This diary was originally published March 19, 2010. In honor of all those who served, all those who perished on both sides and for all those who's lives are changed forever, let us not forget or stop working for justice.
I have often wondered why that particular time was chosen because it insured the highest possible civilian casualties. The 24 million citizens of Iraq were just waking. Children still safe in their beds, the day begins with the still dark sky lighting up as we rain hell on earth upon them, the minute by minute strikes called out by Wolf Blitzer. The lucky ones vaporized instantly by DU Bunker Busters. More than 13 pounds of bombs for every citizen of Iraq.
The U.S. will smash Baghdad with up to 800 cruise missiles in the first two days of the war. That's about one every four minutes, day and night, for 48 hours.Follow me below the fold for a recap of the Iraq war stories we seldom hear, but are important none the less.
The missiles will hit far more than just military targets. They will destroy everything that makes life in Baghdad livable. "We want them to quit. We want them not to fight," Ullman told CBS reporter David Martin. So "you take the city down. You get rid of their power, water. In 2,3,4,5 days they are physically, emotionally and psychologically exhausted."
Some of you have read my Iraq Diaries, their started under my old nym back in September of 2007 and ended with More Than 1 in 3 The Stunning Reality of The Iraq War.
"What is taking place today is as precisely targeted as any campaign in history," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said. "Every single target has been analyzed and is being appropriately dealt with. It is an enormously impressive humane effort."
U.S. forces plan to drop more than 1,500 bombs and missiles across Iraq in the first 24 hours of its "shock and awe" campaign that began Friday, Pentagon officials said.
On March 20, 2003 at approximately 02:30 UTC or about 90 minutes after the lapse of the 48-hour deadline, at 05:34 local time, explosions were heard in Baghdad. There is now evidence that various special forces troops (including British SAS, the Australian SASR and 4RAR, the U.S. Army's Delta Force, United States Navy SEALs, United States Army's Green Berets and U.S. Air Force Combat Controllers) crossed the border into Iraq well before the air war commenced to guide strike aircraft in air attacks. At 03:15 UTC, or 10:15 p.m. EST, George W. Bush announced that he had ordered an "attack of opportunity" against targets in Iraq. As soon as this word was given the troops on standby crossed the border into Iraq.If you believe the propaganda, the precision guided smart bombs, the military and government targets only, the conventional weapons, then nothing I say or write will allow you to accept the real numbers or the staggering cost of this war. The information contained here is gathered from UNICEF, the United Nations, WHO, various medical journals, relief organizations, governments of Syria and Jordan and eye witness reports. Whenever possible they have been verified with muiltiple sources.
On March 19, 2003 this sovereign nation of just under 24 million had already endured the punishing bombings that destroyed much of the infrastructure and 12 years of an equally punishing embargo. An embargo that cost the lives of at least 2 million Iraqis from disease and malnutrition, 40% were children. Not only was Iraq no threat to us, they were being systematically reduced to a third world nation.
The initial bombings, Shock and Awe, the march to Baghdad, our smart bombs directed with surgical precision at military and government targets only. The Lancet reported their estimate of 100,000 dead in the early days of the war, many others have placed the estimate as high as 285,000. Thank god we used precision guided bombs targeting ONLY military and government facilities. 2,000 pound bombs designed to limit collateral damage in urban areas in deed. You can't believe those numbers and yet there are thousands of pictures of civilian structures leveled, destroyed apartment buildings and whole blocks of homes leveled in virtually every city of any size in Iraq. Hospitals and emergency services were overwhelmed, bodies were routinely buried in trenches.
There are tons of unexploded ordinance many with a failure rate as high as 40%. These pose a huge danger to the civilian population along with the 800 or more metric tons of DU weapons and waste dotting the landscape. Du will kill and maim millions more, generation after generations until the virtual end of time. Cancer rates and birth defects are already up dramatically. There are only two countries using DU weapons with impunity, the USA and UK. The UN continues their quest to have DU weapons banned and their use made a war crime.
September of last year the Iraqi casualty report from ORB estimated civilian deaths at 1,220,580 to as many as 1,446,063. This minute in time, the official estimate sets at 1.3 million. Another 1.5 million are maimed, blinded, burned and broken.
Approximately 3.4 million Iraqis have fled their country since the onset of the war. 1.5 million to Syria and about 1 million to Jordan, the remainder are in Egypt, Iran and European countries, we have taken less than 6,000. Leaving at the rate of 100,000 a month in the beginning, they are still leaving at the rate of 50-60,000 a month from one hell to another hopefully safer hell. The first were the wealthy Iraqis who got out by plane and automobile. They aren't the ones in the refugee camps. Now, many people left in Iraq who still wish to leave must walk out. The trip from Baghdad to the Syrian border is roughly 340 miles over roads damaged by our heavy equipment and bombing. They leave with what they can carry, no papers, often not enough money to sustain them. Their dead along the way, sometimes buried but often simply left at the side of the road. How desperate must you be to make that trek, to leave a loved one, a parent or child. In addition to the obvious toll on the refugees and their hosts, relief organizations report nearly half of all refugees are children. UNICEF also tells us displaced children are at the greatest risk for death, not just refugee children, but children displaced in their own country. In fact the burden of this war on Iraq's children is staggering.
There are now more than 2.5 million refugees inside Iraq trying to escape violence, 2.1 million of them are children.
From October 2007. Most of Iraq's provinces have closed their doors to people fleeing conflict elsewhere in the country, cutting off a vital escape route for people threatened by sectarian violence.UNICEF also informs 1/2 of the Iraqi population is under the age of 17, children who will ultimately suffer the most. After years of the UN sanctioned embargo and the first Gulf War Iraqi children and their mothers are chronically malnourished. Now 1 in 8 Iraqi children die before their 5th birthday. Again from UNICEF, 2003 report, of the more than 122,000 reported deaths of children under 5 more than half are infants. Maternal mortality rates have tripled. There are 10's of thousands of orphans and abandoned children living on the streets and countryside, many left to starve. Children are hit so hard because of the lack of food, custodial parent, clean water, sanitation and lack of health services exacerbating the ravages of childhood diseases like measles. In 2004 we spent princely $37 per capita in Iraq for medical needs.
"There are more and more makeshift camps in abysmal conditions, with terrible sanitation and water supply, very little or no healthcare, and no schools," Ron Redmond, a spokesman for the UN high commissioner for refugees, said yesterday.
Iraq's neighbours and its relatively safe provinces have now exhausted their capacity to absorb more refugees, said Dana Graber Ladek, of the International Office for Migration (IOM)."They are trying to restrict the flow at checkpoints, and they are asking the local branches of the ministry of displacement and migration not to register any more IDPs [internally displaced people]," Ms Ladek said
But staying at home is often not an option either. The US troop surge has not reduced the rate at which Iraqis are being forced to flee their homes - about 60,000 a month. There has been little material support from the west. The IOM says it has received only a fifth of its $85m (£42.5m) appeal to cover the next two years.
Jordan closed most of its border crossings earlier this year and announced its intention to impose visa restrictions. Syria said last week it would only give visas to businessmen and academics.
From May 2003 Providing clean drinking water to Iraq's 23.3 million citizens is the first priority. U.N. sanctions imposed in 1990 meant that Iraq, which derived 95% of its foreign currency from oil, could sell only that commodity in exchange for food. Thus, it could no longer get enough spare parts to keep all of its water-treatment plants working, according to the UNEP.
From June 2007 Four years after the invasion, rebuilding Iraq is still a huge challenge. Making sure that people have clean water is essential but the infrastructure for this is badly lacking: Iraq’s pipes, pumps and purifiers are often old, damaged and unreliable. In Basra, the country’s second city, the situation is especially serious.
From Nov. 2007 Despite the fact that Iraq and U.S. officials have made water projects among their top priorities, the percentage of Iraqis without access to decent water supplies has risen from 50 percent to 70 percent since the start of the U.S.-led war, according to an analysis by Oxfam International last summer. The portion of Iraqis lacking decent sanitation was even worse -- 80 percent.
From USA Today Feb 2008 Weakened Iraqi medical system on verge of collapse Even with the security gains of the past several months across Iraq, it is still dangerous for doctors and their families if they dare step out of heavily guarded hospital compounds.
Drugs supplies are so low that Iraqis hospitalized for illnesses as serious as cancer are asked to track down their own medicine.
"When we need medicine, we go directly to private pharmacies," said Ahmed Khalil, the 38-year-old owner of an auto repair shop in Fallujah. "We know we're not going to get any from Fallujah hospital."
And when pharmacy shelves are bare, Iraqis turn to the black market.
From a Salon Article May 21, 2008 | BAGHDAD, Iraq -- May 20: Trash pickup in most of Baghdad ended with the rule of Saddam Hussein. Now the garbage chokes the capital's streets and clogs the sewage pipes and canals, which overflow and burst. The sewage that leaks out of broken pipes seeps through the dirt of roads that were once paved, but now have mostly turned to dirt because the tracks of American tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles have destroyed the asphalt over five years of war.This is important, we are the occupying nation and we have responsibilities to the Iraqi people we have ignored. There are Interational Laws governing our conduct and outlining our responsibilities. Since the onset of the war Amnesty International has been calling for the UN to authorize human rights monitors be sent to Iraq. Shoot on sight orders are against International Law and yet we know our soldiers have been given those orders. Desecrating their religious objects is forbidden. Raping their women is forbidden, strip searching them is forbidden. We must protect cultural property. We are not to control their natural resources for our gain.
From Human Rights Watch An occupying force has a duty to ensure the food and medical supplies of the population, as well as maintain hospitals and other medical services, "to the fullest extent of the means available to it." This includes protecting civilian hospitals, medical personnel, and the wounded and sick. Medical personnel, including recognized Red Cross/Red Crescent societies, shall be allowed to carry out their duties. The occupying power shall make special efforts for children orphaned or separated from their families, and facilitate the exchange of family news.6.5 million Iraqis are still dependent on food rations. Unemployment is estimated at 70 percent. 70 percent of Iraqi school aged children have not attended school except sporatically in the last 5 years and some of them haven't been to school at all. We have held citizens, men mostly but women and children as well. Held them without trial, tortured them, raped them. We have allowed our soldiers and contractors to rape and murder as well. We have allowed genocide.
If any part of the population of an occupied territory is inadequately supplied, the occupying power shall facilitate relief by other states and impartial humanitarian agencies. However, the provision of assistance by others does not relieve the occupying force of its responsibilities to meet the needs of the population. The occupying power shall ensure that relief workers are respected and protected.
More than 1 in 3 Iraqis is either dead, a refugee or maimed, 8.2 million innocent civilians. There are 39 states with populations less than 8.2 million people. I'm not sure it is possible to wrap our minds around the enormity of what we have done or possible to quantify the loss or the cost in human suffering.
We have destroyed the Cradle of Civilization, made no effort to stop the looting of their Museums and antiquities, we have literally liberated them todeath.
For you, my Iraq War video, the one that is banned in foreign countries. Strange to me because it has been "sanitized". If you have the band width watch it in HD.