they kidding? This makes you an employee of the Americans and that gets people killed.
And as we mentioned yesterday, Kurds in Baghdad? Are they kidding? Yeah, this plan doesn't suck.
posted by Steve @ 1:26:00 AM