PELLEY: Do you think you owe the Iraqi people an apology for not doing a better job?No doubt "most Iraqis" woke up this morning with thoughts of gratitude that fortified them for the following "democratic" experiences:
BUSH: That we didn't do a better job or they didn't do a better job?
PELLEY: Well, that the United States did not do a better job in providing security after the invasion.
BUSH: Not at all. I am proud of the efforts we did. We liberated that country from a tyrant. I think the Iraqi people owe the American people a huge debt of gratitude, and I believe most Iraqis express that. I mean, the people understand that we've endured great sacrifice to help them. That's the problem here in America. They wonder whether or not there is a gratitude level that's significant enough in Iraq.
PELLEY: Americans wonder whether . . .
BUSH: Yeah, they wonder whether or not the Iraqis are willing to do hard work necessary to get this democratic experience to survive. That's what they want.
- Another botched hanging, this time resulting in the decapitation of Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, Saddam's half-brother and former director of his secret police.
- Sixteen people killed in bombings and shootings across Iraq, including "at least" three bombings in Baghdad.
- Continuing heavy pressure from the U.S. to support Bush's plans to escalate the fighting in Baghdad despite the vocal opposition of their own government.
- Open warfare along Baghdad's Haifa Street, as described by an Iraqi doctor who lives there: "The problem is that we are living in a dark house, in a dark flat. There is no electricity. We have no water really. We are shivering from cold, from fear. We are afraid from snipers, from the shots."*
- The usual daily risks of suicide attacks, firefights, car bombings, snipers, IED's, air attack, mortars and door-to-door raids.
- Continued sectarian cleansing, as thousands of Iraqis are driven from their neighborhoods or the country (see entry for January 13th).
- Unemployment rates "estimated at 30 to 50 percent for the nation and as high as 70 percent in some areas" despite oil prices at $53 a barrel.
- Dysfunctional or nonfunctional infrastructure, and students who no longer dare to walk the streets to attend schools. And limited electricity at a time when temperatures at night are down in the mid-30's (about 2-3 C).
- Ineffectual and corrupt government ministries that respond, if at all, to sectarian rather than national needs.
- No progress toward a political resolution of the Iraqi civil war, and no recognition in Washington or their own capital that a military solution is impossible.
*In the same interview, Dr. Quraish Fajir al-Kasir also stated: "I spent 32 years working for this country. I have saved so many people in surgery; I have done a lot for the people here. Why I should be killed? Why? I don't know why."
PHOTO: Dubya bloviating, but not on 60 Minutes.