Tuesday, September 12, 2006

DARK MILESTONE: More Americans Have Now Died In Iraq Than Died On 9/11

While President Bush and other Republican politicians spent the day exploiting the memory of those we lost five years ago, the nation overlooked a grim milestone: More Americans have now died in Iraq than died on 9/11. Iraq didn't attack us on that day, and our misguided policy there has now taken more American lives than Al Qaeda. Here are the numbers:
  • 3,015 Americans have died in Iraq as of September 9. (2,666 of these were military deaths and 349 were civilians)
  • A total of 2,973 people died on 9/11. (Most, although not all, were Americans.)
  • 20,000 is the approximate number of non-fatal military casualties from the war in Iraq. (Many experts feel that the Pentagon is seriously undercounting these non-fatal casualties, and some place the figure as high as 48,000. Even the 20,000 “official” figure represents many more people than were wounded on 9/11, and consists of far more serious injuries than in any previous war.)
  • None of these figures counts Iraqi casualties, of course. After the cheap gamesmanship that was used to artificially lower August's Iraqi civilian death toll in Baghdad, it's very difficult to cite any figures with confidence. A count of Iraqi morgues put the total well above 40,000, but that was some time ago.
  • And as for the total number of wounded, including women and children - well, as Mr. Rumsfeld has so often reminded us, we're not counting.

It's been more than five years since President Bush told the CIA officer trying to warn him about the upcoming attacks that "you've covered your ass now," and then went off to enjoy his vacation day.

His other blunder - the wrong war, at the wrong time, with the wrong result for our nation's security - has now proven even more costly in American lives. Who will lay a wreath for these American victims?

- R J Eskow

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