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Forgetting the Iraq War

Posted March. 15, 2008 03:00,   

한국어

President George W. Bush launched the war in Iraq on March 20, 2003 to eliminate Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program and end Saddam Hussein’s sponsorship of terrorism. Five years have passed, but conditions in Iraq have not improved much. Meanwhile, the war has completely changed many lives in both the U.S. and Iraq.

▽ Suffering American Families

The struggle of those who lost their family members to war has begun.

Since the beginning of the war, more than one million American troops joined the fight in Iraq, taking 3,965 lives and injuring more than 29,000. Thousands of contract workers at construction sites also suffered death and injuries.

Amanda Jordan’s Marine husband was killed three days into the war. She said, “When you say Iraq was unnecessarily invaded, you’re saying my spouse, my child’s father, is dead for no reason.” What bothers her more is that people forget about the war as days go by.

The Washington Post quoted the Pew Research Center as saying, “A majority of Americans do not watch news about the Iraq war.”

The U.S. has poured tremendous sums of money into Iraq. Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist and Columbia University professor, said, “The five-year Iraq war cost the U.S. over 845 billion dollars.”

▽ Iraq Has No Social Security System

Despite America’s attempt to save Iraqis from dictatorship, they are still living in hardship.

About 155,000 Iraqis have died from the violence in Iraq during the nearly five years since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, according to a study by the Iraqi Family Health Survey Study Group in collaboration with the World Health Organization.

The McClatchy newspaper reported that Sossan Al-Barrak, the manager responsible for women’s issues under Iraq’s human rights department, claimed that 1.5 million women have lost their spouse to the war and violence since the Gulf War in 1991. Al-Amal Association, Iraq’s human rights group, said, “Women who lost their spouses subsist on monthly subsidy of 40 dollars.”

Jaweed, who is sure that Shiite militants killed her Sunni husband, had to leave where she used to live because the Shiite factions were expanding into the neighboring region.

After the surge, violence subsided to the level of 2005. But that did not mean anything to Jaweed. She said, “My husband will not come back. There is no hope.”

The Independent reported, “The U.S. and Europe are just focusing on the number of victims.” It said the initiative to spread democracy in the Middle East has failed.

The newspaper said, “What matters is not counting the number of deaths but finding ways for Iraqis to walk around safely and find jobs.” It said the fact that 3.2 million Iraqi exiles in Syria and Jordan have no thought of returning to their country, displays the reality.

David Halberstam, author of “The Coldest Winter,” which President Bush read recently, wrote, “President Bush misjudged the situation in the Middle East, ignoring the advice of diplomatic experts, and distorting information only to bring disastrous consequences.”



spear@donga.com