T h e F a c t s i n I r a q
T h e N a t i o n
November 24, 2004
Last weekend, The Washington Post reported that acute malnutrition among children in Iraq has doubled since before the US invasion in March of 2003. That is just one statistic, out of many, that paints a disturbing picture of the US occupation. After reading press dispatches, think-tank reports and public opinion polling, The Daily Outrage compiled this sampling of the facts on the ground.
400,000 Iraqi children suffer from chronic diarrhea and dangerous deficiencies of protein, according to a UN development report. Iraq's child malnutrition rate now roughly equals that of Burundi--a war-torn central African nation--and is far above both Uganda and Haiti.
60 percent of rural residents and 20 percent of urban dwellers have access to nothing but contaminated drinking water.
Hepatitis outbreaks have doubled since the war began.
One hundred and six US soldiers died in November, making the not-yet-completed month the deadliest since April's 135 casualties. Forty-one Americans died and 425 were wounded in the battle for Falluja, raising total US casualties to 1,227.
Iraqi civilian casualties range from 15,000-100,000. John Hopkins University estimates the figure at over 40,000 with 90 percent certainty.
According to military statistics, the number of insurgents has quadrupled since last year, from 5,000 to 20,000. A British general places the insurgency at 40-50,000 fighters.
A confidential Marine report predicted that the insurgency would continue to grow in the run-up to the January 30 election. According to director of reconstruction William Taylor, security "is worse today than it was, and we are having greater difficulties" compared to six weeks ago in cities such as Bagdhad, Falluja, Ramadi, Samarra and Mosul.
The US has trained only 145,000 of the 270,000 Iraqi security forces needed to establish order for the upcoming elections.
The Iraqi police has only 41 percent of the weapons, 25 percent of the vehicles, and 31 percent of the body armor identified as necessary by US forces.
Ninety of the country's 540 voter registration sites are currently closed due to violence, The New York Times reported .
The province in Mosul shut down all 56 registration centers, and 3,200 of the 4,000-member police force abandoned their jobs after insurgent attacks.
Of the $18.4 billion in reconstruction funds allocated last year by Congress, the US has spent only $1.7 billion.
Nationwide electricity levels are down 25 percent since the prewar days, and 66 percent lower in Baghdad.
The value of the Iraqi currency--the Dinar--dropped 25 percent compared to the US dollar in the past year (which didn't have a great year itself!)
Iraqi Public Opinion
Only 33 percent of Iraqis think they're better off now than before the war, as a Gallup poll discovered.
Just 36 percent believe the interim government shares their values.
94 percent say Baghdad is more dangerous than it was before the war.
66.6 believe the US occupation could start a civil war.
80 percent want the US to leave directly after the January elections.
"They say the war is over," wrote the Iraqi journalist Abbas Ahmed Ibrahim, in a dispatch from Falluja that captures his country's anxious despair. "But there is no peace."
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