Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Oxfam highlight plight of Iraqis

Oxfam and the NGO Coordination Committee in Iraq have relaeased a report on the situation of the people in Iraq. It isn't good. In fact, it it is worse than it was before the invasion, in several respects:
Researchers found that 15% of Iraqis cannot regularly afford to eat, 70% do not have adequate water supplies (up from 50% in 2003), 28% of children are malnourished (compared with 19% before the invasion), and 92% of children suffer learning problems.

The report also said more than 2 million people - mostly women and children - have been displaced within Iraq and have no reliable income, while another 2 million Iraqis have fled the country as refugees, mostly to neighbouring Syria and Jordan. (1)
This is from the Guardian, but you can read the original report here (2).

So after several years of trying, we still have not managed to make things as good as they were under Saddam - you know, when the country was ruled by a savage dictator, starved by sanctions and blighted by depleted uranium posioning.

Meanwhile, Dick Cheney is claiming that things are getting better in Iraq:

A looming report on Iraq will show "significant progress" in the war, the US vice-president predicted last night, even though President George Bush has refused to speculate on its conclusions.

Dick Cheney, speaking on CNN's Larry King show, said: "The reports I'm hearing from people whose views I respect indicate that the Petraeus plan is in fact producing results. Now, admittedly, I've been on one side of this argument from the beginning."

The September report from General David Petraeus, the top US commander in Iraq, and the US ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, will assess the impact of Mr Bush's "surge" strategy, which began in February. (3)

Okay, in his favour (CAN NOT BELIEVE I JSUT TYPED THAT. What is the world coming to?), Cheney is talking about military issues, but doesn't that just encapsulate the blind, imbecillic way the Bush administration has handled Iraq from thae start? Without wishing to suggest that the Clinton 'baby killer' administration did much better, of course. The military situation might be improving (though anything said by Dick "My belief is we will ... be greeted as liberators" (4) Cheney has to be assumed as a good indication of what will not happen), but he's ignoring, or is just plain unaware of, the situation faced by Iraqis. This has been the problem from the start, and continues to be the problem today.
1 - "8 million Iraqis need urgent aid, report says," by James Strucke and agencies, in The Guardian, 30th of July 2007. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,2137766,00.html)
2 - "Rising to the humanitarian challenge in Iraq," report by Oxfam and the NGO Coordination Committee in Iraq, reproduced by The Guardian, 30th July 2007. (
http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-files/Guardian/documents/2007/07/30/oxfam.pdf)
3 - "Cheney talks up Iraq 'progress' ahead of report," by Mark Tran in The Guardian, 1st August, 2007. (
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,2139224,00.html)
4 - From the transcript of an interview for NBC News, between Dick Cheney and Tim Russert, September the 14th 2003. (
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3080244/)

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