"We don't do body counts."

- Gen. Tommy Franks

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 100,000 is more than 33 times the innocent people who died on 9/11--which these innocent people had nothing to do with. Osama must have used the very same rationale --"it's unfortunate, but these innocents must die for 'the greater good', so that our countries can be free." __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ / Study puts civilian toll in Iraq at over 100,000  By Elisabeth Rosenthal International Herald Tribune Saturday, October 30, 2004

PARIS More than 100,000 civilians have probably died as direct or indirect consequences of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, according to a study by a research team at Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.

The report was published on the Internet by The Lancet, the British medical journal. The figure is far higher than previous mortality estimates. Editors of the journal decided not to wait for The Lancet's normal publication date next week, but instead to place the research online Friday, apparently so it could circulate before the U.S. presidential election.

The finding is certain to generate intense controversy, since the Bush administration has not estimated civilian casualties from the conflict, and independent groups have put the number at most in the tens of thousands.

In the study, teams of researchers fanned out across Iraq in mid-September to interview nearly 1,000 families in 33 previously selected locations. Families were interviewed about births and deaths in the household before and after the invasion.

Although the paper's authors acknowledge that thorough data collection was difficult in what is effectively still a war zone, the data they managed to collect are extensive: Iraqis were 2.5 times more likely to die in the 17 months following the invasion than in the 14 months before it. Before the invasion, the most common causes of death in Iraq were heart attacks, strokes and chronic diseases. Afterward, violent death was far ahead of all other causes.

"We were shocked at the magnitude but we're quite sure that the estimate of 100,000 is a conservative estimate," said Dr. Gilbert Burnham of the Johns Hopkins study team. He said the team had excluded deaths in Falluja in making their estimate, since that city was the site of unusually intense violence.

In 15 of the 33 communities visited, residents reported violent deaths in the family since the conflict started in March 2003. They attributed many of those deaths to attacks by coalition forces - mostly airstrikes - and most of the reported deaths were of
women and children.

"One wishes, for the sake of the whole planet, that the people in and around the White House nowadays truly mean it when they say, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us," and that they respect as children of God the losers, the nobodies so loved by Jesus in the Beatitudes, in His Sermon on the Mount: the poor in spirit, they that mourn, the meek, the merciful, the peace makers and so on.

But such is obviously not the case. George W. Bush smirks and gloats unmercifully as he boasts of his readiness to loose more than a hundred cruise missiles, what I call "Timothy McVeighs," into the midst of the general population of Iraq, nearly half of whom are children, little boys and girls under the age of 15."


The risk of violent death was
58 times higher than before the war, the researchers found.

"The fact that more than half of the deaths caused by the occupation forces were women and children is a cause for concern," the authors wrote.

The team included researchers from the Johns Hopkins Center for International Emergency, Disaster and Refugee Studies as well as doctors from Al Mustansiriya University Medical School in Baghdad.

There is bound to be skepticism about the estimate of 100,000 excess deaths, which translates into an average of 166 excess deaths a day since the invasion. But some were not surprised.

"I am emotionally shocked, but I have no trouble in believing that this many people have been killed," said Scott Lipscomb, an associate professor at Northwestern University.

Lipscomb works on a Web site called www.iraqbodycount.net. That project, which collates only media-reported deaths, currently puts the death toll at just under 17,000. "We've always maintained that the actual count must be much higher," Lipscomb said.

The researchers were highly technical in their selection of interview sites and data analysis, although interview locations were limited somewhat by the researchers' decision to cut down driving time when statistically possible to minimize risk to the interviewers.

Although the teams relied primarily on interviews with local residents, they also asked to see at least two death certificates at the end of interviews in each area, to try to ensure that people had remembered and responded honestly. The research team decided that asking for death certificates in each case, during the interviews, might cause hostility and could put the research team in danger.

Some of those killed may have been insurgents rather than civilians, the authors noted. Also, the rise in mortality included a rise in murders and some deaths attributable to the deterioration of medical care.

"But the majority of excess mortality is clearly due to violence,"
Burnham said.

The paper is studied and scientific, reserving judgment on the politics of the Iraq conflict. But in an accompanying editorial, Dr. Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet, is acerbic and to the point about its message.

"From a purely public health perspective it is clear that
whatever planning did take place was grievously in error," Horton wrote. "The invasion of Iraq, the displacement of a cruel dictator and the attempt to impose a liberal democracy by force have, by themselves, been insufficient to bring peace and security to the civilian population. Democratic imperialism has led to more deaths, not fewer."

Britain to examine study

The British foreign secretary, Jack Straw said Friday that his government would study the Lancet report "in a very serious way," Agence France-Presse reported from London.

"This is a very high estimate, indeed," Straw said on BBC radio. "Because it's in The Lancet, it is obviously something we have to look at in a very serious way," he said.

Straw was speaking from Rome, where Prime Minister Tony Blair was among European Union leaders there to sign the proposed EU constitution.


100,000 is more than 33 times the innocent people who died on 9/11--which these innocent people had nothing to do with. And that's not counting the injured and maimed. Osama must have used the very same rationale --"it's unfortunate, but these innocents must die for 'the greater good'.

God save us all from these 'liberators'.



KURT VONNEGUT: "One wishes, for the sake of the whole planet, that the people in and around the White House nowadays truly mean it when they say, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us," and that they respect as children of God the losers, the nobodies so loved by Jesus in the Beatitudes, in His Sermon on the Mount: the poor in spirit, they that mourn, the meek, the merciful, the peace makers and so on.

But such is obviously not the case. George W. Bush smirks and gloats unmercifully as he boasts of his readiness to loose more than a hundred cruise missiles, what I call "Timothy McVeighs," into the midst of the general population of Iraq, nearly half of whom are children, little boys and girls under the age of 15.b

"The planned war can only bring about the collapse of what remains of the Iraqi infrastructure, widespread death, mutilation and disease, an estimated one million refugees and escalation of violence throughout the world, but it will still masquerade as a 'moral crusade', a 'just war', a war waged by 'freedom loving democracies', to bring 'democracy' to Iraq."

- Harold Pinter


A three-month old baby in Iraq, (being treated for diahrea because the water is so toxic). Malnutrition in children has nearly doubled since the start of the war. Children are sick, living in toxic environments, surrounded by violence and death.

FULL STORY: U.N.: War 'Wreaking Havoc' on Iraq Young By SAM CAGE, Associated Press Writer, Nov.13, 2004

n_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________m dfg

"Now, I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators." - Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003 vzsdg "The clock is ticking, and it's ticking towards war. And it's going to be a real war. It's going to be a war that will result in the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, of Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians. It's a war that is going to devastate Iraq. It's a war that's going to destroy the credibility of the United States of America."

- U.N weapons inspector, and Gulf War I veteran Scott Ritter speak ing at Suffolk University in Boston on July 23, 2002 (BELOW)



    Iraq: The Devastation
    By Dahr Jamail

    Friday 07 January 2005

        Dahr Jamail is an independent journalist from Anchorage, Alaska. He has spent 7 of the last 12 months reporting from inside occupied Iraq. His articles have been published in the Sunday Herald, Inter Press Service, the website of the Nation magazine, and the New Standard internet news site for which he is the Iraq correspondent. He is the special correspondent in Iraq for Flashpoints radio and also has appeared on the BBC, Democracy Now!, Free Speech Radio News, and Radio South Africa. This is his first piece for Tomdispatch.com.

    The devastation of Iraq? Where do I start? After working 7 of the last 12 months in Iraq, I'm still overwhelmed by even the thought of trying to describe this.

    The illegal war and occupation of Iraq was waged for three reasons, according to the Bush administration. First for weapons of mass destruction, which have yet to be found. Second, because the regime of Saddam Hussein had links to al-Qaeda, which Mr. Bush has personally admitted have never been proven. The third reason - embedded in the very name of the invasion, Operation Iraqi Freedom - was to liberate the Iraqi people.

    So Iraq is now a liberated country.

    I've been in liberated Baghdad and environs on and off for 12 months, including being inside Fallujah during the April siege and having warning shots fired over my head more than once by soldiers. I've traveled in the south, north, and extensively around central Iraq. What I saw in the first months of 2004, however, when it was easier for a foreign reporter to travel the country, offered a powerful - even predictive - taste of the horrors to come in the rest of the year (and undoubtedly in 2005 as well). It's worth returning to the now forgotten first half of last year and remembering just how terrible things were for Iraqis even relatively early in our occupation of their country.

    Then, as now, for Iraqis, our invasion and occupation was a case of liberation from - from human rights (think: the atrocities committed in Abu Ghraib which are still occurring daily there and elsewhere); liberation from functioning infrastructure (think: the malfunctioning electric system, the many-mile long gas lines, the raw sewage in the streets); liberation from an entire city to live in (think: Fallujah, most of which has by now been flattened by aerial bombardment and other means).

    Iraqis were then already bitter, confused, and existing amid a desolation that came from myriads of Bush administration broken promises. Quite literally every liberated Iraqi I've gotten to know from my earliest days in the country has either had a family member or a friend killed by U.S. soldiers or from the effects of the war/occupation. These include such everyday facts of life as not having enough money for food or fuel due to massive unemployment and soaring energy prices, or any of the countless other horrors caused by the aforementioned. The broken promises, broken infrastructure, and broken cities of Iraq were plainly visible in those early months of 2004 - and the sad thing is that the devastation I saw then has only grown worse since. The life Iraqis were living a year ago, horrendous as it was, was but a prelude to what was to come under the U.S. occupation. The warning signs were clear from a shattered infrastructure, to all the torturing, to a burgeoning, violent resistance.


    Broken Promises

    It was quickly apparent, even to a journalistic newcomer, even in those first months of last year that the real nature of the liberation we brought to Iraq was no news to Iraqis. Long before the American media decided it was time to report on the horrendous actions occurring inside Abu Ghraib prison, most Iraqis already knew that the "liberators" of their country were torturing and humiliating their countrymen.

    In December 2003, for instance, a man in Baghdad, speaking of the Abu Ghraib atrocities, said to me, "Why do they use these actions? Even Saddam Hussein did not do that! This is not good behavior. They are not coming to liberate Iraq!" And by then the bleak jokes of the beleaguered had already begun to circulate. In the dark humor that has become so popular in Baghdad these days, one recently released Abu Ghraib detainee I interviewed said, "The Americans brought electricity to my ass before they brought it to my house!"

    Sadiq Zoman is fairly typical of what I've seen. Taken from his home in Kirkuk in July, 2003, he was held in a military detention facility near Tikrit before being dropped off comatose at the Salahadin General Hospital by U.S. forces one month later. While the medical report accompanying him, signed by Lt. Col. Michael Hodges, stated that Mr. Zoman was comatose due to a heart attack brought on by heat stroke, it failed to mention that his head had been bludgeoned, or to note the electrical burn marks that scorched his penis and the bottoms of his feet, or the bruises and whip-like marks up and down his body.

    I visited his wife Hashmiya and eight daughters in a nearly empty home in Baghdad. Its belongings had largely been sold on the black market to keep them all afloat. A fan twirled slowly over the bed as Zoman stared blankly at the ceiling. A small back-up generator hummed outside, as this neighborhood, like most of Baghdad, averaged only six hours of electricity per day.

    Her daughter Rheem, who is in college, voiced the sentiments of the entire family when she said, "I hate the Americans for doing this. When they took my father they took my life. I pray for revenge on the Americans for destroying my father, my country, and my life."


    In May of 2004, when I went to their house, a recent court-martial of one of the soldiers complicit in the widespread torturing of Iraqis in Abu Ghraib had already taken place. He had been sentenced to some modest prison time, but Iraqis were unimpressed. They had been convinced yet again - not that they needed it - that Bush administration promises to clean up its act regarding the treatment of detained Iraqis were no less empty than those being offered for assistance in building a safe and prosperous Iraq.

    Last year, the empty promises to bring justice to those involved in such heinous acts, along with promises to make the prison at Abu Ghraib more transparent and accessible, fell on distraught family members who waited near the gates of the prison to see their loved ones inside. Under a scorching May sun I went to the dusty, dismal, heavily-guarded, razor-wire enclosed "waiting area" outside Abu Ghraib. There, I heard one horror story after another from melancholy family members doggedly gathered on this patch of barren earth, still hoping against hope to be granted a visit with someone inside the awful compound.

    Sitting alone on the hard packed dirt in his white dishdasha, his head scarf languidly flapping in the dry, hot wind, Lilu Hammed stared unwaveringly at the high walls of the nearby prison as if he were attempting to see his 32 year-old son Abbas through the concrete walls. When my interpreter Abu Talat asked if he would speak with us, several seconds passed before Lilu slowly turned his head and said simply, "I am sitting here on the ground waiting for God's help."

    His son, never charged with an offense, had by then been in Abu Ghraib for 6 months following a raid on his home which produced no weapons. Lilu held a crumpled visitation permission slip that he had just obtained, promising a reunion with his son...three months away, on the 18th of August.

    Along with every other person I interviewed there, Lilu had found consolation neither in the recent court martial, nor in the release of a few hundred prisoners. "This court-martial is nonsense. They said that Iraqis could come to the trial, but they could not. It was a false trial."

    At that moment, a convoy of Humvees full of soldiers, guns pointing out the small windows, rumbled through the front gate of the penal complex, kicking up a huge dust cloud that quickly engulfed everyone. The parent of another prisoner, Mrs. Samir, waving away the clouds of dust said, "We hope the whole world can see the position we are in now!" and then added plaintively, "Why are they doing this to us?"


    Last summer I interviewed a kind, 55 year-old woman who used to work as an English teacher. She had been detained for four months in as many prisons...in Samarra, Tikrit, Baghdad and, of course, at Abu Ghraib. She was never, she told me, allowed to sleep through a night. She was interrogated many times each day, not given enough food or water, or access to a lawyer or to her family. She was verbally and psychologically abused.

    But that, she assured me, wasn't the worst part. Not by far. Her 70 year-old husband was also detained and he was beaten. After seven months of beatings and interrogations, he died in U.S. military custody in prison.

    She was crying as she spoke of him. "I miss my husband," she sobbed and stood up, speaking not to us but to the room, "I miss him so much." She shook her hands as if to fling water off them...then she held her chest and cried some more.

    "Why are they doing this to us?" she asked. She simply couldn't understand, she said, what was happening because two of her sons were also detained, and her family had been completely shattered. "We didn't do anything wrong," she whimpered.

    With the interview over, we were walking towards our car to leave when all of us realized that it was 10 pm, already too late at night to be out in dangerous Baghdad. So she asked us instead if we wouldn't please stay for dinner, all the while thanking me for listening to her horrendous story, for my time, for writing about it. I found myself speechless.

    "No, thank you, we must get home now," said Abu Talat. By this time, we were all crying.

    In the car, as we drove quickly along a Baghdad highway directly into a full moon, Abu Talat and I were silent. Finally, he asked, "Can you say any words? Do you have any words?"

    I had none. None at all.


    Broken Infrastructure

    Everything in Iraq is set against the backdrop of shattered infrastructure and a nearly complete lack of reconstruction. What the Americans turn out to be best at is, once again, promises - and propaganda. During the period when the Coalition Provisional Authority ruled Iraq from Baghdad's Green Zone, their handouts often read like this one released on May 21, 2004: "The Coalition Provisional Authority has recently given out hundreds of soccer balls to Iraqi children in Ramadi, Kerbala, and Hilla. Iraqi women from Hilla sewed the soccer balls, which are emblazoned with the phrase 'All of Us Participate in a New Iraq.'"

    And yet when it came to the basics of that New Iraq, unemployment was at 50% and increasing, better areas of Baghdad averaged 6 hours of electricity per day, and security was nowhere to be found. Even as far back as January, 2003, before the security situation had brought most reconstruction projects to the nearly complete standstill of the present moment, and 9 months after the war in Iraq had officially ended, the situation already verged on the catastrophic. For instance, lack of potable water was the norm throughout most of central and southern Iraq.

    I was then working on a report that attempted to document exactly what reconstruction had occurred in the water sector - a sector for which Bechtel was largely responsible. That giant corporation had been awarded a no-bid contract of $680 million behind closed doors on April 17, 2003, which in September was raised to $1.03 billion; then Bechtel won an additional contract worth $1.8 billion to extend its program through December 2005.

Reagan Secretary of State George Schultz is former President and current Board member of the Bechtel Group

    At the time, when travel for Western reporters was a lot easier, I stopped in several villages en route south from Baghdad through what the Americans now call "the triangle of death" to Hilla, Najaf, and Diwaniyah to check on people's drinking-water situation. Near Hilla, an old man with a weathered face showed me his water pump, sitting lifeless with an empty container nearby - as there was no electricity. What water his village did have was loaded with salt which was leaching into the water supply because Bechtel had not honored its contractual obligations to rehabilitate a nearby water treatment center. Another nearby village didn't have the salt problem, but nausea, diarrhea, kidney stones, cramps, and even cases of cholera were on the rise. This too would be a steady trend for the villages I visited.

    The rest of that trip involved a frenetic tour of villages, each without drinkable water, near or inside the city limits of Hilla, Najaf, and Diwaniya. Hilla, close to ancient Babylon, has a water treatment plant and distribution center managed by Chief Engineer Salmam Hassan Kadel. Mr. Kadel informed me that most of the villages in his jurisdiction had no potable water, nor did he have the piping needed to repair their broken-down water systems, nor had he had any contact with Bechtel or its subcontractors.

    He spoke of large numbers of people coming down with the usual list of diseases. "Bechtel," he told me, "is spending all of their money without any studies. Bechtel is painting buildings, but this doesn't give clean water to the people who have died from drinking contaminated water. We ask of them that instead of painting buildings, they give us one water pump and we'll use it to give water service to more people. We have had no change since the Americans came here. We know Bechtel is wasting money, but we can't prove it."

    At another small village between Hilla and Najaf, 1,500 people were drinking water from a dirty stream which trickled slowly by their homes. Everyone had dysentery; many had kidney stones; a startling number, cholera. One villager, holding a sick child, told me, "It was much better before the invasion. We had twenty-four hours of running water then. Now we are drinking this garbage because it is all we have."

    The next morning found me at a village on the outskirts of Najaf, which fell under the responsibility of Najaf's water center. A large hole had been dug in the ground where the villagers tapped into already existing pipes to siphon off water. The dirty hole filled in the night, when water was collected. That morning, children were standing idly around the hole as women collected the residue of dirty water which sat at its bottom. Everyone, it seemed, was suffering from some water-born illness and several children, the villagers informed me, had been killed attempting to cross a busy highway to a nearby factory where clean water was actually available.

    In June, six months later, I visited Chuwader Hospital, which then treated an average of 3,000 patients a day in Sadr City, the enormous Baghdad slum. Dr. Qasim al-Nuwesri, the head manager there, promptly began describing the struggles his hospital was facing under the occupation. "We are short of every medicine," he said and pointed out how rarely this had occurred before the invasion. "It is forbidden, but sometimes we have to reuse IV's, even the needles. We have no choice."

    And then, of course, he - like the other doctors I spoke with - brought up their horrendous water problem, the unavailability of unpolluted water anywhere in the area. "Of course, we have typhoid, cholera, kidney stones," he said matter-of-factly, "but we now even have the very rare Hepatitis Type-E...and it has become common in our area."

    Driving out of the sewage filled, garbage strewn streets of Sadr City we passed a wall with "Vietnam Street" spray painted on it. Just underneath was the sentence - obviously aimed at the American liberators - "We will make your graves in this place."

    Today, in terms of collapsing infrastructure, other areas of Baghdad are beginning to suffer the way Sadr City did then, and still largely does. While reconstruction projects slated for Sadr City have received increased funding, most of the time there is little sign of any work being done, as is the case in most of Baghdad.

    While an ongoing fuel crisis finds people waiting up to two days to fill their tanks at gas stations, all of the city is running on generators the majority of the time, and many less favored areas like Sadr City have only four hours of electricity a day.


    Broken Cities

    The heavy-handed tactics of the occupation forces have become a commonplace of Iraqi life. I've interviewed people who regularly sleep in their clothes because home raids are the norm. Many times when military patrols are attacked by resistance fighters in the cities of Iraq, soldiers simply open fire randomly on anything that moves. More commonly, heavy civilian casualties occur from air raids by occupation forces. These horrible circumstances have led to over 100,000 Iraqi civilian casualties in the less than two year-old occupation.

    Then there is Fallujah, a city three-quarters of which has by now been bombed or shelled into rubble, a city in whose ruins fighting continues even while most of its residents have yet to be allowed to return to their homes (many of which no longer exist). The atrocities committed there in the last month or so are, in many ways, similar to those observed during the failed U.S. Marine siege of the city last April, though on a far grander scale. This time, in addition, reports from families inside the city, along with photographic evidence, point toward the U.S. military's use of chemical and phosphorous weapons as well as cluster bombs there. The few residents allowed to return in the final week of 2004 were handed military-produced leaflets instructing them not to eat any food from inside the city, nor to drink the water.

    Last May, at the General Hospital of Fallujah, doctors spoke to me of the sorts of atrocities that occurred during the first month-long siege of the city. Dr. Abdul Jabbar, an orthopedic surgeon, said that it was difficult to keep track of the number of people they treated, as well as the number of dead, due to the lack of documentation. This was caused primarily by the fact that the main hospital, located on the opposite side of the Euphrates River from the city, was sealed off by the Marines for the majority of April, just as it would again be in November, 2004.

    He estimated that at least 700 people were killed in Fallujah during that April. "I worked at five of the centers [community health clinics] myself, and if we collect the numbers from these places, then this is the number," he said. "And you must keep in mind that many people were buried before reaching our centers."

    When the wind blew in from the nearby Julan quarter of the city, the putrid stench of decaying bodies (a smell evidently once again typical of the city) only confirmed his statement. Even then, Dr. Jabbar was insisting that American planes had dropped cluster bombs on the city. "Many people were injured and killed by cluster bombs. Of course they used cluster bombs. We heard them as well as treated people who had been hit by them!"

    Dr. Rashid, another orthopedic surgeon, said, "Not less than sixty percent of the dead were women and children. You can go see the graves for yourself." I had already visited the Martyr Cemetery and had indeed observed the numerous tiny graves that had clearly been dug for children. He agreed with Dr. Jabbar about the use of cluster bombs, and added, "I saw the cluster bombs with my own eyes. We don't need any evidence. Most of these bombs fell on those we then treated."

    Speaking of the medical crisis that his hospital had to deal with, he pointed out that during the first 10 days of fighting the U.S. military did not allow any evacuations from Fallujah to Baghdad at all. He said, "Even transferring patients in the city was impossible. You can see our ambulances outside. Their snipers also shot into the main doors of one of our centers." Several ambulances were indeed in the hospital's parking lot, two of them with bullet holes in their windshields.

    Both doctors said they had not been contacted by the U.S. military, nor had any aid been delivered to them by the military. Dr. Rashid summed the situation up this way: "They send only bombs, not medicine."

    As I walked to our car at one point amid what was already the desolation of Fallujah, a man tugged on my arm and yelled, "The Americans are cowboys! This is their history! Look at what they did to the Indians! Vietnam! Afghanistan! And now Iraq! This does not surprise us."

    And that, of course, was before the total siege of the city began in November, 2004. The April campaign in Fallujah, which resulted in a rise in resistance proved - like so much else in those early months of 2004 - to be but a harbinger of things to come on a far larger scale. While the goal of the most recent siege was to squelch the resistance and bring greater security for elections scheduled for January 30, the result as in April has been anything but security.

    In the wake of the destruction of Fallujah fighting has simply spread elsewhere and intensified. Families are now fleeing Mosul, Iraq's third largest city, because of a warning of another upcoming air campaign against resistance fighters. At least one car bomb per day is now the norm in the capital city. Clashes erupt with deadly regularity throughout Baghdad as well as in cities like Ramadi, Samarra, Baquba and Balad.

    The intensification is two-sided. With each ratchet upwards in violence, the tactics by the American military only grow more heavy-handed and, as they do, the Iraqi resistance just continues to grow in size and effectiveness. Any kind of "siege" of Mosul will only add to this dynamic.

    Despite a media blackout in the aftermath of the recent assault on Fallujah, stories of dogs eating bodies in the streets of the city and of destroyed mosques have spread across Iraq like wildfire; and reports like these only underscore what most people in Iraq now believe - that the liberators have become no more than brutal imperialist occupiers of their country. And then the resistance grows yet stronger.

    Yet among Iraqis the growing resistance was predicted long ago. One telling moment for me came last June amid daily suicide car bombings in Baghdad. While footage of cars with broken glass and bullet holes in their frames flashed across a television screen, my translator Hamid, an older man who had already grown weary of the violence, said softly, "It has begun. These are only the start, and they will not stop. Even after June 30." That, of course, was the date of the long-promised handover of "sovereignty" to a new Iraqi government, after which, American officials fervently predicted, violence in the country would begin to subside. The same pattern of prediction and of a contrarian reality can now be seen in relation to the upcoming elections.

    Three weeks ago, a friend of mine who is a sheikh from Baquba visited me in Baghdad and we had lunch with Abdulla, an older professor who is a friend of his. As we were eating, Abdulla expressed a sentiment now widely heard. "The mujahideen," he said, "are fighting for their country against the Americans. This resistance is acceptable to us."

    The Bush administration has recently increased its troops in Iraq from 138,000 to 150,000 - in order, officials said, to provide greater security for the upcoming elections. Such troop increases also occurred in Vietnam. Back then it was called escalation.

    What I wonder is, will I be writing a piece next January still called, "Iraq: The Devastation," in which these last terrible months of 2004 (of which the first half of the year was but a foreshadowing) will prove in their turn but a predictive taste of horrors to come? And what then of 2006 and 2007?

    Dahr Jamail is an independent journalist from Anchorage, Alaska. He has spent 7 of the last 12 months reporting from inside occupied Iraq. His articles have been published in the Sunday Herald, Inter Press Service, the website of the Nation magazine, and the New Standard internet news site for which he is the Iraq correspondent. He is the special correspondent in Iraq for Flashpoints radio and also has appeared on the BBC, Democracy Now!, Free Speech Radio News, and Radio South Africa. This is his first piece for Tomdispatch.com.




Halliburton, Bechtel and a handful of other well-connected companies are raking in billions of dollars in
contracts to "reconstruct" Iraq. The result: Corporate cronyism and Iraqi disenfranchisement. Iraq remains
void of a functioning pubic works system: schools and hospitals are in disrepair, the phones don't work,
electricity is intermittent, and the water isn't safe to drink. Qualified Iraqi businesses are shut out of rebuilding
their own country and more than 50% of Iraq's labor force remains out of work.


corporations like Halliburton and Bechtel must stop. Each dollar that goes to finance corruption is one less
dollar that can be used for the Iraqi people. Am erica needs an oversight committee to investigate charges of
war profiteering. Call your Representatives and Senators and ask them to push for hearings on war
profiteering and sign on to legislation that would create a war profiteering commission, similar to the Truman
Committee of World War II.
· TELL CONGRESS THAT AID IS NOT ENOUGH. Despite Congress allocating $18.6 billion in aid to Iraq,
over 50% of Iraq's labor force remains unemployed. Tell your Senators and Representative that U.S.
assistance should be used to develop Iraq's economy and create jobs, not line the pockets of outside
contractors. Tell them that the Bush administration's failure to address Iraq's unemployment crisis is
contributing to growing unrest, insecurity and crime.
Rep. Sam Farr's (D-CA) letter calling for jobs, a living wage and labor rights for the working people of Iraq.
So far, the following Reps are signed on to the letter: Kucinich (D-OH), Lee (D-CA), Grijalva (D-AZ), Maloney
(D-NY), Owens (D-NY), Watson (D-CA) and Filner (D-CA). This website will allow you to send a letter about
these issues directly to your member of Congress: http://www.progressiveportal.org/iraq-labor.html
You can reach your Senators and Representative via the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121

and Bechtel are the top recipients of Iraq reconstruction contracts. Bechtel has been awarded
some $3 billion to rebuild Iraq's electricity and water systems, as well as roads, hospitals and schools. It is a
quintessential war profiteering company in that its executives, including Bechtel board member and former
Secretary of State George Shultz, pushed for the war against Iraq and are now profiting from it. Bechtel also
has close ties to the Bush administration: Its executives gave thousands of dollars to President George
Bush's 2000 campaign, and two of the company's top executives serve on advisory boards for the White
House and Pentagon.
Regarding Bechtel's work in Iraq, a Pentagon report has accused Bechtel of doing "horrible" work, and the
Iraqi people are waiting in vain for life-sustaining public services that Bechtel is supposed to have repaired.
Many of the schools that Bechtel was contracted to repair have not been touched, and several schools that
Bechtel claims to have repaired are in shambles.


"It's no longer possible to tell where the corporate world ends and government begins. The poster boy for this new elite is Richard Cheney. As the head of Halliburton, he made a fortune from the influence and access gained through his earlier service in government." - Bill Moyers

With the corporate cronyism that is rampant in the Bush administration, no one was shocked when Vice
President Dick Cheney's former employer Halliburton, the largest oil-and-gas services company in the world,
won some of the first contracts to do work in Iraq's oil fields. Even the fact that Halliburton, under Cheney's
watch, used phony overseas subsidiaries so it could do business with Bush administration nemesis
Saddam Hussein was no barrier to the company - and its subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root ­ being awarded
some $9 billion [check number] in Iraq contracts.
Starting in December 2003, a steady stream of news reports has documented a pattern of fraud, waste, and
corruption by Halliburton. The company has been accused of overcharging $61 million for fuel transported to
Iraq and has repaid the Pentagon $27.4 million in overcharges for food that was never served to U.S. troops.
In January, the company admitted that two employees involved in Iraq work took kickbacks worth $6.3
million. This month, two former Halliburton employees decided to blow the whistle on the company by
testifying in Congress about Halliburton's pattern of wasting money in Iraq.

Halliburton and Bechtel are just two examples of the companies that are profiting from the destruction in Iraq
and failing to improve the lives of the Iraqi people. To download a full list of the companies that have received
contracts, go to http://www.unitedforpeace.org/downloads/USLAWreport.pdf.
To read about these companies' campaign contributions, go to

Iraq's unemployment crisis is a scandal. While the Pentagon awards lucrative contracts without competition
to U.S. companies, over 50% of the labor force remains out of work. Some disenfranchised Iraqis are unable
to support their families and are being pushed to criminality, thereby creating a vicious cycle of insecurity. "It
is a serious situation,"
said Nouri Jafer, a senior adviser to the Iraqi Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. "The
idle are being pushed to illegal ways. Our big concern is how do we get control and find a solution
Times 12/14/03)." Kidnappings, robberies and other criminal activity are common. Patrick Cockburn reports
that thousands of thugs in Iraq are running kidnapping rings; some of the criminals even operate their own
prisons (the Independent 1/15/04).
For those able to get work, there is no system governing health and safety conditions, overtime, child labor,
hours of work and other labor standards. Iraqis hired by U.S. companies like Halliburton are getting paid
substantially less than their foreign counterparts. Iraqi workers are also being forced to live under Saddam
Hussein-era labor laws that forbid workers in state-owned enterprises (where the majority of Iraqis work)
from forming unions. The occupation authority has also repeatedly detained or harassed workers who are
demonstrating for jobs or better pay.


The international day of action against the corporate invasion of Iraq and in support of Iraqi workers' rights is
sponsored by:
the California Federation of Teachers, Campaign to Stop the War Profiteers (Institute for Southern
Studies), Citizen Works, CodePink, Democracy Rising, Direct Action to Stop the War, EPIC (Education for Peace in Iraq
Center), Global Exchange, Labor Committee for Peace and Justice, National Network to End the War Against Iraq,
National Youth and Student Peace Coalition, United for Peace and Justice, US Labor Against War, War Resisters
League, WILPF (Women's International League for Peace and Freedom) and many local peace groups.


    The War on Iraq Has Made Moral Cowards of Us All      By Scott Ritter     The Guardian U.K.     Monday 01 November 2004


More than 100,000 Iraqis have died - and where is our shame and rage?

    Gulf War veteranScott Ritter was a senior UN weapons inspector in Iraq between 1991 and 1998 and is the author of "Frontier Justice: Weapons of Mass Destruction and the Bushwhacking of America".

    The full scale of the human cost already paid for the war on Iraq is only now becoming clear. Last week's estimate by investigators, using credible methodology, that more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians - most of them women and children - have died since the US-led invasion is a profound moral indictment of our countries. The US and British governments quickly moved to cast doubt on the Lancet medical journal findings, citing other studies. These mainly media-based reports put the number of Iraqi civilian deaths at about 15,000 - although the basis for such an endorsement is unclear, since neither the US nor the UK admits to collecting data on Iraqi civilian casualties.

    Civilian deaths have always been a tragic reality of modern war. But the conflict in Iraq was supposed to be different - US and British forces were dispatched to liberate the Iraqi people, not impose their own tyranny of violence.

    Reading accounts of the US-led invasion, one is struck by the constant, almost casual, reference to civilian deaths. Soldiers and marines speak of destroying hundreds, if not thousands, of vehicles that turned out to be crammed with civilians. US marines acknowledged in the aftermath of the early, bloody battle for Nassiriya that their artillery and air power had pounded civilian areas in a blind effort to suppress insurgents thought to be holed up in the city. The infamous "shock and awe" bombing of Baghdad produced hundreds of deaths, as did the 3rd Infantry Division's "Thunder Run", an armored thrust in Baghdad that slaughtered everyone in its path.

    It is true that, with only a few exceptions, civilians who died as a result of ground combat were not deliberately targeted, but were caught up in the machinery of modern warfare. But when the same claim is made about civilians killed in aerial attacks (the Lancet study estimates that most of civilian deaths were the result of air attacks), the comparison quickly falls apart. Helicopter engagements apart, most aerial bombardment is deliberate and pre-planned. US and British military officials like to brag about the accuracy of the "precision" munitions used in these strikes, claiming this makes the kind of modern warfare practiced by the coalition in Iraq the most humanitarian in history.

    But there is nothing humanitarian about explosives once they detonate near civilians, or about a bomb guided to the wrong target. Dozens of civilians were killed during the vain effort to eliminate Saddam Hussein with "pinpoint" air strikes, and hundreds have perished in the campaign to eliminate alleged terrorist targets in Falluja. A "smart bomb" is only as good as the data used to direct it. And the abysmal quality of the intelligence used has made the smartest of bombs just as dumb and indiscriminate as those, for example, dropped during the second world war.

    The fact that most bombing missions in Iraq today are pre-planned, with targets allegedly carefully vetted, further indicts those who wage this war in the name of freedom. If these targets are so precise, then those selecting them cannot escape the fact that they are deliberately targeting innocent civilians at the same time as they seek to destroy their intended foe. Some would dismiss these civilians as "collateral damage". But we must keep in mind that the British and US governments made a deliberate decision to enter into a conflict of their choosing, not one that was thrust upon them. We invaded Iraq to free Iraqis from a dictator who, by some accounts, oversaw the killing of about 300,000 of his subjects - although no one has been able to verify more than a small fraction of the figure. If it is correct, it took Saddam decades to reach such a horrific statistic. The US and UK have, it seems, reached a third of that total in just 18 months.

    Meanwhile, the latest scandal over missing nuclear-related high explosives in Iraq (traced and controlled under the UN inspections regime) only underscores the utter deceitfulness of the Bush-Blair argument for the war. Having claimed the uncertainty surrounding Iraq's WMD capability constituted a threat that could not go unchallenged in a post-9/11 world, one would have expected the two leaders to insist on a military course of action that brought under immediate coalition control any aspect of potential WMD capability, especially relating to any possible nuclear threat. That the US military did not have a dedicated force to locate and neutralize these explosives underscores the fact that both Bush and Blair knew that there was no threat from Iraq, nuclear or otherwise.

    Of course, the US and Britain have a history of turning a blind eye to Iraqi suffering when it suits their political purposes. During the 1990s, hundreds of thousands are estimated by the UN to have died as a result of sanctions. Throughout that time, the US and the UK maintained the fiction that this was the fault of Saddam Hussein, who refused to give up his WMD. We now know that Saddam had disarmed and those deaths were the responsibility of the US and Britain, which refused to lift sanctions.

    There are many culpable individuals and organizations history will hold to account for the war - from deceitful politicians and journalists to acquiescent military professionals and silent citizens of the world's democracies. As the evidence has piled up confirming what I and others had reported - that Iraq was already disarmed by the late 1990s - my personal vote for one of the most culpable individuals would go to Hans Blix, who headed the UN weapons inspection team in the run-up to war. He had the power if not to prevent, at least to forestall a war with Iraq. Blix knew that Iraq was disarmed, but in his mealy-mouthed testimony to the UN security council helped provide fodder for war. His failure to stand up to the lies used by Bush and Blair to sell the Iraq war must brand him a moral and intellectual coward.

    But we all are moral cowards when it comes to Iraq. Our collective inability to summon the requisite shame and rage when confronted by an estimate of 100,000 dead Iraqi civilians in the prosecution of an illegal and unjust war not only condemns us, but adds credibility to those who oppose us. The fact that a criminal such as Osama bin Laden can broadcast a videotape on the eve of the US presidential election in which his message is viewed by many around the world as a sober argument in support of his cause is the harshest indictment of the failure of the US and Britain to implement sound policy in the aftermath of 9/11. The death of 3,000 civilians on that horrible day represented a tragedy of huge proportions. Our continued indifference to a war that has slaughtered so many Iraqi civilians, and will continue to kill more, is in many ways an even greater tragedy: not only in terms of scale, but also because these deaths were inflicted by our own hand in the course of an action that has no defense.

    Gulf War veteranScott Ritter was a senior UN weapons inspector in Iraq between 1991 and 1998 and is the author of "Frontier Justice: Weapons of Mass Destruction and the Bushwhacking of America".


"Now, I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators." / - Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003 nfgjdfhggfchjhgcjf "The clock is ticking, and it's ticking towards war. And it's going to be a real war. It's going to be a war that will result in the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, of Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians. It's a war that is going to devastate Iraq. It's a war that's going to destroy the credibility of the United States of America." / - Scott Ritter speaking at Suffolk University in Boston on July 23, 2002


_________________ nrfnnfnf QUOTES from SMART people on our dire situation




Incurious George

St. George

King George (the madness of) eege George the Lionheart and the New Crusades

George of Orwell

Georgie Warbucks

George W. Hoover

Vanishing Votes

Death Culture

911 Accountability

(Not-so) Friendly Fascism

Project For A New American Perpetual War

Fanning the Flames of Fear, Loathing and Terror

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