August 09, 2003

Independent Watch There's been a

Independent Watch

There's been a slew of stories on the 100-day mark since Dubya declared major combat in Iraq over. The Independent has a roundup that includes quotes from the likes of Jerry Bremmer, Robin Cook, Robert Fisk and various Iraqis (including some 'man on the street' style interviews). OK, fair enough.

But then they tabulate casualties (ostensibly) post May 1st at the bottom of the article:

"57 US troops, 11 British troops killed since 1 May
35 allied troops died in accidents,
3 possible suicides, 3 drowned
1,000 children injured by unexploded ordnance
15 to 25 civilians shot dead daily in Baghdad
1 UK journalist shot dead"

The U.S. troops number is a tad higher than the Pentagon's official number but close enough. And, while we are not even told who committed suicide or "drowned" (coalition troops, Iraqis?)--I can accept those figures too. But 1,000 children injured by unexploded ordnance? And 15 to 25 civilians shot to death daily in Baghdad alone?

Hard to believe. So take a look at this anti-war site, Iraq Body Count, that attempts to tabulate civilian casualties. There is no evidencing here of a daily tally of civilian deaths in Baghdad alone (or, for that matter, even country-wide) of 15-25 individuals.

Perhaps the Independent might clue us into their source on this figure? Or did they just make the number up?

Listen, it's quite clear that more Iraqi civilians died during major hostilities in Iraq than during 9/11. We need to take stock of that more often. Every death of innocents like these is to be deeply regretted.

But that doesn't mean newspapers can just fabricate numbers from whole cloth willy-nilly to suit their anti-american agendas.

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