… for a timely reality check as we see progress from sheer shrieking nutbar delusion, and enter a new phase in which the beginnings of skepticism are driven by self-serving sanctimony:
All of the front-runners in the Democratic race borrow the language of pop therapy to discuss the war and the toll it has taken not on Iraq, a country so absent from their campaigns it may as well be on another planet, but on the American people themselves. To hear John Kerry, John Edwards and Howard Dean tell it, the invasion was less a war of aggression against a sovereign nation than a civil war within the United States, a traumatic event that severed Americans from their faith in politicians, from their rightful place in the world and from their tax dollars.
“The price of unilateralism is too high and Americans are paying it — in resources that could be used for health care, education and our security here at home,” Mr. Kerry said on Dec. 16. “We are paying that price in respect lost around the world. And most importantly, that price is paid in the lives of young Americans forced to shoulder the burden of the mission alone.”
Conspicuously absent from Mr. Kerry’s tally are the lives of Iraqi civilians lost as a direct result of the invasion. Even Mr. Dean, the “anti-war candidate,” regularly suffers from the same myopic math. “There are now almost 400 people dead who wouldn’t be dead if we hadn’t gone to war,” he said in November. On Jan. 22, he put the total number of losses at “500 soldiers and 2,200 wounded.”
But on Feb. 8, while Mr. Kerry was in Virginia and Mr. Dean was in Maine, both of them assuring voters that they were the aggrieved and deceived victims of President George W. Bush’s war, the number of Iraqi civilians killed since the invasion reached as high as 10,000. That number is the most authoritative estimate available, since the occupying authorities in Iraq refuse to keep statistics on civilian deaths. It comes from Iraq Body Count, a group of respected British and U.S. academics who base their figures on cross-referenced reports from journalists and human-rights groups in the field.
We’ve seen this before. Vietnam is typically cast as a snare and a delusion, a victimized America brought down by an excess of idealism… as if the Viet Cong were itching for a fight, and lured G.I. Joe into their cunning trap. We hear plenty about the 58,000 Americans who died in the war, we hear less about “between one and two million Vietnamese deaths” (give or take a few hundred thousand), not to mention the widespread chemical weapon attacks on the civilian population.
:: Naomi Klein, Globe and Mail: Missing in action in Iraq
:: New Scientist, Depleted uranium casts shadow over peace in Iraq