Iraqi Children Better Off Under Saddam

From Holden:

Georgie’s body count for the entire adventure rests at 1,227 U.S. soldiers dead, 106 this month alone. That’s 1,227 soldiers who would probably be alive today if Saddam were still in power.

Millions of Iraqi children would also be better off under Saddam according to UNICEF.

Fighting in Iraq is “wreaking havoc” on the country’s children, nearly doubling malnutrition rates since the start of the war and all but preventing relief groups from working in the country, the U.N. children’s’ agency said Tuesday.


The U.N. children’s agency, UNICEF, said there was little it could do to ease the plight of children across Iraq because the violence prevents most relief agencies from conducting most operations in the country.

“Humanitarian work in Iraq has been crippled by the fact that international aid agencies, including the U.N., have been directly targeted and forced to conduct their humanitarian operations largely from neighboring countries,” UNICEF said in a statement.

Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children are suffering from diarrhea and nutrition deficiencies, UNICEF chief Carol Bellamy said.

A survey Monday by the Norway-based Fafo Institute for Applied Social Science said that since the March 2003 invasion, malnutrition among children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years old has grown to 7.7 percent from 4 percent.


“War is waged by adults, but it is the children who suffer the most,” Bellamy said. “This protracted fighting and instability is wreaking havoc on Iraqi children.”

Young children are the most vulnerable to malnutrition, which is exacerbated by a lack of clean water and adequate sanitation, she said.

UNICEF is continuing its Iraqi operations from outside the country, including immunization campaigns and repairing schools, but this “is not enough to protect the health of all of Iraq’s children.”

Meanwhile, the U.N. refugee agency said Tuesday that about a third of Iranian Kurd refugees at a long-established camp in western Iraq may have fled because of fierce fighting in the city of Ramadi last week.

About 13,000 Iranian Kurds had lived in al-Tash camp for about 20 years, many of them having fled Iran fearing oppression in the wake of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Many left the camp before the U.S.-led war in Iraq after threats by local people and dwindling relief supplies.

Ron Redmond, spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said there were reports that up to 35 percent of the 4,200 refugees still in the camp may have left “in the past few days” after gunmen attacked the camp.