The Guardian November 19, 2003


US policy crisis in Iraq

"Quagmire", "low intensity guerilla war", "crisis" are all 
words now being used to describe the failure of US policies in 
Iraq in the face of the intensified resistance of the Iraqi 
people in many cities. Another factor behind the serious 
difficulties facing the Bush administration and those like 
Howard, Blair, Berlusconi of Italy and Adnar of Spain who are 
enthusiastic supporters of George Bush, is the growing number of 
US casualties and now, the loss of life of at least 17 Italian 
police.

A recent article the Los Angeles Times declares that the 
actual number of US killed and wounded has now reached 8000. This 
has been hidden from the public to cover up for the US 
administration.

The Times reports that Andrews Air Force Base is the 
medical staging facility for those evacuated from the war zone. 
"More than 7500 have come through since April", writes the 
newspaper.

At the Walter Reed Army Medical Centre a bulletin board is being 
kept of those being treated for war wounds.

Coming, coming, coming

Major Mary Hannah, a physical therapist said, "We didn't start 
[the bulletin board] when the war began because we didn't have 
any idea. Even the most experienced people here  it is beyond 
their imagining. These are our babies. And they just keep coming, 
coming, coming."

On average they are 23 years old.

As casualties continue to mount, the bulletin board at Walter 
Reed's physical therapy unit long ago ran out of room reports the 
Los Angeles Times. "If we had a picture of everyone, it 
would take up a whole wall", said therapist Mary Hannah.

But every side loses in war.

Iraqi casualties are much higher. A recent survey conducted by 
the Iraqi Health Monitoring project which is being part-funded by 
Oxfam puts the number of Iraqi civilians killed at between 7800 
and 9600 and the number of Iraqi military killed at between 
13,500 to 45,000. The report says, "In the absence of official 
body counts, the final toll will probably never be known."

The report lists other consequences of the war  limited access 
to clean water and sanitation; poverty and lack of household 
food; environmental degradation; disruption of social systems and 
public services; and social breakdown.

Health worse

It reports that the health of the Iraqi people is generally worse 
than before the war.

There has been "extensive pollution of land, sea, rivers and the 
atmosphere that may have spilled over to neighbouring countries. 
Oil well fires created oil spills and toxic smoke. Troop 
movements destroyed fragile desert economy. Explosive remnants of 
war and land mines killed and maimed people and animals and 
polluted the landscape. Bombardment destroyed topsoil and arable 
and grazing land as well as the physical infrastructure of 
buildings, roads, railways, power stations, sewerage plants and 
telecommunications."

There is only one way forward for the Iraqi people. All occupying 
forces must get out and restore Iraqi independence and the right 
to establish their own government.

Back to index page