Thursday, October 19, 2006

Air Strikes in Iraq: 75,000 dead

Gwynne Dyer, military historian and intellectual eccentric [1], has analyzed the Lancet study (600,000 dead - about 60% of the US civil war dead in a comparable population) of Iraqi post-invasion mortality. He shreds the usual criticisms, but also makes a unique observation:
The most disturbing thing is the breakdown of the causes of death. Over half the deaths -- 56 percent -- are due to gunshot wounds, but 13 percent are due to air strikes. No terrorists do air strikes. No Iraqi government forces do air strikes, either, because they don't have combat aircraft. Air strikes are done by "coalition forces" (i.e. Americans and British), and air strikes in Iraq have killed over 75,000 people since the invasion.

Oscar Wilde once observed that "to lose one parent...may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness." To lose 75,000 Iraqis to air strikes looks like carelessness, too.
I have a dim memory that "carelessness" in the context of military operations in a civilian environment can be considered a war crime. I believe that's where Dyer is going with this.

Maybe Kissinger can replace Rumsfeld and the circle will be complete ...

[1] Anyone who displays their publications on the web as .txt files is, by today's standards, eccentric.

1 comment:

JGF said...

It will be interesting to read the letters page. Have you written a letter to Lancet?

I'd like to see better data, but I doubt the US is going to fund a f/u study. I would not be at all surprised if the US military, behind closed doords, finds the numbers believable.

I think we'll hear more about the casualties associated with the quiet air war ...