Well, this link
seems to add to the depth of discussion
in this thread:
Iraq's civilian dead get no hearing in the United States
By Jeffrey D. Sachs
Thursday, December 02, 2004
Evidence is mounting that America's war in Iraq has killed tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians, and perhaps well over 100,000. Yet this carnage is
systematically ignored in the United States, where the media and government portray a war in which there are no civilian deaths, because there are no
Iraqi civilians, only insurgents.
American behavior and self-perceptions reveal the ease with which a civilized country can engage in large-scale killing of civilians without public
discussion. In late October, the British medical journal Lancet published a study of civilian deaths in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion began. The
sample survey documented an extra 100,000 Iraqi civilian deaths compared to the death rate in the preceding year, when Saddam Hussein was still in
power - and this estimate did not even count excess deaths in Fallujah, which was deemed too dangerous to include.
The study also noted that the majority of deaths resulted from violence, and that a high proportion of the violent deaths were due to U.S. aerial
bombing. The epidemiologists acknowledged the uncertainties of these estimates, but presented enough data to warrant an urgent follow-up investigation
and reconsideration by the Bush administration and the U.S. military of aerial bombing of Iraq's urban areas.
America's public reaction has been as remarkable as the Lancet study, for the reaction has been no reaction. On Oct. 29 the vaunted New York Times
ran a single story of 770 words on page 8 of the paper. The Times reporter apparently did not interview a single Bush administration or U.S. military
official. No follow-up stories or editorials appeared, and no Times reporters assessed the story on the ground. Coverage in other U.S. papers was
similarly meager. The Washington Post, also on Oct. 29, carried a single 758-word story on page 16.
Recent reporting on the bombing of Fallujah has also been an exercise in self-denial. On Nov. 6, The New York Times wrote that "warplanes pounded
rebel positions" in Fallujah, without noting that "rebel positions" were actually in civilian neighborhoods. Another story in The Times on Nov. 12,
citing "military officials," dutifully reported: "Since the assault began on Monday, about 600 rebels have been killed, along with 18 American and
5 Iraqi soldiers." The issue of civilian deaths was not even raised.
Violence is only one reason for the increase in civilian deaths in Iraq. Children in urban war zones die in vast numbers from diarrhea, respiratory
infections and other causes, owing to unsafe drinking water, lack of refrigerated foods, and acute shortages of blood and basic medicines in clinics
and hospitals (that is, if civilians even dare to leave their houses for medical care). The Red Crescent and other relief agencies were unable to
relieve Fallujah's civilian population.
On Nov. 14, the front page of The New York Times led with the following description: "Army tanks and fighting vehicles blasted their way into the
last main rebel stronghold in Fallujah at sundown on Saturday after American warplanes and artillery prepared the way with a savage barrage on the
district. Earlier in the afternoon, 10 separate plumes of smoke rose from Southern Fallujah, as it etched against the desert sky, and probably
exclaimed catastrophe for the insurgents."
There is, once again, virtually no mention of the catastrophe for civilians etched against that desert sky. There is a hint, though, in a brief
mention in the middle of the story of a father looking over his wounded sons in a hospital and declaring: "Now Americans are shooting randomly at
anything that moves."
A few days later, a U.S. television film crew was in a bombed-out mosque with American marines. While the cameras were rolling, a marine turned to an
unarmed and wounded Iraqi lying on the ground and shot the man in the head. (Reportedly, there were a few other such cases of outright murder.) But
the American media more or less brushed aside this shocking incident, too. The Wall Street Journal actually wrote an editorial on Nov. 18 that
criticized the critics, noting that whatever the U.S. did, its enemies in Iraq did worse, as if this excused American abuses.
It does not. The U.S. is killing massive numbers of Iraqi civilians, embittering the population and many in the Islamic world, and laying the ground
for escalating violence and death. No number of slaughtered Iraqis will bring peace. The American fantasy of a final battle, in Fallujah or elsewhere,
or the capture of some terrorist mastermind, perpetuates a cycle of bloodletting that puts the world in peril.
Worse still, American public opinion, media, and the recent election victory of the Bush administration have left the world's most powerful military
without practical restraint.
TextJeffrey D. Sachs is a professor of economics and director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. This commentary is published in
collaboration with Project Syndicate
[edit on 2-12-2004 by Aelita]