Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Five years—what have we got?

It was March 19th, 2003, when George W. Bush let slip the dogs of war on Iraq. I seem to remember something about “Shock and Awe,” something about WMDs, something about being “welcomed as liberators” with candy and flowers, and something about the war paying for itself.

Ohhhhh Kayyyyyyyyyy. . . .

Well, five years and over one-half trillion dollars (and counting) later, what do we really have? This is just a sample.

Nearly 4,000 US troops killed in combat; over 29,000 wounded.
At least 145 deaths by suicide (thousands more have attempted suicide).
Over 500 amputees (not counting fingers and toes).
Over 7,500 with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
An estimated 28% of troops that see combat return with PTSD.
Upwards of 300,000 Iraq veterans are expected to develop some sort of mental health problem requiring treatment.
Divorces, spousal abuse, alcoholism and drug abuse—all on the rise in the veteran population.

(sources here, here, here, and here)

Somewhere between 600,000 and 1.2 million Iraqi civilian dead.
One in five Iraqis are considered displaced.
Four-and-a-half million Iraqis are uprooted.
Two-and-a-half million are displaced inside Iraq.
Two million Iraqi refugees are in neighboring countries.
The number of Iraqis seeking asylum is at an all-time high.

(sources here, here, and here)

Over 70% of Iraqi women say they don’t have enough to feed their family.
Two-thirds say that violence against women has increased in the last five years.
Over three-quarters say that girls in their family are not allowed to attend school.
Only about a quarter of Iraqi women are optimistic about the future.


But things are getting better, right? Let’s take a look at some of the latest news:

The death toll from a suicide bombing near the Shrine of Imam Hussein has risen above 50.

An epidemiologist estimates that Iraq (which had roughly the same size population as the greater New York metropolitan area when the war began) has suffered the equivalent of six 9/11 attacks per month.

The Iraqi National Museum—the one looted after the fall of Baghdad—is still closed, and will remain closed after it is renovated because of continued security fears.

The latest in a long list of conferences designed to reconcile Iraq’s warring political factions has begun to unravel before it even begins.

Top US commander in Iraq, Gen. David Patreus, says that the Iraqis have not taken advantage of the “surge,” and are not making “sufficient progress” toward national reconciliation.

VP Dick Cheney is in Iraq crafting a deal to guarantee that the US military is committed in Iraq beyond the end of his administration. (Without Congressional approval, such a deal would of course be illegal, as in, impeachable.)

Cheney and Bush’s good friend, John W. McCain (Asshole-AZ), is also in Iraq, routinely confusing Sunni and Shiite factions in the region while trying to stoke the fires for war with Iran. . . and, of course, promote another 95 years of Iraqi occupation.

Something to look forward to. . . as if looking back on the last five years weren’t depressing enough.

(cross-posted on The Seminal and Daily Kos)

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