S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Monday, January 21, 2008

What has happened to the people of Iraq?

A map of military casualties from the war in Iraq in 2005 showed the states with the highest losses. The current casualty figures for the war in Iraq, according to Iraq Coalition Casualties are 3926 confirmed military fatalities as of 1/19/08.

The number of Iraqi fatalities has also been in the news this month. I first posted about the death toll of Iraqi civilians August of 2005. American Leftist, "Richard," discussed the latest reports on the number of Iraqi civilians killed in the war (1/12/08). Citing the New England Journal of Medicine study published on January 9, he included a couple of critiques of the study.

Controversy over the numbers -- Haider Rizvi of Inter Press Service wrote an excellent piece which encompasses much of what is known about the controversy over the actual death toll. His title is apt. "IRAQ: Civilian Deaths Massive by Any Measure."

Even Wikipedia weighed in on the question in "Iraq War - Casualty estimates." The article seems to be a good overview of the range of difference within the reported numbers. The highest is "from An Opinion Research Business (ORB) survey conducted August 12-19, 2007 estimated 1,220,580 violent deaths due to the Iraq War (range of 733,158 to 1,446,063)." The lowest, of course came from our own government. To quote:

U.S. General Tommy Franks reportedly estimated soon after the invasion that there had been 30,000 Iraqi casualties as of April 9, 2003.[194] After this initial estimate he made no further public estimates.

In December 2005 President Bush said there were 30,000 Iraqi dead. White House spokesman Scott McClellan later said it was "not an official government estimate", and was based on media reports.[195]

The big picture on refugees -- Human Rights First Blog - Help Iraqi Refugees January 2008 is an excellent overview of all that is going on with the question of Iraq's displaced persons. Items include an important New York Times editorial regarding Iraq, and a UNHCR appeal to donors for $261 Million to Help Iraqi Refugees. In November Iraqi refugees in Lebanon faced prison and deportation. Earlier this month Fox News reported Wednesday, January 02, 2008, that the "Number of Iraqi Refugees Admitted to U.S. Declining Despite Promises to Boost Admissions." There are several possible reasons, including a bureaucratic squabble. To quote:

In response, it [the administration] vowed to fix the problems that include bickering between the State Department, which is in charge of refugee resettlement, and the Homeland Security Department, which must screen would-be Iraqi admittees, and a lack of cooperation from countries, notably Syria, where many of the estimated 2 million Iraqi refugees are seeking shelter.

Two senior officials from the agencies were appointed in September to remedy the bureaucratic slowdowns, but four months later there has yet to be significant improvement, although the number allowed in so far in fiscal 2008 — now 1,057 — is nearing the total for the entire previous fiscal year of 1,608.

More from here at home -- Refugees International (1/3/08) discussed what Congress has done recently about Iraq's refugees. To quote:

Iraq: Iraq’s humanitarian needs were clearly a focal point of the Omnibus Bill as money in both the refugee and international disaster assistance accounts was targeted toward providing humanitarian aid to Iraq’s displaced, both internally and in neighboring countries. The bill also includes language reflecting Congressional concern for religious minorities in Iraq and directing the State Department to identify implementing partners for humanitarian assistance inside the country.

What has happened to the people of Iraq is death, destruction and displacement. The country seems absorbed by the current election process. There will be another flurry of stories after the military casualty figure surpasses 4000. There will be a temporary return to thoughts of people dying across the ocean. Meanwhile Iraq is still a very dangerous place. And Afghanistan is also very dangerous. Millions of Iraqis and many Afghanis, I suspect, have been uprooted from their homes in the conflict. And the United States is not doing enough about it. You might want to check out what your favorite candidate's position is on some of these issues. The candidates will certainly not bring up the subjects voluntarily.

View my current slide show about the Bush years, "Millennium," at the bottom of this column.

My links:

(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)

My “creativity and dreaming” post today at Making Good Mondays is about the South by Southwest festival coming up in March in Austin.

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buckarooskidoo said...

I haven't heard anything from the Presidential candidates about what we will do to try to repair some of the damage, and assuage some of the anguish, that we have caused people in Iraq with this unprovoked war. No one has mentioned the refugees, the fate of the people who helped us, the bill for the destruction of people's lives there. At the very least, the next President will have to begin to address these issues if the United States' reputation abroad is to be salvaged.

I continue to be amazed that the people of the United States are so apparently indifferent to the suffering we have imposed on people who did nothing to us.

Carol Gee said...

Do you suppose they are afraid they will provoke a riot?
Or it it indifference, actually.
I would love for you to write a post from your comment, looking at which it is. I don't know the answer, and I would be interested in your thoughts.
Thanks for your insightful comment, buckarooskidoo.