Socialist Worker

Report shows Iraq's tragedy

Issue No. 1877

AT LEAST 21,000 people have died in the war in Iraq, according to a report released on Tuesday by an organisation of health professionals, Medact.

This is the shocking total that Blair and Bush want to cover up.

The report estimates the minimum death tolls to be 13,500 Iraqi soldiers, 7,757 Iraqi civilians and 394 US and British soldiers. It acknowledges these figures could be much higher.

Medact have analysed the health and environmental costs of the war. It says, 'What is certain is that the health of Iraqi civilians and combatants has suffered greatly and continues to suffer.' Acute malnutrition has doubled in the last year.

The report takes apart the argument that high-tech weapons have meant less deaths.

Medact says, 'The war showed that deployment of laser/satellite-guided weapons does not necessarily reduce 'collateral damage', because the Coalition troops also used older types of weapons or used precision weapons in built-up areas.

'Civilian facilities hit by the Coalition include numerous homes, markets and farms, three hospitals, several accommodation facilities and the Palestine hotel.'

It adds, 'Cluster weapons, landmines and depleted uranium weapons remain a potential health hazard for local populations years after the conflict.'

The report highlights the continuing problems of lack of water and sanitation, food, power and health services.

The report looks at the US and British reconstruction in Iraq. This is what Blair claims we should all be concentrating on now. Yet as Medact says, 'Insecurity, lawlessness and conflict beset postwar Iraq, while the state of collapse of many public services prolongs hardship and suffering.

'Private and for-profit companies, many from the US, have been awarded contracts to provide services and technical assistance in many sectors. The unashamed commercialisation of postwar relief, humanitarian and development efforts raises questions about the ethics of profiteering from war.'

What is clear is that Iraqi people are worse off since the war and their 'liberation'.

The report is available at www.medact.org


Uni boss wants students' cash

ELITE UNIVERSITIES are rebelling against the government's top-up fees-because they won't be able to keep enough of the students' cash.

The government is fearful of a revolt by MPs who think that £3,000 a year top-up fees will stop working class students from going to university.

So they are considering taking some of the fees to put into a national scheme to give bursaries to poorer students and so try to make the whole elitist scheme look fairer.

This is too much for some college bosses. Sir Richard Sykes, of Imperial College London, said he didn't want his university to subsidise 'tin-pot universities' as part of a political fix.


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News
Sat 15 Nov 2003, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1877
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