By Felicity Arbuthnot
“Why should we hear about body bags and deaths … I mean, it’s not relevant, so why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that …” (Former First Lady, Barbara Bush, Good Morning America, 18th March 2003)
In these days of the tenth anniversary of the illegal invasion and near destruction of Iraq, answers are owed not alone for the dead, but to the cancer stricken, the deformed, to their parents, their siblings and all Iraqis. They were left with a land poisoned by depleted uranium in 1991, the burden ever building over twelve more years of (illegal) US and UK bombings, then the enormity of 2003.
Fallujah’s victims have rightly come under medical and media scrutiny since the US military onslaught of April and November 2004, but throughout Iraq, there have been no reports of areas unaffected.
In context, Dahr Jamail writes from Fallujah, “Official Iraqi government statistics show that, prior to the outbreak of the First Gulf War in 1991, the rate of cancer cases in Iraq was 40 out of 100,000 people. By 1995, it had increased to 800 out of 100,000 people, and, by 2005, it had doubled to at least 1,600 out of 100,000 people. Current estimates show the increasing trend continuing.
The Fallujah health crisis represented “the highest rate of genetic damage in any population ever studied.”
There were numerous reports during the 2004 April and November-December US assaults on Fallujah of, in addition to DU – three times unanimously designated a weapon of mass destruction by UN Sub-Committees – illegal, experimental chemical weapons and napalm being used in the decimation of this city of about three hundred thousand people.
After the second assault, Dr. Saleh Hussein Iswawi of the Fallujah General Hospital told the BBC, “About sixty to seventy percent of the homes and buildings are completely crushed and damaged, and not ready to inhabit … Of the thirty percent still left standing, I don’t think there is a single one that has not been exposed to some damage.”