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The bitter fruits of ‘occupation’

Here’s some reading for those who call for an end to the ‘occupation’ of Iraq:

Six months ago nearly all of Iraq’s schools were closed.

Today all 22 universities and 43 technical institutes and colleges are open, as are nearly all primary and secondary schools.

Many of you know that we announced our plan to rehabilitate one thousand schools by the time school started—well, by October 1 we had actually rehabbed over 1,500.

Six months ago teachers were paid as little as $5.33 per month.

Today teachers earn from 12 to 25 times their former salaries.

Six months ago the public health system was an empty shell. During the 1990’s Saddam cut spending on public health by over 90 percent with predictable results for the lives of his citizens.

Today we have increased public health spending to over 26 times what it was under Saddam.

Today all 240 hospitals and more than 1200 clinics are open.

Today doctors’ salaries are at least eight times what they were under Saddam.

Pharmaceutical distribution has gone from essentially nothing to 700 tons in May to a current total of 12,000 tons.

Since liberation we have administered over 22 million vaccination doses to Iraq’s children.

Of course I’m sure there is spin here, I’m sure Paul Bremer is painting the best picture he can. But he is not stupid – these facts can be easily verified.

Robert Fisk, or anyone else, can go and ask the teachers and the doctors if it is true. In fact Robert Fisk should go and ask them and tell us what he finds out – then maybe John Pilger can go and make a documentary about it.

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