Monday, August 13, 2007

Alert: You Don't Have to be American to be Dead

I stole this graph from a stridently right-wing blog, where it stood alone, without comment, as though the facts it conveyed said it all. But what does the chart really say, and about whom?

Here are some ideas:

1. It says that very few Americans have died in the Iraq War, compared to other wars, so stop making such a big deal out of it; and

2. That grievously injured soldiers saved by our whizz-bang technology don't count either, though they may come to wish they had died outright, rather than piece by piece; and

3. American lives are the only ones anybody's counting, anyway. Only we matter, because we're, ah ... us.

How insulting all the way around. If my 18-year-old son had been hurt or killed in Iraq, I'd feel like reaching through cyberspace and strangling the designer of this graph (and the soul-dead partisan who heralds it as though it actually says something good), gladly raising the war-related death toll by two.

But the more important point is this. Now listen up, because here's some key information. Iraqis who are dead because of this war are dead. They're people, too, just like us, and they didn't invite us to come on over, blow their country apart and ignite a civil war that would get thousands of them killed.

No one can contest these facts.

So, in the name of plain decency, let's say it again. It's worth saying. You don't have to be an American to be dead, to lose everything, and to weep forever over the loss of the people you love most.


petersim said...

Good point. The Iraqi dead are significantly missing from the numbers.
I am tired of Americans saying "let's get out." without spelling out a plan to support the people of Iraq. Kucinich seems to have done that clearly.
On NPR this am John McCain said that the new program is working. The one he insisted would work in the first place.
Another number I'd like to see. The number of Conscientious Objectors in that list of wars.

cyrus pinkerton said...

No one can contest these facts.

Sadly, some people are contesting this fact. There are some (e.g., Shannon Love) who argue that it is quite possible that fewer Iraqis have died as result of our invasion and occupation of Iraq. Much of the recent speculation about this rests with a fatally flawed statistical study by David Kane that, although not ready for peer review, has been posted online and touted by Michelle Malkin and other reactionary bloggers.

The Kane analysis has no scientific merit, but that won't slow down the rightwing blogs like the one from which you stole the graph. If they can (falsely) claim that the war has saved lives, you can bet their shrieking will only get louder. Plain decency, I'm afraid, doesn't matter at all to some.

SnowDahlia said...

I have no doubt some war apologists may indeed contest the basic facts of this conflict, going so far perhaps as to claim that we saved lives rather than sacrificed them. However, unless someone is aware of a referendum passed by the Iraqis that said, "We so hate our current leader that we'll do anything to get rid of him, even if it means thousands of us will be killed, dislocated and reduced to poverty," then they can't refute the point I'm making here.

cyrus pinkerton said...


As I understand it, the argument made by some war apologists is that many more Iraqis were dying before our invasion and occupation; therefore we have saved lives by removing Saddam Hussein.

Sadly, this sort of "denial of reality" based argument is very popular nowadays.

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