Sunday, March 30, 2008

Five Years.


Five Years, 4000 U.S. Soldiers dead in Iraq. Chris Bowers:
Whenever one a terrible milestone is reach in Iraq for the number of American soldiers killed, such as 4,000 today, it is necessary to point out that the milestone being focused on was actually reached a long time ago. In addition to the 4,000 dead American soldiers, the following fatalities have also occurred in Iraq over the past five years:
  • Journalists: 135 fatalities
  • Non-American military coalition forces: 308 fatalities
  • Non-military contractors: At least 1,001 fatalities as of June 30th, 2007
  • Iraqi Security Forces: At least 8,057
  • Iraqi military forces: During the invasion, between 15,000 and 45,000 Iraqi military personnel died.
  • Civilians: Between 400,000 and 650,000 as of June 2006, and over 1,000,000 now.
We are way, way past 4,000 deaths in Iraq. The non-civilian death toll, including journalists, all coalition military forces, contractors and Iraqi security forces, currently stands at a minimum of 13,501, or about 15 every two days since the start of the war. The civilian death toll is actually the greatest humanitarian crisis since the Rwanda genocide, and possibly since even before then (I don't want to start ranking genocides). Somewhere between 4% and 5% of the Iraqi population has died what is termed an "excess death" since the start of the Iraq war. For the sake of comparison, Pennsylvania represents just under 4% of the population of the United States.
Also, keep in mind that these are just deaths, and damage has been done in many other ways. Nearly four million living Iraqis are now refugees, roughly 16% of the population, 40% of the middle class, and larger percentages of religious and ethnic minorities. Between 60% and 70% of Iraqi children suffer from psychological trauma. Tens of thousands of American soldiers, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, have been injured. And oh yeah, the war will cost more than two trillion dollars.
All of this needs to be pointed out because, whenever one of these milestones are reached, it implies that the only suffering taking place as a result of the Iraq war is to be found within the American military. Such a narrow focus ignores the wide swath of destruction that the Iraq war has wrought. As long as there is a narrow focus on the efforts of the United States military, the war appears to be an honorable, gracious effort on the part of America with costs that, while grave, are ultimately discrete and containable. However, when one considers that the war has either killed or displaced more than 20% of Iraq's pre-war population, that is has resulted in the European Union surpassing the United States as the world's leading economic power, and that it has both caused and revealed significant weakness in our military capacity, the true nature of the Iraq war becomes apparent.
This needs to end. Now.

2 comments:

  1. man those are incredible statistics. absolutely boggles the mind when you actually take stock of it all. i cannot believe that Obama does not just repeatedly yell that Clinton supports the war at every chance he gets. plus its easy to focus solely on U.S. military deaths as a measure of the cost of the war, which i'm in no way downplaying. but to imagine that the equivalent to the state of Pennsylvania's population (percentage-wise) being wiped out among Iraq's citizens is just staggering.

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