Friday, July 13, 2007

Mounting Costs of the Iraq War

By Guest Blogger Shahtaj Siddiqui

I can't recall how many times I've arrived on the landing page of Yahoo! News, Google News or BBC News and seen the same headlines: ‘June named deadliest month for US soldiers in Iraq,’ or ‘Iraq bombing kills 37.’ Sadly, personally I read the headlines, reflect a moment on how wrong/terrible/unjust the war is, and move on to other news. Reports of these repeated attacks, now seemingly commonplace, bear a bitter truth that, despite efforts from Iraq Body Count, etc., we are unaware of the mounting costs of the Iraqi occupation.

Thankfully, there are organizations that are keeping tabs on such news. An October 2006 study published by The Lancet, a reputed British medical journal, estimated war-related deaths in Iraq at 15,000 per month, spiking to 30,000 per month during violent periods. Wait. October 2006. It’s now July 2007. Why haven’t we heard about the exorbitant casualty rates here?

Michael Schwartz, a contributor to Counterpunch, writes,

“The U.S. and British governments quickly dismissed these results as ‘methodologically flawed,’ even though the researchers used standard procedures for measuring mortality in war and disaster zones. (They visited a random set of homes and asked the residents if anyone in their household had died in the last few years, recording the details, and inspecting death certificates in the vast majority of cases.) The two belligerent governments offered no concrete reasons for rejecting the study’s findings, and they ignored the fact that they had sponsored identical studies (conducted by some of the same researchers) in other disaster areas, including Darfur and Kosovo. The reasons for this rejection were, however, clear enough: the results were simply too devastating for the culpable governments to acknowledge. (Secretly the British government later admitted that it was ‘a tried and tested way to measuring mortality in conflict zones’; but it has never publicly admitted its validity).”

(Read on at: Counterpunch)

Congress recently approved another $166 billion for the war in Iraq, bringing US military spending in Iraq and Afghanistan to a conservative estimate of $12 billion a month, thus far a total of half a trillion dollars spent on the war. (ABC News). These war funds are appropriated by our work and our tax money. How much longer can we go with our work, our effort, our money being used to murder innocent civilians? For how long do we remain apathetic? What is the price of our apathy?

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