Tuesday, March 21, 2006

News from Baghdad

These letters say it better than I ever could:

From the Seattle Times:

From "Relatives, police say 11 killed — mostly women, children — in U.S. raid" [Times, News, March 15]: "U.S. forces bombed a house during a raid north of Baghdad early Wednesday, killing 11 people — mostly women and children — while insurgent attacks elsewhere left four dead, police and relatives said.

"The U.S. military acknowledged the raid and said it captured one insurgent. It took place near Balad, about 50 miles north of the capital. But the military said only four people were killed — a man, two women and a child."

As Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld stated so clearly and so eloquently the other day, the reports of carnage and death in Iraq are continually being grossly exaggerated by unreliable sources. As he would have us note, according to the U.S. military (as we all know, the standard-bearers for truth), we didn't kill 11 people, for crying out loud — we "only" killed a man, two women and one child.

But hey, we got one insurgent!

Do the math: If we can keep the civilian death-to-insurgent capture ratio at 4-to-1, we will win this war in a relatively short period of 27 years and the new Iraq government will then have far fewer civilians to oversee, which in turn will make its job easier and increases its chances of success.

A classic win-win situation.

— Dennis Pauley, Seattle

from the Seattle Times:

Tug of war
To save the people, has it become necessary to destroy the people?

"Solid figures missing on total death toll" [Times, News, March 19] mentioned the Lancet medical journal's estimate of 98,000 civilian deaths [in Iraq]. But as stunning as that number is, there is another statistic from the Lancet, unmentioned in the article, that is even more powerful. And it turns our perception of civilian deaths in Iraq on its head.

"[The Lancet article's] most significant finding was that the vast majority (79 percent) of violent deaths were caused by 'coalition' forces using 'helicopter gunships, rockets or other forms of aerial weaponry,' and that almost half (48 percent) of these were children, with a median age of 8."

Four out of every five civilian deaths in Iraq were caused by "aerial weaponry." The insurgents do not have aerial weaponry.

That means U.S. forces applying air firepower — not insurgent bombs — cause the overwhelming number of civilian deaths. And half of these deaths are children.

What are we doing in this war?!

— Bert Sacks, Seattle

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