Friday, 23 February 2007

Children as human shields

US patrols in Baquba were yesterday faced with a dilemma: to shoot or not. Civilians, particularly innocent children were being shoved in front of their guns to shield insurgents. These insurgents are tactically pulling on the hurt strings of US troops.

Knowing that by not shooting the Americans are putting themselves and their Iraqi colleagues at risk. But by shooting they would risk killing civilians, which although it may sometimes not seem it, is not the aim if their war.

They opened fire. Inconceivably three bodies fell to the floor, but they were they bodies of men.

This is the horrible reality of a brutal and unconventional war in Iraq's north - where Jihad fighters use human shields and force children to run weapons for them. Even if the children are not killed their minds will be scarred by the sights they are forced to witness and their minds indoctrinated by the forceful words of terrorists.

Peter Beaumont, reporting for The Guardian from Baquba, warns: "The stuipid insurgents, and the ones who were to brave, are dead after three years of resistance. Those who are left are battle hardened and have adapted their tactics to fight most effectively against the US military."

Wednesday, 21 February 2007

News: Blair announces 1600 soldiers will return home

BBC News Player - UK troop numbers cut in Iraq

Watch the Prime Minister announce the cut in parliament this morning.

The Unwanted Refugees Of The Iraq War

The Unwanted Refugees Of The Iraq War, Palestinian-Born Iraqis Lived Well Under Saddam, Now Many Are Homeless, And Politically Untouchable - CBS News

Miriam, a Sunni Muslim of Palestinian origin, was threatened by Shiite militias in 2003. She and her family fled to Jordan with just the clothes on their back thinking they would only spend a few weeks there. They have been living in a tent 50 miles from Iraq, surrounded by desert, ever since. Miriam says: "Even a prisoner knows how long his sentence will be." She has to fight depression, and her children frequently face infections and skin disorders from the harsh living conditions. Her three-year-old son, Maan, who was born in the camp, has lesions on his legs and his head was shaved due to a skin disorder.

Tuesday, 20 February 2007

The battle to save Iraq's children

Its not the first time Iraqi children have felt the wrap for the political disagreements the people in charge of them have had. In 1999 Unicef estimated 500,000 children died, who ordinarily would have lived due to sanctions. Unicef said that children under five in Iraq were dying at more than twice the rate they were 10 years ago.

Yesterday it was revealed that once again Iraqi children are dying due to lack of basic resources. Nearly 100 eminent doctors signed a letter yesterday revealing the desperate plight of children who are dying in Iraqi hospitals for the lack of simple equipment that in some cases can cost as little as 95p.

They are backed by a group of international lawyers, who say the conditions in hospitals revealed in their letter amount to a breach of the Geneva conventions that require Britain and the US as occupying forces to protect human life.

In a direct appeal to Tony Blair, the doctors describe desperate shortages causing "hundreds" of children to die in hospitals. The signatories include Iraqi doctors, British doctors who have worked in Iraqi hospitals, and leading UK consultants and GPs.

Doctor's have said: "Sick or injured children who could otherwise be treated by simple means are left to die in hundreds because they do not have access to basic medicines or other resources" and "Children who have lost hands, feet and limbs are left without prostheses. Children with grave psychological distress are left untreated"

If we are so intent on having a war in Iraq should we not at least still provide basic medical care for the innocent bystanders...Iraq's children.

News: Stop the war People's Assembly March 20th.

Four years ago, Parliament voted to take us to war, despite the biggest protest movement ever seen in this country, when two million marched. Since then, there has been virtually no debate in parliament, and no opportunity to vote against the war and occupation. On the 20th of March 2007, the fourth anniversary of the Iraq invasion, Stop the War coalition will be hosting a People’s Assembly on the debate that parliament won't have. MPs, US politicians, experts, campaigners and other witnesses will discuss the Iraq war and its consequences. The assembly will be open to all and we welcome and encourage trade union, faith, community and political bodies to send delegates to take part in this event.

Visit the Stop the War website for more details:

Whether pulling troops out of Iraq will improve the lives of Iraq's children is debatable, has a generation of children been scarred for life by the horrific sights they've had to witness? Will they ever be able to regain their innocence?

An eyewitness view.

Guardian Weekly Guardian Unlimited

This article highlights how viewing torture and killing, sometimes daily, has effected Iraq's youth and the games they play. Murder and death have now become normal to them, they appear desensitized to such things. In the Western world we are worried that children that view violent films or representations of murder will then repeat the behaviour they view, in a copy-cat style. In Iraq the children are constantly exposed to killing and no one is shielding there impressionable eyes.
The war in Iraq has now become dull and old news to many people in the West, leaving the children living in the war zones almost forgotten. Their lives have been changed forever because of this war. This blog is therefore an attempt to expose the damage and devastating effect the Iraq war has had on the most innocent of all casualties.