30,000 Iraqis More or Less
By Lucinda Marshall
12/15/05 "ICH" -- -- George's face was eerily matter-of-fact as he
said it. "30,000 Iraqis more or less" have been killed so far in the
'War on Terror'. No remorse or sadness, he seemed wholly unaffected
in any way by the enormity of such a loss of life, let alone that he
might bear some responsibility for it happening. But it was major
news that during his remarks to the World Affairs Conference in
Philadelphia, the President had finally put a figure on the number
of 'enemy' war dead and my local newspaper duly ran the story on
Asked about his linkage of Saddam Hussein to 911, Bush maintained
that Saddam had been a threat and that the reports of weapons of
mass destruction had been widely believed. He claimed that knowing
what he does now, he would make the same decision, that Saddam had
been a threat and that we are now safer. The President also talked
about the challenges nations face making a transition to what he
often terms a "free and democratic" society. One wonders if there
were chuckles at his understated, "I think we were welcomed. But it
was not a peaceful welcome."
In response to other questions, he also mentioned the number of
American war dead, and that he thought Iraqis responsible for prison
torture should be held accountable. But it wasn't until the 3rd from
last paragraph in the wire story that appeared in my local paper
that this chilling statement was reported,
"The long run in this war is going to require a change of
governments in parts of the world." Hello? Wait a minute, stop the presses, HE SAID WHAT?? But I
digress, we'll get back to this in a minute. The article finished by
noting that part of Bush's new strategy to win American support is
to be more frank in his discussion of Iraq.
Well that might be what his spinners are saying he is doing but
looking frank and being frank are two entirely different things.
Just because it sounds truthful does not hide the stench of
propaganda and deceit and it is the media's responsibility to not
only report what the President says, but also how what he says
contrasts with reality.
There was no mention that the only reason anyone believed the
'intelligence' about weapons of mass destruction was because the
Bush Administration had vouchsafed for it, even though at the time
there was ample evidence that it was horse pucky. Nowhere was there
any mention that the number of terrorist attacks throughout the
world has increased dramatically since 911. When Bush mentioned the
official number of American war dead, there was no mention that Rep.
John Conyers and other members of Congress are questioning the
accuracy of this number, and the bottom line is we don't have a clue
how many dead Iraqis there are. Might be 30,000 might be 100,000, we
simply don't know.
Predictably, the President babbled on about victory and the success
of "the mission", but the press, as it usually does, declined to
question just what mission he was talking about. Was it the one to
get Bin Laden? Or the one to get Saddam? To find WMDs? Stop
terrorism? And what would constitute a victory over terrorism? A
little clarification is long overdue, don't you think?
Nowhere in the coverage was there any comparison of the torture the
President accuses the Iraqis of to the secret prisons run by the
U.S. or the prisoner abuse at places like Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.
Unbelievably, in commenting about the speech, the top Democrat on
the Armed Services Committee, Carl Levin, said that, "We must tell
the Iraqis that we have done our part--we've done more than our
part. Now it's up to you (the Iraqis) to get your political house in
Levin's thinking seems to be the attitude of many Republicans and
Democrats alike. We've apparently become amnesiac about the fact
that we destroyed their government, bombed their cities, used
chemical weapons, demolished water and electrical systems? Does Mr.
Levin consider that part to be part of "our part"?
But clearly the most important thing we need to know is just how
many governments does Bush plan to 'change' in the name of
democracy? Over and over in his speech he compared the Iraqi
situation to our own fight for freedom against the British. There is
just one little difference. We fought for our own freedom, the
British did not demand that we become a democracy. That can hardly
be compared to bombing a country into 'freedom'. Apparently we've
forgotten our grade school history lessons.
In the end, it all comes down to this: At what point will we finally
quit nodding like bobbleheads and start demanding the truth, both
from our media and from our government? When do we quit handing out
political free lunch passes for such wholly inapplicable euphemisms
as 'victory' and 'success' when the real topics on the table are
lying, war crimes and treason?
Lucinda Marshall is a feminist artist, writer and activist. She
is the Founder of the Feminist Peace Network,
www.feministpeacenetwork.org. Her work has been published in
numerous publications in the U.S. and abroad including, Awakened
Woman, Alternet, Dissident Voice, Off Our Backs, The Progressive,
Rain and Thunder, Z Magazine , Common Dreams and Information
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