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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Counting in Iraq: Update II

In March, I wrote that "U.S. military deaths in Iraq should surpass that of the World Trade Center around October 1st" of this year, and that "coalition military deaths in Iraq ... should surpass that for ... 9/11 in its entirety in late September."

Those two grim statistical milestones were reached earlier this week, though I was too depressed at the time to blog about them. And, now, according to Iraq Coalition Casualties, total coalition military deaths have hit 3,000; U.S. military casaulties in Iraq now stand at 2,763, fourteen more than the number of people who died in the World Trade Center attacks on 9/11. What's more, after a pretty consistent downward trend in military deaths this year, October has so far been scarily violent (an average of 3.53 deaths per day), though it should be noted that last October saw an uptick in deaths too (3.19 per day).

Then there's this:
A team of American and Iraqi epidemiologists estimates that 655,000 more people have died in Iraq since coalition forces arrived in March 2003 than would have died if the invasion had not occurred.
And we have at least another twenty-seven months of this carnage, since Bush has vowed that the U.S. will never leave Iraq as long as he is president:
Mike Wallace: And Woodward says that no matter what's occurred in Iraq, Mr. Bush does not welcome any pessimistic assessments from his aides, because he is sure that his war has Iraq and America on the right path.

Bob Woodward: Late last year, he had key Republicans up to the White House to talk about the war, and said 'I Will Not Withdraw Even If Laura And Barney Are The Only Ones Supporting Me.' Barney is his dog."
If the current trends in deaths hold (and I have no idea what another twenty-seven months of fighting would do to these trends), that would mean around another 1,900 dead coalition soldiers, another 1,750 dead U.S. soldiers, and another 415,000 dead Iraqi civilians.

One more grim piece of news: practices that were once called "torture" are now called "alternative" interrogation methods.

Ok, that's enough. In a few months, I'll do "Update III" when U.S. military deaths in Iraq exceed the grand total for 9/11.

  • At 10/21/2006 11:45:00 AM, Blogger Hieronimo wrote…

    Even if you imagine the 655,000 figure is too high, and (let's say) the real figure is only about half that, that still makes about 325,000 Iraqis killed as a result of the war.

    Before the war, when the Saddam-as-Hitler drumbeat was at its loudest, we kept hearing the figure 300,000 as the number of his own citizens that he'd killed. Assuming that that figure is accurate (and given this administration's record with facts, we might wonder if it's a bit high), that means that fewer Iraqis were killed under Saddam's nearly 30 year dictatorship than have been killed in 5 years of this war.

    Can we start to wonder now whether the world, or even Iraq itself, are really better off without Saddam in power?


  • At 10/21/2006 12:35:00 PM, Blogger Simplicius wrote…

    Living under the rule of a maniacal, murderous tyrant vs. living in a world of chaotic savagery and rampant, murderous violence.

    Not an easy or obvious choice.

    Whether the U.S.--strike that. Whether Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Powell, Feith, etc. should have been allowed to lead the U.S. into this vortex of violence is a much easier question to answer. I couldn't believe it was happening at the time, and I can't believe it's still happening now.


  • At 10/21/2006 12:38:00 PM, Blogger Hieronimo wrote…

    Once we install some new strongman to try to quell the violence (increasingly seeming like the new plan), the entire thing will have taken on a tragic absurdity.


  • At 10/21/2006 12:48:00 PM, Blogger Simplicius wrote…

    Yes, a new strongman and his magical army of new magic soldiers (think of the orcs in Lord of the Rings). Because the U.S. surely isn't going to be able to achieve a real increase in troop strength without reinstituting the draft, using magic to create new soldiers, or convincing hundreds of thousands of young men and women to join and head off to Iraq. And none of those things is going to happen. And so things will continue just as they have been, with the occasional tweak of the rhetoric here and there.

    And even if they were to succeed in conjuring these soldiers, that alone would substantially change little in the fundamental situation in Iraq. No "insurgents" (that's who we're fighting, right?) would be intimidated or decide to stop fighting.



 Scribble some marginalia

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