Friday, June 03, 2005

Moving On

The Washington Post is reporting on an announcement by the Iraqi Interior Minister, Bayan Jabr: Iraq Puts Civilian Toll at 12,000
BAGHDAD, June 2 -- Violence in the course of the insurgency over the past 18 months has claimed the lives of 12,000 Iraqis, Interior Minister Bayan Jabr said Thursday, giving the first official count for the largest category of victims of bombings, ambushes and other increasingly deadly attacks.
At first glance this seems a low figure given that the internationally respected Iraq Body Count organisation is reporting a much higher death toll. Reading the article, the difference is readily explainable. The 12,000 figure refers to the last 18 months only, and only includes deaths caused by the insurgency. The article goes on to comment on US policy with regard to civilian casualties. It casts more light on the disparity.
No official totals have been released for those dead, or for the total number of civilian casualties since the start of the war. The U.S. military says it does not keep a comprehensive tally of people it has killed in combat, although it has released numbers of dead in major operations and has acknowledged civilians it has killed if it has become generally known that those people died during a U.S. firefight or attack.
There we have it. It seems that US military policy is to admit to killing civilians only when it has already become generally known. If it's only the US military themselves who know, well, they just aren't going to bother telling anyone else what they've done. You can see their point, why should they? It'll only cause bad publicity.

A quick reminder of the words of our great leader.
In addition I know that Iraq has been a deeply divisive issue in this country - that's been very, very clear. But I also know and believe that after this election people want to move on; they want to focus on the future in Iraq and here.
Tony Blair, 6th May, 2005
That's right, move on, nothing to see here...

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