January 21, 2008

The media is so fixated on the breathless and utterly pointless reporting about the primary campaigns that it is easy to forget about the continuing clusterfuck in the middle east. You know, the thing we are supposed to be concentrating on rather than whether Hillary was insulting Martin Luther King, Jr when she implied that maybe the political leaders and lawmakers who made the laws that actually changed the system of discrimination should get some credit for changing things and other such weighty matters of historical interpretation.

I thought this
article by Paul Rogers at Open Democracy, which runs through some of the most salient things going on, was worth reading.

US forces form the majority of the approximately 175,000 foreign troops in Iraq and the 40,000 in Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. The deployment of more marines in Afghanistan will take the overall numbers there to over 55,000. If the many thousands of private-security forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and across the region is added to the total, it appears that well over 300,000 foreign forces - mostly from what global jihadists call the "far enemy", the United States - are implanted in the core of the Islamic world....

Coalition aircraft carried out more than five times as many air-strikes in Iraq in 2007 as they did in 2006. Two recent incidents indicate their scale: US forces dropped 16,500 lb of bombs in operations north of Baghdad and - in an extraordinary burst of air power - deployed B1B strategic bombers and F-16 strike-aircraft to drop 40,000 lb of bombs in ten minutes in an operation southeast of the capital (see Josh White, "U.S. Boosts Its Use of Airstrikes in Iraq", Washington Post, 17 January 2008).

In a related story from the same site, this new and more realistic (and still crazy) accounting of the number of Iraqi deaths, 2003-2006. Down from the probably bullshit British inflated numbers but still huge figures. Easy to glance right by the numbers and/or to ignore them in favor of news about whether-Bill-Clinton- is-unfairly- harsh- on- Obama- and- is- Fred- Thompson- really- a-closet- panty-wearer until you think that the U.S. lost 56,000 in Vietnam and the baby boom generation still won't shut the fuck up or quit ruining our country arguing about it:

A third assessment of post-invasion violent deaths in Iraq was published on 9 January 2008 by the New England Journal of Medicine, a prestigious platform for medical research and scientific debates edited in Boston, Massachusetts. The lead article in the journal - "Violence-Related Mortality in Iraq from 2002 to 2006" - reports the results of an inquiry by the Iraq Family Health Survey Study Group (IFHS), involving collaboration between national and regional ministers in Iraq and the World Health Organisation (WHO). It finds that 151,000 (between 104,000 and 220,000) people died from violence in Iraq between March 2003 and June 2006.

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