Bush went to war in Iraq to purge it of ‘WMDs’, which he and his allies like the UK and Germany had bestowed unto Saddam in the Gulf War. Back then, Saddam was a friend and was considered the legitimate ruler of Iraq. But after the Kuwait invasion, and particularly in 2003, somehow he turned into a ‘tyrant dictator’, and a ‘threat to democracy’. Resultantly, it was deemed ‘absolutely necessary’ to oust Saddam and to let the Iraqis reap the rewards of ‘democracy’.
Three years on, however, the ‘rewards of democracy’ have been bitter for most ordinary Iraqis. The country still lacks a government which has the support of all factions in the country. Security is still a very grave concern for many. The economy has seen a recession.
For those of you who believe an ordinary Iraqi is better off than before, here are some statistics to help us to understand the ground realities of this war.
- Almost all indicators of the economy show that it is worse than the pre-war era.
- Oil Production now is around 1.7 million barrels a day as compared to 2.5 million barrels in 2004. Iraq has a capacity to produce 6 million barrels a day.
- In 2005, inflation rate was 20%.
- Electricity production has hardly gone up from the days of the pre-war era. Baghdad homes only get 4 hours of electricity. This is less than 25% percent of what the city got before the invasion.
- Unemployment rate is between 27 to 60% when curfew is not in effect.
- Around 80 Iraqi journalists and media assistants have been killed in the past three years out of which 14 were killed by US forces.
- Sixty-seven percent of all Iraqis feel less secure because of the occupation.
- On average, 120 police officers are killed every month.
- Some unofficial studies project the total deaths among civilian Iraqis to be between 17,000 and 38,000 while others put this figure close to 100,000.
- Twenty-five percent of the people in Iraq depend on the food and rations distributed by charity organizations.
- Consumer goods have poured into Iraq, with car ownership reported to have doubled since 2003 and mobile phones and satellite television spreading rapidly. However, in a 2004 UN survey, only 20% of households said they had any savings.
- An estimated 25% of primary-age children do not attend school, according to the World Bank, although US figures show primary school enrolment up 20% since 2000.
- Out of the 34,000 doctors before the invasion, 12,000 have left the country while 2,000 have been murdered.
- Daily insurgent attacks increased form 14 in February 2004 to 70 in July 2005 to 75 in May 2006.
- Cancer mortality as a result of depleted uranium ammunitions usage in Iraq has increased by 1200%. Depleted uranium used in a weapon makes it a weapon of mass destruction. Such weapons are suspected to have been used in Iraq during the invasion.
The only good thing I came across while researching for this post was the fact that the spread of disease has slowed. Also, that compared to the $16 million spending on health in the pre-war era, $1 billion is spent now. However, an overwhelming majority of this spending goes to refurbishment and rebuilding of hospitals destroyed during the invasion.
These statistics are enough to prove that the war on Iraq, apart from being illegal and a total failure, has been a total devastation too. It can reasonably be inferred that the rise in insurgency and sectarian violence is a direct upshot of the invasion and that it wouldn’t have happened had the US and its allies not invaded Iraq. Also, ordinary Iraqis were much better off in dictatorship than they are now in ‘democracy’.
Nonetheless, the fact worth mentioning here is that all the responsible citizens of the countries contributing troops to the war on Iraq must know that if their troops leave Iraq now, it is going to turn into a sectarian and ethnic battleground. Because the hundreds of thousands of soldiers and police officials trained are not well trained and well equipped to handle the security of the country.
What legacy is going to be left in Iraq and Afghanistan is what is going to define the necessity, efficacy and popular support for wars on terrorism in the future.
Update: Revealed: How US Marines Massacred 24 (May 28, 2006)
Sources Used and Suggestions For Further Reading:
- BBC News In Depth: Life in Iraq
- Was Iraq Better Off During Saddam?
- TruthOut: Iraq Economy Falls Below Pre-War Levels:
- About.com: Iraq War Made Simple—Results and Statistics as of May 17, 2005
- Pilger On DU in Iraq
- Researchers Claim Birth Defects Rising Across Southern and Central Iraq
- Body Counts in the Iraq War
- In the Chaos of Iraq, One Project Is on Target: A Giant US Embassy
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