Thursday, December 18, 2008

Iraq: "A Human Catastrophe on the Grandest Scale"

More than 4,000 Americans have been killed and perhaps 20,000 wounded. The British loss is 178.

But statistics are one thing, while the spectacle of limbless young men and women at the Headley Court rehabilitation centre in Surrey is quite another.

As for the Iraqis, their loss and suffering as a direct consequence of the Anglo-American occupation has been appalling.

To begin with, there was the colossal physical damage and civilian casualties inflicted by the initial ‘shock-and-awe’ bombardment of Baghdad and other cities.
Since then, the total number of civilians killed in the crossfire between the bombs of the insurgents and the inaccurate U.S. firepower on land and from the air stands between 100,000 and 600,000, depending on the guesstimate.

When we add to this tally of death the known total of Iraqi refugees at four million, the bottom line is a human catastrophe on the grandest scale.

Brown will tell the House that Britain can withdraw its 4,100 troops because we can leave the peace and security of the Basra region safely in the hands of the Iraqi government and its British-trained army.

But this, too, is a lie. The truth is that we will leave Iraq at a time when the Iraqi people are immeasurably worse off than under Saddam’s tyranny.

writes the historian Correlli Barnett in today's Daily Mail.

I am proud that I was among the small number of British journalists and media commentators to unequivocally oppose the Iraq War- and to openly ridicule, in print, the neo-con claims that Iraq possessed WMD. I am proud too to have taken part in the large anti-war demonstrations which took place in London in September 2002 and February 2003.

But I am very sad that we on the anti-war side were unable to stop the neocons from getting their evil way and that we failed to prevent a "human catastrophe on the grandest scale".

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