September 27, 2004

Mental retreat, contd.

"There are fewer attacks here because we're out on the road less," an officer at the Marine headquarters near Fallujah said on condition of anonymity. "But you shouldn't conclude from that that things are any safer."

--Washington Post, Sunday

Posted by BruceR at 01:02 PM

Why things just keep getting worse

The Iraq Revolt, in one statistic:

From that date [June 10, 2004] until Sept. 10, 1,295 Iraqis were killed in clashes with multinational forces and police versus 516 killed in terrorist operations, the [Iraq health] ministry said.

From farther up in the article:

While most of the dead are believed to be civilians, the data include an unknown number of police and Iraqi national guardsmen. Many Iraqi deaths, especially of insurgents, are never reported, so the actual number of Iraqis killed in fighting could be significantly higher.

The article states the data set excludes armed resisters, who do not go to hospitals, and is a conservative estimate in other ways.

It is patronizing and false to assume that Iraqis are not basically rational actors here. They didn't wait for the statistics to draw the rational conclusion that American forces are more dangerous to them at present than the Americans' enemies are. You do not need to share a particular civilizational or religious worldview to see the logic of their reality. We would all draw the same conclusions in their place. A few more scenes from the occupation:

At al Kimdi Hospital, Dr. Mumtaz Jaber, a vascular surgeon, said that three months ago, his 3-year-old nephew, his sister and his brother-in-law were driving in Baghdad at about 9 p.m. when they saw an American checkpoint. His nephew was killed. "They didn't stop fast enough. The Americans shot them immediately," Jaber said. "This is how so many die."

At the Baghdad morgue, Dr. Quasis Hassan Salem said he saw a family of eight brought in: three women, three men and two children. They were sleeping on their roof last month because it was hot inside. A military helicopter shot at them and killed them: "I don't know why."

And of course, as soon as a little light threatens to shine through...

Iraq Health Ministry will no longer release casualty figures to media (Sept. 23)

Posted by BruceR at 10:09 AM