Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Word Bush Won't Use: Civil War

Iraq has been suffering from a low-level civil war for some time. Edward Wong and Damien Cave of The New York Times has the totals on Iraqi casualties for July (hat tip to Americablog):
More Iraqi civilians were killed in July than in apparently any other month of the war, according to Iraqi Health Ministry and morgue statistics, despite a security plan begun by the new government in June.

An average of more than 110 Iraqis were killed per day in July, according to figures from the Health Ministry and the Baghdad morgue. At least 3,438 civilians died violently that month, a 9 percent increase over the tally in June and nearly twice as many as in January.

That's 3,438 deaths in one month. A civil war at that intensity amounts to over 40,000 deaths a year. Let's keep in mind that Iraq only has about 25 million people and there are indications that some 2 million people have fled Iraq, mostly those who can afford it, meaning the middle class, the educated and professionals.

The United States is more than 11 times bigger than Iraq. That means 40,000 deaths in Iraq over a year would be equivalent to 440,000 deaths in the United States with no end in sight. Bush, no doubt, will do his usual song and dance but his Iraq policy is a major failure. Our troops do not belong in the middle of a civil war. "Staying the course" is a campaigny slogan, not a policy option.

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