City of Baghdad Wants U.S. to Apologize & Pay $1 Billion for Infrastructure Damage
The Baghdad city government is asking the United States to pay $1 billion in damages. Not for the bombs and bullets that ravaged the city. Not for the thousands of lives lost and the millions more lives upended during the invasion and occupation of the city. The Iraqi capital, an ancient and once a resplendent jewel of a city, is seeking payment for damage caused by the ugly concrete blast walls and heavy armored vehicles like Humvees that provide security for occupying forces but eviscerate roads, sewers, parks and other infrastructure. The walls have also divided and sealed off neighborhoods and snarled traffic in the city.
The city’s government has issued a statement explaining its request. “The U.S. forces changed this beautiful city to a camp in an ugly and destructive way, which reflected deliberate ignorance and carelessness about the simplest forms of public taste,” it says. “Due to the huge damage, leading to a loss the Baghdad municipality cannot afford…we demand the American side apologize to Baghdad’s people and pay back these expenses.”
Nearly eight years after US and coalition forces rolled into Baghdad, bringing death and destruction along with liberation from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, the city remains a wreck. According to Reuters, “electricity and trash collection are sporadic, streets are potholed and sewage treatment plants and pipes have not been renovated for years.”
It is doubtful whether the US will comply with Baghdad’s request for $1 billion, but if it does, the money will go a long way toward healing this once-proud crown jewel of the Muslim world.