Thursday, May 17, 2007
O'Reilly Wrong, O'Donnell Right. Bill O'Reilly denounced Rosie O'Donnell today for grossly exaggerating the death toll of Iraqi civilians at 655,000. He cites IraqBodyCount.org as saying that the number of Iraqi civilians killed by the U.S. invasion is 'only' 65,000, but if you visit that site, you find a quote at the very top:
"We don't do body counts"So there are no real numbers, only estimates. Moreover, since when are civilians the only deaths that matter? Every day we hear about American MILITARY deaths in Iraq, as tho those deaths matter, but Iraqi military deaths don't matter. Why is that?
General Tommy Franks, US Central Command
Every honest person admits that the Iraqi government is not now and has not ever been since the U.S. invasion started, capable of gathering statistics on Iraqi dead. Islam requires the dead be buried within 24 hours, if at all possible, and for the families of the dead, tending to funerals manifestly takes precedence over making a report to the government — which can do nothing with the information anyway, even if it were inclined to. It is not possible to know what proportion of deaths go unreported.
It is plainly not in the interest of the present, U.S.-installed Iraqi government to publicize high numbers of Iraqis killed by Americans. Nor was it in the interest of Saddam's government, for different reasons. So both governments have had good reason to suppress that information.
Moreover, the Iraqi death toll from U.S. aggression is a lot higher than the toll from U.S. attacks alone. When you destroy a working government and produce deaths from resulting civil chaos and crime (consider any big American city whose government is destroyed, and the streets are suddenly empty of police); from disease; from malnutrition in time of health challenges (e.g., unclean drinking water, untreated sewage in puddles in schoolyards, dead bodies floating in the rivers from which drinking water is drawn); a healthcare system in disarray; inadequate or nonexistent medical supplies, including medicines; electricity (necessary for, among other things, refrigeration to keep food safe) that is unavailable 15 hours a day!; and on, and on, you are responsible for all deaths that flow from those horrendous, nitemarish conditions. You are also responsible for the bloodletting that proceeds from intercommunal violence that the prior government (Saddam's) kept in check. Every single death that Saddam would have prevented — every terrorist incident, every revenge killing, every ethnic-cleansing shooting, beating-to-death, beheading — is your doing.
Moreover, mass death to Iraqis didn't start with the U.S. "shock and awe" campaign of March 2003. It started in January 1991, with the First Gulf War, then continued thru more than a decade of U.S.-inflicted sanctions that killed, again, literally uncounted scores of thousands of Iraqis, mostly children, the elderly, and the poor. Madeleine Albright, Clinton's Secretary of State, was pointedly confronted over that eleven years ago (May 12, 1996) by Lesley Stahl of the CBS News magazine program 60 Minutes:
We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?The website on which I found that quote makes the crucial point:
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price — we think the price is worth it.
It's worth noting that on 60 Minutes, Albright made no attempt to deny the figure given by Stahl — a rough rendering of the preliminary estimate in a 1995 U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report that 567,000 Iraqi children under the age of five had died as a result of the sanctions.Doesn't that constitute an admission that the numbers are correct? If I were asked a question like that and thought the numbers were preposterous, I'd say something like "That is a ridiculous number, an absolute fabrication, pulled from the clear blue sky. No such number of Iraqis have died from the effect of sanctions. No such number at all! The actual number, if any at all, is more like X [e.g., 5,000]. While even 5,000 innocents — indeed, even 1 innocent — dying because of sanctions is a tragedy, about which I feel terrible, at end sanctions are justified because ... [reasons]." I sure as hell wouldn't let the figure of half a million dead Iraqis go out to 60 Minutes' audience of millions if it were false. So we must assume the figure is valid.
And that figure was from 1995! Sanctions continued another 8 years. How many more Iraqis died from sanctions in those 8 years?
Put together (a) the number of Iraqis, military as well as civilian, killed in the First Gulf War, (b) the number of Iraqi civilians who died due to more than a decade of sanctions insisted upon by the United States, (c) the number of Iraqis, military and civilian, killed by U.S. violence, deliberately or as "collateral damage", and (d) the number of Iraqis killed by the violence produced by the U.S. overthrow of the highly effective government of the (monster) Saddam, and you doubtless get far more than the 655,000 Rosie O'Donnell spoke to.
Iraq has 1/12th the population of the United States. Multiply 'even' a 'mere' 632,000 Iraqi dead (the 567,000 Madeleine Albright admitted to plus the 65,000 that Iraq Body Count estimates and Bill O'Reilly effectively admits to) by 12, and you get how many Americans would have to die to equal the nitemare we have brought to Iraq: 7,584,000 dead Americans. We are supposed to think our less than 3,000 dead on 9/11 and the 3,403 dead (soldiers, not even counting civilian contractors' employees) is sad? If that is "sad" or even "tragic", what word conveys the grief Iraqis have been subjected to by the monsters in the United States Government — and their apologists in media, like Bill O'Reilly?
(The current U.S. military death toll in Iraq, according to the website "Iraq Coalition Casualties", is 3,403 — for Israel.)
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