More Pessimism on Iraq from Government Sources
According to an article in the International Herald Tribune, the CIA’s station chief in Baghdad has warned that the situation in Iraq is deteriorating and may not improve any time soon. These statements were in a cable sent in late November as the officer ended a yearlong tour of Iraq. The cable, according to unnamed “officials,” presents a bleak assessment on matters of politics, economics and security. They said its basic conclusions had been echoed in briefings presented by a senior CIA official who recently visited Iraq. The station chief in Baghdad has been the top U.S. intelligence official in Iraq since December 2003. The station chief oversees an intelligence operation that includes about 300 people, making Baghdad the largest CIA station since the wartime post in Saigon, Vietnam.
On a related note, the Defense Science Board has released its Strategic Communications report. The report is surprisingly frank, noting that the US invasion and occupation of Iraq have produced exactly the opposite results that its planners had hoped for. On “the war of ideas or the struggle for hearts and minds”, the report says, “American efforts have not only failed, they may also have achieved the opposite of what they intended.” The report further notes: “American direct intervention in the Muslim world has paradoxically elevated the stature of, and support for, radical Islamists, while diminishing support for the United States to single digits in some Arab societies.” The report was released on the day before Thanksgiving, possibly in an attempt to bury it from getting much news attention.
Pictures of Iraqi Victims
Pictures are worth a thousand words, as the clich? goes. That may explain why the mainstream press generally has not shown images of Iraqi victims of the US invasion and occupation. It can only be guessed how large opposition to the war in Iraq would be if the American public was regularly exposed to images of the victims of the war. There are several web sites that have large galleries of these powerful images. Please note that many of the pictures found in the following links are disturbing and graphic.
- einswine.com (German site)
- Aljazeera.net (click on galleries on right hand side)
Relatively Low U.S. Fatalities Belie True Number of Casualties
The relatively low number of U.S. fatalities, as compared to previous American wars, has produced an artificially low public perception of the true number of casualties. Due to advances in both body armor and medical treatment, a higher percentage of soldiers who have been injured are surviving their wounds. Whereas in WWII 30% of wounded soldiers died and in Vietnam 24% wounded soldiers dies, only 10% of wounded soldiers in Iraq succumb to their injuries.
This means that while fatalities are low, there are many more wounded and seriously disabled soldiers than many people are aware of. According to Pentagon figures, 9,765 soldiers have been wounded, of which half have been injured seriously enough to be discharged from duty. The number of troops that have required limb amputations as compared to previous wars is twice as high. As many as 20 percent of wounded troops have suffered head and neck injuries that may result in life long disabilities. Already the military medical system is being overwhelmed, particularly services providing physical therapy. UPI reports that homeless shelters already are seeing veterans from the current Iraq war in need of shelter, many of whom are either physically or mentally impaired form war wounds.
Independent Voices from Iraq: Patrick Cockburn
The number of un-embedded reporters in Iraq is quite small, considering the news-worthiness of the situation there. One of the more insightful journalists in Baghdad right now is Patrick Cockburn. With past week he had three articles about the situation in Iraq.
They are linked below:
- Running Battles in Baghdad December 7, 2004
- CIA Warning on Iraq Leaked as 1,000 US Soldier Killed in Action December 8, 2004
- Insurgents Oppose the Occupation, Not the Elections December 10, 2004