US Soldier: ‘There’s No Way I’m Going to Deploy to Afghanistan’

MARFA, Texas – "It’s a matter of what I’m willing to live with," Specialist Victor Agosto of the U.S. Army, who is refusing orders to deploy to Afghanistan, explained to IPS. "I’m not willing to participate in this occupation, knowing it is completely wrong." Agosto, who returned from a 13-month deployment to Iraq in November … Continue reading “US Soldier: ‘There’s No Way I’m Going to Deploy to Afghanistan’”

Culture of Unpunished Sexual Assault in Military

Sexual assault of women serving in the U.S. military, while brought to light in recent reports, has a long tradition in that institution. Women in America were first allowed into the military during the Revolutionary War in 1775, and their travails are as old. Maricela Guzman served in the Navy from 1998 to 2002 as … Continue reading “Culture of Unpunished Sexual Assault in Military”

Finally, Iraqis Get Health Care – on the Market

BAGHDAD – Prompt medical care is at last on offer in Iraq, for those who can find the dollars for it. "Why would I want to go to government-run hospitals where there is no care, no functioning instruments, long lines, and in the end the same doctor who treats you there can treat you at … Continue reading “Finally, Iraqis Get Health Care – on the Market”

Iraqi Doctors in Hiding Treat as They Can

Seventy percent of Iraq’s doctors are reported to have fled the war-torn country in the face of death threats and kidnappings. Those who remain live in fear, often in conditions close to house arrest. "I was threatened I would be killed because I was working for the Iraqi government at the Medical City," Dr. Thana … Continue reading “Iraqi Doctors in Hiding Treat as They Can”

Still Homeless in Baghdad

BAGHDAD – "We only want a normal life," says Um Qasim, sitting in a bombed out building in Baghdad. She and others around have been saying that for years. Um Qasim lives with 13 family members in a brick shanty on the edge of a former military intelligence building in the Mansoor district of Baghdad. … Continue reading “Still Homeless in Baghdad”

The Tigris Too Tells the Story

BAGHDAD – There is less water now in the Tigris, and it is less clean. The river has fewer fish, and rising fuel and other costs mean they are more costly to catch. It’s not, as Hamza Majit finds, a good time to be a fisher. "It’s getting worse everyday," Majit told IPS on board … Continue reading “The Tigris Too Tells the Story”

No Unemployment Among Iraq’s Gravediggers

BAGHDAD – Amidst the soaring unemployment in Iraq, the gravediggers have been busy. So busy that officials have no record of the number of graves dug; of the real death toll, that is. “I’ve been working here four years,” a gravedigger who gave his name as Ali told IPS at the largest cemetery in Baghdad, … Continue reading “No Unemployment Among Iraq’s Gravediggers”

Iraqis Look for Hope in Election Results

BAGHDAD – After strong polling for the provincial elections Saturday, Iraqis are looking out for new signposts of political recovery from the U.S.-led invasion and occupation. Polling picked up after a slow start Saturday in the 14 provinces of Iraq that are voting after the 2005 poll. The four provinces that did not vote are … Continue reading “Iraqis Look for Hope in Election Results”

Threat of Violence Looms Again Over Fallujah

FALLUJAH – The threat of violence hangs over Fallujah again as leaders of the Awakening Council fight for political power through the elections Jan. 31. The Awakening Councils were set up and backed by the U.S. military to curb spiraling violence. According to the U.S. military, most of the members recruited were former resistance fighters. … Continue reading “Threat of Violence Looms Again Over Fallujah”