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The Iraq Report the CIA Won't Inspect
Filed December 14, 2002 By Jeremy Scahill
 

As the Bush administration continues to "pour over" the nearly 12,000 page declaration on non-conventional weapons submitted last weekend by the Iraqi government, another report central to the "Iraq crisis" is being ignored by Washington. The United Nations children's agency UNICEF has just released its annual report The State of the World's Children.

Basra, Iraq 10/31/02 - Dr. Jawad Al-Ali, cancer specialist at the Saddam Teaching Hospital in Basra, Iraq, examines a cancer patient who is recovering from surgery to remove part of a tumor he had developed on his torso. Dr. Al-Ali says that the number of cancer patients he sees now has increased by more than ten-fold since the 1990 Gulf War. He says many of the types of cancer he sees suggest heavy metal poisoning and there is widespread speculation that the depleted uranium used in U.S. bombs dropped in the area are to blame. Photo by Thorne Anderson.

The report says that since the imposition of US-led economic sanctions on Iraq in 1990, the death rate for Iraqi children under the age of 5 has nearly tripled. It shows that Iraq's under-five mortality rate-the best indicator of child welfare globally-was 133 per 1,000 live births in 2001. Conversely, in 1990, before the Gulf War and the imposition of sanctions, it was 50. The report also reveals the extent to which the sanctions halted Iraq's impressive 2 decades of progress on child welfare that saw under-five mortality slashed from 171 in 1960.

UNICEF says that 109,000 children under the age of five died in Iraq in 2001. Iraq ranks dead last in the world on progress of under-five mortality. So startling is the statistic that it appears at first glance to be an error. Most countries show a 30, 40, 60% reduction in these death rates since 1990. Iraq's reduction is -166% (that's negative 166%) since the beginning of the sanctions.

Basra, Iraq 10/31/02 - Two cancer patients wait for examinations with Dr. Jawad Al-Ali, cancer specialist at the Saddam Teaching Hospital in Basra, Iraq. Dr. Al-Ali says that the number of cancer patients he sees now has increased by more than ten-fold since the 1990 Gulf War. He says many of the types of cancer he sees suggest heavy metal poisoning and there is widespread speculation that the depleted uranium used in U.S. bombs dropped in the area are to blame. Photo by Thorne Anderson.

The report says that Iraq's infant mortality rate is 107 per 1,000 births, putting it on par with most sub-Saharran African countries.

The report was released by UNICEF on December 12, 2002. As of this writing, the Bush administration has not publicly assigned any commission or government agency to comb through its pages and discover the root causes of these horrifying statistics.

Click here to view the full report, The State of the World's Children 2003

Click here to download the report in PDF format (3 MB).


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Jeremy Scahill is an independent journalist, who reports for the nationally syndicated Radio and TV show Democracy Now! He is currently based in Baghdad, Iraq, where he and filmmaker Jacquie Soohen are coordinating Iraqjournal.org, the only website providing regular independent reporting from the ground in Baghdad.


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