The Other Surge in Iraq

05/25/2011 12:15 pm ET
  • Rep. Jim McDermott Former United States Navy Psychiatrist. United States Congressman, Washington 7th. Senior Member House Budget Committee, Committee on Ways & Means. Ranking Member Health Subcommittee, Ways & Means.

There's another surge in Iraq that the president is not talking about. An outbreak of cholera is spreading across Iraq and the numbers are alarming. The World Health Organization says 14 Iraqis have died from cholera so far, but the threat is grave.

Already, cholera has been confirmed in 9 out of Iraq's 18 provinces. In Kirkuk Province, in northern Iraq, 500 cases of cholera have been confirmed in just the last six days. Across Iraq, WHO has confirmed over 3,300 cases of cholera, and 30,000 Iraqis have fallen sick.

As a medical doctor, let me explain that cholera is caused by human waste contaminating the water supply. In other words, the sewage treatment plants that we were supposed to fix, the sewage treatment plants that worked pre-war, are not working post-surge. And innocent Iraqis are suffering and dying as a result.

Cholera is the latest example of a failed war. Of course, these new Iraqi civilian casualties will not be counted by the President as he tries to convince the American people that they are wrong to want to leave Iraq and he is right in his intention to keep America at war in Iraq for the rest of his term, and long into the future.

Instead of talking about the surge, the president should be talking about the scourge of cholera and how it could have been prevented, if only he did not invade Iraq in the first place, or continue to evade the truth now.