I am driven with a mission from God’. God would tell me, ‘George go and fight these terrorists in Afghanistan’. And I did. And then God would tell me ‘George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq’. And I did.”
What has the ‘Christian’ George Bush and his fundamentalist infiltrated military given Iraqis this Christmas-
- Acute malnutrition among young children here has nearly doubled since the U.S.-led invasion began in 2003, according to UNICEF and other aid agencies.
- no one is sure how many children have been killed or maimed since the war began.
- Dr. Lynne Jones, a child psychiatrist with the International Medical Corps has worked with children scarred by wars in Bosnia, Africa, and Iraq, says though the war is producing a generation of deeply scarred young people, there is a lack of professional help available.
- Save the Children, another aid organization, closed its operations earlier this year after 15 years in the country. The Iraqi Red Crescent Society has been forced to suspend a program for children suffering from war trauma because of lack of funding.
- Of the 2,000 adults interviewed in the Association of Iraqi Psychologists study, which surveyed people in all 18 Iraqi provinces, 92 percent said they feared being killed in an explosion. Some 60 percent of those interviewed said the level of violence had caused them to have panic attacks, which prevented them from going out because they feared they would be the next victims.
And all is quiet in Bethlehem, thanks to the armed guards-
The sound of church bells, drums and bagpipes filled Manger Square as religious and political leaders arrived in the town where Christians believe Jesus was born. Ahead of the festivities, Palestinian security forces, many carrying newly issued rifles, took up positions on the streets of Bethlehem in numbers not seen in years. It was the third major deployment of Palestinian forces in a West Bank city under a Western-backed security push launched after Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in June.
Most residents still cannot work in Jerusalem and travel freely to other Palestinian towns because of Israeli restrictions and the barrier that cuts into West Bank land that Palestinians want for a state. Middle East envoy Tony Blair has been trying to improve tourist access and facilities in Bethlehem. The former British prime minister recently stayed overnight in one of the city’s best hotels to send a message it is safe.
Yeah because the levels of protection Blair gets would be exactly the same for everyone else, they probably even made sure there were no cluster bombs on his pillow, after all the IAF do love to spread ’em around-
Israeli military prosecutors have decided not to take any legal action over Israel’s use of cluster bombs during last year’s war in Lebanon, the army said Monday, closing an investigation into a practice that has drawn heavy criticism from the UN and international human rights groups.
The United Nations and human rights groups have accused Israel of dropping about four million cluster bomblets during its 34-day war against the Hezbollah guerrilla group. They say as many as one million bomblets failed to explode and now endanger civilians. More than 30 people have been killed by cluster bomb and landmine explosions in Lebanon since the 2006 summer war.
Amnesty International has harshly criticized Israel for bombing civilian areas and using cluster bombs during the fighting. It also has criticized Hezbollah for firing nearly 4,000 rockets at Israeli cities and towns. The fighting left 159 Israelis dead, including 119 soldiers, while in Lebanon more than 1,000 people died, most of them civilians, according to counts by human rights groups, the Lebanese government and The Associated Press.
And nothing like holding peace talks while annexing land-
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met late Monday for a second time since relaunching the Middle East peace process, with Jewish settlements once again overshadowing the talks. Teams headed by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Palestinian ex-premier Ahmed Qorei met late in the day at a Jerusalem hotel, officials on both sides said.
The meeting came a day after it was revealed that Israel was planning to expand two settlements in occupied Palestinian territory next year. The Palestinians, who have demanded that Israel freeze all settlement activity, slammed the move — the second settlement expansion announced since peace talks were revived at a US conference in November.
And calling a siege a ‘war’-
“There is no other way to describe what is happening in the Gaza Strip except as a true war between the Israeli army and terrorist elements,” Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told his Cabinet, ruling out truce talks. Reports of truce feelers from the embattled Islamic Hamas regime in Gaza have been surfacing almost daily, and Israeli defense officials have said they are examining the proposals.
The unconfirmed reports have Hamas convincing fellow militants in Gaza to stop their daily rocket fire at southern Israel, while Israel halts its air and ground operations in Gaza.
Meanwhile can you reconcile this on another front-
Afghanistan is estimated this year to have produced 93 percent of the world’s illegal opium — about 8,200 tons, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.
Although opium was one of the chief exports of British India and the country still produces more for the legal morphine industry than any other country, few Indians benefit. They end up like millions of the world’s poor: spending their last days writhing in agony, wishing death would hurry.
So a smidgeon of rich greed & big pharma price control-
Citizens of rich nations suffer less. Six countries – the United States, Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Australia – consumed 79 percent of the world’s morphine according to a 2005 estimate. The poor and middle-income countries where 80 percent of the world’s people live consumed only about 6 percent.
And war on drugs hysteria-
the state laws enforcing the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, passed in 1985 to curb drug trafficking, are complex and harsh. The book outlining them is 1,642 pages long, and even minor infractions can mean 10-year prison sentences. Legal morphine use in India plummeted 97 percent after 1985, reaching a low of 40 pounds in 1997. It has crept up since then, but India has stopped reporting data to the International Narcotics Control Board, which oversees drug treaties.
“It’s the intense fear of addiction, which is often misunderstood,” said David Joranson, director of the Pain Policy Study Group at the University of Wisconsin’s medical school, who has worked to change drugs laws around the world. “Pain relief hasn’t been given as much attention as the war on drugs has.”
Third world doctors, he explained, often have beliefs about narcotics that prevailed in Western medical schools decades ago – that they are inevitably addictive, carry high risks of killing patients and must be used sparingly, even if patients suffer.
Suffering, ever so christmassy. But chin up, our lovely Queen will not only do her seasonal broadcast, she’s now got her own youtube account. Which is great, nothing like an ancient royal family being relevant & ‘down with the kids’ by filling in a youtube sign up form, well her servants did. Although it smacked of trying too hard by opening with her own rendition of 2 girls 1 cup, even with the royal ‘we’ she does not count as more than one person, but kudos on involving the corgis.