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Over a Million Iraqi Deaths Caused by US Occupation

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    This story was voted #1 most censored story of 2008 by Project Censored. Over One Million Iraqi Deaths Caused by US Occupation Student Researchers: Danielle
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 1, 2008
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      This story was voted #1 most censored story of 2008 by Project
      Censored.


      Over One Million Iraqi Deaths Caused by US Occupation
      Student Researchers: Danielle Stanton, Tim LeDonne, Kat Pat Crespán
      Faculty Evaluator: Heidi LaMoreaux, PhD
      http://www.projectcensored.org/top-stories/articles/1-over-one-
      million-iraqi-deaths-caused-by-us-occupation/


      Over one million Iraqis have met violent deaths as a result of the
      2003 invasion, according to a study conducted by the prestigious
      British polling group, Opinion Research Business (ORB). These numbers
      suggest that the invasion and occupation of Iraq rivals the mass
      killings of the last century—the human toll exceeds the 800,000 to
      900,000 believed killed in the Rwandan genocide in 1994, and is
      approaching the number (1.7 million) who died in Cambodia's
      infamous "Killing Fields" during the Khmer Rouge era of the 1970s.

      ORB's research covered fifteen of Iraq's eighteen provinces. Those
      not covered include two of Iraq's more volatile regions—Kerbala and
      Anbar—and the northern province of Arbil, where local authorities
      refused them a permit to work. In face-to-face interviews with 2,414
      adults, the poll found that more than one in five respondents had had
      at least one death in their household as a result of the conflict, as
      opposed to natural cause.

      Authors Joshua Holland and Michael Schwartz point out that the
      dominant narrative on Iraq—that most of the violence against Iraqis
      is being perpetrated by Iraqis themselves and is not our
      responsibility—is ill conceived. Interviewers from the Lancet report
      of October 2006 (Censored 2006, #2) asked Iraqi respondents how their
      loved ones died. Of deaths for which families were certain of the
      perpetrator, 56 percent were attributable to US forces or their
      allies. Schwartz suggests that if a low pro rata share of half the
      unattributed deaths were caused by US forces, a total of
      approximately 80 percent of Iraqi deaths are directly US perpetrated.

      Even with the lower confirmed figures, by the end of 2006, an average
      of 5,000 Iraqis had been killed every month by US forces since the
      beginning of the occupation. However, the rate of fatalities in 2006
      was twice as high as the overall average, meaning that the American
      average in 2006 was well over 10,000 per month, or over 300 Iraqis
      every day. With the surge that began in 2007, the current figure is
      likely even higher.

      Schwartz points out that the logic to this carnage lies in a
      statistic released by the US military and reported by the Brookings
      Institute: for the first four years of the occupation the American
      military sent over 1,000 patrols each day into hostile neighborhoods,
      looking to capture or kill "insurgents" and "terrorists." (Since
      February 2007, the number has increased to nearly 5,000 patrols a
      day, if we include the Iraqi troops participating in the American
      surge.) Each patrol invades an average of thirty Iraqi homes a day,
      with the mission to interrogate, arrest, or kill suspects. In this
      context, any fighting age man is not just a suspect, but a
      potentially lethal adversary. Our soldiers are told not to take any
      chances (see Story #9).

      According to US military statistics, again reported by the Brookings
      Institute, these patrols currently result in just under 3,000
      firefights every month, or just under an average of one hundred per
      day (not counting the additional twenty-five or so involving our
      Iraqi allies). Thousands of patrols result in thousands of innocent
      Iraqi deaths and unconscionably brutal detentions.

      Iraqis' attempts to escape the violence have resulted in a refugee
      crisis of mammoth proportion. According to the United Nations Refugee
      Agency and the International Organization for Migration, in 2007
      almost 5 million Iraqis had been displaced by violence in their
      country, the vast majority of which had fled since 2003. Over 2.4
      million vacated their homes for safer areas within Iraq, up to 1.5
      million were living in Syria, and over 1 million refugees were
      inhabiting Jordan, Iran, Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, and Gulf States.
      Iraq's refugees, increasing by an average of almost 100,000 every
      month, have no legal work options in most host states and provinces
      and are increasingly desperate.1

      Yet more Iraqis continue to flee their homes than the numbers
      returning, despite official claims to the contrary. Thousands fleeing
      say security is as bad as ever, and that to return would be to accept
      death. Most of those who return are subsequently displaced again.

      Maki al-Nazzal and Dahr Jamail quote an Iraqi engineer now working at
      a restaurant in Damascus, "Return to Iraq? There is no Iraq to return
      to, my friend. Iraq only exists in our dreams and memories."

      Another interviewee told the authors, "The US military say Fallujah
      is safe now while over 800 men are detained there under the worst
      conditions. . . . At least 750 out of the 800 detainees are not
      resistance fighters, but people who refused to collaborate with
      occupation forces and their tails." (Iraqis who collaborate with
      occupation forces are commonly referred to as "tails of the
      Americans.")

      Another refugee from Baghdad said, "I took my family back home in
      January. The first night we arrived, Americans raided our house and
      kept us all in one room while their snipers used our rooftop to shoot
      at people. I decided to come back here [Damascus] the next morning
      after a horrifying night that we will never forget."

      Citation

      1. "The Iraqi Displacement Crisis," Refugees International, March 3,
      2008.

      UPDATE BY MICHAEL SCHWARTZ

      The mortality statistics cited in "Is the United States Killing
      10,000 Iraqis Every Month?" were based on another article suitable
      for Project Censored recognition, a scientific investigation of
      deaths caused by the war in Iraq. The original article, published in
      Lancet in 2006, received some dismissive coverage when it was
      released, and then disappeared from view as the mainstream media
      returned to reporting biased estimates that placed Iraqi casualties
      at about one-tenth the Lancet estimates. The corporate media blackout
      of the original study extended to my article as well, and has
      continued unabated, though the Lancet article has withstood several
      waves of criticism, while being confirmed and updated by other
      studies (Censored 2006, #2).

      By early 2008, the best estimate, based on extrapolations and
      replications of the Lancet study, was that 1.2 million Iraqis had
      died as a consequence of the war. This figure has not, to my
      knowledge, been reported in any mass media outlet in the United
      States.

      The blackout of the casualty figures was matched by a similar
      blackout of other main evidence in my article: that the Bush
      administration military strategy in Iraq assures vast property
      destruction and lethality on a daily basis. Rules of engagement that
      require the approximately one thousand US patrols each day to respond
      to any hostile act with overwhelming firepower—small arms, artillery,
      and air power—guarantee that large numbers of civilians will suffer
      and die. But the mainstream media refuses to cover this mayhem, even
      after the Winter Soldier meetings in March 2008 featured over one
      hundred Iraq veterans who testified to their own participation in
      what they call "atrocity producing situations." (see Story #9)

      The effectiveness of the media blackout is vividly illustrated by an
      Associated Press poll conducted in February 2007, which asked a
      representative sample of US residents how many Iraqis had died as a
      result of the war. The average respondent thought the number was
      under 10,000, about 2 percent of the actual total at that time. This
      remarkable mass ignorance, like so many other elements of the Iraq
      War story, received no coverage in the mass media, not even by the
      Associated Press, which commissioned the study.

      The Iraq Veterans Against the War has made the brutality of the
      occupation their special activist province. The slaughter of the
      Iraqi people is the foundation of their demand for immediate and full
      withdrawal of US troops, and the subject of their historic Winter
      Soldier meetings in Baltimore. Though there was no mainstream US
      media coverage of this event, the live streaming on Pacifica Radio
      and on the IVAW website reached a huge audience—including a vast
      number of active duty soldiers—with vivid descriptions of atrocities
      committed by the US war machine. A growing number of independent news
      sites now feature regular coverage of this aspect of the war,
      including Democracy Now!, Tom Dispatch, Dahr Jamail's MidEast
      Dispatches, Informed Comment, Antiwar.com, and ZNet.

      UPDATE BY MAKI AL-NAZZAL AND DAHR JAMAIL

      The promotion of US general David Petraeus to head CENTCOM, and
      General Raymond Odierno to replace Petraeus as commanding general of
      the Multi-National Force in Iraq, provoked a lot of anger amongst
      Iraqis in both Syria and Jordan. The two generals who convinced US
      and international society of improvement in Iraq do not seem to have
      succeeded in convincing Iraqi refugees of their success.

      "Just like the Bush Administration decorated Paul Bremer (former head
      of the Coalition Provisional Authority), they are rewarding others
      who participated in the destruction to Iraq," stated Muhammad Shamil,
      an Iraqi journalist who fled Iraq to Syria in 2006. "What they call
      violence was concentrated in some parts of Iraq, but now spread to be
      all over the country, thanks to US war heroes. People are getting
      killed, evicted or detained by the thousands, from Basra (South) to
      Mosul (North)."

      Other Iraqi refugees seem to have changed attitudes regarding their
      hopes to return. Compared to when this story was published in March
      2008, the refugee crisis continues to deepen. This is exacerbated by
      the fact that most Iraqis have no intention of returning home.
      Instead, they are looking for permanent residence in other countries.

      "I decided to stop dreaming of going back home and find myself a new
      home anywhere in the world if I could," said thirty-two-year-old Maha
      Numan in Syria, "I have been a refugee for three years now living on
      the dream of return, but I decided to stop dreaming. I have lost
      faith in all leaders of the world after the surges of Basra, Sadr
      City and now Mosul. This seems to be endless and one has to work
      harder on finding a safe haven for one's family."

      Iraqis in Syria know a lot more of the news about their country than
      most journalists. At an Internet café in Damascus, each of them calls
      his hometown and reports the happenings of the day to other Iraqi
      refugees. News of ongoing violence across much of Iraq convinces them
      to remain abroad.

      "There were four various explosions in Fallujah today," said Salam
      Adel, who worked as a translator for US forces in Fallujah in
      2005. "And they say it is safe to go back! Damn them, go back for
      what? For roadside bombs or car bombs?"

      It has been important, politically, for the Bush administration to
      claim that the situation in Iraq is improving. This claim has been
      assisted by a complicit corporate media. However, the 1.5 million
      Iraqis in Syria, and over 750,000 in Jordan, will tell you
      differently. Otherwise, they would not remain outside of Iraq.

      To obtain updated information on the refugee crisis, see
      http://www.irinnews.org/IRIN-ME.aspx,
      http://www.iraqredcrescent .org/,
      http://www.refugeesinternational.org/section/waystohelp,
      http://www.unhcr.org/iraq.html, and http://www.dahrjamailiraq.com/.


      Sources:
      After Downing Street, July 6, 2007
      Title: "Is the United States Killing 10,000 Iraqis Every Month? Or Is
      It More?"
      Author: Michael Schwartz

      AlterNet, September 17, 2007
      Title: "Iraq death toll rivals Rwanda genocide, Cambodian killing
      fields"
      Author: Joshua Holland

      AlterNet, January 7, 2008
      Title: "Iraq conflict has killed a million, says survey"
      Author: Luke Baker

      Inter Press Service, March 3, 2008
      Title: "Iraq: Not our country to Return to"
      Authors: Maki al-Nazzal and Dahr Jamail


      About Project Censored:

      Founded by Carl Jensen in 1976, Project Censored is a media research
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      Between 700 and 1000 stories are submitted to Project Censored each
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      More writing, commentary, photography, pictures and images at
      http://dahrjamailiraq.com


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