Of September 11, 2001


13. The Impending Iraq War and the Civilian Casualties


               The Iraq war will start soon most likely after Hajj is over , with or without the blessings from UN or American Allies . This analysis is based on discussions with some high ranking Americans. It is being said that the United States is now an imperial power comparable to the Roman Empire.  Its military might is equal to that of combined might of next 8 countries. Close to 150,000 US troops are now stationed in the Middle East and another 100,000 elsewhere in the world including Korea and Japan. The Middle East deployment will increase to 250,000 in the next couple of weeks.  


               Twenty-first century wars are going to be different than the past wars.  In the old days, two armies lined up and shot at each other.  With vastly improved killing power, the casualties of war have also increased in the last century.  In World War II, 20 million people died, including civilians and combatants.  In the forthcoming Iraq war, the civilians are going to be the target.  The initial war will be fought by the air force, from 15,000-30,000 feet above the ground. It is projected that 100,000 Iraqis will die in the first 2 weeks This is a very low estimate considering the population of Baghdad itself is 1 million. War does not stop after the last bullet is fired, but the casualties of war will increase after the aerial war is over. It is expected that the total death in that region will be about 1 million or so.  After the bombing has done its destruction, the 250,000 American and British ground forces in the region will be used to mop up any resistance in Iraq and its neighboring countries .They will be the occupying force for a long time.  Iraq will be broken into 3 parts: one third will be given to Jordan to make it a greater Hashemite kingdom; one third to Kuwait as a prize for supporting US troops; and one third will be Kurdistan where most of the oilfields are. This area will be ruled not by the so-called Iraqi opposition but by an American General like General Tommy Franks who will be like General McArthur after World War II. 


                The death and destruction in the aftermath of the war will be from starvation, land mines and health problems due to lack of sanitation and the effect of depleted uranium shells.  Children and women will be more vulnerable.  Rape as a weapon of war, as it happened in Bosnia, Rwanda and other places, will also happen in Iraq.  Thus, more HIV will be introduced into a naïve population and will be brought home to the US.  Women, in that part of the world, so dependent on men to support them, who will be killed in the war, will have to sell their bodies to survive.  American casualties on the war front will not be from the elite Republican Guards of Saddam but by guerrilla warfare, terrorism, friendly fire and HIV infection as well as exposure to chemical weapons and depleted uranium.  During the Vietnam war, the United States for a long time denied using Agent Orange and during the Gulf War, denied the existence of “Gulf War Syndrome”, but now it is becoming more and more clear that many of the Gulf War veterans are suffering from diseases caused by depleted uranium shells. The United States Government is currently spending about $ 10 million a day on the treatment of the Gulf War Syndrome in our troops who were stationed there.  In addition, our country will face similar psychological problems as it did in the aftermath of the Vietnam War.  There will be a high frequency of suicide and homicide. We are not sure about the extent of terrorism that may happen in our country after the Iraq war.


                In summary, as former president Jimmy Carter put it recently in his Nobel lecture “war is sometimes an evil necessity but still is evil and not good”.  The beneficiary of war on Iraq will not be the American people but those who are in the defense and oil industries as mentioned in the poem below (“The Hungry Wolf”).  Even if this short term vindictive war is over in a month or two, which I doubt, its after effects will be felt for a long time, not only in the USA but all over the world


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Shahid Athar, MD
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Indianapolis, IN 46260