Blog Archive

Blog Archive – March, 2010

Longstanding war diseases--recylced by media

March 13, 2010

by Barbara Nimri Aziz

There is little good news from Iraq. Especially so for anyone who has observed and recorded the decay of the nation’s civil society for 20 years.

This week, an enthusiastic and appropriately disturbed BBC reporter visiting Fallujah, Iraq told us about the alarming increase in abnormal births recorded among its people, at least those who remain after the American assault there in 2004. News?

In my 1996 research into deteriorating conditions across Iraq, (later published in my widely circulated essay “Gravesites”) I reported that both Iraqi farmers’ and doctors’ noted rising numbers of birth abnormalities and miscarriages. They assumed toxic pollution of various kinds resulting from the 1991 war and the sanctions were causal factors. Not surprisingly. Since the 1991 attacks used depleted uranium and since normally clean water, air and fields were polluted by numerous sanctions related breakdowns.

By that time, Iraqi health authorities had begun assembling data of these health conditions and diseases. They were comparing records of birth abnormalities and other new diseases from all parts of the country, and likely links to the 1991 bombardments and the sanctions.

Significantly, during the 2003 invasion of Iraq by US forces, it seems that those records were “lost”. Selected Iraqi ministries, were destroyed along with these documents. Little could be done for the victims. But the record of the diseases and related factors could have been useful. The record was expunged.

With the result that this recent BBC report suggests that today’s health crisis is new. As if Iraqis’ war experience were new. Of course, the ‘new’ findings call for research studies, according to a western medical researcher interviewed in the report. He calls for yet another study to determine the causes of these ‘disturbing’ abnormalities.

What’s new? The media tag today is Fallujah, a name that resonates with the world public. They may recall Fallujah was the site of a major US assault –Operation Vigilant Resolve—in 2004. Perhaps a center of ‘Sunni resistance’?

The BBC report gives the clear impression that Iraq’s health difficulties began only recently. The earlier bombardments are no longer part of the war record, no longer evidence of a long history of suffering and US war crimes.

 

See : Inside Fallujah by Ahmed Mansour (2009) and Swimming Up the Tigris, Chapter 12, by BN Aziz (2007)

[ Longstanding war diseases--recylced by media ]


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