|A man holds his wounded daughter outside in August 2006 after being injured in road side bomb explosion in Iraq. Photograph: Ali Abbas/EPA Source: The Guardian Iraq Database|
by Janet Weil, CODEPINK
On this sad and shameful "anniversary" of the US bombing and invasion of Iraq, we know some things, and we don't know others.
We know that this war was based on lies, was opposed by an unprecedented coordinated wave of global protests, was not approved by the UN Security Council, and was completely unnecessary and illegal.
We know that officially over 4400 American troops (www.icasualties.org for the latest number) have died horrible deaths in Iraq, that 6 Americans died in Iraq as recently as January 2011, and that tens of thousands have returned home maimed, blinded, scarred, and suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury and PTSD. We don't know how many young Americans have committed suicide as a result of their anguish and guilt.
We know that over 100,000 Iraqis have been murdered in this war and occupation, and that millions have been forced to flee their homes. We don't know an exact number of Iraqi deaths, but we do know that number keeps going up, every day.
We know about torture at Abu Ghraib and other sites in Iraq. We know who wrote the torture policy memos. We know that George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, and other officials of the US government were responsble for terrible crimes against the dignity of human beings. We don't know when or if they will ever be held responsible.
We know about the use of depleted uranium. We know about the two assaults on Falllujah in 2004. We know that cancer rates there now exceed cancer rates in Hiroshima and Nagasaki following the dropping of the atomic bombs. We don't know what care, if any, residents of Fallujah are receiving.
We know the government of Iraq is unable to meet the basic needs for electricity, security, clean water and medical care for its citizens. We don't know when this will change.
We know that the US government has already spent over $700 billion of our hard-earned tax dollars in Iraq, to the profit of corporations such as Halliburton, KBR, Bechtel and others. We don't know when this pouring out of our war dollars will end, but we demand: Bring Our War $$ Home!
We know that the condition of Iraqi women has been severely eroded since 2003, and that their life expectancy and education levels now suffer as a result of the US war and occupation. We know many Iraqi women and girls have been raped, forced into prostitution, and widowed. We know many now have breast and other cancers because of exposure to depleted uranium and other carcinogens.
We know that children in Iraq have been severely psychologically impacted by the violence all around them, including house raids, seeing family members beaten and killed, and by direct assault. We don't know how this generation of children will grow to a healthy adulthood.
We know that tens of thousands of American troops, and over 100,000 military contractors, remain in Iraq, along with a vast amount of money and equipment. We know that the so-called US "embassy" is the size of Vatican City.
We know this war was about control of oil, about egos, about greed.
We know that war and occupation can never bring democracy.
We know we want Iraq to be a free, independent and thriving country, and we want the same for our own country.
We know we stand committed, as CODEPINK has been since fall 2002, to speak out and work for a better world.
Video here of Iraqi civilian deaths and casualties -- very moving.