Yet another sad milestone is reached in Iraq, with Reuters reporting today that four US soldiers killed in Baghdad, pushing the US military death toll in Iraq to 4,000 just days into the sixth year of a war that Bush is still publicly maintaining we are on track to win. According to the Pentagon, the soldiers were killed by an IED (roadside bomb), the leading source of casualties of American soldiers in the country in the last five years.
The dispatch also states: "On the same day dozens of Iraqis were killed in rocket and mortar attacks on the U.S.-protected Green Zone government and diplomatic compound in central Baghdad, and in other bombings in the capital and elsewhere." This is, not surprisingly treated more as an inconsequential aside, at least compared to the death of occupying military personnel. The wire service chose not to report on whether these "Iraqis" were civilians, militia members or part of the Iraqi government's army, apparently operating under the unspoken theory that the death of an Iraqi is a source of far less outrage to Western readers compared with the death of an American GI.
Further, what exactly is one to take away from the statement that "dozens" of these Iraqis, again, perhaps civillians, were killed. Are we talking 20? 30? 100 people were killed? The unstated assumption, once again, is that Western audiences really don't care, and since the Pentagon never really kept track of civilian casualties since first invading the country in 2003, it is a moot point anyway. But I think it's quite revealing that the death toll of US soldiers is assumed (correctly) as the most newsworthy milestone to report as compared to the multitude of other human rights atrocities continually being perpetuated by the occupation.
Here are some links for some other significant developments in Iraq this week — all of them pointing to the fact that the surge policy has meant nothing in terms of curbing civilian deaths and chaos.
• McClatchy's Washington Bureau: "A critical cease-fire in Iraq [is] appearing to unravel."
• AP reports: "At least 61 people (civilians) were killed across the country."
• The Guardian (UK): "80,000 angry men: Is the US surge collapsing?"
• ABC News: "Iraqi families angered by Blackwater's attempts to buy them off with 'blood money'."
• The Guardian (UK): "Bush likely to delay planned withdrawal of troops from Iraq."
• Foreign Policy in Focus (via Alternet): "The Iraqi Civil War Bush and the Media Don’t Tell You About."
• IPS News: "More Iraqis continue to flee their country than the numbers returning, despite official claims to the contrary."
surplus to political requirements
1 year ago