Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A BETTER BODYCOUNT?

I’m intrigued by this:

“Study: 655,000 Iraqis Died Due to War”

http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/10/10/D8KM6GL80.html

From the article:

“In the new study, researchers attempt to calculate how many more Iraqis have died since March 2003 than one would expect without the war. Their conclusion, based on interviews of households and not a body count, is that about 600,000 died from violence, mostly gunfire. They also found a small increase in deaths from other causes like heart disease and cancer…”

The rise in “other causes” is probably due to hardship and lack of preventative care…

What if it is correct?

The results are sure to add a little more shit to the fan. According to the article, return fire is already coming in. Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic & International Studies in Washington criticized the way the estimate was derived and noted that the results were released shortly before the Nov. 7 election.

“"This is not analysis, this is politics," Cordesman said.”

But wait a minute, it is analysis. It is just a different method. How do you count chaos?

All bodycounts in Iraq right now are somebody’s SWAG. There are multiple data sources tracking different segments of the population in different ways. Each of Iraq’s three significantly involved Ministries – Health, Interior, and Defense – keeps their own tallies derived from different sources.

Then there are watchdog groups and the UN…

As I said, I’m intrigued. I’m not considering the magnitude – any is too many – but rather the idea. It is an interesting sort of thinking outside the box… Ask the actual people who are burying actual relatives? Whoda thunk it…

And it will be interesting to see if anyone has any spare energy left to argue about this, considering how much else there is to argue about. The number can only be discussed in relativistic terms. It may be “big” compared to other estimates, but more civilians have died in many other wars in other times – Vietnam, for example…

Still, any is too many, and for a Nation that seems to pride itself on its great skill in waging “bloodless war” – enemy combatant blood excepted – this may be a sobering realization.

Three years of war… The siege of Leningrad lasted just about 3 years, and according to Soviet figures, about 670,000 civilians died.

But those pesky unofficial estimates are much higher…

So the more it changes the more it stays the same… The same for dead people, whether intentionally targeted by an implacable enemy or dead as part of “collateral damage.”

And the same for body counters.

Comments:
One hears these figures all the time and one has to wonder - how can people devote so much study time to come up with such a precise accurate figure yet they never take the extra step of saying how most of the deaths occurred. How were these people killed? Were they sitting in their house eating ice cream and US soldiers came in and shot them all dead? Its interesting, when US soldiers capture someone on the battlefield they are to be considered not an enemy combatant but rather a soldier, entitled to full Geneva Convention rights. Yet, if that same person is shot on the battlefield rather than captured they are a civilian, at least that is the implication here. Very curious to say the least.

The interesting thing is how this is even news at all. Yes, lots of dead Iraqis. Yes plenty of dead Iranians and Syrians as well. Yes, much more than had the war been going on. Know why? Its real simple. Because there is a war going on. People tend to die in war. Lots of times innocent people die most of the time it is soldiers, combatants. That's also what happens in a war. In the end it is in everyone's interest to avoid collateral damage, people tend to turn against you when there is too much of that.

As for the UN, I sure wouldn't look for any sort of accurate numbers from them. They have a pretty poor record on that sort of thing, Im still waiting for the Rwanda numbers from them. How many people would have been saved from genocide if the UN could have spared a couple of hundred troops? Oh well, guess we will never know. The UN never is evil, only the US. Hey, wait a second, wouldn't we kind of maybe not be in this Iraq thing at all if it wasn't for the UN guys getting bought off by Saddam with the oil for food bribery scandal? I mean, maybe they would have enforced some of those 14 resolutions rather than just letting Saddam slide. Hmmmm I am sensing a pattern here you sly boots you.

Damn, I should have been a reporter. What a great gig, travel the world, report the obvious and get paid for it. Oh well, maybe in another life.
 
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