Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Iraq War Vote is Today

According to some analysis there is a possibility that the government could lose the vote in today's debate on Iraq.

Stop the War says that media interest is very high and their office has been inundated with requests for interviews. They want the Stop the War protest outside parliament between 5pm and 7pm to be as visible as possible. Please join the protest and encourage all of your contacts to do so. They are are asking everyone to bring candles and to wear gags to symbolise Blair's attempts to stifle debate about a war which even top army generals say is a disaster.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

MoD moves to censor reporting of UK casualties

By Dominic Kennedy in the Times Online

In an unprecedented move that risks accusations of censorship, the Government has withdrawn co-operation from ITV News in warzones after accusing it of inaccurate and intrusive reports about the fate of wounded soldiers.

The first casualty is ITV’s planned trip to Afghanistan to cover troops marking Remembrance Sunday, traditionally an opportunity for positive coverage of reconstruction efforts. ITV sources said last night that the trip had been cancelled because of the row with the MoD. The Times understands that the head of ITV News, David Mannion, wrote to the MoD yesterday to demand an explanation. He also sent a copy of the letter to the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Gus O’Donnell, a move that is likely to drag Tony Blair into the dispute.
The row began last week after ITV broadcast the first of a series of reports showing how British soldiers wounded during the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan are treated. The segments, which appear nightly on the 6.30pm and 10.30pm bulletins, topped the agenda at a meeting between ministers, including the Defence Secretary Des Browne, and military chiefs.

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Tet Defensive

A slight change in chants from the anti-war brigade now seems warrented...

"George Bush, Uncle Sam, Iraq (Will Be) Is Now Your Vietnam!"

From The Guardian

A day after George Bush conceded for the first time that America may have reached the equivalent of a Tet offensive in Iraq, the Pentagon yesterday admitted defeat in its strategy of securing Baghdad.

The admission from President Bush that the US may have arrived at a turning point in this war - the Tet offensive led to a massive loss of confidence in the American presence in Vietnam - comes during one of the deadliest months for US forces since the invasion.

Yesterday the number of US troops killed since October 1 rose to 73, deepening the sense that America is trapped in an unwinnable situation and further damaging Republican chances in midterm elections that are less than three weeks away.

...The Tet offensive, launched in January 1968, is seen as the turning point of America's involvement in the war. The waves of attacks on Saigon and other southern cities was a disaster for the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army. But the images of violence - including a commando attack on the US embassy in Saigon - exposed the hollowness of the Pentagon's claims that America was in control of the situation.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Mortality Due to Iraq Invasion Now Exceeds 650,000: Latest Surveys Results Published in The Lancet

The full research paper on the latest nationally representative mortality survey in Iraq was published today in The Lancet. One point that has not received press attention, and was glossed over by the NY Times article we posted on yesterday, is the extremely high level of casualties inflicted by US forces. According to the published research:

Deaths attributable to the coalition accounted for 31% (95% CI 26-37) of post-invasion violent deaths. The proportion of violent deaths attributable to the coalition was much the same across periods (p=0·058). However, the actual number of violent deaths, including those that resulted from coalition forces, increased every year after the invasion.

Interestingly, the proportion found by this survey was consistent with that reported by the Iraq Body Count in 2005 when their media monitoring project found that 37% of civilian casualties were caused by US forces, the largest single cause of violent death. But what does 31% mean when considering the results of this new national survey?

To put it into numbers, US and UK troops have directly killed about 186,000 Iraqis since the war began. The invasion, occupation and resulting war has, overall, resulted in the deaths of about 655,000 more people than would of died if it had not happened.

Richard Horten, editor of The Lancet, writes in The Guardian on the findings of the study and the expectations of the government response.