Thursday, January 08, 2004

Colorado Luis and Luz Paz both point to this Boston Globe Op-ed piece, "US stays blind to Iraqi casualties":

This is the most disgusting and least discussed aspect of President Bush's invasion and occupation of Iraq. In the early days of his war Bush said, "The citizens of Iraq are coming to know what kind of people we have sent to liberate them. American forces and our allies are treating innocent civilians with kindness."

No one could possibly know the truth or lie of that statement, since the mantra of the military from Tommy Franks down to his spokespeople was, "We don't do body counts." The most bald-faced expansion on that policy was given in April by Brigadier General Vincent Brooks of Central Command. "In all cases, we inflict a considerable amount of destruction on whatever force comes into contact with us," Brooks said. "It just is not worth trying to characterize by numbers. Frankly, if we are going to be honorable by the warfare, we are not out there trying to count up bodies."

You cannot be any more frank than that. The very people we claim to liberate are not worth the honor of counting.

...Medact, the British affiliate of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, this week published a report that estimates the number of Iraqi civilian deaths during the invasion to range from 5,708 to 7,356. The report estimates that the number of civilian deaths after May 1, when Bush declared an end to major combat operations, ranges from 2,049 to 2,209.

Another study released last month by the Project on Defense Alternatives, based in Cambridge, estimated that the number of Iraqi civilian deaths in the first month of the war to be between 3,200 and 4,300. In June, the Associated Press estimated the number of Iraqi civilians killed in the invasion to be 3,250. The AP report said, "hundreds, possibly thousands of victims in the largest cities and most intense battles aren't reflected in the total."

Luis also notes this report from retired Colonel David Hackworth[broken link]:

Even I – and I deal with that beleaguered land seven days a week – was staggered when a Pentagon source gave me a copy of a Nov. 30 dispatch showing that since George W. Bush unleashed the dogs of war, our armed forces have taken 14,000 casualties in Iraq – about the number of warriors in a line tank division. We have the equivalent of five combat divisions plus support for a total of about 135,000 troops deployed in the Iraqi theater of operations, which means we’ve lost the equivalent of a fighting division since March. At least 10 percent of the total number of Joes and Jills available to the theater commander to fight or support the occupation effort have been evacuated back to the USA! Lt. Col. Scott D. Ross of the U.S. military's Transportation Command told me that as of Dec. 23, his outfit had evacuated 3,255 battle-injured casualties and 18,717 non-battle injuries. Of the battle casualties, 473 died and 3,255 were wounded by hostile fire.