May 1, 2003, is another day of infamy for the Bush administration and America. In the kind of staged bravado dictators relish, George W. Bush donned a flight suit, pretended to fly, and then used an aircraft carrier as the backdrop for a speech to declare the mission in Iraq accomplished. Every cable news channel carried the event live as if history were somehow being made. It is time to look back at five years of accomplishments in Iraq.
May 01 2008
Mar 06 2008
Another surreal day in America. Everyone is talking about the “math” in the race for the Democratic nomination for president. Our war criminal in chief endorsed McCain to carry on his proud tradition of violence for profit. The corporate media laps up the most expensive presidential campaign in history. Meanwhile, halfway across the world, the Iraqi people continue to suffer because of our actions and inactions.
Here is a story that every news outlet in America managed to ignore. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) just published a study of the mental health problems of Iraqi refugees living in Jordan and Lebanon. More than half of the refugees interviewed reported high levels of clinically significant emotional distress. What’s a few million traumatized people forced to flee their homes, jobs, schools, extended families, and country? Their suffering does not fit our narrative about the war.
Our presidential candidates have already spent more money on this election than our country has spent over the past five years to help the victims of our foreign policy in Iraq. That’s right. Our presidential candidates have spent more than 300 million dollars, more than four times what has been spent to help refugees in a country we destroyed. Even with the proposed 125 million dollars for FY08/09, it will still be a drop in the bucket compared to the money spent on the presidential race.
Feb 27 2008
President Bush laid down the standard of success when he announced the surge more than a year ago: “If we increase our support at this crucial moment, and help the Iraqis break the current cycle of violence, we can hasten the day our troops begin coming home.”
Than yesterday we get this:
The Pentagon is projecting that when the U.S. troop buildup in Iraq ends in July there will be about 8,000 more troops on the ground than when it began in January 2007, a senior general said Monday.
Feb 22 2008
In Baghdad, this troupe of five clowns called themselves the “Happy Family Group.” Their purpose was to bring some entertainment and relief to children whose lives had been scarred by violence and fear. They called their show, “A Child Is Just As Sacred As A Country.” By every account, the show was popular among children, an oasis of laughter in the desert of violence. Their story over the past six months is tragic and inspiring. It also highlights the plight of Iraqi refugees.
Feb 14 2008
According to a new article by Steve Bloomfield in the UK Independent, the U.S. policy of advising Ethiopia in its war with neighboring Somalia has failed. Not surprisingly for the Bush team, it has achieved results entirely the opposite of what it intended. The outcome? UN officials describe it as the “the largest concentration of displaced people anywhere in the world…. the worst humanitarian catastrophe in Africa, eclipsing even Darfur in its sheer horror.”
According to Bloomfield, the U.S. believed that Al Qaida had established a presence in the “failed state” that was Somalia at the beginning of this century. The U.S. wanted to strike at the Union of Islamic Courts, a fundamentalist coalition that was ruling over much of central and southern Somalia.
On Christmas Day 2006, Ethiopia invaded its neighbour, Somalia. The aim: to drive out a coalition of Islamists ruling the capital, Mogadishu, and install a fragile interim government that had been confined to a small town in the west. But Ethiopia was not acting alone. The US had given its approval for the operation and provided key intelligence and technical support. CIA agents travelled with the Ethiopian troops, helping to direct operations.
Oct 22 2007
Today brought the news that Syria Shuts Main Exit From War for Iraqis:
DAMASCUS, Syria, Oct. 20 – Long the only welcoming country in the region for Iraqi refugees, Syria has closed its borders to all but a small group of Iraqis and imposed new visa rules that will legally require the 1.5 million Iraqis currently in Syria to return to Iraq.
1.5 million refugees are going to have to go back. Go back to what exactly?