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Saturday, October 21, 2006


Shock (no awe)! CNN acknowledges non-American deaths in Iraq

For years I've been noting how the media and U.S. government (hard to distinguish the two most of the time), all too happy to refer to the "coalition" fighting in Iraq when it suits the occasion, are remarkably forgetful when it comes to the deaths of non-American members of that coalition. For example, here's something I wrote back in 2004 when the coalition death count was a "mere" 1000:
1000 dead in Iraq? Not the way I count

And no, I'm not referring to the 10,000+ Iraqi civilians who have been killed by U.S. forces in this invasion and occupation. But there are other forgotten bodies too. 131 British, Polish, Spanish, Italian, and other "coalition" forces have been killed by this war. When is the last time you saw that number in the paper, or any mention of those folks? And since the "Iraqi army" and police force are now on "our side" and part of the "coalition," should their deaths count too?
Remarkably enough, you can even find this omission echoed in the British media, who are just as likely to cite the "U.S.-only" death count as the American media (incidentally, that "U.S.-only" refers to members of the U.S. armed forces, not actual U.S. citizens, since dozens of the "U.S." dead have actually been non-citizens, hoping desperately--and being rewarded posthumously--to be awarded U.S. citizenship for their sacrifice).

So, imagine my surprise when I found this CNN article:

Coalition death toll in Iraq reaches 3,000

The death toll for coalition military forces in Iraq hit 3,000 Monday, according to a CNN tally.

The combined death toll includes 2,759 U.S. troops and seven American civilian contractors of the military.

Other coalition deaths include 119 British, 32 Italians, 18 Ukrainians, 17 Poles, 13 Bulgarians, and 11 Spaniards, as well as service members from Australia, Denmark, Estonia, Fiji, Holland, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Romania, Salvador, Slovakia, and Thailand.
The U.S. toll alone is already well past the cited total, and the death of members of the Iraqi armed forces, supposedly very much part of the same "team," are still unmentioned (and uncounted), but still, it's a rare crack in the usual coverage.

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