Thursday, June 3, 2010

The New Iraq

   The U.S. invasion of Iraq, for both oil and profiteering, resulted in the violent deaths of no less than 100,000 Iraqi civilians, according to the most conservative estimate. A 2006 study by the British medical journal Lancet found that up to that point there had been more than 650,000 “excess Iraqi deaths as a consequence of the war,” factoring in the lack of medical supplies and the civil war the invasion set off. Polling firm Opinion Research Business estimated in 2008 “that over 1,000,000 Iraqi citizens” died as a result of the conflict.

   More than 4.7 million Iraqis were forced to flee their homes, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency, with 2 million forced to leave the country entirely. Many Iraqi women, three million of whom are now widows according to their government, were forced into lives of prostitution, with one refugee telling The New York Times that if “they go back to Iraq they'll be slaughtered, and this is the only work available.”

   Today, Iraq is ruled by a new strong man who has used his security forces to ethnically cleanse Baghdad, gun down non-violent protesters and torture dissidents. According to Transparency International, only three other countries in the world are more corrupt than Iraq – Afghanistan, Myanmar and Somalia – and unemployment is rampant, with nearly one in three men between 15 and 29 out of work.

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