Monday, December 12, 2005

Relativity of Iraq casualties

The Iraq Body Count website gives a reported deaths total range since 1st May 2003 of 20,084 minimum to 23,593 maximum. (They also add 7,299 deaths to each total, representing coalition-inflicted casualties during the major operations phase of the conflict pre-May 2003.)

Taking their maximum post-May 2003 casualty figure, this averages 761 per month in the 31-month period up to and including November 2005.

In the same 31-month period, an estimated 111,000 people died in road accidents in the USA. On average, 43,000 die each year on US roads, almost 3,600 per month. That’s almost 5 times the number of deaths reported in Iraq.

The recent earthquake in Pakistan is reported to have left over 100,000 dead with a similar number now at risk through exposure to the harsh winter conditions, having been left homeless by the quake.

The response of the international community, particulary France and Germany which have been to the fore in the anti-war brigade, has been both slow and ungenerous. The UN had to organise a number of donor conferences in order to raise aid commitments and, unusually for the UN, their spokesman has been publicly very critical of the western response.

Perhaps moral outrage doesn’t apply to certain types of death?

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