Iraqi Officials Offer Excuses, not Apologies

By Mustafa al-Kadhimi for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

None of Iraq’s political factions —or officials and others with political, economic or security influence — will truly answer the question: “Have you erred?”

Sometimes their response is generalized and clichéd, such as: “Perfection is left to God alone.” This in itself is pure prevarication, because it points to a lack of desire to admit wrong, and precludes any readiness to apologize for mistakes.

Since 2003, Iraq has been on a path strewn with mistakes that have reduced its forward momentum to a crawl filled with pitfalls. Yet, not one official has ever come close to apologizing for errors committed, to a point where the trend has become akin to an institutionalized political tradition.

This article was motivated by the abject failure of Baghdad’s authorities to protect the city from being flooded after only 48 hours of rainfall. Their ready excuse is that the design of the sewer system is unable to cope with rainfall amounts that exceed those prevalent 40 years ago!

Such an example is worthy of study. It is an indicative example of utter failure that reflects a denial of responsibility by city officials who, instead, consign its causes to mistakes committed by past administrations.

Electric power generation has increased in Iraq during the past few months, but transmission grids that transport electricity to homes were built 30 years ago: another ready excuse for the continued daily power outages.

The Iraqi government signs shady deals worth millions of dollars to buy ineffective explosive-detection devices, as well as defective weapon systems and equipment lacking the necessary complementary technologies. In all that, the justification is that “Iraq is passing through exceptional circumstances, and has fallen prey to internal as well as external conspiracies! Furthermore, low-level government employees and politicians have been tried for corruption as a result of those deals.”

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