Casualties Will Soar
April 2, 2003
By Dennis Rahkonen
The official U.S. version of what's going on in Iraq is just
so much disinformational nonsense. A totally different picture
emerges from foreign and independent sources, which uniformly
agree regarding this pivotal factor:
There have been many more Iraqi civilian casualties than
either the White House, the Pentagon or our whitewashing monopoly
news channels are admitting to.
Furthermore, it's the savagery of that brutality - not any
purported threats from special "fedayeen" - that's driving
the Iraqi people, operating in organized militias or as ad
hoc guerrillas, to seek revenge with a fierce determination
that really shouldn't surprise anyone.
The most authoritative and up-to-date measure of the carnage
being inflicted on Iraqi civilians is provided by www.iraqbodycount.net,
initiated by Marc Herold, Ph.D, Departments of Economics and
Women's Studies at the University of New Hampshire.
Herold uses the same cross-referencing of a vast information
data base that allowed him to document how many noncombatants
perished in Afghanistan, under U.S. and allied fire.
"Casualty figures are derived from a comprehensive survey
of online media reports. Where these sources report differing
figures, the range (a minimum and a maximum) are given. All
results are independently reviewed and error-checked by at
least three members of the Iraq Body Count project team before
What's worse, as the egregious myth that Iraqis would dance
in the streets to welcome their liberation evaporates and
the grim reality fully sets in that an invaded nation's people
are broadly fighting for their self-determination and very
survival... civilian casualties will certainly, precipitously
It'll be Vietnam deja vu.
Many of us starkly remember the process by which people we
were initially told were our friends quickly went to being
despised enemies ("gooks") - and fair game for slaughter -
to such extent that massacres like My Lai became routine.
We also know that the bombing and missile attacks of both
Gulf War One and Kosovo, at first directed mainly at command
and control targets, gradually shifted to civilian infrastructure
and an escalating occurrence of terrible strikes on noncombatants
that happened with too great a frequency to credibly by attributed
to simple, accidental "collateral damage".
When Bush's invasion hits Baghdad's residential streets,
does anyone seriously think that resulting heavy combat -
supported by artillery, tanks and helicopter gunships - won't
claim untold civilian lives?
When it gets down to "us" or "them", our troops aren't going
to differentiate or discriminate. As bullets whiz all around
in the heat of battle, they'll kill anything that moves. (Think
in terms of major war being waged in your neighborhood. Could
you guarantee your family's safety?)
George Bush and his warmonger advisors who took America into
this objectively unwarranted war will be entirely to blame
for the ensuing bloodbath, plus the accompanying humanitarian
disaster. George Bush and the rightwing U.S. gang that hijacked
our foreign policy and made it a bludgeon for stealing oil
and establishing imperial hegemony - in blatant violation
of not only the UN charter and international law, but our
What's most disturbing, though, is the sad expectation that
it wouldn't be Iraqi deaths, even if they numbered in the
many thousands, that would finally break domestic jingoism's
back and abruptly shift public opinion to an undeniable peace
majority. Only mass loss of life on our side could bring such
We must pray that doesn't happen. But God may have another
outcome in mind - a punishment for our sins of greed, arrogance,
and astonishingly cruel double standards.
Dennis Rahkonen, from Superior, WI, has written commentary
and verse for various progressive outlets since the ‘60s.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org