An intellectual freedom blog with an emphasis on libraries and technology

Friday, September 14, 2007


I just read several blog entries on This Modern World concerning the number of Iraqis killed as a result of the war. The posts discuss the Lancet study and its contested results, as well as a new study and its methodology. You can read the original posts here, and here.

But the most revealing part of the story comes from what no one mentions anymore: the U.S. military has actively interdicted attempts to count civilian casualties. In November of 2004 the assault on Fallujah started with the capture of the cities hospitals. According to the story at the time:

One unnamed senior American officer acknowledged that the hospital had become a "center of propaganda," reflecting the military's frustration at the high death tolls doctors frequently announce after American bombing raids.

The Pentagon does not report "collateral" casualties. The Iraqis can not. So what does that mean? If you do not count them, they're not dead?

I am not surprised by the attack on factual information. Truth is, after all, truly the first casualty of war. What surprises me is the success.

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