Olivia Ward, writing in the Toronto Star, says two images stick vividly in her mind. One is the sight of a hooded crucifixion-style photo of an Iraqi prisoner, his arms outstretched, electrical wires dangling from his fingers, the other is a smiling George Bush on the deck of an aircraft carrier, one thumb raised in triumph beneath a banner reading, “Mission Accomplished.” Over the years thousands have died, miliions have fled and Muslim groups have killed one another as well as any innocent civilians who have gotten in their way. She notes that Canada never got caught up in the fight for Iraq but stood aside with a detached air of concern and wonderment at what was going on in that far off land.
However, Ms. Ward points out pror to the invasion Iraqi women enjoyed access to a modern existence in which they could work at any job and in their own homes, people enjoyed an exciting intellectual existence. Now, religious fundamentalism has compelled women to wear the hijab and they are afraid to engage in many business enterprises that once provided them with a decent income. “The Iraq that is emerging will not be a woman friendly place, and it won’t be oblivious to differences of faith” since most Christians have fled.
Posted in Canada, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, George Bush, Iraq, Iraq War, Military, United States, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged Canada, Iraq War, women rights
The casualty list in Iraq has been declining over the past seveal months, but the flow of money to pay for fighting continues to rise in ever larger amounts. Nobel-prize winner Joseph Stiglitz and co-author Linda Blimes, claim in a new book the total cost of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan is between $1.7 trillion and $2.7 trillion in current dollars. The Congressional Budget Office projections are considerably lower and estimate the cost is between $1.2 triliion and $1.7 trillion. Of course, the GAO did tell Congress the cost of war will not end when the last troop leaves those areas since medical expenses and pensions will continue on for the coming fifty years. The Congressional Research Center estimates the cost of the war in Vietnam was $607 billion– in current dollars.
Some people still recall claims by Bush officials the cost of the war in Iraq would be covered by the Iraq war through money it obtained from oil sales. Of course, the oil industry of Iraq has yet to reach pre-war figures and there is no expectation the Iraq government will ever be able to use that money to assist the United States. Actually, the United States will be supplying money to Iraq for many years to come. One can only wonder what President Bush meant when he shouted: “Mission Accomplished.” It certainly wasn’t the mission of money.
Posted in George Bush, Iraq War, Military, Peace, Politics, Republicans, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged Afghanistan, Bush, costs - war, Iraq War
Thee is increasing evidence of an unforseen consequence for members of the military who are fighting in Iraq. Soldiers and Marines caught in rodside bombings and fiefights are coming home in epidemic numbers with permanent hearing loss and ringing in their ears. Hearing damage has now become the number one disability in the fight against terrorism. The Veterans Affairs administration and hearing experts say the true toll of this disability may require decades before final figures are in. Nearly 70,000 of the more than 1.3 million troops who have served in the two war zones are collecting dsability for tinnitus, a potential debilitating ringing in the ears and more than 58,000 are on disability for hearing loss.
Theresa Schulz, author of “Troops Return With Alarming Rates of Hearing Loss,” says “the numbers are staggering” for those returning with these problems. Blasts from roadside bombs cause violent changes in air pressure and can rupture the eardrum and break bones inside the ear. A common problem is refusal on the part of many soldiers to wear earplugs.
The loss of hearing is just one of the many unforseen consequences of an invasion that lack coherent planning for the safety of American fighting men and women. There was a rush to judgment by the Bush administration who never explored all potential consequences of a war and how it might physically impact those doing the fighting. Experts estimate 60% of those exposed to roadside blasts may suffer from permanent hearing loss. That cost is not listed in any budget for Iraq war expenses.