IRAQ: A Country In Ruin.

Iraq war victim

As former president George Bush sheds a tear at the opening of the Presidential Library earlier in the week,  Real News 365 examines the consequences of the US led invasion of Iraq in 2003.  Below are some of the devastating side effects of a war that was based on the threat of Weapons of Mass Destruction, which to this day have not been found.

DEATH TOLL:

The precise death figure toll is unclear.  According to The British polling firm Opinion Research Business (ORB) the estimated death count is believed to be a minimum of 733,158 to a maximum of 1,446,063.  The Iraq Body Count IBC, believes that the number of civilians who have lost their lives in the war is estimated to be in excess of 114,000.  More shockingly, 3,951 have been children under the age of 18.  Of the 4,040 civilian victims killed by the US led collation force, 1,201 were also children.  A worryingly high statistic that would give creditability to the criticism of the US-collation forces as being trigger happy.

REFUGEE DISPLACEMENT:

Since the beginning the US led invasion of Iraq in 2003,  it is estimated that the number of Iraqi internally displaced persons (IDPs) has risen to 2.8 million.  The majority had fled to neighbouring countries such as Syria and Jordon.  With the current conflict in Syria, Iraqi refuges, have been hurled from one battleground to another.  January 2011 saw the announcement of the Iraqi government, to address internal displacement issues, since then however, little has been done in relation to the tens of thousands living in temporary shelter.  Limited access to clean water and food is especially testing for the children affected in the war.  Post tramatic stress is high, espically in kids. According to the BBC, there are only 3 child psychologists in the entire country of Iraq.  Statistics like that makes one question the carelessness of response by the newly formed Iraq government. There seems to be a clear lack of investment in the development of the health sector in Iraq.

THREAT TO US CO-OPERATERS.

According to the International Rescue Committee (IRC).Ten of thousands of Iraqi nationals that risked their lives in collaboration with the US forces have seen the promise of protection and emigration disappear since the US backed out of Iraq in 2011.

In 2008 the US government set up the Special Immigrant Visa Program, which every year was due to provide a number of 5000 visas to nationals that had served the US government.  By the end of 2012 that would mean the number of collaborating Iraqi’s eligible for a visa, would be a total of 25,000.  According to IRC, the number of visas processed has reached 5,550.  The remaining number have been a target for militants in the country, which has seen a rise in the kidnappings and torture of these people.  The Immigrant Visa Program is due to expire in September of 2013, and will undoubtedly leave the lifes of just under 20,000 Iraqi’s in severe doubt.
The decision by the Bush administration is a clear sign that the philosophy of neo-liberalism is clearly alive and well in the western world.  With Iraq being the 3rd largest producer of oil, just behind Saudi Arabia and Russia.  Sanctions that had been initially forced on Saddam Hussein that were due to expire before 2003, left Bush and his allies needing a regime change.  The threat of Saddam changing payment methods from US dollars to Euros, would have cost the US economy trillions of dollars.  The resilience and determination of Iraqi militancy and the lack of support for Western Occupation both in Iraq and in the US, saw the withdrawal of troops in 2011. Unfortunately however new sanctions have been implemented by the US government that have bound the puppet Iraqi government to provide the US with the majority of its oil produce.
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10 Shocking Facts and Quotes on Guantanamo Bay

A photo revealing the lawlessness of Guantanamo Bay

A photo revealing the lawlessness of Guantanamo Bay

It is time that there are no more stories coming out of there about people being abused,”
Bill Clinton. (Former US president)

Guantanamo Bay is a Maximum security prison, based in Cuba.  It was set up by the Bush administration in January of 2002,  apparently in response to the attacks of 9/11.  In his own words President Bush has previously stated, “These aren’t common criminals, or bystanders accidently swept up on the battlefield, we have in place a rigorous process to insure the people held there, belong in Guantanamo.”

Criticism of the secret Prison is growing, and below are 10 shocking facts that have developed since the prisons opening.

  1. According to the US authorities, 779 detainees have been held in Guantanamo, the vast majority without charge or criminal trial.
  2. In total 8 detainees have died, 6 have committed suicide and 2 have reportedly died due to natural causes.
  3. At least 12 children under the age of 18, are being held at Guantanamo
  4. Of the 779 detainees, roughly 600 innocent detainees were released without charge, after having spent years undergoing traumatic mental abuse.
  5. Officially a total of 84 detainees are currently on Hunger Strike, according to some Detainee Lawyers, all 166 inmates are refusing food
  6. In 2005 Amnesty International compared Guantamo with that of Soviet forced labor camp systems during the Stalin era, calling it ‘ The Gualg of our times’.
  7. Former Senator and Democrat nominee Ron Paul is against the operation.  Paul criticised how the detainees are being captured without an explanation, and without legitimate trail. 

“I think that’s the key to it. And so far, they don’t have an answer, because they’re not allowing them to be tried in a legitimate court of law.

      8.  Only 1 Iraqi Detainee is being held at the prison.  A country that held an apparent huge threat to Americas national security interests, with the infamous Weapons of Mass Destruction campaign.

      9.  Former Guantanamo Bay Guard Brandon Neely, “Detaining innocent people and depriving them of their due process is a significant black eye on the Unites States,” .  

    10. President Obama had voiced concerns.  He had previously declared his intentions to shut the prison.  His actions have spoken differently to his words, with the signing of the intelligence authorization bill which according to Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union has made it more difficult to shut it down.  Romero stated, Obama had “jeopardized his ability to close Guantanamo during his presidency.”</p>

Keeping imprisoned, un trialled men, without access to the judicial system is illegal.  It seems the Law doesn’t currently apply to the US government.  In the words of former Senator Ron Paul, ” Detaining prisoners in secret prisons without lawful fair process, is not a characteristic of a Republic that believes in freedom, more a characteristic of an authoritarian government.