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.