Implications of the War on Iraq

The average household in Syracuse paid $2501 in federal income tax last year. Of that, $750 went toward military and defense spending, and $221 went toward interest on the military debt. Military spending accounted for more than spending on education, veterans’ benefits, housing, health, nutrition, job training, and natural resources, combined. (nationalpriorities.org)

Electricity comes and goes in Iraq. June is hot and the country is prone to dust storms during which residents close their windows and depend on air conditioners – when electricity is available. For people without access to their own generators, the days-long blackouts make dust storms torturous. The health implications of the erratic power supply are enormous. Children and the elderly are most vulnerable. (ElectronicIraq.net)

A June 19 attack on a water pipe in Baghdad knocked out the means by which two million people get drinking water. “Every day I have to drive 10 km [6 miles] to reach to a public water pipe where I can get water for washing, cleaning and drinking,” a resident said. (ElectronicIraq.net)

Pentagon audits indicate that Halliburton, the largest US contractor in Iraq, overcharged the government more than $1 billion for its work. The total value of Halliburton’s contracts in Iraq passed the $10 billion mark last fall. (Chris Shumway, newstandardnews.net)

This spring was a bad time for reporters in Iraq. Five journalists were arrested, five journalists were murdered, and eight journalists were detained. Since the beginning of military operations in March, 2003, at least 56 journalists and assistants have been killed and 29 kidnapped. (ElectronicIraq.net)

Irreplaceable historical sites in Iraq have been seriously damaged. Dr. John Curtis of the British Museum recommended that “a full-scale international investigation” be launched “into the damage done to the archaeological site of Babylon during its occupation by coalition forces.” (Chris Shumway, newstandardnews.net)

“The Defense Department began working yesterday with a private marketing firm to create a database of high school students ages 16 to 18 and all college students to help the military identify potential recruits in a time of dwindling enlistment in some branches.” (Washington Post, June 23, 2005)

Iraq’s environment, which was already among the worst in the world due to two previous wars and more than a decade of economic sanctions, has been made even worse by the war. One cause has been the US’ use of depleted uranium munitions. (Chris Shumway, newstandardnews.net)

The recently held World Tribunal on Iraq in Istanbul was the culmination of a series of 20 hearings held throughout the world, focusing on issues related to the war on Iraq, such as the legality of the war, the role of the United Nations, war crimes and the role of the media. The Jury of Conscience, from 10 different countries, heard 54 testimonies. The Jury’s first recommendation was the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the coalition forces from Iraq. (worldtribunal.org/main/?#)

What do people think of the US? A majority of people in India, Canada, Poland, Russia and Great Britain look favorably upon the US. The rest of the world does not. Among those countries with negative opinions are traditional allies like Spain, France and Germany; China, which holds much of the US trade debt; Pakistan, whose government the Bush administration installed post-9/11; and Lebanon, which the US helped free from its Syrian occupiers this year. (Pew Center for People and the Press)

Research by Joshua Shear and Carol Baum.