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Tuesday, April 08, 2003
Body counts
Remember all the pre-war predictions that thousands, or tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of civilians would be killed in our attack on Iraq? According to the anti-war "researchers" behind the Iraq Body Count -- people who have been known to inflate their research for political effect -- there have been about 1000 Iraqi civilian casualties since the war began. About 1000 civilians were killed in one day in the Congo last week. There is no Congo Body Count website.

This is not to say that civilian casualties in Iraq are anything other than a tragedy, but it does put the numbers into perspective. And it does put the biases of those counting these Iraqi deaths into perspective (as if they weren't obvious already). It's not civilian lives they care about; it's only whether they can blame the United States for them. These totals are amazingly low, but do we hear that? No; we hear about an attack on a Baghdad market which the U.S. may or may not have been responsible for.

I anticipate one possible rebuttal: that numbers don't tell the story of the human tragedy. When someone dies it isn't a statistic; the people at that market had families, and those families suffer even if the U.S. is being careful. Yes, yes, yes, whatever. So if it isn't about statistics, why have the Iraq Body Count at all?

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