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Author Topic: A Grim Portrait of Civilian Deaths in Iraq  (Read 1402 times)
Allhallowsday
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« on: October 23, 2010, 01:37:59 AM »

A Grim Portrait of Civilian Deaths in Iraq
The reports in the archive disclosed by WikiLeaks offer an incomplete, yet startlingly graphic portrait of one of the most contentious issues in the Iraq war — how many Iraqi civilians have been killed and by whom.

The reports make it clear that most civilians, by far, were killed by other Iraqis. Two of the worst days of the war came on Aug. 31, 2005, when a stampede on a bridge in Baghdad killed more than 950 people after several earlier attacks panicked a huge crowd, and on Aug. 14, 2007, when truck bombs killed more than 500 people in a rural area near the border with Syria.

But it was systematic sectarian cleansing that drove the killing to its most frenzied point, making December 2006 the worst month of the war, according to the reports, with about 3,800 civilians killed, roughly equal to the past seven years of murders in New York City. A total of about 1,300 police officers, insurgents and coalition soldiers were also killed in that month.

The documents also reveal many previously unreported instances in which American soldiers killed civilians — at checkpoints, from helicopters, in operations. Such killings are a central reason Iraqis turned against the American presence in their country, a situation that is now being repeated in Afghanistan.

The archive contains reports on at least four cases of lethal shootings from helicopters. In the bloodiest, on July 16, 2007, as many as 26 Iraqis were killed, about half of them civilians. However, the tally was called in by two different people, and it is possible that the deaths were counted twice. Read the Document »

In another case, in February 2007, an Apache helicopter shot and killed two Iraqi men believed to have been firing mortars, even though they made surrendering motions, because, according to a military lawyer cited in the report, “they cannot surrender to aircraft, and are still valid targets...” 

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/23/world/middleeast/23casualties.html?no_interstitial
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dean
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« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2010, 02:50:12 AM »


Its hardly anything new: we knew there were a lot of casualties, and bad conduct going on in all quarters from both sides.  I can't think of a single armed conflict that isn't.  It's also why I generally didn't support the Iraqi war: the death toll, especially the civilian death toll, is way too high to justify the action that was taken.  My own opinion of course, and I do understand other's point of views who disagree or agree a little too wholeheartedly [you know, the ones who completely flame out anytime government or war is mentioned.]

The amount of information is quite staggering, and the detail is what makes it engaging reading regardless of your political leanings.

The NY Times articles are an interesting read.  Personally I was quite interested in the article on Iran's influence, with one particular comment saying that the US government was heavily criticised as trying to use Iran as a way of distracting people from failures in Afghanistan and Iraq, and these leaks seem to indicate that they were actually right, and all those conspiracy theorists and naysayers were too quick to call it all government lies.

Ah I love wikileaks: they always know how to stir up a storm!



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Allhallowsday
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« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2010, 07:30:10 PM »

WikiLeaks chief says secret documents reveal ‘truth’ in war 
WikiLeaks founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assange says Friday's disclosure of 400,000 secret Iraq War documents is "about the truth."

Assange, described in a just-published New York Times profile as being "on the run" and "chased by turmoil," came out of the shadows Saturday in London to discuss how WikiLeaks' latest cache of classified documents sheds new light on military abuses and civilian casualties during the Iraq War... 

http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_upshot/20101023/pl_yblog_upshot/wikileaks-chief-says-secret-documents-reveal-truth-in-war 

 Bluesad
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indianasmith
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« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2010, 12:14:40 AM »

I have little sympathy for those who leak classified documents in wartime.  Back when this country actually had a sizable pair of cojones, such people would have been hanged, or at least jailed.

No one likes civilian casualties.  But when you are fighting an enemy who hides behind, merges with and blends into the civilian population, they are unavoidable.  All advertising such casualties does is make it harder for our boys in the field to do the job we sent them there to do . . .  WIN THE WAR.
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dean
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« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2010, 12:48:38 AM »

No one likes civilian casualties.  But when you are fighting an enemy who hides behind, merges with and blends into the civilian population, they are unavoidable.  All advertising such casualties does is make it harder for our boys in the field to do the job we sent them there to do . . .  WIN THE WAR.


I suppose that's where we differ: I understand that if the enemy hides behind and merges with the civilian population it makes it much harder to do their job, I'd ideally like there to be a better system in place.  If the enemy were hiding in a school full of kids, would you order a missile strike?  Where is the line drawn between acceptable or not?

These leaks at least give people a much better picture on how to deal with such a terrible situation, and having it public gives the government more reason to do the right thing.


On a side note, relating to the NYTIMES articles, a friend sent me this which is somewhat funny, albeit quite horrible when you think about it.

http://www.boingboing.net/2010/10/22/torture.html



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lester1/2jr
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« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2010, 10:11:57 AM »

we outed saddam to bring them this? it's the exact same thing except with shias in charge.
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indianasmith
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« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2010, 12:41:34 PM »

A lot of the ongoing bloodshed must be laid at the door of Iran.  They keep funding the insurgents, and ordering terror attacks on Sunni targets to keep the pot stirred - Iran's government is an ENEMY to this country and will only use diplomacy as a smokescreen to keep killing our troops and our allies.

Someone needs to feed Ahmadinejad a great, big steaming bowlful of DEAD!
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« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2010, 04:04:25 PM »

I have little sympathy for those who leak classified documents in wartime.  Back when this country actually had a sizable pair of cojones, such people would have been hanged, or at least jailed.

No one likes civilian casualties.  But when you are fighting an enemy who hides behind, merges with and blends into the civilian population, they are unavoidable.  All advertising such casualties does is make it harder for our boys in the field to do the job we sent them there to do . . .  WIN THE WAR.

There was the incident in Desert Storm where a HARM (Heat Anti-Radiation Missile) homed in on a bunker that was full of civilians. Most likely a radio beacon was put in among the civilians and the pilot mistook it for a radar or comm center.  How low.... Hatred

But aside from the fact that these cowards wear masks across their faces, it shows you how really brave they are, using civilains as human shields. Cowards...

Then, the other problem with insurgents was and always will be, that they're not am actual military enemy and will not surrender to any formal government, or recognize their own.  They are there to disrupt and engage in calculated interference.
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Jim H
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« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2010, 06:01:58 PM »

A lot of the ongoing bloodshed must be laid at the door of Iran.  They keep funding the insurgents, and ordering terror attacks on Sunni targets to keep the pot stirred - Iran's government is an ENEMY to this country and will only use diplomacy as a smokescreen to keep killing our troops and our allies.

Someone needs to feed Ahmadinejad a great, big steaming bowlful of DEAD!

Still, it's difficult to argue the end result of the war is worth it from the Iraqi point of view (at least, not yet).  There's somewhere around a million total dead (all deaths combined) as a result of the war, depending on who you ask.  It's such a huge amount of suffering it boggles the mind.  

Imagine if 10 million Americans had died violently in warfare in the past 7 years...  That's what it would be like for us.  It's just something worth thinking about that very few do.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2010, 07:09:06 PM by Jim H » Logged
indianasmith
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« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2010, 11:23:57 PM »

It is truly sad.  But in the end, they are the ones who are going to have to step up and quit killing each other. By getting rid of Saddam and knocking the insurgents back on their heels, we have given them a fighting chance to actually establish a working, democratic government.  But they will have to be the ones to do it.  If the radicals take over when we leave, it will be as much the Iraqi people's failure as it will be ours.
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« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2010, 10:41:38 AM »



« Last Edit: October 25, 2010, 10:58:43 AM by lester1/2jr » Logged

BTM
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« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2010, 11:43:58 AM »

Well, neatly enough none of these websites that keep track of civilian deaths (Iraqi Death Count for example) mention ANYTHING about all the people killed while Saddam was in charge.  So, I guess those civilians aren't important.

we outed saddam to bring them this? it's the exact same thing except with shias in charge.


Well, look at this and see if you still think that.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights_in_Saddam_Hussein's_Iraq
« Last Edit: October 25, 2010, 11:47:01 AM by BTM » Logged

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lester1/2jr
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« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2010, 12:07:15 PM »

yes, it's the same type of stuff. horrible.
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« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2010, 12:11:01 PM »

I have little sympathy for those who leak classified documents in wartime.  Back when this country actually had a sizable pair of cojones, such people would have been hanged, or at least jailed.


It completely depends on the nature of the classified information.  The government routinely classifies everything, whether it is really germane to national security or whether it's simply information that's embarrassing to the powers that be; even if it's completely neutral information.  I would never want to hand our government a blank check to conduct a war anyway they see fit, if that would conflict with basic human rights or if they know the populace would not support their tactics.  Whistleblowers can play a crucial role during wartime in keeping them honest and honorable (that's not to say that they always do, of course).  
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« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2010, 12:29:17 PM »

isn't that just shooting the messenger? We should be angry at us looking the other way at torture and death in Iraq, not people telling us about it.
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