Live and Let Die
When Dick Cheney says that the new Iraqi government is doing "remarkably well," he is not only ignoring reality; in many ways, he is being callous in the face of extraordinary suffering that the Iraq invasion has unleashed. After a long silence, Iraq's Riverbend blogger has just vented about the debate over the numbers of civilian casualties since the invasion. Are they 400,000 or 600,000? Money quote:
For American politicians and military personnel, playing dumb and talking about numbers of bodies in morgues and official statistics, etc, seems to be the latest tactic. But as any Iraqi knows, not every death is being reported... So far, the only Iraqis I know pretending this [600,000] number is outrageous are either out-of-touch Iraqis abroad who supported the war, or Iraqis inside of the country who are directly benefiting from the occupation ($) and likely living in the Green Zone.
The chaos and lack of proper facilities is resulting in people being buried without a trip to the morgue or the hospital. During American military attacks on cities like Samarra and Fallujah, victims were buried in their gardens or in mass graves in football fields. Or has that been forgotten already?
We literally do not know a single Iraqi family that has not seen the violent death of a first or second-degree relative these last three years. Abductions, militias, sectarian violence, revenge killings, assassinations, car-bombs, suicide bombers, American military strikes, Iraqi military raids, death squads, extremists, armed robberies, executions, detentions, secret prisons, torture, mysterious weapons with so many different ways to die, is the number so far fetched?
There are Iraqi women who have not shed their black mourning robes since 2003 because each time the end of the proper mourning period comes around, some other relative dies and the countdown begins once again.
Let's pretend the 600,000+ number is all wrong and that the minimum is the correct number: nearly 400,000. Is that better? Prior to the war, the Bush administration kept claiming that Saddam killed 300,000 Iraqis over 24 years. After this latest report published in The Lancet, 300,000 is looking quite modest and tame. Congratulations Bush et al.
How to disagree? She is living this nightmare. We are merely watching it unfold.
(Photo: Wisam Sami/AFP/Getty.)