In the time that you read this sentence, Santa Cruz County will have lost another couple hundred dollars to the war in Iraq.
By press time, the rapidly increasing cost of war had reached over $370,000,000 in Santa Cruz County alone. At this rate, by press time next week, that cost is projected to increase by $2 million, according to the National Priorities Project.
With this money, our community could have provided 17,951 students with scholarships to four-year universities, health insurance for 221,738 children for one year, or 3,334 new public housing units. Instead, the community’s money has been spent on a futile, deadly, and deceitful war.
But President Bush [master of deceit] insists on the success of the war, the latest of which, the death sentencing of Saddam Hussein.
After 24 years of Iraqi rule, Saddam Hussein is facing the road to the gallows.
On Sunday, Nov. 5, the former Iraqi leader was convicted of killing 148 Shiite villagers in 1982 and sentenced to death by hanging.
Ahmed Ajail, a resident of the village of Dujail, where the massacre took place over 20 years ago, spoke the day of sentencing.
"We are happy for the families of the victims and mothers who have children and sons who have been killed. This is at least what Saddam deserved. He should have been hanged ten times, and not only once," Ahmed said at Pacifica Radio’s Democracy Now!
Just two days before the Congressional elections that tipped the scale in favor of a democratic majority in the House, the GOP also celebrated what President George W. Bush called "a milestone in the Iraqi people’s efforts to replace the rule of a tyrant."Indeed, this is a milestone, but we may not see the same marks as Mr. Bush.
Currently, 142,000 U.S. troops are stationed in Iraq- a country of 26 million. Following one of the most deadly months for U.S. troops since the start of the 2003 invasion, the total U.S. military death toll has now reached 2,839, according to a Reuters report, Wednesday Nov. 8.
The Iraqi civilian death toll has officially hit 46,000, but other sources say this number is much higher. Over 650,000 people have died in Iraq since the U.S.- led invasion in 2003, according to a medical study conducted by American and Iraqi researchers.
Despite Saddam’s capture in 2003, these numbers continue to rise.
It has been nearly four years since the United States invaded Iraq, an action President Bush promised would bolster the security of our country.
"There can be no peace if our security depends on the will and whims of a ruthless and aggressive dictator," the President said in 2002, before launching "Operation: Iraqi Freedom," in a speech addressed to the nation. "I’m not willing to stake one American life on trusting Saddam Hussein."
But instead, many lives have been lost in the effort to distinguish one.
On Dec. 13, 2003 Saddam Hussein was wiped of all power, eliminating tyrannical rule in Iraq. That is to say, his tyrannical rule.
Some are quick to jump on the celebratory bandwagon, using the decision to hang the Iraqi dictator as symbolic proof that American influence in the war-torn nation is as effective as originally promised.
But the fact is that American and civilian death tolls continue to rise and sectarian violence continues to escalate toward civil war. The new Iraqi government is not independently secure, and civil opposition to Iraq’s newly implemented government is likely to increase in the wake of Saddam’s death.
Internal conflicts in Iraq hit a high in the 1980s when Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party, which came to power by way of a coup in 1968, destroyed roughly 300,000 Kurds along with about 2,000 Kurdish villages, and displaced thousands more in the northern part of the country.
Needless to say, Iraqi Kurds, among others, are pleased with the outcome of the trial, and most feel Saddam Hussein is getting what he deserves.
But Iraq continues to be stricken with sectarian violence, with rising tensions between Sunni Muslims (the great majority of whom maintain allegiance to Saddam Hussein) and Shiite Muslims (who were oppressed under Baath Party rule, but make up the majority of the Iraqi population).
Provided the ex-Iraqi leader is put to death as his court sentence promises, Saddam loyalists are already promising to increase violence against the new American-enforced government that took power in October 2005.
In the coming months, Saddam Hussein will face at least one more trial for additional allegations and will have the chance to appeal all court rulings.
With no promises of U.S. exit plans and skyrocketing civilian death tolls, many Iraqis are growing skeptical of what "democracy" will bring.
If he is indeed tried and killed as a resultof these trials, Saddam Hussein may cease to exist, but tyrannical power will continue to plague his war-stricken country.