Wednesday, November 17, 2004

So Many Lies, Some Go Unnoticed

To describe the level of lies and spins surrounding the Iraq war, 'Orwellian' might no longer be a strong enough term. Below are three that failed to get the attention of even most critics due to greater outrages.

First let's read these lines, splattered all across the news last week resp. three weeks ago:

"Associated Press
Nov. 9, 2004 08:50 AM
WASHINGTON - Eleven U.S. troops were killed in Iraq Monday, the highest single day death toll in the country in more than six months, officials said." [Source]

"BAGHDAD, Iraq, Oct. 30 - Eight marines were killed and nine others wounded west of the capital on Saturday when a suicide car bomb rammed into their convoy... The Marines later reported a ninth combat death on Saturday... The number of American troops killed Saturday was the highest in a single day since May 2, when nine troops died in attacks across the country." [Source]

Now this is scandalous to troops-loving Americans, especially those who realise just for what these soldiers died. But there is another scandal of hiding casualty levels - the Army does it by releasing casualty reports with different delays and in a chaotic manner (some announcements are made by CENTCOM, others by DoD, still others by the local command...); the media does it by not adding up. For, there were single days with higher casualties than these which didn't make it into the headlines, or even the footnotes:

  • 9th November: just the day after the headline-making day, 14 died. (And 11 US deaths again on the 12th, and 12 deaths on the 15th.)
  • 14th September: 10 died.
  • 6th September: 12 died; I wrote about it when 10 were announced.

Second, there was much outrage about the execution of a wounded Iraqi lying on the floor, also of the open justification of it by fellow Marines, but only a few noted that contrary to what most of the media repeated without thinking or checking, the executed was not the only executed, and probably not a fighter. He was not only not armed. He was the last survivor of a different Marine unit's assault on this mosque, an assault that killed ten people inside - that unit left behind the five wounded survivors on the floor. One died until this second unit came the next day:

A marine who emerged from the mosque told an inquiring lieutenant that people had been shot inside. When the lieutenant asked if the people were armed, the soldier just shrugged, Sites said. Once inside the mosque, the NBC correspondent said he saw five injured Iraqi prisoners who had been left behind on Friday, four of whom had been shot again. [APF report]

The troops knew they were in there before they walked in, weapons down. Watch the tape. One of the soldiers clearly says "these are the injured", so they also knew that some of them were still alive. The reporter also notes that the troops knew the injured Iraqis were left there by other soldiers the day before. Add dereliction of the duty of care to prisoners, who cannot simply be left to die, to the charge of murder. [Ron F @ Lenin's Tomb, Comments]

Third, there was much talk about the sky-high hypocrisy of justifying the invasion of Fallujah with the presence of Zarkawi, something they didn't even care to prove with phoney evidence (like they did for WMD, let's not forget another stellar performance by our supposed friend, supposed moderate, outgoing Secretary Of State Colin Powell) - and then shrugging that he 'probably left' before the invasion. But Eli at Left I reminds us that the percentage of foreign fighters among those detained in Fallujah is less than the percentage of non-US fighters in the US armed forces...

Most people have been by now that only 20 out of more than 1000 insurgents captured in Fallujah were non-Iraqis. For reference, the U.S. Army has 500,000 active-duty troops, and 31,000 members of the U.S. Armed Forces (all services) are not U.S. citizens. I couldn't come up with the size of the Air Force and Marines, but assuming another 250,000 troops, that's 4% of the U.S. armed forces, more than twice the percentage of "foreign fighters" found in Fallujah. Of course, all of the 10,000 U.S. troops who bombed and invaded Fallujah were "foreign fighters."


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