Sunday, October 22, 2006
AlterNet: How to Make Hundreds of Thousands of Dead Iraqis Disappear
How to Make Hundreds of Thousands of Dead Iraqis Disappear
The Lancet study that estimated 655,000 Iraqis killed since the US invasion of 2003 was based on some of the most solid research methods possible, but that didn't stop the American press from trying to say it wasn't so.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
The Lancet Study...This has been the longest time I have been away from blogging. There were several reasons for my disappearance the major one being the fact that every time I felt the urge to write about Iraq, about the situation, I'd be filled with a certain hopelessness that can't be put into words and that I suspect other Iraqis feel also.
It's very difficult at this point to connect to the internet and try to read the articles written by so-called specialists and analysts and politicians. They write about and discuss Iraq as I might write about the Ivory Coast or Cambodia- with a detachment and lack of sentiment that- I suppose- is meant to be impartial. Hearing American politicians is even worse. They fall between idiots like Bush- constantly and totally in denial, and opportunists who want to use the war and ensuing chaos to promote themselves.
The latest horror is the study published in the Lancet Journal concluding that over 600,000 Iraqis have been killed since the war. Reading about it left me with mixed feelings. On the one hand, it sounded like a reasonable figure. It wasn't at all surprising. On the other hand, I so wanted it to be wrong. But... who to believe? Who to believe....? American politicians... or highly reputable scientists using a reliable scientific survey technique?
The responses were typical- war supporters said the number was nonsense because, of course, who would want to admit that an action they so heartily supported led to the deaths of 600,000 people (even if they were just crazy Iraqis…)? Admitting a number like that would be the equivalent of admitting they had endorsed, say, a tsunami, or an earthquake with a magnitude of 9 on the Richter scale, or the occupation of a developing country by a ruthless superpower… oh wait- that one actually happened.
Is the number really that preposterous? Thousands of Iraqis are dying every month- that is undeniable. And yes, they are dying as a direct result of the war and occupation (very few of them are actually dying of bliss, as war-supporters and Puppets would have you believe).For American politicians and military personnel, playing dumb and talking about numbers of bodies in morgues and official statistics, etc, seems to be the latest tactic. But as any Iraqi knows, not every death is being reported. As for getting reliable numbers from the Ministry of Health or any other official Iraqi institution, that's about as probable as getting a coherent, grammatically correct sentence from George Bush- especially after the ministry was banned from giving out correct mortality numbers.
So far, the only Iraqis I know pretending this number is outrageous are either out-of-touch Iraqis abroad who supported the war, or Iraqis inside of the country who are directly benefiting from the occupation ($) and likely living in the Green Zone.The chaos and lack of proper facilities is resulting in people being buried without a trip to the morgue or the hospital. During American military attacks on cities like Samarra and Fallujah, victims were buried in their gardens or in mass graves in football fields. Or has that been forgotten already?
We literally do not know a single Iraqi family that has not seen the violent death of a first or second-degree relative these last three years. Abductions, militias, sectarian violence, revenge killings, assassinations, car-bombs, suicide bombers, American military strikes, Iraqi military raids, death squads, extremists, armed robberies, executions, detentions, secret prisons, torture, mysterious weapons – with so many different ways to die, is the number so far fetched?There are Iraqi women who have not shed their black mourning robes since 2003 because each time the end of the proper mourning period comes around, some other relative dies and the countdown begins once again.
Let's pretend the 600,000+ number is all wrong and that the minimum is the correct number: nearly 400,000. Is that better? Prior to the war, the Bush administration kept claiming that Saddam killed 300,000 Iraqis over 24 years. After this latest report published in The Lancet, 300,000 is looking quite modest and tame. Congratulations Bush et al.Everyone knows the 'official numbers' about Iraqi deaths as a direct result of the war and occupation are far less than reality (yes- even you war hawks know this, in your minuscule heart of hearts). This latest report is probably closer to the truth than anything that's been published yet.
And what about American military deaths? When will someone do a study on the actual number of those? If the Bush administration is lying so vehemently about the number of dead Iraqis, one can only imagine the extent of lying about dead Americans…
Riverbend in Baghdad
Riverbend - Iraqi girlblog: Baghdad Burning: http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Murder, Torture, Illegal Wars, War Crimes
a cross-sectional cluster sample survey
By Gilbert Burnham, Riyadh Lafta, Shannon Doocy, Les Roberts
The number of people dying in Iraq has continued to escalate. The proportion of deaths ascribed tocoalition forces has diminished in 2006, although the actual numbers have increased every year. Gunfire remains themost common cause of death, although deaths from car bombing have increased. Read The Full Report [pdf]http://informationclearinghouse.info/pdf/lancet101106.pdf===
War Crimes Report
Shows US Violations of International Law Demands Prosecution of US Military and Civilian Leaders
The violence of the Iraq War, the chaos that has come to Iraq, can be traced directly to the illegality of the invasion and occupation of that country and the illegality of the tactics and weapons being used to maintain the occupation. U.S. War Crimes in Iraq and Mechanisms for Accountability documents these violations and calls on us all to demand investigation and prosecution of violations of international law by military and civilian leaders. http://informationclearinghouse.info/article15261.htm
===The Mushroom Cloud over the U.N. By Mike Whitney The Bush administration has repeatedly rejected North Korea’s appeals for a “non-aggression” pact. Bush believes that he has the inherent right to attack whomever he chooses if it is in the national interest, which is to say, if it furthers his ambitions for global domination. http://informationclearinghouse.info/article15271.htm
===Torture, Moral Values, and Leadership of the Free World
By Edward S. Herman
In the discussions of the new torture-permissive legislation the media do not bring up Bush's statement of June 26, 2003, that "Freedom from torture is an inalienable human right. Yet torture continues to be practiced around the world by rogue regimes," and that in this struggle "we are leading this fight by example." This display of hypocrisy without limit, and its unintended and unrecognized designation of the United States as a "rogue regime," http://informationclearinghouse.info/article15270.htm
Abu Ghraib Porn, Not Torture? Get Real !!
For the story behind the story... Friday, Oct. 13, 2006 12:24 a.m. EDT
Rep. Shays: Abu Ghraib More Porn Than Torture
Republican Rep. Christopher Shays said Friday the Abu Ghraib prison abuses were more about pornography than torture.
The congressman, who is in a tough re-election fight, said a National Guard unit was primarily responsible for the abuses.
"It was a National Guard unit run amok," Shays said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "It was torture because sex abuse is torture. It was gross and despicable . . . This is more about pornography than torture."
In fact, the 372nd Military Police Company from Cresaptown, Md., is an Army Reserve unit not National Guard. [ He is wrong about the National Guard unit. He is wrong about the sexual abuse of prisoners being more about porn than about torture. Photos showed not only the sexual humiliation of prisoners being "dog piled" nude in a human pyramid, but also forced, non-consensual fellatio, rape, indecent exposure, and forced, anal self abuse (that guards claimed was voluntary); other photos revealed pants and underwear pulled down on handcuffed, prone prisoners. Prisoner reports included claims of rape of children and women/girls. Photos of girls displaying breasts were allegedly voluntary and the girls were claimed to be prostitutes; guards could claim anything to excuse themselves, such as the photos of the young man they called "shit boy" because he was covered in feces, allegedly done to himself.
If these offenses were committed against American men, women and children by Iraqis, it definitely would have been called sexual TORTURE, NOT porn.]
Shays sought to defuse controversy over previous comments suggesting the Abu Ghraib abuses weren't torture but instead involved a sex ring of troops.
"Now I've seen what happened in Abu Ghraib, and Abu Ghraib was not torture," Shays said at a debate Wednesday.
"It was outrageous, outrageous involvement of National Guard troops from (Maryland) who were involved in a sex ring and they took pictures of soldiers who were naked," added Shays. "And they did other things that were just outrageous. But it wasn't torture." [ "just" outrageous? IT WAS TORTURE!!]
The lawmaker's comments were in a transcript of the debate provided by his opponent, Diane Farrell. Shays' campaign, contacted Friday, did not dispute the comments.
Abu Ghraib is the Baghdad prison where abuse of prisoners by U.S. soldiers led to an international scandal. Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib were brutalized and sexually humiliated by military police and intelligence agents in the fall of 2003. At least 11 U.S. soldiers have been convicted in the scandal.
In the debate, the congressman had been asked what the government should do to restore the nation's moral image in the wake of torture accusations at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison and Guantanamo Bay.
Shays said Friday he wished he had more fully explained his views at the debate.
"I was maybe not as expansive as I needed to be," he said. "Of course, the degrading of anyone is torture. We need to deal with it."
Shays said his debate comments reflected the disturbing photos he has seen of Abu Ghraib abuses: "Naked Iraqis, naked Americans, Americans having sex . . . gross and despicable pictures."
Shays is waging a bruising re-election fight against Farrell.
"Once again, Chris is trying to back away from an earlier statement because it's politically expedient," Farrell said Friday. "It's typical Chris."
Shays stirred controversy recently when he defended House Speaker Dennis Hastert's handling of a congressional page scandal, saying no one died like at Chappaquiddick in 1969 when Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy was involved.
[ What does one have to do with the other? The Kennedy/Chappaquiddick scandal EXCUSES Hastert's tolerance and secrecy about Foley and his pedophilia??]
© 2006 Associated Press.
[For more on Shay and the Hastert/Kennedy asinine remark, go to:
Shays on Foley handling: At least no one died - CNN.com
Click the following to access the sent link:
Shays on Foley handling: At least no one died - CNN.com*