Monday, May 14, 2007

Iraq Last in Child Survival Rates.

Killing Iraqi children -- “collateral damage” -- has long been acceptable to U.S. officials as part of their long-time foreign policy toward Iraq. From sanctions in the 1990s, responsible for the death of an estimated half-a-million Iraqi children, to the current war we're engaged in it is apparent that Iraqi children are expendable. It's no wonder the Pentagon has long had a policy of not keeping count of the number of Iraqi people, including children, it kills.

Recently doctors issued a plea to Tony Blair to end medical shortages -- of simple equipment costing very little -- in the war zone causing too many children to die in hospitals. International lawyers backed the doctors when they said the conditions in hospitals amount to a breach of the Geneva conventions that require Britain and the US as occupying forces to protect human life.

The Geneva Conventions require the US and UK to "maintain order and to look after the medical needs of the population" which they are clearly not doing. Many children are dying due to lack of oxygen masks; sterile needles; the right-sized needles; surgical gloves; inexpensive vitamins and other very ordinary things every hospital should be equipped with. There is no excuse.

The chance that an Iraqi child will live beyond age 5 has plummeted faster than anywhere else in the world since 1990, according to a report released Tuesday, which placed the country last in its child survival rankings.

One in eight Iraqi children died of disease or violence before reaching their fifth birthday in 2005, according to the report by Save the Children, which said Iraq ranked last because it had made the least progress toward improving child survival rates.

Iraq's mortality rate has soared by 150 percent since 1990. Even before the latest war, Iraq was plagued by electricity shortages, a lack of clean water and too few hospitals.

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