War Is Not Over For Iraqi Children

by James Glaser
May 22, 2003

Even though George Bush has told the American people that the fighting is over in Iraq, the fighting and war continues in that country. As in every war the impact is strongest on the children. Even with less hostilities as the war winds down, disease and injuries to the children of Iraq, continues.

Anna Balkhen writes in the San Francisco Chronicle this last Sunday, "As many as 1,000 children arrive at the hospital every day, more than 700 of them with diarrhea." Clean drinking water is still a thing of the past for millions in the city of Baghdad. This report is of one hospital out of the thirty three in the city of Baghdad.

"Unexploded munitions strewn around residential neighborhoods all over Iraq, kill and maim several children every day, doctors and U.N. Officials say."

Looting and random violence goes on in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities day and night. Balkhen goes on to write, "Street violence is not the only threat to the lives of Iraqi children. UNICEF said looters stripped many of the country's already dilapidated water treatment plants of purification equipment and chemicals. Hundreds of thousands of tons of raw sewage are pumped into the Tigris and Euphrates rivers daily, polluting the major source of drinking water for the Iraqis."

"As a result, thousands of children here are suffering from gastroenteritis and diarrhea. Those conditions lead to dehydration and acute malnutrition."

President Bush reads these reports and gets more complete daily updates on what is happening in Iraq. After the first Gulf War the same thing happened to the children there. America bombed the water and sewage treatment plants causing hundreds of thousands of children to die from related disease.

Those in Washington that planned out this war knew that the bombing in this war could repeat the same slaughter of children, but they failed to prepare for the repair of the equipment needed to provide safe drinking water for the five million people of Baghdad or any of the other cities with the same problems.

The same is true for the civil unrest in Iraq's cities. While American Generals stated that 200.000 troops would be needed to control Iraq, the Pentagon ignored their report and now we have chaos. In prewar Baghdad, Saddam Hussein had 20,000 police officers for the city, America brought 1,800 military police officers to do the same job. Now thousands of soldiers with no police training are trying to control the unrest.

First the Children of Iraq had to live in a pitiful country in which 80% of all the people were being fed with UN food handouts, due to the embargo kept on Iraq for over a decade after our first war with them. Then these same children had to live through the night and day bombings, the artillery attacks, and finally the infantry assault of their country. Thousands died and many more were maimed. No one knows how many children lost a parent or sibling.

Now these same children have to suffer with disease, night and day looting, and civil unrest, foreign armed troops occupying their nation, no electricity or running water. No police, no garbage pickup, no school, and for many the loss of a parent.

The older children must listen to their church leaders telling them that Americans must go. Some children have to know that some church leaders are killing other church leaders.

These children are living in a country that has gone insane.

But President Bush can look at the camera and tell the American people that the War is over. Now isn't that comforting?

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