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Civilian 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 publication."

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 mount.

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 Constitution itself.

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 a result.

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 dennisr@cp.duluth.mn.us

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