Thursday, July 21, 2005

IRAQ: Myths About Civilian Casualties

There are two Brit "25,000 Iraqi deaths since 2003" reports floating about. After the Lancet Lies, I only believe statistics collected directly by Iraqi people. But, even if the number is correct, who is doing the killing and why?

Are the killers Minutemen, terrorists or crooks? Are the victims innocents or bad guys? It makes a lot of difference to how we view the numbers.

StrategyPage addresses this.

One thing the British reports do bring up is the large role criminal gangs play in civilian losses over the last two years. Many of these gangs existed under Saddam , and it will be interesting to compare to the British report numbers to those that come out during the war crimes trials for Saddam Hussein and his cronies. Saddam used gangs and militias to terrorize the population and keep people in line. Many of these gangs survived the invasion intact and still support Saddam, and the forces trying to bring the Sunni Arabs back to power. However, few Iraqis, even Sunni Arabs, care for the criminal gangs. These guys are outlaws of the worst kind, quick to kill and commit any crime if it will make them some money.

While the activities of the criminal gangs is big news inside Iraq, it hardly gets any coverage by the foreign media. Iraqis know that the current violence is a result of the Sunni Arabs, in an alliance with Islamic radicals (al Qaeda and friends), to maintain Sunni rule in Iraq. The coalition invasion of 2003, and removal of Saddam's government, was only the opening battle in this war. But to many foreigners, the war is reported as an armed resistance to foreign occupation. That's a gross distortion of the actual situation. The Sunni Arabs are fighting to get the foreign troops out of Iraq, so that the Sunni Arabs will have a better chance of regaining control of the country.

The reality is that the use of American troops in Iraq is to enable the Kurds and Shia Arabs to build a strong enough force to deal with the Sunni Arabs, who have monopolized military and police power for decades.

The Sunnis are frantic to hang on to power because they are only about 20% of Iraq's population and face a veangeful majority if they don't. Sob.