James Clay Fuller

Things We're Not Supposed to Say

Friday, January 30, 2004

(Not) Counting the Iraqi dead

Suppose for a couple of minutes that the Bushies’ current explanation for invading Iraq is true (or is this an excuse or two back?) and that we sent our armed forces into that sovereign country to free it’s citizens from the yoke of an evil dictator and make their lives better.

Never mind, for a moment or two, that we’ve made the average Iraqi’s life worse by fostering 60 to 70 percent unemployment and drastically cutting the pay of those who do have jobs (see an earlier report here). Forget temporarily that most of them are now even more impoverished, hungry and in greater danger of violence than they were before the invasion.

If, indeed, the Bush motivation was to rescue the Iraqis from the unquestionably vile Saddam Hussein, why doesn’t this country care about the Iraqis who are being killed and maimed now?

Note that every report on violence in Iraq, and, indeed, on our presence there, tells us how many Americans have been killed. The count, as we are frequently and rightfully reminded, is now more than 500. But we see no reports on the total number of Iraqis killed and wounded.

The Bush Administration, according to several reports in the mainstream press over the past several months, deliberately has made it all but impossible to get numbers on civilian casualties. And few, if any, American reporters in the country, given their reliance on the military, are going to go the extra miles to try to put those numbers together.

Who cares anyway? You don’t see or hear many in this country worrying about Iraqi injuries and deaths. The indifference is particularly marked among those who so readily bought into the “free the people” excuse for war when the original one collapsed.