The Iraq Study Group Report

Reading commentary on the release of the Baker-Hamilton report on Iraq, you get the impression that some people expected a report to end the civil war and are disappointed that it didn't.

One interesting thing in the report is that apparently the US embassy in Baghdad has only six fluent Arabic speakers. Another is that the Iraq war is costing eight billion US dollars a month, with an eventual total cost of some two trillion dollars. At the risk of sounding completely insensitive to the plight of Iraqis under Saddam Hussein (I am not) I think I would rather have Saddam untoppled and that money would have been better spent on virtually any global problem such as global warming, food security, human, drugs, and arms traffic control, economic development in the Third World, AIDS, etc. Of course that might not have been as good for the bottom line of big business.
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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.