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UNICEF latest - 0.5 million infant deaths annually in US-occupied Iraq & Afghanistan

Sunday 18 December 2005

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As we approach Christmas Day, thoughts turn to mothers and infants and the joy, hope and magic of new human life. However we cannot ignore the reality in a First World-dominated world of about 55,000 avoidable deaths and about 35,000 under-5 year old infant deaths that will occur on this Christmas Day due to deprivation- and malnourishment-related causes.

More specifically, we should consider the mothers and infants of war-wracked countries and in particular the countries currently violently occupied by the largely Christian countries of the US-led Coalition. The latest UNICEF data (12 December 2005) indicate that on Christmas Day 2005, some 1,300 under-5 year old infants will die in the Coalition-conquered Occupied Iraqi and Afghan Territories.

The latest UNICEF data on post-invasion under-5 infant deaths (12 December 2005; see: are shocking: in 2004 the under-5 infant mortality was 122,000 in Occupied Iraq, 359,000 in Occupied Afghanistan and 1,000 in the occupying country Australia (noting that in 2004 the populations of these countries were 28.1 million, 28.6 million and 19.9 million, respectively). This data indicates an Iraqi post-invasion under-5 infant mortality of over 0.3 million, about 122,000 such deaths per year or 334 daily (i.e. exceeding the death toll from the horrendous and evil 9/11 atrocities every 9 days). About 90% of these deaths have been avoidable.

The post-invasion avoidable mortality (excess mortality) in the Occupied Palestinian, Iraqi and Afghan Territories now totals about 0.3, 0.5 and 1.6 million, respectively, while the corresponding post-invasion under-5 infant mortality now totals 0.2, 0.3 and 1.4 million, respectively (see Senate Inquiry submission #112: Most of these deaths were non-violent - thus Iraq Body Count (see: currently estimates that 27,000-31,000 Iraqis have been killed violently post-invasion (out of an estimated 0.5 million post-invasion avoidable deaths). UK-US state terrorism - described by Bush-Blair supporters as “democratic imperialism” but by others as “democratic tyranny” or “democratic Nazism” - has come at a horrendous human cost, with a total under-5 infant mortality now totalling about 0.5 million each year in the Occupied Iraqi and Afghan Territories.

Whether a person dies violently (e.g. from bombs or bullets) or non-violently (e.g. from deprivation- or malnourishment-related causes) the end result is the same and the culpability the same. The Ruler is responsible for the Ruled. Thus the Geneva Conventions (1949) demand that the occupier of a country acts “to the fullest extent of the means available to it” to preserve the health and life of subject civilians (see Articles 55 and 56:

“Article 55. 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 56. To the fullest extent of the means available to it, the Occupying Power has the duty of ensuring and maintaining , with the cooperation of the national and local authorities, the medical and hospital establishments and services, public health and hygiene in the occupied territory, with particular reference to the adoption and application of the prophylactic and preventive measures necessary to combat the spread of contagious diseases and epidemics. Medical personnel of all categories shall be allowed to carry out their duties ...”

The US-led Coalition has failed appallingly in its duty to preserve civilian health and civilian lives in the Occupied Iraqi and Afghan Territories as required by the Geneva Conventions for the protection of civilians in time of war.

The above data clearly indicate that the members of the US-led Coalition are complicit in passive genocide, mass murder and egregious war crimes in Iraq. Accordingly, they should be indicted before the International Criminal Court - arraigned, tried and punished. Violence, terrorism, war and war crimes are utterly abhorrent to decent folk.

The World Tribunal on Iraq, headed as spokesperson by the brilliant humanitarian writer Arundhati Roy, has charged the UK-US-led Coalition with war crimes over Iraq (see: Indeed in October 2004, after writing to the 2 dozen top Law Officers of Australia, I wrote to the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court requesting that the Australian Government and its Coalition allies be charged with war crimes over the illegal invasion of Iraq and the horrendous post-invasion mass mortality (see:

More recently, the 2005 Nobel Laureate for Literature, British playwright Harold Pinter, in his acceptance speech entitled “Art, Truth and Politics” (delivered by videotape on 8 December 2005; see: accused US President George Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair of war crimes in Iraq. After detailing the huge human cost of decades of violent US interventions in Central and South America, Harold Pinter described the invasion of Iraq as “an act of blatant state terrorism” and called for the arraignment of Bush and Blair before the International Criminal Court, declaring: “How many people do you have to kill before you qualify as a mass murderer and a war criminal? One hundred thousand? More than enough, I would have thought.”

As we feast and celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace on Christmas Day, we will know that on this day some 1,300 under-5 year old infants will die through UK-US passive genocide in the Occupied Iraqi and Afghan Territories - and that thousands of Iraqi and Afghan mothers and fathers will be weeping over the needless and cruel loss of priceless new life.

The 1957 Nobel Laureate for Literature, Albert Camus, in a 1946 essay entitled "Neither Victims nor Executioners", clearly stated a fundamental moral imperative for decent citizens of the world:

“Over the expanse of five continents throughout the coming years an endless struggle is going to be pursued between violence and friendly persuasion, a struggle in which, granted, the former has a thousand times the chances of success than that of the latter. But I have always held that, if he who bases his hopes on human nature is a fool, he who gives up in the face of circumstances is a coward. And henceforth, the only honourable course will be to stake everything on a formidable gamble: that words are more powerful than munitions.”

Peace is the only way but we are INESCAPABLY OBLIGED to INFORM OTHERS about man-made mass mortality of fellow human beings - silence kills and silence is complicity. We cannot walk by on the other side. As Edmund Burke famously stated: “All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing.”

Author credentials: Dr Gideon Polya published some 130 works in a 4 decade scientific career, most recently a huge pharmacological reference text "Biochemical Targets of Plant Bioactive Compounds" (Taylor & Francis, New York & London, 2003), and is currently finishing writing a book on global avoidable mortality (numerous articles on this matter can be found by a simple Google search for "Gideon Polya" and on his website:

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