Is Iraq safer?
It has been virtually impossible to get a sense of what it is like on the ground in Iraq. The only western reporter that i've come across who is writing from their own experience on the ground rather from Government sources is Robert Fisk of The Independent. I have posted on 2 of his previous articles here and here.
His latest article originates from Baghdad. Baghdad is a city that reeks with the stench of the dead I found the title over the top, but having read the article it may be appropiate. The title certainly convey's his sense of disgust with the current situation.
He states that at least 506 civilian deaths have occured in a little under 3 weeks in Baghdad alone during July. This is not a definitive total because he got his numbers from the Baghdad morgue and not all victims are brought there.
Trucks are arriving in the street beside us, a pick-up and a small lorry with corpses for autopsy. Tony Blair says it is safer here. He is wrong. Every month is a massacre in Baghdad. Thieves, rapists, looters, American troops at checkpoints and on convoys, revenge killers, insurgents, they are shooting down the people of this city faster than ever.
Not long ago, six corpses arrived at the Baghdad mortuary after being brought in by US forces. Three were unidentified. Three had names but their families could not be found. All had suffered, according to the American records, "traumatic wounds to the head", the normal phrase for gunshot wounds. There were no autopsies. Death is now so routine even the most tragic of deaths becomes a footnote. A US tank collides with a bus north of Baghdad. Seven civilians are killed. The Americans agree to open an investigation. It makes scarcely a paragraph in the local press. Four days ago, a US M1A1 Abrams tank crossing the motorway at Abu Ghraib collided with a car carrying two girls and their mother, all of whom were crushed to death. It did not even make the news in Baghdad.
No wonder the occupying powers--or the "international forces" as we must now call them--steadfastly refuse to reveal the statistics of Iraqi dead, only their own
There is no sign that it is safer on the ground, although the new group of stooges have had only about a month to turn things around.
It is my opinion that the fault for the present day mess can be layed directly at the feet of Rumsfeld who, against military advice, gave the Pentagon's approval for this war with too little planning and way too few troops.