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Thursday, January 05, 2012


Death in Iraq

A few days ago, Iraq Body Count released a report documenting the deaths of 162,000 people, almost 80% of them civilians, in Iraq from the beginning of the U.S. assault on Iraq until the U.S. "withdrawal," that is, the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops. The problem with this report is that it might give the impression that that is now a static total, the number of Iraqis dead as a result of the invasion.

But death in Iraq has not taken a holiday since U.S. combat troops left. Today, 71 Iraqis were killed in a bombing, adding to the dozens if not hundreds that have been killed since U.S. combat troops left. And here's the thing - these deaths, and the ones which will follow in the days, weeks, months, and years to come, just as much as the 162,000 (or whatever the right number is) that occurred while U.S. combat troops were in the country, are completely the responsibility of the United States government. Not only not one of those 162,000 Iraqis, but not one of today's 71, or those who have been killed in recent days and weeks, were effectively murdered by the U.S. Who set a bomb, who pulled the trigger, is irrelevant. Every one of those people would be alive today were it not for the U.S. invasion.

Of course, this is not the only Iraqi blood on U.S. hands. There are the estimated one million Iraqis, largely women and children, who died as a result of a decade of U.S. sanctions, not to mention the much smaller number who were killed by U.S. bombing in the course of enforcing its self-imposed "no-fly zone." There are another 125,000 Iraqi soldiers killed by the U.S. during its 1991 invasion.

Today on the news, a Syrian defector was talking about the "genocide" taking place in Syria, where an alleged (but hardly proven) 5000 deaths (of both opposition forces and government troops) have taken place. I have yet to hear on the news anyone applying the word "genocide" to the 1.3 million Iraqis who have met their fate at the hands of the U.S. government.

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