According to Sourcewatch, Physicians For Social Responsibility was founded in 1961 and “is a non-profit advocacy organization that is the medical and public health voice for policies to stop nuclear war and proliferation and to slow, stop and reverse global warming and toxic degradation of the environment.”
PSR’s new report “Body Count Of The War On Terror” calculates around 1 million people dead in Iraq as a direct result of the US-lead invasion in 2003.
This investigation comes to the conclusion that the war has, directly or indirectly, killed around 1 million people in Iraq, 220,000 in Afghanistan and 80,000 in Pakistan, i.e. a total of around 1.3 million. Not included in this figure are further war zones such as Yemen. The figure is approximately 10 times greater than that of which the public, experts and decision makers are aware of and propagated by the media and major NGOs. And this is only a conservative estimate. The total number of deaths in the three countries named above could also be in excess of 2 million, whereas a figure below 1 million is extremely unlikely.
PSR cautions us to be careful of accepting the estimates from Western governments and media:
Unfortunately, the media often portray passively collected figures as the most realistic aggregate number of war casualties. Valuable as they may be for gaining a preliminary impression on the extent of violence, they can only serve as minimum numbers. And unsurprisingly, the numbers supplied by the involved Western governments and the organizations close to them also do not produce a complete picture, since they mainly publish what is absolutely undeniable. Whoever wants to trace the actual number of war casualties will have to look for them actively, as was done, for instance, in the 2006 study in Iraq published by the renowned medical journal Lancet.
Further to my recent post on the same subject, it’s worth remembering this number when you hear the media and governments talking about what the brutality of ISIS/ISIL/Daesh.
When their side kill civilians, it’s brutality and they are terrorists and a death cult.
When our side does it, it’s “regime change” or “spreading democracy” or “collateral damage”.
Good luck finding a mention of this report in your local news.
(Thanks to podcast listener Paula Davis for the link!)
I was reading about Saudi Arabia’s bombing of targets in Yemen yesterday and realised I don’t know much about Yemen, so I compiled this briefing note for myself.
When you’re reading the news about ISIL’s bloody campaign to get political control of Iraq, it’s worth keeping in mind another bloody campaign to get political control of Iraq that started 12 years ago, lead by the US, with coalition partners including Australia and the UK.
According to the Iraq Body Count project, the current death toll of the ISIL insurgency since 2011 stands at around 38,000. That’s about 13,000 a year (although the annual number is growing steeply).
Comparatively, Iraq Body Count project found 174,000 Iraqis reported killed between 2003 and 2013, with between 112,000-123,000 of those killed being civilian noncombatants. That works out to about 17,400 a year.
Other sources, such as a Opinion Research Business (ORB) poll conducted August 12–19, 2007, estimated 1,033,000 violent deaths due to the US invasion, or about 258,000 a year for the first four years.
The PLOS Medicine Survey estimated 500,000 deaths in Iraq as direct or indirect result of the invasion from March 2003 to June, 2011, about 62,600 a year.
Of course, all of these figures are speculative, but at first glance, it looks like the Iraqi death toll under ISIL is much lower than it was under the US invasion.
I’m fascinated to watch how the world’s media is heaping posthumous praise on Lee Kuan Yew and compare it to their depiction of his contemporaries, like Fidel Castro they took power in the same year and are about the same age. Despite many similar aspects of their countries – a clamp down on political dissent, effectively single party rule, harsh treatment of homosexuality, limits on the right of assembly, nepotism, limits on freedom of the press, etc – LKY gets praised, mostly because he turned Singapore into a beacon of capitalism. Castro, on the other hand, has been the subject of continual criticism for 50 years because he threw the capitalists out of the country.
In a glowing obit, the NYT says LKY was “efficient, unsentimental, incorrupt, inventive, forward-looking and pragmatic” and has little negative to say about his authoritarian rule. Instead: “His leadership was sometimes criticized for suppressing freedom, but the formula succeeded. Singapore became an international business and financial center admired for its efficiency and low level of corruption.”
Politicians from around the world are singing his praises.
The lesson? Authoritarian capitalism = good. Authoritarian communism = bad. Even though they both rank highly in the UN Human Development Index, only one of them has been the subject of economic sanction for 50 years. It’s not the authoritarianism that the Western elite have a problem with – it’s what you do with it. If you’re a capitalist, everything else doesn’t matter apparently.
I, for one, am so glad we’ve been fighting over there in the Middle East to end terrorism for the past fifteen years. It seems to be going very, very well, I must say.