I am over here in Europe to raise awareness of the case of the Cuban 5, but I took an evening off of that in Stockholm to participate in an event with the Iraq Solidarity Group commemorating the ninth anniversary of the US led bombardment of that country.
An Iraqi physician, and professor, who is now based in Damascus was on the program with me. I sat next to him as he read the statistics of imperial doom that befell his nation during the Clinton sanctions and the wars of the Bush crime family. Every statistic was like another knife being driven into my heart.
Two million dead during the sanction years; 1.5 million dead after 2003; incidences of leukemia in children in Fallujah and Basra skyrocketing by a factor of ten times normal; clean water and electricity are still in short supply; and the government and laws set up by the US occupiers do not work for the people of Iraq.
There were much more stats and while Dr. Khudair was reading them, I kept flashing back to all the times I have been asked if I think Casey’s sacrifice was “worth it” now that there is a “free and peaceful Iraq?” Bullshit—what remains is a divided, destroyed and oppressed Iraq, but the resistance is still there to make sure the 50,000 mercenary soldiers and the thousands of Americans still there profiting off of the misery of Iraq, leave.
The most heartbreaking thing that I heard was not a statistic, but an observation.
Of course we know that the US used depleted uranium coated weapons in Iraq and the region is now poisoned by the radioactive waste from DU for 4.5 billion years—that is one of the reasons that incidences of leukemia are on the rise.
One woman who does activism to ban all nuclear weapons, including DU, said that now in Iraq, a woman’s first question after giving birth is not: “Is it a boy or a girl,” but, “Is it normal?”
The invasion and occupation of Iraq led to a personal tragedy for my family, but more importantly to a national nightmare for the Iraqi people.
The US needs to finally and completely withdraw and a renewed call for reparations for the people of Iraq needs to be made and the US war criminals who led two countries, ours and Iraq, down the road to devastation need to be tried for crimes against humanity and crimes against the peace.