Cheat-Seeking Missles

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Iraq's Dead: Don't Count On The Count

Today's LATimes story trumpeting its hard-fought quest for a war dead total in Iraq will no doubt be echoing throughout the big media for a couple days, sensationalist tripe that it is.

Do not let yourself fall prey to the clatter without reading Hinderaker's excellent analysis at Power Line, which includes this:
The [LA] Times makes no effort to put its 50,000 number into any sort of context. Reading its article, one might get the impression that pre-2003 Iraq was the balloon-flying paradise so notoriously depicted by Michael Moore. A bit of research, however, offers evidence that the current level of violence is, sadly, nothing new.

In January 2003, two months before the coalition's attack on Saddam's regime began, John Burns wrote a chilling account of Saddam Hussein's reign of terror in the New York Times. Burns' article, titled "How Many People Has Saddam Killed?", recounted some once-familiar numbers that seem to have been forgotten in the current media hysteria. Burns noted that Saddam was widely considered to be responsible for "a million dead Iraqis," a number that included 500,000 killed in the war Saddam launched against Iran. Burns tried to estimate separately the number that were simply murdered:

Casualties from Iraq's gulag are harder to estimate. Accounts collected by Western human rights groups from Iraqi émigrés and defectors have suggested that the number of those who have "disappeared" into the hands of the secret police, never to be heard from again, could be 200,000.
Hinderaker also recounts the Oil-for-Food dead so trumpted by pro-Saddam, pro-Islamist forces, and the dead of Abu Gharaib when it really was a place of torture, unlike what its role has been in occupied Iraq.

Balancing is so easy to do. Following a day after yesterday's quick, biased dismissal of recent WMD finds, today's LAT article evidences once again that paper's commitment to being on the side of the enemy in this war.
hat-tip: memeorandum
photo: Michael Fumento
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