"No matter how paranoid or conspiracy-minded you are, what the government is actually doing is worse than you imagine." - - - William Blum

January 31, 2008

Professor Juan Cole, Iraqi expert, has summarized the current status of the Iraqi population, and I can't imagine it being any worse than this:

A new professional poll carried out by a British firm in Iraq concludes that excess deaths from violence since March 19, 2003 through summer 2007 came to just over 1 million. Note that excess deaths from violence do not necessarily imply that they are directly war-related. Thus, murders of a criminal sort, tribal feuding, and so forth would be included. Since Bush interfered with the establishment of a strong new government after his invasion, he promoted the sort of insecurity that permitted high rates of violence, whether political, criminal or war-related. This poll tracks with the findings of the studies of Gilbert Burnham and Les Roberts, published in the Lancet and disputes lower numbers found by a recent WHO study (which, however, only ran through June 2006 and was limited solely to civilians--this British study goes to 2007 and seems to include everyone.)

The British findings are also consistent with estimates of between 1 million and 2 million widows in Iraq. These widows, many of them young, face extreme poverty without a breadwinner. As the Iraqi street has been captured by religious parties and militias, gender segregation and female seclusion have increased, which prevents single young women from going out to work in mixed-gender settings like stores and workshops. In short, Iraq is being Talibanized by Bush's war.

Reuters points out that almost none of the widows are getting any welfare payments from the Iraqi government. It adds: "A report by aid groups found that 43 percent of Iraqis lived in "absolute poverty". Four million people needed food assistance and only one in three children under five had access to safe drinking water."

And who's responsible for this massive death and destruction? You might say George W. Bush. But no, he's only one person. There's 300,000,000 of us, and we all just let it all happen.

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