Tuesday, 13 January 2009

We don't do body counts

Many years ago I came across a website entitled Iraq Body Count, at the time I was researching a quote I had read attributed to a US General Tommy Franks, thus - "We don't do body counts". Around then (2004) I was horrified to see that the civilian death count total had hit 10,000 (yes ten thousand), and that seemingly nobody other than the IBC was counting, nobody cared?

Years have passed, with us all forgetting Iraq, as it is displaced in the headlines by the latest celebrity-do-dah-shit-reality-cheap TV headline...

Old Holborn's post today citing 1.3 million deaths as a result of US action in Iraq hit me right between the eyes, and prompted me to revisit the IBC website.

As it stands IBC are quoting 93-98,000 civilian deaths, a bit of a difference from the justforeignpolicy.org total, in fact by an astonishing factor of more than 10 times. Both organisations use different methodologies to calculate their figures, as can be seen by their macabre totals. I would say that statistical methodolgies are irrelevant, after all the US isn't keeping count so we have no 'official' figures - at least these guys are trying in the face of institutional obfuscation. I am sure we can say with reasonable certainty that the truth lies somewhere between the two figures.

One fact is irrefutable - too many innocent lives have been extinguished in a vanity war justified on the most tenuous of grounds. Be it the ridiculous claims of Al Quaeda in Iraq, the incredible disappearing WMDs or just downright family face saving revenge for a job that Dad didn't finish - our puppet like complicity in this massacre should have our government (and the supporters of our involvement) hanging their heads in shame.

If there was one compelling reason to rout the current Westminster Labour apparatchik machine it would be this, and this alone - we have no right and no mandate to take innocent lives in Iraq. No wonder Labour is reluctant to criticise Israel for their behaviour towards Palestinians, I am not in the habit of quoting the Christian fantasy novel but "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone" seems to be worth considering when trying to make sense of the UK & US reluctance to condemn the Old Testament team...

Last word to Gerald Scarfe of the Times:

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