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Tuesday, 11 May 2010

"You've punished us enough for the Iraq War"

Despite being absolutely hooked on the unsubtle manouevering for power in the UK capturing most attention at the moment, something David Miliband said a couple of weeks ago in an "exclusive" interview with The Guardian has continued to distract: he said, in a throwaway line, that "You've punished us enough for the Iraq War", a remark not followed up by the intrepid reporter.

What did Miliband mean by that? Who has punished him or the Labour Party and how have they been punished? Who has punished Tony Blair? Miliband clearly conforms to a school of punishment straight from the American school. His remark brings to mind what President Jimmy Carter said when the matter was raised about compensating Vietnam for the devastation caused by American aggression there and the deaths, according to conservative estimates, of over 1 million people. Carter replied that America owed Vietnam nothing as "the damage was mutual". I assume the loss of ca 55,000 American GIs was considered by President Carter to make up for one million Vietnamese lives.

Back to Miliband's remark: of what has Tony Blair's punishment consisted? He is Middle East Peace envoy; in the employ as adviser of JP Morgan Chase earning hundreds of thousands of dollars; making large sums on the international lecture circuit; lecturing to young minds at Yale University on its Faith and Globalisation programme; and enjoying the massive advance for writing his memoirs. And, oh yes, he's set up his own philanthropic foundation to promote interfaith dialogue and world peace. Philanthropy - meaning love of all mankind. No marks awarded for knowing which of his enterprises is yet to produce any tangible results.

Gordon Brown has denied that Britain did anything wrong in going to war in Iraq. He was punished by almost 3 years in 10 Downing Street. And David Miliband might be the next leader of the Labour Party.

Meanwhile, in Iraq, some facts (according to the Brookings Institution, USA):

Journalists killed - 140, 93 by murder and 47 by acts of war

Journalists killed by US Forces - 14

Iraqi Police and Soldiers Killed - 9,431

Iraqi Civilians Killed, Estimated - A UN issued report dated Sept 20, 2006 stating that Iraqi civilian casualties have been significantly under-reported. Casualties are reported at 50,000 to over 100,000, but may be much higher. Some informed estimates place Iraqi civilian casualities at over 600,000.

Iraqi Insurgents Killed, Roughly Estimated - 55,000


Iraqis Displaced Inside Iraq, by Iraq War, as of May 2007 - 2,255,000

Iraqi Refugees in Syria & Jordan - 2.1 million to 2.25 million

Iraqi Unemployment Rate - 27 to 60%, where curfew not in effect

Consumer Price Inflation in 2006 - 50%

Iraqi Children Suffering from Chronic Malnutrition - 28% in June 2007 (Per, July 30, 2007)

Percent of professionals who have left Iraq since 2003 - 40%

Iraqi Physicians Before 2003 Invasion - 34,000

Iraqi Physicians Who Have Left Iraq Since 2005 Invasion - 12,000

Iraqi Physicians Murdered Since 2003 Invasion - 2,000

Average Daily Hours Iraqi Homes Have Electricity - 1 to 2 hours, per Ryan Crocker, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq (Per Los Angeles Times, July 27, 2007)

Average Daily Hours Iraqi Homes Have Electricity - 10.9 in May 2007

Average Daily Hours Baghdad Homes Have Electricity - 5.6 in May 2007

Pre-War Daily Hours Baghdad Homes Have Electricity - 16 to 24

Number of Iraqi Homes Connected to Sewer Systems - 37%

Iraqis without access to adequate water supplies - 70% (Per, July 30, 2007)

Water Treatment Plants Rehabilitated - 22%

British casualties up to July 31st 2009, when MoD stopped releasing data:
UK military fatalities: 179
Reported UK military casualties: 5,970
Total UK casualties: not released by MoD

U.S. Troop Casualties - 4,390 US troops killed; 98% male. 91% non-officers; 82% active duty, 11% National Guard; 74% Caucasian, 9% African-American, 11% Latino. 19% killed by non-hostile causes. 54% of US casualties were under 25 years old. 72% were from the US Army.

The concentration of punishment, as ever, is within Iraq, among Iraqis, and the soldiers deployed by Britain and the United States who, upon return, suffer mental illness and disability.

I still wonder what David Miliband meant by that remark - "You've punished us enough about the Iraq War".

1 comment:

  1. He was referring to the paper itself, running articles on the issue. He wasn't referring to the general public. He was blaming the paper for not allowing New Labour to make the public forget, aka 'draw a line under it and move on'.