Died some, pro patria,
non ‘dulce’ non ‘et decor’…
walked eye-deep in hell
believing in old men's lies
Ezra Pound, Hugh Selwyn Mauberley (1920)
Nowak: In July and August 2006 alone, the bodies of 6500 persons were found who had been abducted and often very gravely tortured -- that is more than 100 people each day. I collaborated on this report to the extent that I interviewed various victims and non-governmental organizations. Many of them credibly reported that in their view the situation is now worse than it was under Saddam Hussein.
Under his dictatorship there was also terrible torture, but one could at least still predict who would have to fear being tortured. Today, on the other hand, the security situation is out of control to such an extent that in the final analysis every person can become a victim of abductions, summary executions, and the worst methods of torture: people's limbs are being amputated, their fingers are missing, their eyes have been put out."
Washington Post reporter Rajiv Chandrasekaran spent time in
Chandrasekaran: Before the war, Iraqis were petrified that one wrong step would result in arrest and imprisonment. Today, as we all know so well, the Iraqis live under a very different sort of fear. In fact, many of the Iraqis I know well say they are far more afraid now than they ever were before the war. Back then, if you kept your mouth shut and your head down, you'd be fine. Now, danger lurks everywhere.
Jane Arraf, NBC correspondent in
Some readers and viewers think we journalists are exaggerating about the situation in
I'm more puzzled by comments that the violence isn't any worse than any American city. Really? In which American city do 60 bullet-riddled bodies turn up on a given day? In which city do the headless bodies of ordinary citizens turn up every single day? In which city would it not be news if neighborhood school children were blown up? In which neighborhood would you look the other way if gunmen came into restaurants and shot dead the customers?
Day-to-day life here for Iraqis is so far removed from the comfortable existence we live in the
It's almost impossible to describe what it feels like being stalled in traffic, your heart pounding, wondering if the vehicle in front of you is one of the three or four car bombs that will go off that day. Or seeing your husband show up at the door covered in blood after he was kidnapped and beaten.
Imagine the worst day you've ever had in your life, add a regular dose of terror and you'll begin to get an idea of what it's like every day for a lot of people here.
And now, researchers at
The figure for the number of deaths attributable to the conflict - which amounts to around 2.5% of the population - is at odds with figures cited by the US and UK governments and will cause a storm, but the Lancet says the work, from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, has been examined and validated by four separate independent experts who all urged publication.
In October 2004, the same researchers published a study estimating that 100,000 Iraqis had died as a result of the war since the beginning of the March 2003 invasion, a figure that was hugely controversial. Their new study, they say, reaffirms the accuracy of their survey of two years ago and moves it on.
"Although such death rates might be common in times of war, the combination of a long duration and tens of millions of people affected has made this the deadliest international conflict of the 21st century and should be of grave concern to everyone," write the authors, Gilbert Burnham and colleagues.
"At the conclusion of our 2004 study we urged that an independent body assess the excess mortality that we saw in
Of the deaths, 31% were ascribed to the US-led forces. Most deaths were from gunshot wounds (56%), with a further 13% from car bomb injuries and 14% the result of other explosions.
Juan Cole takes a look at the report:
The study concludes that an average of 470 Iraqis per day have likely died as a result of political violence since March 19, 2003, though the number could be as low as 350 per day if the margin of error skewed to the low side. United Nations estimates based on figures from Iraqi morgues are more like 100 per day.
I follow the violence in
First of all, Iraqi Muslims don't believe in embalming or open casket funerals days later. They believe that the body should be buried by sunset the day of death, in a plain wooden box. So there is no reason to expect them to take the body to the morgue. Although there are benefits to registering with the government for a death certificate, there are also disadvantages. Many families who have had someone killed believe that the government or the Americans were involved, and will have wanted to avoid drawing further attention to themselves by filling out state forms and giving their address.
Personally, I believe very large numbers of Iraqi families quietly bury their dead without telling the government of all people anything about it. Another large number of those killed is dumped in the
Interesting conclusions are that we are wrong to focus so much on suicide car bombings. The real action is just shooting enemies down with bullets. Only 30 percent of the deaths have been caused by the
And, folks, this is a major civil war, with something close to 200,000 dying every year.
This study is going to have a hard ride. In part it is because many of us in the information business are not statistically literate enough to judge the sampling techniques. Many will tend to dismiss the findings as implausible without a full appreciation of how low the margin of error is this time. Second, it is a projection, and all projections are subject to possible error, and journalists, being hardnosed people, are wary of them.
Ironically enough, the same journalists who will question this study will accept without query the estimates for deaths in
Bush’s glib response: "Six hundred thousand or whatever they guessed at . . . it's not credible."
Perhaps the President thinks researchers at Johns Hopkins "guessed at" their results, because that's what he and his administration have been doing all along. Going to invade
But he is right about one thing: credibility is important. So, who is more credible: Researchers at
Oh, his quote comes from an article this afternoon entitled: Bombs blitz
In violence on the ground, the leader of a religious minority was shot dead in front of his home and US soldiers battled to control a fire triggered by a mortar attack on an ammunition store.
The latest attacks came after two days in which
[U.N. Under Secretary General Jan Egeland, said,] “Our appeal goes to everybody who can curb the violence: religious, ethnic, cultural leaders have to see that this has spiralled totally out of control.”
So . . . we've spent $400,000,000,000.
The National Intelligence Estimate, “based on the considered analysis of all 16 of the
Osama Bin Laden is still a free man.
And on top of it all, more people in
I’ll let Ezra Pound finish this post, also from Hugh Selwyn Mauberley:
There died a myriad,
And of the best, among them,
For an old bitch gone in the teeth,
For a botched civilization.