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WAR: Iraq in turmoil
Annual article: A year in the world of war reviewed.
The Whole Hog, 20 Dec 2005
Late in the year, members of a Palestinian delegation who had met George Bush at the Israeli-Palestinian summit in the summer finally confirmed what had been rumoured for some time, that George Bush believes himself to be on a mission from God, and actually 'hears' the Almighty's voice in his head.
According to one of the Palestinian delegation, Bush told them, "I am driven with a mission from God. God would tell me 'George, go and fight these terrorists in Afghanistan' and I did. And then God would tell me 'George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq' and I did."
Except that he didn’t.
Yeah, sure, there were bright moments, as when millions of Iraqis defied the insurgents to vote for the new constitution in January. But such moments of hope were few and far between. Mostly it was to do with death…
Random snapshots include the horror in January when troops killed an Iraqi couple in front of their children – or February, when a bomb killed 125 police recruits. Along the way, US forces contrived to kill an Italian secret service agent, and wound freed hostage Giuliana Sgrena.
But I just gave up noting the deaths in the Spring. Too much. Too many. Sectarian murders pushed the country towards civil war between Shia and Sunni Muslims, and military stupidity and carelessness pushed it towards extinction.
They’re all identified on the website http://www.iraqbodycount.org/. Deadly incidents scroll up even as you watch. The site’s controllers say that between 27,000 and 30,000 Iraqis have been killed in the war so far, 37% of them at the hands of Americans or their allies.
Also, criminality has risen dramatically and is responsible for 36% of the deaths. Anti-occupation forces are responsible for less than 10%.
Is this victory? If so, what in the name of Jaysus would defeat be like? And what of the benighted Iraqi people? The brutalisation that has become the signature of the new regime mirrors that of the old. By November, they were saying that things were now worse than they had been under Saddam.