1000 Days of War

Thus ran the huge headline in this morning's Independent. One thousand days! It really does not seem that long ago that Darren and I were at the gates of Hyde Park on a freezing morning in February 2003 , handing out leaflets to the multitudes who had turned up for the biggest political gathering in British history (estimates for the number who turned up that day range from 1-2 million). If I remember that day for anything, the masses apart, it is for the lack of toilets and the fact that I was busting for a pee for hours, my discomfort not helped by the biting, bladder-chilling weather (Darren, like the typical Glaswegian, has a 20 litre bladder capacity so was unaffected).

But I digress. 1000 days of post invasion occupation! And it must be close on 1000 days since Bush nonchalantly strolled to the presidential podium to announce "mission accomplished", for the official "war"lasted only weeks.

And of the allied 'victory'? The Independent provides some painful statistics that ought to be carved on stone tablets and rammed down Bush's throat:

$204.4billion: the cost to the US of the war so far. The UK's bill up until March 2005 was £3.1 billion

2,339 Allied troops killed

98 UK troops killed

30,000 Estimated Iraqi civilian deaths

0 Number of WMDs found

8 per cent of Iraqi children suffering acute malnutrition

$35,819m World Bank estimated cost of reconstruction

53,470 Iraqi insurgents killed

67 per cent Iraqis who feel less secure because of occupation

$343 Average monthly salary for an Iraqi soldier.

Average monthly salary for an American soldier in Iraq: $4,160.75

66 journalists killed in Iraq. Journalists killed during Vietnam war: 63
5 foreign civilians kidnapped per month

47 per cent Iraqis who never have enough electricity
20 casualties per month from unexploded mines

20 per cent Inflation rate 2005

25-40 per cent Estimated unemployment rate, Nov 2005

251 Foreigners kidnapped

70 per cent of Iraqi's whose sewage system rarely works

183,000 British and American troops are still in action in Iraq. There are 162,000 US troops
and 8,000 British with 13,000 from other nations

90 Daily attacks by insurgents in Nov '05. In Jun '03: 8

82 per centIraqis who are "strongly opposed" to presence of coalition troops
15,955 US troops wounded in action
I could add another statistic - the number of times I wrote letters to the local press before, and indeed since, the war started, voicing my socialist objection, only to have those letters binned.
There are perhaps other important statistics to consider. For instance, the number of people who became totally disillusioned by politics in the wake of the invasion of Iraq. After all, over 1 million had turned up that cold day in February to voice their objection to the invasion (and many more around the world) only to have Blair and Bush totally ignore their protests. Many on the left thought this day would be a catalysts of sorts - that this day of action would result in the swelling ranks. Christ, how they were mistaken.

And another statistic - the number of reasons that Bush and Blair cited for invadingIraq and staying there: that Saddam had WMDs, that Saddam could lob a missile at the UK within 45 minutes, that they were restoring democracy in Iraq, that Saddam had helped Al Qaeda with the attack on 9/11 and that this was all about rooting out terrorism.

I feel a PhD thesis coming on so will say no more.

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