True, Americans DO Underestimate Iraqi Deaths; But Here's WHY

MSNBC is reporting that Americans, by and large, underestimate the number of deaths of innocent civilians in Iraq by the tens of thousands. But let me tell you exactly WHY they do.

The Bush Administration went into Iraq making it very clear they would NOT be counting civilian deaths. First, then Defense Secretary insisted that there simply wouldn't be that many and then he said it simply wasn't a priority in a situation that grew very quickly out of control (although I'd certainly argue that the instant they realized they could not control it they should have done something ELSE). Only then, very grudgingly, did the DoD release Iraqi civilian death numbers which seemed remarkably small even back when Iraq wasn't quite the miasma of horror it started to be a year after we rolled in back in March 2003.

ONLY when independent organizations began coming up with very high death counts (and please bear in mind that those 1,000-3,000 civilian deaths you often hear on the news are JUST those bodies found and sent to ONE central morgue in beautiful downtown Baghdad) which I bet are STILL low for reality did the Bush Administration ever release any civilian numbers at all.

So there is a reason for Americans misjudging how many Iraqi civilians are dead: their own government lies to them on a minute-by-minute basis.

However, I would argue that by now, even the most fervent rightie should realize that the Bush Administration would choke to death on the slightest true statement. Thus, smart Americans and not so smart ones should distrust everything they say and with it, assume that innocent Iraqis are dying in droves.

I suspect that, should we even get out of Iraq a year from now (and we won't, apparently), we will learn at some point that as many as 2-3 MILLION Iraqis have died or been seriously, permanently injured. That's 10% of the country's population. Another 2-5 MILLION have fled the country. That's another 10-20% of the population under Saddam. For all the talk of insurgents, MANY civilians have been killed in U.S. action, either under Rumsfeld's orders or through actions of contractors.

I base this on information I've been tracking almost weekly from worldwide news sources (from 6,000 dead in Fallujah one day, etc.) since August 2003.