Wars have disabled six million Iraqis

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By Saadoun al-Jaberi

Azzaman, November 17, 2012

The wars Iraq has gone through in the last three decades have produced a nation of disabled people – six million out of a population of 30 million.

“People with disabilities caused by the three wars Iraq has suffered are estimated at more than 6 million,” according to Raad Abdulhusain who heads the rehabilitation of disabled people in the religious province of Najaf.

Abdulhusain was referring to the first Gulf war with Iran which continued from 1980-1988, the second Gulf War over Kuwait in 1991 and the third Gulf War in which a U.S.-led invasion of the country toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

But the U.S. invasion led to horrendous suffering and casualties as it sparked a ruinous insurrection in which the mighty U.S. marines used disproportionate power to subdue major towns and cities, particularly in the central parts of the country.

The invasion fuelled a civil war in which different religious sects, particularly Muslim Shiites and Sunnis, raised their own militias to fight each other.

Abdulhusain said there were 120,000 registered people with different disabilities only in the Province of Najaf.

However, he said, the figure could be higher because there were no surveys and inventories of handicapped and disabled people in the country.

There are no government or private organizations or funds looking after the army of disabled Iraqis.

Abdulhusain asked the government to issue a special law for the establishment of a special department to look after people with special needs.