Monday, March 24, 2008

4000 Dead In Iraq

To the uninitiated observer, 4000 dead in Iraq would not seem like a particularly big deal. Five years of military occupation in Iraq resulting only in 4000 dead people? Looks like what's happening down there is love, not war.

Then, one digs a little deeper. 4000 people died in Iraq, because the Americans are the only "people" in Iraq. When it is said "4000 people dead in Iraq", it basically means 4000 dead American troops.

The number of "unpeople" who died in Iraq is a statistic that is most certainly of the order of at least 100,000 - and some (this one is peer reviewed) estimates put it closer to a million. (Here we use the Noam Chomskian convention: people = people from developed world; unpeople = people from under-developed world. This convention is implicitly used in all western (US) media agencies with a few conscientious exceptions.).

A MILLION in a population of 25 Million. 4% of the population of the country. That's the population of Dallas and Houston metro areas put together, if the country in question were the US. The population of Delhi and Mumbai put together if the country in question were India. (The fact that 60% of India is unpeople notwithstanding).

But who cares? Iraqis clearly are not people. 4000 dead American troops? Now, that's a whole different story.

A dead man is a dead man is a dead man. The author of this post laments the fact that even in death all are not equal. Reality is not just 4000 American troops dead. It is probably a hundred times worse (from a mortality stand-point). It just makes me sick to see the disproportionate amount of time spent on TV on the American deaths - when the number of Iraqis killed is a couple of ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE HIGHER because of a blunder on the American side.

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