Today, we are calling the fact that, around now, on our best estimate, a million people have died in Iraq as a result of the chaos launched by the US and UK led invasion. That is a million people, the majority of them women and children, who would overwhelmingly be alive today were it not for the actions of governments acting on behalf of the large majority of readers of this blog, paid for by our taxes.
Click on the counter in the left margin to get an explanation of the estimate. It is based on the Lancet study that estimated 655,000 dead long since, an appraisal judged “sound” by the UK’s Chief Scientist and “If anything, an understimate” by the experts in the Department for International Development. Despite these endorsements from their own experts, the British government attempted to rubbish the study.
Not one of us has done enough to stop it. Whatever the vagaries of our electoral systems, it is to the eternal shame of both the US and UK that Blair and Bush were re-elected, by a substantial slice of our societies, after becoming war criminals.
Only the most rabid commentators now even attempt to justify the War in Iraq. Saddam Hussain was a terrible ruler, but the rate of death, the collapse of essential services and the destruction of integrated society, that we have brought upon Iraq is far worse. The near total silence of the pro-war lobby is stunning. I haven’t even heard “At least we got rid of Saddam” or “We brought freedom and democracy” for ages. Hopefully they hang their heads in shame. Except for the odd murmur that it’s all Al-Qaida’s fault, like the crestfallen schoolboy, head hanging, face flushed, caught with the stolen i-Pod in his pocket but still mumbling it was Tommy who done it.
Al-Qaida, of course, were virtually non-existent in Iraq before our invasion.
Gordon Brown is reportedly under great pressure from the White House not to pull out British forces and leave the US isolated. This is ridiculous. Basra, like so much of Iraq, is under control of disputatious local militias, often constituting rival units of the laughably named “Iraqi security services.” Our troops are effectively under siege, in horrible conditions, in isolated camps. When we send out patrols, we just lost three good men killed in four days.
Of course we don’t know the exact number of Iraqi dead. Nobody does – dead civilians are not considered important enough to count by the occupying forces. I don’t care if the estimate of a million is 50% out, either way. Hundreds of thousands of innocent people have died a terrible death, and we caused it. Not one of us has yet done enough to stop it. The guilt lies heaviest on Bush, Blair and Cheney.
But it lies on you and me too.
NB For a discussion of why the use of the estimate method is necessary and its likely validity see Casualty Monitor.