Thursday, August 13, 2015

The death toll increases (as does the number of US forces engaged in the Iraq War)

The death toll continues to rise on yesterday's Baghdad bombing.  The truck bombing targeted the Sadr City section of Baghdad   Vivian Salama (AP) notes 62 dead with another 125 injured.  Reuters notes, "A Reuters witness at the site saw fruit and vegetables mixed with blood and body remains littering the blast crater. The market, in a northeastern suburb, is one of the largest wholesale food markets in the capital."

The wounded will have to struggle in a never-ending war zone, one that is not known for making concessions to those disabled by war.  Wassim Bassem (Al-Monitor) reports:

According to 2014 statistics from the Association of Short Statured People and People with Special Needs, there are about 4 million disabled people in Iraq. They face neglect and isolation and take on strenuous occupations; dire poverty leads these disabled people to street begging.
Al-Monitor looked for these disabled persons and examined the living conditions of some of them, including Saad al-Dabisi, 55, from Babil, who lost his left foot on a mine while fighting in east Basra during the Iran-Iraq War (1980-88).
Dabisi said that the $150 per month pension the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs pays him is not enough to support his wife and three children, which forced him to sell cigarettes to pedestrians.
In his worn-out wheelchair, he crosses 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) daily to reach al-Arbaeen Street in the Hillah region, where he displays his merchandise.
Mazen al-Adhami, the chairman of Al-Amal Association for the Disabled, confirmed this dire situation of the disabled in Iraq, saying to al-Araby al-Jadeed on June 1, “This category lives under very difficult conditions amid obvious governmental neglect.”
A lot of disabled people in Iraq — whether their disability is congenital or caused by wars and various accidents — are forced to work in inadequate occupations, such as begging, to make ends meet.
Although the Iraqi Constitution guarantees people with special needs access to 5% of government jobs, given the large disabled population, it is not applied on the ground.

On numbers: 3,500.

That's the number usually given for US military personnel in Iraq with most realizing that does not include Special-Ops.

But the number of US military involved in the latest phase of the Iraq War is far greater.

The larger number would include those flying US war planes over Iraq to bomb Iraq.

Xinhua reported on Monday, "Six U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter jets and about 300 personnel have arrived in Turkey to support the fight against the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria, the Pentagon announced Monday.

That group is part of the US military effort in the continued Iraq War.

That probably brings the number to 3,900 (minus Special-Ops) so far.

And Xinhua reported last week, "The Pentagon is sending 450 soldiers to Kuwait for a one-year deployment to aid the fight against the Islamic State, the extremist group, the U.S. Army announced Wednesday."

4,350 would be the minimum number when you include those 450.

(And I honestly think the number is at least 5,000 when you start including the war ships stationed in the water.)

Why is it so difficult to get an honest number?

And why is the slow increase -- the drip-drip -- not a serious issue in the press?

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