Friday, June 14, 2013

Tony the Tank Engine

"Iraq is poisoned. Thirty-five million Iraqis wake up every morning to a living nightmare of childhood cancers, adult cancers and birth defects. Familial cancers, cluster cancers and multiple cancers in the same individual have become frequent in Iraq. Sterility, repeated miscarriages, stillbirths and severe birth defects - some never described in any medical books - are all around, in increasing numbers. Trapped in this hellish nightmare, millions of Iraqis struggle to survive, and they call for help. At long last, public pressure and media attention to this public health catastrophe prompted a joint study by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Iraqi Ministry of Health to determine the prevalence of birth defects in Iraq. This study began in May-June 2012 and was completed in early October 2012. The WHO website says that this large-scale study was conducted in Baghdad (Karkh and Rasafa), Diyala, Anbar, Sulaymaniyeh, Babel, Basrah, Mosul and Dhi-Qar, with 10,800 households from 18 districts and a sample size of 600 households per district. The Independent (UK) reported that this study was due to be released in November 2012. But the report has not yet come out... One possible answer was suggested on May 26 by the Guardian. It reported the recent comments of Hans von Sponeck, the former assistant secretary general of the United Nations: 'The US government sought to prevent WHO from surveying areas in southern Iraq where depleted uranium had been used and caused serious health and environmental dangers'." (What's delaying the WHO report on Iraqi birth defects? Mozhgan Savabieasfahani,, 6/6/13)

Tony: How's this, Doc, from my latest opinion piece? "Saddam Hussein was responsible for two major wars, in which hundreds of thousands died, many by chemical weapons. He killed similar numbers of his own people..." (Be honest about problem in Islam, Tony Blair, The Australian, 12/6/13)

Shrink: Excellent, Tony! Just keep up the 'At least we got rid of Saddam' mantra and that'll help you get through the day, OK? For the nights, well, just keep popping the pills I gave you. The key thing though is to keep busy, OK? Stay involved! Keep moving! Keep talking! Keep scribbling! Got me?

Tony: Oh, I am, I am. "When I return to Jerusalem soon, it will be my 100th visit to the Middle East since leaving office, working to build a Palestinian state." (ibid) But, you know Doc, it's getting harder and harder to keep up the pretense.

Shrink: Tony, Tony - there you go again, getting all negative. What'd I say about this Palestinian state thingy?

Tony: Learn from Thomas the Tank Engine?

Shrink: That's right! You gotta believe in yourself! OK, let's play trains again. Ready?

Tony: Yes, Doc.

Shrink: Wooo... Wooo...

Tony: I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...

Shrink: That's it, Tony! What else?

Tony: I know I can! I know I can! I know I can!

Shrink: That's the spirit, Tony. Every time Netanyahu brings you down, just remember Thomas, OK?

Tony: Thanks, Doc, I feel better already.

Shrink: The busier the better, Tony. What about another feelgood project to keep your warm inner glow pulsing away?

Tony: That's what Cherie suggested, Doc. "That is why I established a foundation whose specific purpose is to educate children of different faiths around the world to learn about each other and live with each other." (ibid)

Shrink: Wooo... Wooo... Way to go , Tony!

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