March 15, 2010


Iraq War Triumphalism Ignores a Key Matter: Dead Civilians (David Corn, 3/15/10, Politics Daily)

In the United States, debates about the war often cover the obvious costs: U.S. military casualties (4380), taxpayer money ($711 billion), and opportunities missed (Afghanistan). What often goes unmentioned is the high cost that was imposed upon the Iraqi people. Have you seen George W. Bush or Dick Cheney ever directly talk about the thousands who died and the millions who had to flee?

There's no precise number of the Iraqi civilians who lost their lives due to the war. In August 2008, a Congressional Research Service report surveyed the various estimates. It noted that a World Health Organization study covering the first three years of the war had placed the civilian death toll at 151,999. A Brookings Institution study put the number at 113,616 for the first five years. Whatever the figure, it's a lot...

Suppose that Mr. Coirn and his ilk had succeeeded in preserving the Saddam Hussein regime and kept sanctions in place instead: their own estimates of deaths from the santions prior to the war include:
* "probably ... 170,000 children", Project on Defense Alternatives, "The Wages of War", 20. October 2003[35]
* 350,000 excess deaths among children "even using conservative estimates", Slate Explainer, "Are 1 Million Children Dying in Iraq?", 9. October 2001.[36]
* "Richard Garfield, a Columbia University nursing professor ... cited the figures 345,000-530,000 for the entire 1990-2002 period"[37] from multiple causes including sanctions.[38]
* Iraqi Baathist government: 1.5 million.[21]
* Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark: 1.5 million (includes sanctions, bombs and other weapons, depleted uranium poisoning).[39]
* Iraqi Cultural Minister Hammadi: 1.7 million (includes sanctions, bombs and other weapons, depleted uranium poisoning) [40]
* Unicef: 500,000 children (including sanctions, collateral effects of war). "[As of 1999] [c]hildren under 5 years of age are dying at more than twice the rate they were ten years ago."[16][41]
* Editor (then "associate editor and media columnist") Matt Welch,[42] Reason Magazine, 2002: "It seems awfully hard not to conclude that the embargo on Iraq has ... contributed to more than 100,000 deaths since 1990."[21][38]
* British Member of Parliament George Galloway: "a million Iraqis, most of them children."[43]

Add in the deaths from an additional 7 years of sanctions, not to mention the numbers Saddam himself would have killed, and we have numbers that dwarf the ones he frets above were caused by the war.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 15, 2010 6:23 AM
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