The responses were typical- war supporters said the number was nonsense because, of course, who would want to admit that an action they so heartily supported led to the deaths of 600,000 people (even if they were just crazy Iraqis…)? Admitting a number like that would be the equivalent of admitting they had endorsed, say, a tsunami, or an earthquake with a magnitude of 9 on the Richter scale, or the occupation of a developing country by a ruthless superpower… oh wait- that one actually happened. Is the number really that preposterous? Thousands of Iraqis are dying every month- that is undeniable. And yes, they are dying as a direct result of the war and occupation (very few of them are actually dying of bliss, as war-supporters and Puppets would have you believe).
For American politicians and military personnel, playing dumb and talking about numbers of bodies in morgues and official statistics, etc, seems to be the latest tactic. But as any Iraqi knows, not every death is being reported. As for getting reliable numbers from the Ministry of Health or any other official Iraqi institution, that’s about as probable as getting a coherent, grammatically correct sentence from George Bush- especially after the ministry was banned from giving out correct mortality numbers. So far, the only Iraqis I know pretending this number is outrageous are either out-of-touch Iraqis abroad who supported the war, or Iraqis inside of the country who are directly benefiting from the occupation ($) and likely living in the Green Zone. …
We literally do not know a single Iraqi family that has not seen the violent death of a first or second-degree relative these last three years. Abductions, militias, sectarian violence, revenge killings, assassinations, car-bombs, suicide bombers, American military strikes, Iraqi military raids, death squads, extremists, armed robberies, executions, detentions, secret prisons, torture, mysterious weapons — with so many different ways to die, is the number so far fetched?
Konfused Kid has a big roundup of Iraqi bloggers reactions to the Lancet study and Iraq the Model’s attack on it. He concludes:
While knowning that this debate was taking place, IRAQ THE MODEL moderators have not responded in any direct way, they simply removed Konfused Kid’s name from their blog-index and they posted something that may be an implicit reply that supplemented their Lancet post.
Furthermore, to suggest that the statistics published in the report are exaggerated is an incredibly insulting statement. Not only does it undermine the horrific atrocities that Iraqis have endured over the past three years, but it also has an underlying, if not blunt, message of cynicism and distrust of Iraqi potential. Despite some occasions where they refer to Iraqis as “heroes” who deserve to be saluted, it’s quite clear that this is only said to shut us up; in reality, and according to their ceaseless propagating of the deteriorating American policies in Iraq – they have done but one thing.. distorted reality.
This week, the Lancet Report on Iraqi Mortality has become the dominant discussion on many Iraqi blogs. People have been divided over the total number of deaths in Iraq. Iraq The Model believes the number is too high. Zeyad believes the number is probably half of what was reported in the study. Others think the number is too low. Then there’s the group-in-denial, which absolulely disagrees with every word written in the report.
Reading the reactions to the report, I wondered what matters the most? One or 500 dead Iraqis a day? Does 50 dead Iraqis make it less tragic than 500 dead Iraqis a day? Does an Iraqi Christian girl who commits suicide after being gang-raped then released by her kidnappers count? Does the murder of an Iraqi Sabaean-Mandean count? Does the decapitated body of an Iraqi priest count?
Since the Lancet report showed up, newspapers, blogs, and TV stations rushed to talk and analyze how terrible the situation in Iraq has become since the invasion. Some people said the number is accurate while others said it was far from being accurate.
What I think is that it does not matter if the report is accurate or not. What matters is the fact that the security situation is going from bad to worse, if not the worst. More than three years have passed and things changed.
To see how the situation these days changed life and opinions of bloggers, I have emailed some Iraqi bloggers and asked them several questions about their opinion with respect to the situation in Iraq and whether they think the war was worth it or not.