Dolan: U.N. report reveals true casulaties of war

Mike Furno

Just when I thought I really could not write any more on the apparently inevitable war against the Iraqi people, the United Nations leaks its “Likely Humanitarian Scenarios” document regarding what would likely happen as a result of a U.S. invasion and bombing campaign. It is obvious from the document that the war would be against the Iraqi people, not Saddam Hussein, since according to the United Nations the people are the ones who are going to be most affected by the violence.

But wait, we don’t shoot civilians! How could we possibly be hurting the poor innocent victims that we are trying to liberate? One of the most effective ways to defeat an enemy force is to destroy their infrastructure by bombing their power plants, supply lines and communication systems. The problem here is that people living in Iraq who are not participating in the fighting also rely on this to live. According to the U.N. report, “The bulk of the population is now totally dependent on the government of Iraq for a majority, if not all, of their basic needs and, unlike the situation in 1991, they have no way of coping if they cannot access them; the sanctions regime, if anything, has served to increase dependence on the government as almost the sole provider.”

Bomb the supply lines and roads, and suddenly the population will not be receiving their food handouts or medical supplies. About 16 million Iraqis are dependent on food aid and, after their infrastructure has been destroyed, these people will be much less likely to get any for an extended period of time.

Lucky for us, Iraq will have a harder time fighting back when the lights don’t work, the trains no longer run and the roads are only suitable for American gas-glutton SUVs. Unfortunately, according to the U.N.’s document, “the damage to the electricity network will also result in collateral reductions in capacity in all sectors, particularly water and sanitation as well as health.”

We turn off the lights, their water purification systems shut off. And of course, Saddam will be sipping some Evian while the rest of his population wanders the desert looking for puddles.

Speaking of wandering, the U.N. report foresees a likely 900,000 Iraqi refugees as a result of the destruction and warfare in their country. These people will be largely from the urban population unfamiliar with minefields, which make up large parts of rural Iraq. More men, women and children killed or disfigured by our military presence.

The expected total number of people in need of humanitarian intervention according to the United Nations is 7.4 million people! Let’s not mention the expected 500,000 direct and indirect casualties from the war. This will all result from a preemptive strike on a country that has already been terrorized by years of sanctions and bombing strikes. Can we really commit ourselves to terrorizing the Iraqi people even more?

I mean, we all know what it feels like when another video from Osama bin Laden shows up on CNN threatening to kill us all. The Iraqi people have been living with a similar fear for a decade, as the United States has constantly threatened to bomb and invade their cities. We should keep these people in our minds and hearts when we discuss “targeting Saddam,” since our grudge match with this one man will cause death and hardship for innumerable others.

The U.N. document can be found at