ZANGANA, Haifa. Horrendous violent deaths and non-violent excess deaths in Occupied Iraq

Haifa Zangana is a novelist and former prisoner of Saddam Hussein's Iraqi regime. She is a weekly columnist for al-Quds newspaper and an occasional commentator for the Guardian, Red Pepper and al-Ahram Weekly. She lectures regularly on Iraqi culture, literature, and women issues (see: ).

Haifa Zangana on Iraq carnage (2006): “One advisor, Undersecretary of State George Ball, was against the idea of escalating the war. He told Johnson that: "There is no assurance that we can achieve our objectives by expanding US forces in South Vietnam." Ball believed that it was the last chance for the US to leave Vietnam. Johnson knew it was the right advice to follow, but he chose to stay the course. It took the US another 10 years to withdraw its soldiers from Vietnam. Three million Vietnamese were killed, 15 million were displaced, over one million persons had to flee the country, infrastructure was destroyed and 58,000 Americans killed, and far more injured. The same is happening in occupied Iraq now. The latest study by the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health published in The Lancet, estimates that a total of 654,965 Iraqi people -- nearly one in 40 -- have died violently since the American-led invasion of the country in March 2003. The number is equivalent to seven million Americans. No academic or statistician has disputed the methodology and conclusions of a study based on a cluster samples and on death certificates naming violent death and excluding the equally devastating figures of preventable mortality due to collapsing medical services or contamination. Maliki's government, though, was keen to discredit the report and its conclusions. While Iraqi morgues, hospitals and streets bear witness to the daily carnage, Ali Al Dabagh, spokesperson for the government, stood, shamelessly, in the fortified Green Zone to argue "methodology". He did not argue responsibility or the morality of the killings. Thousands are displaced. Tortured, mutilated, burned bodies appear everywhere. Nameless and numberless, the young and old are found shot in the head. Bodies pile in the streets, dumped near rubbish tips or in rivers. The Tigris River, the heart of Baghdad, cries in horror as bodies float downstream to be snagged in grids at Suwaira to the south. The city weeps for bodies no one dares to collect. The pre-planned descent into hell is so rapid that no fatwa can stop it.” [1].

Haifa Zangana, “They must go, and soon”, al-Ahram, 19-25 October 2006: .