Today, Andrew Dugan (Gallup) notes, "Fifty-three percent of Americans believe their country "made a mistake sending troops to fight in Iraq" and 42% say it was not a mistake." And in England? Merco Press reports a new "survey by King's College London (KCL) and Ipsos Mori [which] showed that some 52% said the war had damaged UK's standing."
The British poll comes on the heels of BBC Arabic and the Guardian newspaper's recent documentary entitled James Steele: America's Mystery Man In Iraq and as Panorama's "The Spies Who Fooled the World" is set to debut on BBC One today. Massoud A. Derhally (Arabian Business) notes the program and writes, "Britain and the US knew well before the 2003 US led invasion of Iraq that toppled Saddam Hussein's regime that the Iraqi leader had no weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the BBC's Panorama has reported." Scotland's Evening Times adds, "Tonight's Panorama programme – The Spies Who Fooled The World – documents the chain of secret information that contributed to the decision to invade, including new testimonies from intelligence sources."
And reflection -- or what passes for it -- is all over the US and UK press. Mark Thompson (Time magazine) notes the press failures and "Congress too gave Bush too much deference, preferring to subcontract combat out instead of declaring war, as the framers intended. The war never would have happened if Congress had been forced to declare it; the nation flouts such Constitutional guidance at its peril." Chris Adams (McClatchy Newspapers via Press TV) notes:
Ten years after the United States went to war in Iraq, one of the most common numbers associated with the conflict is the tally of Americans killed: nearly 4,500. Add in the twin war in Afghanistan, and the tally goes to more than 6,600.
But for the men and women who fought in America’s war on terrorism, the number of people affected is far larger. And for many of those people, the impact of the war will last a lifetime.
"I give presentations all over the country, and audiences are routinely shocked and surprised at the numbers," said Paul Sullivan, a former senior analyst at the Department of Veterans Affairs who handles veteran outreach for Bergmann & Moore, a Washington-area law firm that specializes in disability issues. "Quite often they will challenge me."
Since the U.S. went to war in Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003, about 2.5 million members of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard and related Reserve and National Guard units have been deployed in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, according to Department of Defense data. Of those, more than a third were deployed more than once.
Also at Press TV, David Swanson weighs in:
A majority of Americans believe the war since 2003 has hurt the United States but benefitted Iraq. A plurality of Americans believe not only that Iraqis should be grateful, but that Iraqis are in fact grateful.
A number of US academics have advanced the dubious claim that war making is declining around the world. Misinterpreting what has happened in Iraq is central to their argument. As documented in the full report, by the most scientifically respected measures available, Iraq lost 1.4 million lives as a result of OIL, saw 4.2 million additional people injured, and 4.5 million people become refugees. The 1.4 million dead was 5% of the population.
That compares to 2.5% lost in the US Civil War, or 3 to 4% in Japan in World War II, 1% in France and Italy in World War II, less than 1% in the U.K. and 0.3% in the United States in World War II. The 1.4 million dead is higher as an absolute number as well as a percentage of population than these other horrific losses. US deaths in Iraq since 2003 have been 0.3% of the dead, even if they’ve taken up the vast majority of the news coverage, preventing US news consumers from understanding the extent of Iraqi suffering.
In a very American parallel, the US government has only been willing to value the life of an Iraqi at that same 0.3% of the financial value it assigns to the life of a US citizen.
The UK's Press and Journal notes Iraq Body Count has recorded 174,000 deaths in their database. The violence isn't in the past. Prashant Rao (AFP) Tweets today:
At least 137 people killed, 425 wounded by violence in Iraq so far this month -
@AFP tally: http://www.bit.ly/AFPIraqToll
And the violence continues today. National Iraqi News Agency notes an early morning Tikrit roadside bombing left one person injured, a Mosul roadside bombing claimed the lives of 2 Iraqi soldiers and left a third injured, a Kirkuk armed attack claimed the life of "a former army officer," an attack on a Badoosh military checkpoint claimed the life of 1 Iraqi soldier and left three more injured, a Nimrod home invasion left 1 police officer dead, and, dropping back to late last night, 1 Iraqi soldier was shot dead outside his Mosul home.
Dahr Jamail reported on Iraq from Iraq. He was one of the few unembedded Western reporters in Iraq. Today, Dahr writes about Amnesty International's recent report:
Heba al-Shamary (name changed for security reasons) was released last week from an Iraqi prison where she spent the last four years.
"I was tortured and raped repeatedly by the Iraqi security forces," she told Al Jazeera. "I want to tell the world what I and other Iraqi women in prison have had to go through these last years. It has been a hell."
Heba was charged with terrorism, as so many Iraqis who are detained by the Iraqi security apparatus are charged.
"I now want to explain to people what is occurring in the prisons that [Prime Minister Nouri al-] Maliki and his gangs are running," Heba added. "I was raped over and over again, I was kicked and beaten and insulted and spit upon."
Heba's story, horrific as it is, unfortunately is but one example of what a recent report from Amnesty International refers to as "a grim cycle of human rights abuses" in Iraq today.
The report, "Iraq: Still paying a high price after a decade of abuses", exposes a long chronology of torture and other ill-treatment of detainees committed by Iraqi security forces, as well as by foreign troops, in the wake of the US-led 2003 invasion.
Speaking on condition of anonymity because her nephew remains in prison, an Iraqi woman told Al Jazeera how he was arrested by Iraqi security forces when he was 18-years-old, under the infamous Article Four which gives the government the ability to arrest anyone "suspected" of terrorism, and charged with terrorism.
The many political crises continue in Iraq. World Bulletin reports that Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi called Sunday for Iraqiya members who are also members of the Cabinet to withdraw from the Cabinet. (The speech they're referring to as taking place Sunday actually took place on Saturday.) World Bulletin has al-Nujaifi noting that the protesters demands have still not been met. Alice Fordham (The National) offers, "Fallujah, along with Ramadi and Haditha, is one of the main cities in Anbar province, which put up the fiercest resistance to the presence of foreign soldiers in Iraq. It has now become the centre of a Sunni-dominated movement of protest against the Shiite-headed government, a sign that the Pandora's box of sectarianism opened 10 years ago is still far from closed."
Iraq has crises -- many, not one. In many ways the problems can all be traced back to the US interfering in the 2010 parliamentary elections by insisting that Nouri get a second term as prime minister despite the voting results. The US-brokered Erbil Agreement went around the Constitution and was supposed to provide the basis for a government. But Nouri used that contract to take a second term while refusing to honor the promises it made to the other parties. Since the summer of 2011, Iraqiya, the Kurds and Moqtada al-Sadr have been calling for The Erbil Agreement to be implemented. The US -- which forced the contract off on the Iraqi political blocs, has yet to take a strong position publicly.
New problems on the horizon stemming from this? Al Mada reports that the Electoral Commission employees are receiving treats and that candidates are withdrawing.
Bonnie notes Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Marital Aid" went up yesterday as did
Kat's "Kat's Korner: Devendra's back, if you want him" and "Kat's Korner: Kate wants to talk" went up earlier today. On this week's Law and Disorder Radio, an hour long program that airs Monday mornings at 9:00 a.m. EST on WBAI and around the country throughout the week, hosted by attorneys Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights) topics addressed include Bradley Manning, Hugo Chavez, political prisoner Lynn Stewart, Iraq and the guest is Patrick Farrelly who addresses the topics explored in BBC Arabic and the Guardian newspaper's recent documentary entitled James Steele: America's Mystery Man In Iraq. On Lynn, they're asking you to sign this petition calling for a compassionate release for Lynn. For more on Lynn and on compassionate release, you can refer to our February 10th piece at Third, "Grant Lynne Stewart a compassionate release."
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