Nov 13, 2006
Two days before the midterm U.S. Congressional elections, the Iraqi court trying Saddam Hussein announced the death sentence against him.
A last-ditch effort for George Bush to help out Republican candidates? The only people who denied it were Bush and a few close members of his administration. But while the timing of the verdict was tied to the election campaign, the verdict itself was part and parcel of U.S. policy in Iraq – one more attempt to hide reality.
In any event, Bush quickly declared the verdict “a milestone” in Iraq, and a “major achievement for Iraq’s young democracy and its constitutional government.”
Bush had celebrated many other “major achievements in Iraq” before, like the famous “end of major combat operations,” or Saddam’s capture, or the Iraqi constitution, or the elections and setting up of an Iraqi government.... And every time he did, things in Iraq only took another visible turn for the worse.
Today, even the U.S. government admits that the U.S. war on Iraq has claimed more than 150,000 Iraqi lives, that is, more than 50 times the toll of 9/11. The real number is likely to be at least four times as high, and this in a country whose population is only one-twelfth the size of the U.S. population.
Since 2003, even the most basic services such as electricity and running water have become a luxury for the vast majority of Iraqis. Unemployment, poverty and crime have reached catastrophic levels. Ethnic and religious militias allied with the U.S. have stepped up their fight for power, attacking the population and drawing the country more and more into a bloody chaos – which Iraqis have been trying to flee in despair.
According to the United Nations, 1.8 million Iraqis are living in neighboring countries today, and another 1.6 million are displaced internally. In other words, the U.S. war on Iraq has turned more than one in eight Iraqis into refugees. And that number is growing faster than ever – Syria alone counts the arrival of 2,000 new Iraqi refugees every day.
As for the anti-U.S. insurgency, it has been steadily growing stronger, causing more and more deaths and injuries among U.S. troops. With 105 killed, October registered one of the highest monthly U.S. death tolls, almost all of the deaths being officially listed as combat. In a recent poll, 60% of Iraqis said they supported violence against American soldiers.
Just as every previous announcement of “good news” from Iraq, this one only portends a more catastrophic situation.