Friday, October 21, 2005

How many deaths will it take til we know that too many people have died?


As we approach the milestone 2000th US casualty in our war on Iraq, United for Peace and Justice urges us to organize rallies and vigils for the day after that death is announced. A worthy idea; I hope there are thousands of vigils demanding peace now.

NPR's "All Things Considered," in its evolving role as government propaganda organ for the educated, preemptively deflected UFPJ's slant on the milestone by puffing the work of Iraq Coalition Casualty Count, a site that very diligently catalogues US dead and prides itself on its connections with their grieving relatives.

But come on -- the people who dying in droves are the Iraqis. They suffered and died under Saddam Hussein as well as under the US-supported sanctions regime that starved their efforts to rebuild after the first Gulf War. But they used to have a more or less functioning country that supported a fairly predictable life.

Now everyone in the place is subject to arbitrary attack by various criminal gangs, some wearing the uniforms of the US Army, some the uniforms of "Iraqi government" security forces, some the plainclothes of the insurgents, some the armor of religious or ethnic fanaticism, some killing for grudges, some killing for money.

The Canadian Broadcasting Company tackled the question of Iraqi deaths and came up with muddled, partial numbers:

Civilian deaths estimated from various sources (Since March 20, 2003)

• Civilian Iraq deaths: 26,661 to 30,018 (as of Oct. 21, 2005)(Source: Iraq Body Count )
• Civilian Iraq deaths: 12,000 (Source: Official estimate from Iraqi interior ministry March 20, 2003-June 2, 2005)
• Iraqi civilian or religious officials assassinated: 52 (Source: Official estimate from Iraqi interior ministry March 20, 2003-June 2, 2005)
Other estimates are far higher.

Journalist Robert Fisk wrote in August, 2005 that all too often Iraqis simply hurry to bury the dead and no one counts them. The article reports the Baghdad mortuary received 1100 bodies in July and that no one knows who many were or why they were killed. He reports that the British Medical Journal The Lancet "concluded that at least 100,000 civilians had lost their lives in the first 18 months after the invasion - more than half of them women and children killed in air strikes. The figures were based on a survey of 1,000 households across Iraq." How many more have died since? We just don't know.

But like every one of those 2000 US soldiers, every one of those dead Iraqis was someone's child, someone's partner, someone's relative. When we hit that nice round 2000, let's try to keep in mind the thousands whose names we do not know.

1 comment:

i_answer_to_john_most_of_the_time said...

Would yo like it???

A white "Christian" army is set to do a crusade {administrations early language} in a Muslim nation...

starting a war by definition was and still is a civil war (i.e., attacking mostly Sunni areas) ...

... by bombing and destroying 70% of all buildings (homes) in Fullajuh for a 1,000 or so fighters {and never}...{?}... finding who they were looking for ... repeating this again on a 200,000 people town in the west...

ANNND

Next Fallujah battle: hearts, minds

Marines converted a mosque into a food and medical distribution center for residents Monday.

hmmmm... a Christian army in a non-Christian land.... h-ear-ts and mIIIIInds...

It is given that one's actins in the world are often a reflection of one's internal state... this should draw questions...

finally ... even if Iraq was close to getting WMD's nothing ... I mean nothing would have changed if the decision was delayed (even a couple of years) to start a civil war in Iraq....

Where are the voices and pictures and stories of the war in Iraq... why do you think the soldiers in the world report over 30-40% suffer from PTSD... that's because their belief systems do not align w/ what they are doing!?!

john cook

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