After Seven Years of War in Iraq/ By Peggy Gish

Several weeks ago I attended a talk by a dear friend Peggy Gish who recently returned from another trip to Iraq. Peggy Gish is with the Christian Peace Maker Team and went to Iraq before the illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq. Her team begain interviewing family members of Abu Gharib detainees and released prisoners soon after the invasion. CPT presented their direct reports to U.S. military officials in the fall of 2003 and were told to "go away" Eventually their reports about torture in Abu Gharib were put to use by Seymour Hersh and other media outlets.

Her message during her most recent talk was that the situation in Iraq is far far worse than any of our MSM ever reports.(when they do report about Iraq which is damn skimpy) That the situation for women is especially dismal and criminal. Women have turned to prostitution to survive, that widows and orphans of those Iraqi men who have been killed as a direct result of our invasion are going through dumps to find food to survive. Kidnappings are common. Electricity and access to other utilities which were accessible before the invasion are in short supply now.

Peggy Gish has been back to Iraq many times since then. She has been on the ground interacting with Iraqi families for over seven years.

Here is her latest letter about the situation in Iraq.

"March 19, 2010

After Seven Years of War

By Peggy Gish

After Seven Years of War, Iraqis live with:

– A society broken from the invasion and occupation, with the loss of civil society, and the deterioration of trust and cohesion necessary for a peaceful society. There has been some reconstruction, but most infrastructure remains un-repaired. There is still contaminated water, an average of four to six hours a day of electricity, and inadequate medical care.

– Deaths of an estimated million Iraqi civilians since 2003. (Sept. 2007 poll by British polling agency, ORB)

– Continued economic crisis. 60% of the families rely on the food rations, which have been reduced. Unemployment is over 50%. Prices of food and fuel have increased, but not wages.

– Iraqis in control of prisons and “security,” but with many innocent detainees forced, through torture, to confess to acts of terror they did not commit. Iraqis often feel terrorized by Special Forces. Many Iraqis say that the ways of Saddam continue.

– Continued widespread anger and despair about the conditions of their lives

– Decreased violence on the streets in Central and Southern Iraq, but without the deeper problems being resolved. Iraqis still live in daily fear of kidnapping or other violence. Many say the groups doing greater acts of terror have moved to areas such as Mosul and Baqubah where higher rates of violence continue.

– Women subjected to increased violence and loss of personal rights and freedoms.

– Children growing up seeing violence and killing as the norm.

– A country polluted with radioactive depleted uranium from U.S. weaponry used in the 1991 and 2003 wars with Iraq, resulting in increased cancers and birth defects.

– A ratified constitution and current elections, but a government plagued with power struggles. Kurds in Kirkuk and other northern disputed areas are afraid of civil war between Arabs and Kurds.

– U.S. government still cooperating with Turkey which flies military planes over Iraqi airspace and giving Turkey military “intelligence” to bomb civilians in villages along Iraq’s northern borders. Turkish bombing and Iranian shelling across the borders cause destruction of hundreds of villages and displacement and disruption of thousands of residents’ lives.

– An estimated 4.5 million Iraqis having fled their homes to other countries or as displaced persons in their own country, because of the hardship and dangers.

Words cannot express the anguish that the Iraqi people have experienced in these last seven years because of the continued war. Occupying forces have exacerbated ethnic conflicts and oppressive political forces in their country, that will continue to cause suffering and hardship for generations."

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