Tuesday, October 25, 2005

x,000 dead in Iraq

It's undeniably tragic that 2,000 American soldiers have now died in Iraq. But what is also tragic is that none of the accounts I've seen of this story on either the left or the right bothers to even mention the tens of thousands of Iraqis who've lost their lives since the conflict began.

The insurgency is responsible for much of the mayhem, and has committed unthinkable atrocities. But this only goes so far in explaining the horrors in Iraq. Someone has to take responsibility for the deaths caused directly by US munitions, deaths before the insurgency formed, deaths as a consequence of the failure of the occupying power to provide basic security and infrastructure.

On a side note:

US President George W. Bush stressed it was crucial "that there will be a fair trial, which is something [Saddam] didn't give many of the thousands of people he killed".

Given my post yesterday on human rights, this is a statement I support. But in the context, it is a bit much to take. What are the chances Bush will be held to account for the thousands he has killed? Was he justified simply because Saddam was bad? (Analogy: you've been robbed and terrorized repeatedly by the same person, so I--as a private citizen, mind you--in the course of apprehending the perpetrator, burn down your house. No insurance money forthcoming. Are you happier now than before? Maybe, maybe not. Do I owe you anything more than a "you're welcome, have a nice day"?) Is there a way Saddam could have been brought to justice without visiting destruction on a massive scale on the same people who suffered under his rule? I would like to think so.

A bit more attention to the welfare of Iraqis is in order in this debate, I think.

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