Friday, August 3, 2007
Baghdad: 6 million people, 117 degrees and no water
By Richard Becker, Western Regional Coordinator, ANSWER Coalition
Friday, August 3, 2007
A crime against humanity committed by the occupying power
For the past 24 hours, Baghdad has had virtually no running water.
Major parts of the city of six million people have lacked running water for six days, while daily high temperatures have ranged from 115 to 120 degrees. The tiny amount of water dripping through the pipes is causing many of those who must drink it to suffer acute intestinal illness.
According to reports, not enough electricity is available to run Baghdad’s water pumps. This in a country with vast energy resources.
Corporate media outlets—to the extent they have reported this horrific and mind-boggling story at all—have treated it as a failure on the part of Iraqis.
In reality, it is an appalling war crime committed by the occupying power, the U.S. military. It threatens the lives of tens of thousands of people in the short term and unthinkable numbers of people unless it is rectified immediately.
According to Article 55 of Geneva Conventions (1949) to which the U.S. government is a signatory: "To the fullest extent of the means available to it the Occupying Power has the duty of ensuring the food and medical supplies of the population; it should, in particular, bring in the necessary foodstuffs, medical stores and other articles if the resources of the occupied territory are inadequate."
Article 59 states: "If the whole or part of the population of an occupied territory is inadequately supplied, the Occupying Power shall agree to relief schemes on behalf of the said population, and shall facilitate them by all the means at its disposal."
To say that a huge city deprived of running water is "inadequately supplied" would rank as one of the great understatements of human history.
Of course, the shortage of water—the most vital of all necessities—does not extend to the U.S. personnel and contractors occupying Iraq.
The U.S. government tries to relieve itself of its obligations by pretending that Iraq’s "sovereignty" was restored in June 2004. But that is just another hoax.
Since its illegal invasion and conquest of Iraq in the spring of 2003, the real state power in the country has been the U.S. military.
This latest catastrophe to afflict the Iraqi people is another poisonous fruit of imperialist occupation. Not even in the worst times during the U.S. blockade of Iraq from 1990-2003, did such a disaster occur.
The U.S. regime in Iraq must provide the people of Baghdad with relief in the short-term to avert unprecedented disaster. The U.S. occupation must come to an immediate end. The officials responsible for the terrible crimes committed against the Iraqi people must be held accountable. The U.S. government owes Iraq vast reparations for the death and destruction imposed on that society by an illegal war of aggression.
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