Saturday, January 05, 2008

Speaking of the war...

It’s often too easy to forget in our consumer paradise that we are a nation at war — whether declared or not — but here’s a couple of items of interest that have come across my desk...

First, the Red Crescent says 46,000 Iraqi refugees have been repatriated between September and end of 2007.

Although the accuracy of these figures is contested, this represents about 2.3 percent of around 2 million externally displaced persons.

Yep, not a bad start — and after only less than 5 years of (their) pain.

And an interesting compilation of facts’n’figures:

Key figures about Iraq since the war began in March 2003
By The Associated Press – 1 day ago


  • December 2007: 160,000
  • January 2007: 137,000


  • Confirmed U.S. military deaths as of Dec. 31, 2007: 3,902.
  • Confirmed U.S. military wounded as of Dec. 28, 2007: 28,773.
  • U.S. military deaths for December 2007: 23, lowest monthly toll since February 2004.
  • U.S. military deaths for 2007: 899, the deadliest year for the U.S. military since the 2003 invasion.
  • Deaths of civilian employees of U.S. government contractors as of Oct. 30, 2007: 1,073.
  • Iraqi civilian deaths from war-related violence: According to Associated Press figures, there were at least 736 total Iraqi deaths in December 2007 — an increase over the November 2007 toll of 718.
  • Total war-related Iraqi deaths in 2007, according to an Associated Press tally: 18,636
  • Total war-related Iraqi deaths in 2007, according to Iraq Body Count: 22,586-24,159
  • Assassinated Iraqi academics: 341.
  • Journalists killed on assignment: 125.


  • Stepped-up military operations are costing about $12 billion a month, with Iraq accounting for $10 billion per month, according to a July 2007 analysis by the Congressional Research Service.
  • Total cost to the U.S. government so far is close to $482 billion.
  • According to a November 2007 report from the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, total economic costs for the Iraq war are estimated at $1.3 trillion for the period from 2002 to 2008. This figure represents the hidden costs of the war beyond the direct budgetary appropriations, including interest costs of borrowing these funds, lost investment, long-term veterans' health care and oil market disruptions.
  • A January 2007 study by Linda Bilmes of Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government put the total projected cost of providing medical care and disability benefits to veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan at $350 billion to $700 billion.


  • Prewar: 2.58 million barrels per day.
  • Dec. 19, 2007: 2.42 million barrels per day.


  • Prewar nationwide: 3,958 megawatts. Hours per day (estimated): four to eight.
  • Dec. 18, 2007, nationwide: 4,240 megawatts. Hours per day: 11.9.
  • Prewar Baghdad: 2,500 megawatts. Hours per day (estimated): 16-24.
  • Dec. 18, 2007, Baghdad: Megawatts not available. Hours per day: 8.9.
  • Note: Current Baghdad megawatt figures are no longer reported by the U.S. State Department's Iraq Weekly Status Report.


  • Prewar land lines: 833,000.
  • March 13, 2007: 1,111,000.
  • Prewar cell phones: 80,000.
  • June 2007: 9,204,000.


  • Prewar: 12.9 million people had potable water.
  • Oct. 18, 2007: 19.6 million people have potable water.


  • Prewar: 6.2 million people served.
  • Oct. 18, 2007: 11.3 million people served.


  • Dec. 18, 2007: At least 2.4 million people have been displaced inside Iraq. According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, figures suggest that the 2006 rate of displacement was maintained through 2007, with recent reports suggesting a possible net return movement.


  • Prewar: 500,000 Iraqis living abroad.
  • Dec. 18, 2007: More than 2.2 million in neighboring countries, mainly Syria and Jordan. The Iraqi Red Crescent, the Red Cross' counterpart in the Muslim world, said in a December 2007 report that more than 25,000 Iraqi refugees returned, mostly from Syria, between Sept. 15 and Nov. 30.


Friday, January 04, 2008

Goat Friday

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Organised organisation makes ambitious ambit claim

Union thuggery threatens to overwhelm the construction industry. Chief Executive of the Master Builders Association, Wilhelm Harnisch, is worried that...

“Many of the enterprise agreements are up for renewal, and obviously the CFMEU seem to be emboldened by the new ALP Government to put out a fairly ambitious ambit claim.”

But Deputy PM Julia Gillard is making gentle cooing noises, saying that...

... industry-wide strikes would be illegal and the building industry has nothing to fear.

“That will simply be unlawful under Labor’s policy and employers will have quick and effective legal remedies,” she said.

“The Australian Building and Construction Commission is there to make sure the rules are adhered to and there will always be a strong cop on the beat in the building industry under Labor.”

Hey...!! Just whose side is this woman on, anyway?

Meanwhile, we’re all still awaiting confirmation of John Howard’s ambitious ambit prediction that the sky will fall in when Australia has coast-to-coast Labor governments.

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy New Year 2008

click to enlarge  —  image by jarcob

The sun sets on 2007 ...

New Years Eve near Inverloch, Victoria, Australia