Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives
The Iraqi occupation is getting out of hand.

According to an article in The New York Times this morning, Around 770 Die in Recent Iraq Fighting, the number of dead is skyrocketing. In the last eight days, by an AP count at least 62 US troops, 2 non-US soldiers and around 882 Iraqis have been killed. It's easy to shrug this off as the cost of war on both sides, until you hit the fourth paragraph:

Hospital director Rafie al-Issawi said most of the 600 dead in Fallujah were women, children and elderly. But he refused to give their exact numbers, saying that doing so would suggest that the remaining dead -- young, military-aged men -- were all insurgents, which he said was not the case.

Women, children and elderly. Bush supporters will scoff, saying that many of these were killed by Iraqis themselves to win the support of Muslim sympathizers. Fair point, but it doesn't remove the fact that our botching of this occupation is to blame for this. And again, it's easy to say that these numbers are concocted by an Iraqi hospital doctor sympathetic to the cause of the rebels, so let's turn to the numbers released by the excellent American hospitals that we're building over there as a part of the brand-new spectacular glittering infrastructure we're bringing to these lucky newly liberated people! What's that? There isn't one? Oh...

According to U.S. Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt:

"The coalition casualties since April 1 run about 70 personnel. ... The casualty figures we have received from the enemy are somewhere about 10 times that amount, what we've inflicted on the enemy," Kimmitt told a news conference.

"In terms of civilian casualties, there is no reliable, authoritative figure out there. We would ask the Ministry of Health, once Iraqi control ... is allowed back in Fallujah, they can get a fair, honest and credible figure and not one that is somehow filtered through some of the local propaganda machines," he said.

I've got news for you, general. You want to control the spin? Then start laying some good, reliable infrastructure and win the support of these people. If we were truly the liberators Bush claims we are, we wouldn't need to worry about the "local propaganda machines". Instead, the real propaganda we need to worry about is being handed down from Washington.

This is insane. People are dying every day over there – Americans, Iraqis, military personnel and everyday citizens just trying to get by. Most people in these circumstances just want to wake up, eat, work, play with their children, spend time with their significant others and go back to bed. These people want to live their lives. And we, the great American Empire, are doing jack to actually improve the quality of those lives. Instead, we're actively working to end them.

Congratulations, President Bush. The media is now getting hold of the very numbers you've fought so hard to quell. How does it feel to go down in history as the man who started the new Vietnam?

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