Monday, February 12, 2007

Iraqi Faces

See photo here (WARNING: Not for the faint-hearted)
AMMAN, 11 Feb 2007 (IRIN) - Though her name means ‘the sun’ in English, 18-month-old Shams may never be able to experience sunlight in her life again. Half her face was blown away in an explosion in Baghdad, leaving her eyes buried under badly burnt skin.

Shams was with her parents when three cars exploded in Al Sadr, the predominantly Shia area of Baghdad, last year. Her mother died instantly. Shams survived to become a living testimony of the brutality of war. Read More

While the primary responsibility for this tragedy lies with the heartless "insurgents" who constructed and detonated the car bomb, the US has to shoulder its share of the blame for her fate. Prior to the 2003 invasion, UN sanctions and Saddam's cruelty had already made life unbearable for the children of Iraq. But that must now seem like an idyllic time compared to the unending chaos that the country has been plunged into -largely by the myopia, incompetence and stupidity that characterised the US occupation.

Those, such as presidential hopeful Barack Obama, who are calling for a speedy US withdrawal should consider what that would mean for the likes of Shams. Do they really believe that her life would be more secure? And what of the US obligation to repair what it has so callously destroyed? Do they believe that that would be accomplished with fewer troops? On the eve of the invasion, then Secretary of State Colin Powell told President George W. Bush: "You break it, you own it". Obama and his fellow advocates of withdrawal want to disown the mess they have created. They are primarily concerned about American lives and American votes. The fate of innocents like Shams is of little value in their calculations.

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