- For the past 24 hours, Baghdad has had virtually no running
- 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
- 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
- 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.