Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I Don't Even Know How to Begin to Understand

what it's like to wake up and think "I wonder if this is the day I die".

I sometimes forget the magnitude of the Iraq war. At least 100,000 civilian, over 4,000 US military, almost 10,000 US-aligned Iraq military deaths. That's around 50 violent deaths a day since 2003. And that doesn't take into account the war we're preparing to escalate in Afghanistan.

5 comments:

jaltcoh said...

In the American media, we're usually told only the number of U.S. military deaths. Sometimes this is followed by a parenthetical reference to the fact that many more Iraqi civilians have been killed, but this is always deemphasized (apparently because we don't place a very high value on Iraqi lives) and usually not quantified (apparently because we have so little grasp of the numbers of people we're killing that we can't even make a rough estimate).

pistolgal said...

Interesting that the only figure that doesn't seem to be lamented is the number of Iraqis who are killed by other Iraqis. Perhaps, would you consider, the number of Iraqis who "we" are killing infinitely pales against the number of Iraqis killed by their fellows. That fact always seems to be played down or ignored utterly in certain precincts, while blame is lavished on our military. Just food for thought, as always.

pistolgal said...

But I actually did want to say, on further reflection, that I can't imagine either what it would be like to wake up with that thought either and in fact my mind often goes there too when I hear Iraq statistics. Actually, if I'm telling the truth, I very often think: those who are killed will never get to experience a better Iraq someday. Because it was a steaming shithole before and I guess still is in a few pockets but from my point of view, the people already are, and certainly will be better off in the future.

beckett said...

PG, I think the civilian toll includes those killed in the civil war. I'm not convinced the Iraqis are better off now, after six years of war, than they were before. And there's little disputing that in the aftermath of our invasion, when we dismantled their infrastructure, we made the daily lives of many people much, much harder.

But the post wasn't meant so much to criticize the war effort as to reflect on the human cost that I easily forget.

Anonymous said...

'War is hell' -- a slogan seen on helmet bands of GIs in Vietnam. I think Gen. Sherman, who burned down the South but helped break the stalemate and close the war, is given credit for the utterance.--s29