By some accounts, life in Iraq has improved since the U.S. invasion of 2003. Electric and water services have improved, and cell phones have increased exponentially. However, the continuing humanitarian crisis of two million Iraqi refugees and an estimated 2.6 million internally displaced belies widespread progress, as the poor security situation prevents them from returning home.
Nevertheless, Iraq failed to make the top ten news stories in any U.S. media format – radio, television, newspapers or the Internet – for a full month (June 2009) for the first time. Not only did recession news eclipse many other stories. The media have also been pulling news people out of Iraq. A sad irony is that the U.S. borrows from China to fund its war in Iraq – sustaining jobs and bringing huge profits to the U.S. defense industry – while saddling future generations of U.S. Americans with the obligation to repay a rapidly growing debt.
Meanwhile, $720 million – the estimated cost of one day of the Iraq war – could provide 424,000 U.S. children with health care, build 84 elementary schools or provide 1.3 million homes with renewable energy. It would more than pay for a full year of peace building, including education for Iraqi refugee youth ($129 million), food for vulnerable Iraqi refugee families ($126 million) and direct support to Syria to help 1.5 million Iraqi refugees ($119 million). Such attention to human needs, of course, would not deliver the obscene profits that accrue from inflated no-bid contracts, mismanagement and outright theft from U.S. programs in Iraq.
Iraq finds itself hard pressed due to the worldwide recession. The world price of oil – on which the country relies for 90 percent of its revenue – has fallen drastically due to low demand. This, in turn, hampers the nation’s ability to address other political, economic and social problems. National elections, scheduled for December 2009, could lead to closer cooperation among competing factions. If the elections fail to forge a stronger national consensus, however, they might instead presage a return to autocratic rule – with which Iraqis were familiar under their former master from 1979 to 2003.
- Pax Christi International delegation to Iraq, September 2009
- MOGC signs onto NGO letter to Obama on Iraq policy (PDF file)
- Iraq Memorial to Life
- Report: ICMC-USCCB mission to assess protection needs of Iraqi refugees in Syria, April 2008
- Maryknoll leadership statement on Iraq war, March 2008
- Policy paper on Iraq war from Pax Christi USA and Center of Concern, July 2008
- Iraq: Parliament must be consulted on military presence
- Iraq: Children's health, education have greatly deteriorated (PDF file)
- Create human security in Iraq: Withdraw, repair, reconstruct
(Statement by the joint leadership of the Maryknoll missioners, Sept 2005)
- Maryknoll Prayer for Peace in Iraq and a Healing of the Wounds of War (March 20, 2006)
- Catholic leaders' response to president's call for change of course in Iraq, January 2007
- Former presidential adviser says U.S. "victory" in Iraq unlikely (April 5, 2006)
- Statement of Maryknoll Joint Leadership calling for withdrawal, reparations and reconstruction in Iraq
- Remembering Tom: An open letter from a fellow CPT member (March 13, 2006)
- Death of peacemaker Tom Fox: Christian Peacemaker Teams' response (March 13, 2006)
- Iraqi Dominican sisters maintain a maternity hospital in Baghdad
- Pax Christi USA's Iraq resources
- Peace Action's Iraq page
- Friends Committee on National Legislation's Iraq page
- Education for Peace in Iraq Center
- Campaigns and organizations MOGC supports to stop the war in Iraq
- Iraq Revenue Watch (monitoring Iraq’s oil industry and public finances to ensure they benefit the people of Iraq)
- National Priorities Project (including running total of the cost to U.S. taxpayers of the Iraq occupation)