Collateral Vengeance

A chilling wake-up call on this morning's Talk of the Nation about the "vengeful energy" the U.S. is generating with Iraqi civilian casualties -- an energy that, by one expert's reckoning, will still be punishing the U.S. in 10 or 20 years.

At this website you can see the hard, cold data - number of civilians reported killed. This project builds on the work of Professor Marc Herold, who has been tabulating civilian deaths in Afghanistan since 2001. Here are his comments:

“I strongly support this initiative. The counting of civilian dead looms ever more importantly for at least two reasons: military sources and their corporate mainstream media backers seek to portray the advent of precision guided weaponry as inflicting at most, minor, incidental civilian casualties when, in truth, such is not the case; and the major source of opposition to these modern ‘wars’ remains an informed, articulate general public which retains a commitment to the international humanitarian covenants of war at a time when most organized bodies and so-called ‘experts’ have walked away from them."

9/11 should have reminded post-Civil War Americans what "collateral damage" in the form of family members and friends really looks and feels like. Ask the Palestinians. Ask the Israelis. Ask the Sudanese. Ask the Iraqis.

The question of whether Iraq is - or is not - better off without Saddam Hussein cannot be reduced to mere numbers.

Neither can civilians.

Neither can soldiers.

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