Tuesday, December 13, 2005

30,000 Iraqis

Recently President Bush acknowledged 30,000 Iraqis have been killed since the US lead invasion 3 years ago— that’s an average of 10,000 dead Iraqis per year of occupation. While this number jells with some think tanks’ estimates, as well as the Iraqi government’s own estimates, it’s worth noting that this includes Iraqis killed by insurgent and terror attacks.

Since the United States has overthrown Saddam’s regime, hardly a day goes by without a media story about the death toll—in some quarters of America the outrage over this loss of human life is palpable.

Over a 24 year span, Saddam’s regime was directly responsible, by the most conservative of estimates, for 850,000 Iraqi deaths through war, state-sponsored murder, genocide, and corrupt management of international aid—that’s an average of over 35,000 per year. This is entirely setting aside the equally horrific amount of non-Iraqi blood the Ba’athist regime was responsible for spilling.

Every single year that Saddam was in power was a year where Iraqis died needlessly, and hardly anyone raised the slightest objection—most months a person would have been hard pressed to find even a single mass media story about the death tolls. The silence of those who now claim to be distressed by Iraqi deaths was deafening when Iraqis were dying at a rate more than three times today’s rate.

It has been suggested that one cannot take a tally of the dead under Saddam and under the American occupation, and make a comparison stating one is better or worse. Nothing could be further from the truth—to make such an argument and refuse to make a judgment as to which is worse displays a profound callousness to the welfare of the Iraqi people and a penchant for amorality.

The current selective outrage over Iraqi deaths, not tempered by proper perspective, is nothing short of the placing of ideology over humanity, partisanship over people. It is a sad and shameful thing which ultimately cheapens the worth of all people, and tarnishes the moral force of our entire nation.

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