29 October 2004

100,000 excess deaths have happened since the 2003 invasion of Iraq

Poor planning, air strikes by coalition forces and a "climate of violence" have led to more than 100,000 extra deaths in Iraq.
Violent deaths were mainly attributed to coalition forces - and most individuals reportedly killed were women and children.

Dr Les Roberts, who led the study, said: "Making conservative assumptions we think that about 100,000 excess deaths, or more, have happened since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

"Violence accounted for most of the excess deaths and air strikes from coalition forces accounted for most of the violent deaths."

The entire Lancet report is available online.

25 October 2004

What happened to the materials?

Huge cache of explosives vanishes from site in Iraq.
he Iraqi interim government has warned the United States and international nuclear inspectors that nearly 380 tons of powerful conventional explosives - used to demolish buildings, make missile warheads and detonate nuclear weapons - are missing from one of Iraq's most sensitive former military installations.

The huge facility, called Al Qaqaa, was supposed to be under American military control but is now a no man's land, still picked over by looters as recently as Sunday. United Nations weapons inspectors had monitored the explosives for many years, but White House and Pentagon officials acknowledge that the explosives vanished sometime after the American-led invasion last year.

In the chaos that followed the invasion, however, many of those sites, even some considered a higher priority, were never secured.

Consider that the bomb that brought down Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988 used less than a pound of the same type of material.

The story treads lightly over a couple of questions that leap to mind:

…whether the explosives in question have played a substantial role in the various suicide bombings, car bombings and sundry other attacks in Iraq over the last year.

They also say little about Pentagon pressure on the Iraqis not to report the disappearance of the explosives to the IAEA.

» read more

15 October 2004

Firing from over here – Firing from over there – Firing from the boat

ABC Nightline demolishes Anti-Kerry Swift Boat Story.
ABC News Nightline went to Vietnam and interviewed villagers who witnessed the firefight in February 1969 that led to John Kerry being awarded a Silver Star. The incident is a center piece of the allegations made by the so-called 'Swift Boat Veterans for Truth', whose leader John O'Neill has claimed that there was no firefight and that Kerry shot dead a fleeing teenager. Nightline's detailed interviews with the villagers, including former Viet Cong fighters who took part in the incident, verified Kerry's account of events. When confronted by Nightline's Ted Koppel, a clearly rattled O'Neill refused to address the content of the report.

2 October 2004

The genie of terrorism, chaos and mayhem has been unleashed onto this country as a result of American mistakes and it can't be put back into a bottle

Wall Street Journal reporter Farnaz Fassihi shares what day to day life in Iraq is like in an email to friends
It's hard to pinpoint when the 'turning point' exactly began. Was it April when the Fallujah fell out of the grasp of the Americans? Was it when Moqtada and Jish Mahdi declared war on the U.S. military? Was it when Sadr City, home to ten percent of Iraq's population, became a nightly battlefield for the Americans? Or was it when the insurgency began spreading from isolated pockets in the Sunni triangle to include most of Iraq? Despite President Bush's rosy assessments, Iraq remains a disaster. If under Saddam it was a 'potential' threat, under the Americans it has been transformed to 'imminent and active threat,' a foreign policy failure bound to haunt the United States for decades to come.

Iraqis like to call this mess 'the situation.' When asked 'how are thing?' they reply: 'the situation is very bad."

What they mean by situation is this: the Iraqi government doesn't control most Iraqi cities, there are several car bombs going off each day around the country killing and injuring scores of innocent people, the country's roads are becoming impassable and littered by hundreds of landmines and explosive devices aimed to kill American soldiers, there are assassinations, kidnappings and beheadings. The situation, basically, means a raging barbaric guerilla war. In four days, 110 people died and over 300 got injured in Baghdad alone. The numbers are so shocking that the ministry of health -- which was attempting an exercise of public transparency by releasing the numbers -- has now stopped disclosing them.

Doesn't appear to me that things are improving…