The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Acute Malnutrition of Young Children

Nov 22, 2004

Since the U.S. invaded and occupied Iraq, acute malnutrition among Iraqi children under the age of five has skyrocketed to record levels. This is what a new study conducted by Iraq’s Health Ministry in cooperation with Norway’s Institute for Applied International Studies and the U.N. Development Program found.

According to the study, about eight% of all Iraqi young children now suffer from "wasting," a condition characterized by chronic diarrhea and dangerous deficiencies of protein. This is double the level under the regime of Saddam Hussein in its last years, despite the devastating 10-year economic embargo. It is also worse than malnutrition in some of the poorest countries in the world, including Haiti and Uganda. In fact, it is at the same level of the poorest African countries that had been torn by civil war for decades.

Obviously, the abject poverty in Iraq is worsening due to the lack of work and income so that families cannot even afford the most elementary necessities. At the same time, the water supplies remain extremely filthy and the unreliable supplies of electricity, especially in the poorest neighborhoods, lead to the most unsanitary conditions that breed disease and misery.

No, the U.S. is not "rebuilding" and "reconstructing" Iraq, as it so cynically claims and the U.S. news media so slavishly repeats. It is only wreaking ever greater destruction, whose toll is first of all borne by the most vulnerable: the country’s impoverished young children.