Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Monday, July 16, 2007

And if you're worried about our own kids . . .

try not to think about kids in Iraq. A senior UNICEF official recently talked to reporters. I'm sure you can guess what's coming:

'Children today are much worse off than they were a year ago, and they certainly are worse off than they were three years ago,'' said Dan Toole, director of emergency programs for the United Nations Children's Fund. He said Iraqis no longer have safe access to a government-funded food basket, established under Saddam Hussein to deal with international sanctions.

Toole said conditions for women and children in Iraq had worsened significantly since the February 2006 bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra, north of Baghdad, which triggered a wave of sectarian violence and displacement that continues today.

He added that gains made shortly after the U.S. toppled Saddam's government in 2003, when people were able to move around the country freely and had access to food markets and health centers, had been lost.

''Nutritional indicators, health access indicators are all changing for the worse,'' Toole said. He said recently published data showing improvement refers to the situation a couple of years ago and is outdated. . . . .

He said the agency has so far received no government donations toward a $41.5 million appeal for its Iraq work through the second half of 2007.

Now, I want you to think about orders of magnitude. UNICEF wants $41.5 million for the rest of this year, of which it has received $0.0. The United States is spending $2 billion a week to kill people in Iraq. That is more than $41.5 million on the day shift, on the swing shift, and on the night shift, every day.

I would ask Joe Lieberman, who is a deeply pious and moral man, to explain why that makes sense.

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