The Guardian November 5, 2003


The Iraq quagmire

There are more and more indications that the US has its feet, 
its money, its troops and its mouth firmly in a quagmire in Iraq, 
in just the same way that was never imagined when the first 
contingents of American troops invaded Vietnam in the 1960s.

The Washington National Guard's 81st Armour Brigade will be 
mobilised in November for action in Iraq. Washington State 
Governor Locke said it is the largest deployment of Washington 
service personnel since World War II.

Soldiers from the first Stryker Brigade will start leaving Fort 
Lewis for Iraq next week. The brigade has been notified that it 
will be deployed for a year.

Plans for Iraq invasion

The former commander of Operation Iraqi Freedom, General Tommy 
Franks said last week that he presented a plan to invade Iraq to 
President Bush just a few months after the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

The now retired Army General said that when he gave Bush a status 
report on the war in Afghanistan on December 28, 2001, he also 
presented him with a plan to launch operations against Saddam 
Hussein.

Franks said he told Bush he didn't like the plan but was ordered 
to put together another one, which he showed to the President in 
January 2002.

Franks said that "No one was more surprised than I" when weapons 
of mass destruction weren't used against US troops. Obviously 
believing their own lying propaganda Franks said, "I was 
absolutely expecting every day of the fight to see those 
weapons".

Iraq's real WMD crime

Arabic TV Al Jazera, reports that there are weapons of mass 
destruction all over Iraq and they were used this year. Iraqi 
children continue to find them every day.

They have ruined the lives of just under 300,000 people during 
the last decade  and the numbers will increase.

The reason is simple. Two hundred tonnes of radioactive material 
were fired by invading US forces into buildings, homes, streets 
and gardens all over Baghdad.

The material in question is depleted uranium (DU). Depleted 
uranium has a half life of 4.7 billion years  that means 
thousands upon thousands of Iraqi children will suffer for tens 
of thousands of years to come.

"This is what I call terrorism", says Dr Ahmad Hardan the man who 
documented the effects of depleted uranium in Iraq between 1991 
and 2002.

Dr Ahmad Hardan, scientific advisor to the World Health 
Organisation says, "This has caused a health crisis that has 
affected almost a third of a million people. As if that was not 
enough, America went on and used 200 tonnes more in Baghdad alone 
this April."

Leukaemia has already become the most common type of cancer in 
Iraq among all age groups, but is most prevalent in the under-
15s. Women as young as 35 are developing breast cancer. Sterility 
among men has increased ten-fold.

But by far the most devastating effect is on unborn children. 
Nothing can prepare anyone for the sight of hundreds of preserved 
foetuses  barely human in appearance. There is no doubt that DU 
is to blame. It is already too late to reverse the effects.

Those who have seen the effects of DU hope the US and its allies 
will never use these weapons again  but it seems no such 
decision is likely in the foreseeable future.

UN and aid workers pull out

Last week as a trainload of US Army supplies was brought to a 
fiery halt and an explosion in the capital Baghdad killed at 
least two people the United Nations pulled staff out of Baghdad 
and international aid agencies debated whether they could 
continue operating in the face of persistent lawlessness.

"We have asked Baghdad staff to come out temporarily for 
consultations with people from headquarters on the future of our 
operation", said UN spokeswoman Marie Heuze.

The International Committee of the Red Cross and Medecins Sans 
Frontieres, (Doctors Without Borders), have also announced that 
they are pulling their workers out of Baghdad.

The attack on the train was only one of an increasing number of 
attacks on US troops and US appointed police and other personnel.

The number of US soldiers killed in action since major combat was 
declared over on May 1 has surpassed the number killed in combat 
during the war that toppled Saddam. The total is now 139 US 
soldiers killed.

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