Today, Al Jazeera America features an op-ed by Michael Brooks and Jay Cassano, making the strong case for reparations for the US war in Iraq. An excerpt:
The Right to Heal initiative was formed in early 2012 as a coalition between Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq and the Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq. Its goal is to join Iraqi citizens and American veterans of the Iraq invasion in campaigning for reparations for Iraqis and expanded benefits for veterans.
During the course of the war and occupation, Iraq suffered roughly 450,000 civilian casualties, more than 2 million displaced individuals and widespread damage to its infrastructure and cultural heritage. Today Iraqi civilians are still suffering from the war’s legacy. The crippled infrastructure; malnutrition; the extended use of munitions with long-term environmental and public health consequences that are not being adequately studied — all have contributed to a continuing humanitarian catastrophe.
Back home, U.S. veterans of the war have faced their own challenges. According to CCR’s report to the commission, veterans struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury, unprecedented suicide rates and the scars of sexual violence while serving – not to mention the more visible physical maiming from serving in a war zone. Right to Heal views the war holistically, seeking reparations both for Iraqi society and for the U.S. veteran community as part of the same political and humanitarian project.
To read the rest, click here.
To learn more about the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, a MADRE sister organization, click here.