We marked the death count of US soldiers in the Iraq War yesterday when it reached 4,000. But, is anyone even thinking of the death toll for the Iraqis? Does anyone even care?
MSNBC asked this question a year ago:
One person can tell you precisely how many Americans have been killed in Iraq. Another pays close attention to the names and hometowns of those who die each week. A third mourns for the families of fallen U.S. troops, but also figures it was their choice to enlist.
Americans are keenly aware of how many U.S. forces have lost their lives in Iraq, according to a new AP-Ipsos poll. But they woefully underestimate the number of Iraqi civilians who have been killed.
This war was supposedly being fought for the sake of the Iraqis – you remember, to bring them freedom and democracy… Wasn’t that why we went there? Unfortunately, the reasons George Bush has given over the last 5 years have changed, over and over again. What we now know (and basically have known all along), is “it’s the oil stupid!”.
The news we hear every day talks about how many of our soldiers died, always updating the death toll, but the emphasis is different when reporting on the violence the Iraqis experience each and every day. Reporting covers car bombings and the numbers of victims per incident, but you don’t hear a running total of Iraqi deaths. You can’t help but get the feeling that they have just become numbers or just another news report of yet another bombing. After a while, it just becomes ‘white noise’. It becomes too hard to wrap your mind around the numbers.
I was just listening to CNN where Kyra Phillips was reporting from Iraq. She talked about the number of Iraqis who have died totaling around 20,000. 20,000? I know the numbers I have heard were higher than that.. Once I began looking, I was amazed at the difference in the totals.
From IBC (Iraq Body Count), the number is 82,349 – 89,867.
From Just Foreign Policy, the number is 1,191,216.
The Lancet Report (PDF) put it over 600,000 back in 2006.
Here’s some numbers from Wikipedia from 2003 – 2007.
There’s a pretty big gap between 20,000 and over 1,000,000 deaths. Will we EVER know the real cost in human lives to the people of Iraq? Will most Americans even be curious?
These people have lost their country, their culture, their security, their families, their children or their parents, their homes, and their lives. They live each day in fear, without clean water or electricity, most without jobs or a way to care for their families. That’s a pretty big price to pay – for what? So that we can secure oil contracts? Build permanent bases on their land? Build the biggest embassy in the world? Why are we there?
Is war EVER worth the cost? The blood spilled; the price paid?