For millions of Iraqis, however, the war is far from over—in fact, for a growing number of families in cities that were nearly destroyed during the years of insurgency and counter-insurgency, the crisis is only beginning.
"Whether the Americans take responsibility for our role in it will determine whether we can hold our heads high in foreign policy ever again," Obama said. As one Iraqi-American journo-friend of mine said: “Just because we don’t pay attention, doesn’t mean the rest of the world isn’t paying attention.”
According to studies and eyewitness accounts over the last few years, Fallujah, an Iraqi city that was practically obliterated by US heavy artillery in two major offensives in 2004, is experiencing a staggering rate of birth defects among its local population. The situation echoes similar reports from Basra that began to circulate after the first Gulf War in 1991.
The litany of horrors is gut-wrenching: babies born with two heads, one eye in the middle of the face, missing limbs, too many limbs, brain damage, cardiac defects, abnormally large heads, eyeless, missing genitalia, riddled with tumors.
Upon touring a clinic in Fallujah in March of last year, the BBC’s John Simpson reported, “we were given details of dozens upon dozens of cases of children with serious birth defects … one photograph I saw showed a newborn baby with three heads.”
Later, at the main US-funded hospital in the city, “a stream of parents arrived” with children who had limb defects, spinal conditions, and “other problems.” Authorities in Fallujah reportedly warned women to hold off on having babies at all.
Dr. Ayman Qais, the director of Fallujah’s general hospital, told The Guardian that he was seeing two affected babies a day, compared to two a fortnight in 2008. “Most [deformities] are in the head and spinal cord, but there are also many deficiencies in lower limbs,” he said. “There is also a very marked increase in the number of cases of [children] less than two years with brain tumours. This is now a focus area of multiple tumours.”
The pictures and video available with a quick Google search are simply shocking. Continue reading Children of War...