Who pays the price of war? Iraqi children, that’s who.

May 9, 2007

Who pays the price for war? Iraq’s children.

Postings have been erratic lately – this happens when I’m locked up studying for medical tests and boards. I’ll make it up to my faithful readers during the summer with the usual critical postings about global health and human rights.

But right now this article from the Independent UK is making my blood boil:

Infant Mortality in Iraq Soars as Young Pay the Price for War

Two wars and a decade of sanctions have led to a huge rise in the mortality rate among young children in Iraq, leaving statistics that were once the envy of the Arab world now comparable with those of sub-Saharan Africa.

A new report shows that in the years since 1990, Iraq has seen its child mortality rate soar by 125 per cent, the highest increase of any country in the world. Its rate of deaths of children under five now matches that of Mauritania.

Wow, Iraq went from the “envy of the Arab world” league to “sub-Saharan Africa” status. “Envy of the Arab world” is quite a statement. I wonder what led to such a decline:

Sanctions against Saddam Hussein’s regime were imposed by the UN in 1990 after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait and remained in place until after the coalition invasion in 2003. The sanctions, encouraged by the US as a means to topple Saddam, were some of the most comprehensive ever put in place and had a devastating effect on Iraq’s infrastructure and health services.

Precisely how many children died because of sanctions is unknown but a report in 1999 from the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), suggested that between 1991 and 1998 an additional 500,000 died.

Denis Halliday, who resigned as the UN’s humanitarian coordinator in protest at the sanctions, said at the time: “We are in the process of destroying an entire society. It is as simple and terrifying as that. It is illegal and immoral.”

Oh that’s right, Clinton sanctioned the hell out of Iraq, but Bush bombed the hell of it. Make no mistake, infant mortality in Iraq started rising well before Bush illegally invaded Iraq. In 1996, then Secretary of State, Madeline Albright, was asked by Leslie Stahl of 60 Minutes the following regarding the Iraq sanctions:

We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that is more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?”

To which Ambassador Albright responded, “I think that is a very hard choice, but the price, we think, the price is worth it.”

So the question should be, who pays the price of war? Children do. Poor children, and especially the children of the poor do, to be precise. You haven’t seen Bush’s daughters enlist yet, have you?

Unsurprisingly, just pennies a day are needed to truly save the world’s children.

“More than 10 million children under age five still die each year. That’s almost 28,000 a day, almost all in developing countries,” said the charity’s US president, Charles MacCormack. “Vaccines, oral rehydration therapy and insecticide-treated mosquito nets are not expensive. Yet, sadly, many mothers and children lack access to these life-saving measures.”

What’s the budget of the Pentagon these days?

Here is a list of the 10 worst countries with the worst child mortality rate.

1. Sierra Leone: 282 (per 1,000 live births)
2. Afghanistan: 257
3. Niger: 256
4. Liberia: 235
5. Somalia: 225
6. Mali: 218
7. Chad: 208
8 (tied) Democratic Republic of Congo: 205
8 (tied) Equatorial Guinea: 205
10. Rwanda: 203

For the geographically-impaired, 9 of those countries are in sub-Saharan Africa. The other country is Afghanistan, which has the second-worst rate. You want to take a guess if the Bush invasion has helped Afghanistan’s healthcare statistics? How bad do you think the child mortality will get in Iran if the Bush decides to invade that country? Hint: the child mortality is not that hot now in Iran.

When you hear George W. Bush or Dick Cheney saying that they “care about the people in the Middle East”, you should now be informed enough to know that statement is pure B.S.


Dumb-but-stupid? Leave that Lewinsky girl alone!

December 26, 2006

Now I don’t know why a newspaper publishes certain articles – maybe the chief editor was on vacation, or truly nothing else was happening in the world (yeah right) – but yesterday’s article in the Washington Post, From Thong to Thesis, Monica Lewinsky Flashes her Intellect, is one of the biggest pieces of trash ever published.

Take this small bit of sheer journalistic genius:

There are moments that make you question your fundamental assumptions about the world. One of them took place a few days ago, when news emerged that Monica Lewinsky had just graduated from the London School of Economics.

She did not!!

Lewinsky, 33, is known more for her audacious coquetry than for her intellectual heft, and the notion of her earning a master of science degree in social psychology at the prestigious London university is jarring, akin to finding a rip in the time-space continuum, or discovering that Kim Jong Il is a natural blond.

The emphasis above is NOT mine, it actually appeared that way in the article. Read the rest of the article to grasp the level to which the Washington Post, and the U.S. media, has fallen (basically, people who are “dumb” but are actually “smart”, in all of its immature glory). I never understood why the media focused so much on Monica Lewinsky – oh yes, I remember now, she had an intimate relationship with the president of the United States. The rabid right-wing was so obsessed that a woman had a blowjob. She was not dumb or stupid, but young and immature. She screwed up, so what? Dubya screws up all the fucking time with consequences U.S. soldiers take to the grave, and nobody says anything to him.

This article provides us with 2 Christmas thoughts we can take home. Number one is, of course, that the journalistic bar was set so low that the fact that she was EVER news reflects very poorly on the Washington Post judgment, and again on the U.S. media as a whole. The fact that she is covered NOW is amazing at all. Is it not true that president Bush’s actions are far more serious than any of president Clinton’s misdeamenors?

Which reminds me, when the hell are we going to have an “impeachment watch” on the front of every American newspaper? Do the media think we are stupid? Are we supposed to weigh more heavily some sexual escapades than the current administration lies that led us to an illegal war, more than 600,000 innocent Iraqi dead, nearly 3,000 American soldiers and more than 20,000 injured? Give me a break! Now that the impeachment bar has been set so low, why don’t the media live up to it and carry it out to its logical conclusion?

The second thought is that a women can’t seem to be smart and have sex at the same time. Either she is a sexual object or she is an intellectual. Wow, a girl that had a blowjob can’t graduate from college? That a women can’t be pretty and smart as well? Look conservative wingnuts, she interned for the president. Whatever she did afterwards in said position, one has to be quite smart to get into that position in the first place. Many, if not all, of White House interns graduate with advanced degrees and get high-paying jobs. I graduated with honors from college and go to medical school, which is not easy, so the notion that a White House intern, much less a woman, somehow was able to graduate with an advanced degree is so stupid that it could only come from a right-wing idiot.

Expect plenty of Monica-bashing as the 2008 presidential elections come close.