The Toll


Michael Brenner provides the sobering numbers in the 10th year of the war on terror:

To illuminate the point, here are some too readily slighted facts. 100,000 - 150,000 Iraqis are dead as the consequence of our invasion and occupation. That is the conservative estimate. Untold thousands are maimed and orphaned. 2 million are uprooted refugees in neighboring lands. Another 2 million are displaced persons internally. The availability of potable water and electricity is somewhat less than it was in February 2003.

The comparable numbers for the United States would be 1.1 - 1.6 million dead; an equal number infirmed; 22 million refugees eking out a precarious existence in Mexico and Canada; 22 million displaced persons within the country. We did not do all the killing and maiming; we did most of the destruction of infrastructure. To all these tragedies we are accessories before and during the fact.

And the final denouement: handing over the Iraqi state to a militia that was and is more anti-American than any other faction in the country.

(Photo: Supporters of Iraq's controversial Shiite clergyman Moqtada al-Sadr carry his portrait as they flash the V-sign for victory during his first speech since returning to Iraq after four years of self-imposed exile in Iran on January 8, 2011 in the central shrine city of Najaf, during which he called on his followers to resist the US occupation of their country by all means. By Qassem Zein/AFP/Getty.)