How many more Iraqis killed?
Iraqi deaths since the invasion have probably topped 200,000 people lost. This number is based on a conservative extrapolation of data from the most credible study of casualties (reported in the Lancet). Further, “over 80 percent of violent deaths were caused by U.S. forces and… most of the people they killed were women and children… mostly from artillery and aerial weaponry” according to the Center for International Studies at MIT. This number leaves out deaths from the pre-war sanctions that were imposed because the US alleged that the Iraqi government had WMDs.
The US government does not officially track Iraqi casualties, but President Bush has cited numbers that are based on an unrealistically low estimate of casualties provided by Iraq Body Count. Their estimate is drawn only from English-language news reports!
Reporters using city morgue traffic in Baghdad and other larger centers are finding that there is a large increase in the number of casualties over the last 6 months. Moreover, the Iraqi health ministry, which collaborates with the US occupation, puts the number of deaths at 50,000. The Los Angeles Times
accepts this number but acknowledges that this is a serious undercount. A comparable figure for the US population would put the death toll at over half a million people.
How many more war crimes?
illegal war; specific operations:
falluja, haditha, mosul, civilian casualties, ramadi. etc.
How many more people tortured?
text coming soon...
How many more soldiers will die?
text coming soon...
How many more mercenaries?
There are approximately 25,000 mercenaries working in Iraq. These private security contractors actually constitute the second largest armed occupation force, far outnumbering the 7,200 British soldiers who are the third largest.
The U.S. State Department website lists 28 private security firms operating in Iraq but most media reports put the number closer to 60. Many of these hired guns are former soldiers from the U.S., Britain, Russia, Europe and South Africa and can earn up to $1,000 a day. The majority of the mercenaries in Iraq, however, are being recruited from third world countries and are paid much less.
Mercenaries in Iraq may not be immune from controversy, but they are immune from prosecution. Coalition Provisional Authority Order Number 17, signed by Paul Bremer the day before he left Iraq, exempts those working on U.S. government contracts from responsibility to Iraqi law. Order 17 is essentially a license to kill. While some U.S. soldiers have been court-martialed for crimes committed in Iraq, there have been no arrests or prosecutions of any private security contractors despite being linked to the Abu Ghraib scandal and other violent crimes (see video).
Many of the security companies in Iraq also have domestic operations. Blackwater USA and ArmorGroup International were deployed in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Vance International is a notorious union-buster and also got paid $1.5 million to provide security at the Bush campaign office in Arlington, VA during the 2004 election. Wackenhut is one of the largest and notorious private security firms. They have a presence on
six continents including contracts at Guantanamo Bay, a subsidiary in Peru to recruit mercenaries for Iraq, and they control 75% of the domestic private prison market.
How many more countries invaded?
The United States military has engaged in literally hundreds of military occupations, invasions and operations over the period from 1798 onwards according to its official military historians. Iraq is but the latest in a long line of targets. A figure in the hundreds—as opposed to thousands—results from the fact that historians have no means to reliably include covert and surrogate hostilities. Since 1980, the US has taken hostile military action in Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, most Central American countries, Colombia, Serbia,
Starting with the Bush I & Clinton administrations the United States began to theorize about the use of overwhelming air power as a mechanism to ensure the submission of foreign powers while minimizing the United States exposure of ground troops and forces to invade and occupy countries. The ongoing—ground troops-intensive—occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan have left the United States military planners hoping that this will still be possible, despite the realization among planners that this is not as effective for US purposes.
As the news media fills with speculation about US military plans for Iran, North Korea and the Sudan, it is important to note that the Bush Administration, more so than previous ones, has “signed a series of findings and executive orders authorizing secret commando groups and other Special Forces units to conduct covert operations against suspected terrorist targets in as many as ten nations in the Middle East and South Asia,” according to Seymour M. Hersh writing in The New Yorker. Recent reports indicate that the military and administration planners are considering the use of nuclear weapons in Iran.
Sudan is not the only target for US strategic ambitions to secure resource-rich regions. Nigeria, another large, partly Islamic, oil-rich state in Africa is also a target. As a result, the United States has increased its stationing of troops in neighboring Ghana. In 2004, Marine General James Jones testified before the United States Senate, "In my theater, it's relatively straightforward to see that we will be engaged at greater distances to the east [of Europe]," he added. "And I believe that it's fair to say that there are upcoming challenges in the southern part of our area of responsibility, notably Africa, that are going to consume much of our time."
Whatever the actual course of events and irrespective of the fate of the Bush regime, it is important to note that there is a well-established network of actors, including think-tanks, lobbyists, media outlets and forces within government that will promote military action and other forms of intervention abroad. Together, these diverse actors have promoted a world view that fuses certain US international interests with military action in promotion of “freedom and democracy.” Irrespective of the facts, this right-wing network is implacable; for example, recently a Washington Institute for New East Policy Senior Fellow, David Schenker, asks in a recent New Republic Online piece, “Has America abandoned the cause of democracy in the Middle East?” His immediate answer is that “Recent events give plenty of reason for concern.” That this is written without a hint of
irony is testimony to the staying power neoconservative establishment.
How many more politicians will lie?
text coming soon
How many more billions of dollars wasted?
The cost of the war in Iraq is approaching 300 billion dollars. The occupation of Afghanistan costs nearly $1 billion per month. The Pentagon's base budget is just under $450 billion dollars. The United States has over 700 military installations in almost 150 countries all over the planet and is responsible for nearly half of all world military expenditures. Besides the obvious benefits of immediately ending aggression and occupations, the money saved could serve human needs instead.
In computing these costs, it is important to recognize that the above accounting does not include the enormous cost of the Iraq invasion and occupation to the Iraqi economy. Not only are there the direct costs of damage to existing infrastructure for which there are no reliable numbers, but there is also the cost of the US inspired and abetted looting of the Iraqi state by US allies, corporations and opportunists.
In addition, there is the enormous opportunity costs associated with Iraqi spending to maintain an oversized army and lost oil revenues that would have flowed back to a stable Iraqi government. If the pre-sanctions and pre-war Iraq GNP is taken as a baseline, US aggression, including the sanctions aimed at non-existent weapons of mass destruction, toward that country has cost the Iraqi people in the order of several hundred billion dollars (using World Bank data and leaving out loses in human capital due to deaths and out-migration). These are important numbers to consider when calculating the reparations that are due to the Iraqi people upon US withdrawal.
How many more corporations will profit?
The military invasion of Iraq was followed immediately by a massive corporate invasion. On May 6, 2003 Iraq was declared “open for business” by Paul Bremer of the Coalition Provisional Authority. One of Bremer’s first acts was to uphold a law passed in 1987 by Saddam Hussein that banned unions from public enterprises. Other orders issued by the CPA to guarantee corporate profits include privatizing of Iraq’s state-owned industries, allowing 100% foreign ownership of Iraqi assets, a 15% tax cap on corporate
profits (down from 40%), and legal immunity for all private contractors operating in Iraq.
Volumes could be written to detail the actual corporate profiteering related to the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Below are some of the worst examples.
J.P. London of CACI International received a 170% increase in pay between 2001 and 2004 despite his company being linked to the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. CACI continues to profit and to date none of its employees have been prosecuted as a result of their actions in Iraq.
David Brooks, the CEO of DHB Industries who manufacture defective bulletproof vests spent $10 million dollars on his daughter’s bar mitzvah. Brooks’ compensation increased 13,349%
between 2001 and 2004.
How many more Hurricane Katrinas?
Officially, 1577 people died as a direct result of Hurricane Katrina, with a further 700 people listed as missing in Louisiana alone. More than half the Louisiana dead were African American. Katrina however is more than a "natural disaster" in at least 3 ways:
(1) most of the victims and internal refugees are from oppressed communities that have been denied the resources to either prepare for or respond effectively to the hurricane threat;
(2) resources to better prepare the city of New Orleans to deal with the hurricane were diverted to the Iraq War;
(3) the magnitude, number and intensity of hurricane or cyclone activity has increased around the world as a result of global warming, a man-made phenomenon that the Bush Administration has denied and to which the previous administration failed to respond.
Other factors, like the destruction of the Mississippi Delta's wetlands, bureaucratic politics in the Department of Homeland Security, etc. also played a contributory role.
Even today, Katrina refugees are living in areas that the Sierra Club reports to be contaminated with formaldehyde (a cancer-causing compound). Further, some 90,000 families are left living in trailers as the Gulf Coast ramps up for another hurricane season.
In a country whose Pacific Coast lives under constant threat of cataclymic upheaval potentially impacting millions of people from Seattle to San Diego, how many more Katrina-like "natural disaster" responses can we expect from our government?
How many more
people of color attacked?
text coming soon
How many more women's rights denied?
text coming soon
How many more Arabs, South Asians or Muslims mistreated?
text coming soon
How many more civil liberties lost?
"'Stop throwing the Constitution in my face,' Bush screamed back. 'It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!'" Capitol Hill Blue December 9, 2005.
The drive to erode our democratic rights under the prerogatives of the “national security” state has accelerated in recent years. During the 1990s laws were passed providing the legal basis for intensified attacks on immigrants and working people in general using "terrorism" as the grounds for brushing aside legal and constitutional rights. These laws expanded the use of the death penalty as well as the ability of the government to deport immigrants on arbitrary grounds without judicial review or appeal. The right to Habeas Corpus has again been seriously undermined with some prisoners being held incommunicado. We are now living in a legal era of "preventive" detention without charges on the
basis of "secret evidence"... The draconian measures that have been taken against immigrants have also been exercised against U.S. citizens as well. More recently, the USA Patriot Act has created a new category of crime, "domestic terrorism", which blurs the distinction between political and criminal activity allowing more leeway for the persecution of opponents of US policy. This act has officially expanded the ability of police agencies to conduct searches
and greatly relaxed restrictions on a range of police surveillance operations. Even with these expanded powers the Bush Administration has recently declared that it can abide by whatever laws it agrees with and has for years been conducting an illegal domestic spying operation. For years hundreds of prisoners have been held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba without charges or recourse to the U.S. legal system. As part of the “War on Terror”, the U.S. has put into practice a “rendition” policy outsourcing torture to locations outside of U.S. custody and in violation of international law.
How many more childcare programs terminated?
Many are familiar with the Bush
Administration's implementation of the No
Left Behind Act in 2001. In April of 2002 a similar program for
young children was implemented: the
Good Start, Grow Smart program reported to ensure young children
enter kindergarten with the skills they need to succeed at reading
and early learning activities.
Rather than continue to fund the major
federal program that has proven to significantly better prepare
young children for kindergarten than if they had not attended the
program, (From: President Budget Endangers Hundreds of Thousands of
Children) childcare funds have been consistently cut each year since
the Bush administration came into office.
In Lyndon B.
Johnson's State of the Union Address in 1964 he stated, “our aim is
not only to relieve the symptoms of poverty, but to cure it, and
above all to prevent it.” The Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO)was
established to coordinate Head Start and other poverty-fighting
initiatives. President Nixon had a huge dislike for the Economic
Opportunity Act and the OEO and thus appointed Donald Rumsfeld to
direct the OEO.
help of Dick Cheney whom he hired for OEO, they worked to dismantle
the programs under its jurisdiction rather than direct it.
Eventually in 1972 under the Ford administration, the program was
disbanded due to alleged misuse of money and subversive activities.
Following Cheney's dismantling of the OEO, during his eleven
years as a Congressman he consistently opposed funding for Head
Start and against the creation of a Department of Education.
Center on Budget and
Policy Priorities estimates funding for Head Start which
constitutes 76% of funding for children and family services being
cut in 2006 by approximately $195 million or by 2.8%
compared to 2005. This would eliminate slots for 25,000 low-income
National Head Start association estimates an 11% real cut in
federal funding since 2002. Some assistance is available to help
low income families afford childcare. As of 2005, one in 7 eligible
children is served by these funds. According to the Bush
administration's own budget spending plans, 300,000 fewer children
will be able to receive childcare by 2009.
Head Start, a federally funded program designed to provide poor
children with comprehensive services to promote school readiness and
increased academic achievement (in existence since 1965) is
currently combating national shutdowns due to lack of funds. In
2006 Congress imposed a 1 % across the board cut on all
non-emergency programs, which included Head Start programs. Budget
cuts came alongside programs already financially struggling with
increased health care costs, wages, transportation and other major
program expenses. CT, ID, IN, KY, MD, NJ, and WA are examples of
states facing widespread shut downs of local Head Start programs due
to lack of funds.
The 2006 budget cut for Washington
State's HS program in King and Pierce counties serving 1800 children
is the first cut in 40 years according to the
Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The 1% cut alongside the 7% cost
increases led the agency to cut back on bus services for children,
cut teachers' hours and family support staff hours.
The high cost of childcare
income families' options for childcare. They can not afford not
to work and have limited choices for affordable care. Non-poor
families spend about 7% of their income.
Childcare costs an average of $4000 to $6000 per year, one of
the biggest costs families must pay for in raising children.
families report childcare costing more than other household expenses
and often sacrificing quality for affordability.
Working families spend such a large amount of their income on
childcare that they are forced to make major life decisions about
their jobs and families around how much childcare they can afford.
Working longer hours than desired to afford costs, relocating to
cheaper housing, and making other sacrifices are linked to childcare
Childcare funding under the
Child Care and
Development Block grant for low and moderate income working
families was cut by 17% in 2006. With child care costs rising each
year alongside increases in wages and benefit costs for childcare
workers, renting space, cost of supplies, it is an estimated cut by
3% to 65 million. This means 11,000 children (not included in Head
Start figures) would be ineligible for vouchers for childcare
What's in store for 2007?
The Bush Administration's FY 2007
budget proposal, will give a 0% increase in federal funding for
Head Start and Early Head Start programs, an estimate by National
Head Start Association of closing enrollment to at least 19,000
How many more healthcare benefits
Fifty people die each day in the United States because they lack health insurance. That amounts to 18,000 people each year. In 2004, 1 in 6 people (46 million civilians) were uninsured for extended periods of time over the course of the year; 1 out of 3 people went uncovered at different times that year. More than ½ of all bankruptcies are related to health bills. African Americans are nearly 3 times as likely to experience just poor or fair health as whites, while Latinos are 4 times as likely.
How many more affordable housing projects dismantled?
text coming soon
How many more college scholarships cut?
Student are caught in a scissors of increasing costs and declining scholarship support. In March, Congress passed the Higher Education Act which weakens student aid. For example, the maximum Pell Grant allocation has been frozen at $4,050 for the past 3 years. The bill also failed to address the high cost of student loans. Although Congress has now capped student debt interest at 6.8%, anywhere from 1 in 4 to 1 in 3 student graduating from a 4-year college are too indebted to take teaching and many other social service jobs. Furthermore, over the decade from 1993 to 2003 the level of student indebtedness after college doubled from a third to two-thirds of all graduates. Total college costs have been rising at more
than double the inflation rate; in 2005 the increase over 2004 was 7.2% (the smallest increase in recent years).
Enormous racial and ethnic disparities remain in higher education. About 39 percent of Whites enroll in college versus 30 percent of African Americans and 19 percent of Hispanics in the traditional college-age range. Moreover, 66 percent of White high school graduates enroll in college immediately after high school versus 56 percent of African Americans and 49 percent of Latinos.
Higher education itself has not benefited from these increases. The American Association of University Professors has found that in 2005–06, “average faculty salaries increased by less than the inflation rate for the second consecutive year.” Meanwhile the academy increasingly depends on a largely non-benefited and underpaid work force of non-tenured faculty.
How many more workers’ rights rolled back?
text coming soon
How many more immigrants terrorized?
text coming soon
How many more schools neglected?
Dick Cheney during his eleven years as
consistently opposed funding of Head Start and voted against
creating the Department of Education.
In February of 2006, President Bush
delivered his State of the Union Address with
questionable promises of halving the federal budget deficit by
Along with other social programs,
the Department of Education will be receiving
deep cuts by 2.1 billion or 3.8 percent for the upcoming fiscal
year. Programs cut include arts programs, technology and after
K-12 programs have been cut by 1% and elementary and secondary
schools are losing 1.2 billion dollars currently in 2006.
Massachusetts in particular will be
losing over $20 million in vocational educational grants.
Funding was increased by 1.5 billion for the No Child Left Behind's
test requirements, expanding the mandatory competency testing to
Congress passed the No Child Left Behind Act designed to hold
schools accountable. The law mandates testing in reading and math
and scores to be reported according to race, special needs, English
language proficiency, and economic status. If a certain group fails,
the whole school faces repercussions financially.
The Globe reports increased reports of students, teachers,
principals, and other administrators encouraging cheating on the
MCAS due to the implications of low test scores as determined by the
No Child Left Behind Act. There were 15 reports of teachers not
following testing protocol by allowing dictionary use and preview of
test booklets compared to only 3 allegations in 2005. http://www.parentscare.org/legislation/hearing_Sept03/Crowder_Testimony.htm
Administrators feel increased pressure to boost test scores without
adequate remedial services to support students with special needs
http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0819/p03s01-legn.html?s=widep so as
not to risk defunding of schools (being penalized for not making
“adequate yearly progress”), the threat of not graduating students,
and the threat of firing teachers due to poor MCAS scores.
The nonpartisan Center on Educational Policy in Washington DC which
has done extensive studies on the NCLB act has shown that “the
growing number of school districts failing under the NCLB has
resulted in less Title 1 Money going to the Nation's neediest school
site the federal testing requirements as the biggest challenge, more
so than lack of resources, administrative difficulties, personal
safety, etc. According to a 2005 Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll, most
Americans disagreed with the educational reforms the Bush
administration has implemented. 2/3 of people polled said they
didn't think a single test was a good measure as to whether a school
needs improvement or not, which is a factor in determining amount of
funding the following year. Americans also reported that they didn't
think children with special needs should be measured by the same
standards as other children. Most Americans (90%) believe closing
the achievement gap between black and Latino students and their
white classmates is a priority and 58% believe it is the
responsibility of the public schools.
The National Education Association, the nation's largest education
union has been fighting to reform the No Child Left Behind Act. As
of July 2006 an overwhelming majority of delegates have agreed to
start an intensive lobbying campaign to change the current law.