Wednesday, April 25, 2007

On Body Counts

I have not blogged about happenings in Iraq for many weeks. There is no good solution to the mess we’ve made, but the best remaining option is to leave Iraq as soon as possible. I am glad that Senator Reid has finally told the American people that the war is lost (technically he said he believes that the SecDef and SecState know the war is lost). Of course that does beg the question, what war are we even fighting in Iraq? I no longer know…

The “facts on the ground” are so unimaginably awful that I simply can’t get my head around how we would feel if similar mayhem, chaos and death existed on our streets. At the same time that Our Dear Leader is telling us that we need to be patient because we are beginning to make progress, about 2800 Iraqis are dying each month. That is roughly the number of Americans that died on 9/11 (over 5 years later we still have not gotten over this) despite the fact that the US has a population 12 times greater than Iraq. So on a proportional basis, Iraq is experiencing a 9/11 scale attack every 2.5 days. Any surprise that most Iraqis want us to leave?

I saw a speculative news article suggesting that the Maliki government in Baghdad was not providing civilian body counts to the UN. The story reminded me that it had been months since I visited, so I looked in and found their count at about 65,000. The actual number of civilians dead as a result of our decision to invade Iraq is undoubtedly several times this “headline” figure (i.e. literally a tally of deaths reported in newspaper headlines). Iraqbodycount now offers a 2 page weekly round-up of the dead which includes a day by day tally and gives a little more insight into where and who it is that died.

For the week ending April 22, 2007 they record over 700 Iraqi civilian deaths. How we would react if 8,400 US civilians died in violent attacks last week? Can you imagine 260 Virginia Tech shootings in one week? I can’t.


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