Friday, September 10, 2004


At a time when everybody is noting the milestone in US casualties, Iraqis are wondering why nobody is counting their dead. A glance at the Iraq Body Count tally to my left shows that the best estimate is between 11800 and 13800; the reason it's only an estimate is because neither the US military or the Iraqi regime bothers to keep any records of civilian casualties; the regime went so far at one stage as to ban journalists from hospitals, to prevent any independent counts. It's inconvenient, you see. Especially when so many of the deaths are due to indiscriminate use of firepower by the occupying forces. As the Independent's Patrick Cockburn notes, "the Americans also have a much-feared practice of spraying fire in all directions when they come under attack". Then there's their habit of using overwhelming firepower in urban areas, seemingly without regard for civilian lives (vide Fallujah). "Trigger happy" seems to be an appropriate description here...