Ramadi and the "Scars of War"

The New York Times has a thoroughly depressing article on what remains of Ramadi now that the Iraqi army has dislodged ISIS.

Few civilians remain from a population that once numbered around 400,000, and the city lacks electricity and running water, meaning that supplies must be trucked in...It remains deserted, except for a contingent of Iraqi troops who do not wander around much because Islamic State fighters still hit it with mortar rounds.


...Local officials worry that the money needed to rebuild the city will not materialize, given the magnitude of the need and disastrous effects of low oil prices on Iraq’s budget.

The United States and its allies have pledged $50 million to a United Nations fund for reconstruction in Iraq, but Sabah Karhout, the head of the Anbar provincial council, estimated that rebuilding the city would require $12 billion. “Ramadi is a city of ghosts,” he said. “If there are not serious international efforts, it will not be rebuilt.”

Where did the residents of Ramadi go? Many are in an ever-growing tent camp east of the city.

The cost of this unwinnable war in the Middle East is tremendous. And now, it looks like we are going to also take on a huge portion of the price tag for rebuilding deserted and destroyed cities. For what? To have them retaken by the next jihadist group? ISIS is hardly the only extremist, violent group in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and elsewhere. And as the Times points out, it's not just Ramadi. There's also Kobane and Sinjar.

Someone needs to shake some sense into the U.S. ISIS was not our problem until we started the air strikes. We should be getting out, not getting further entrenched. The politically opportunist Republicans running for President are the worst case scenario going forward.

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