Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sadr City death toll: 400 killed in three weeks, "and everyone is silent"

Such is the disinterest on the part of the controlled media respecting the fighting in Sadr City, that for regular reports on deaths and injuries you have to go to the resistance-oriented yaqen.net, which is a news-site affiliated with the Brigades of the 1920 Revolution, for the daily numbers from the hospitals. It is not that the 1920 Brigades are great admirers of Sadr's strategy (the site calls his recent open-war warning a "tempest in a teapot") but it does pay enough respect and attention to at least keep track of the numbers. These are Iraqis, being killed in attacks led by the Americans.

Its latest report, citing Iraqi police sources who in turn checked with the two big hospitals in Sadr City (Imam Ali and Al-Sadr), yaqen.net says in the 24 hours to Monday morning there were 14 dead and 55 wounded brought to those two hospitals, noting there isn't a breakdown by fighters and non-fighters. Given the recent report about 300 deaths since March 25 (and a commenter says AlJazeera even more recently reported 400 deaths in Sadr City since that date), that would make the daily average somewhere between 10 and 15 reported deaths, and a multiple of that in injuries. Try to imagine what would be the outcry if 10 to 15 Americans were killed in a densely populated urban area for a period of a month and more in a foreign-army assault that included airstrikes.

[Today Wednesday April 23, Sadrist deputy Falah Shansal told Voices of Iraq that at least 400 people have been killed and 1720 others, including women and children wounded in armed confrontations and airstrikes in the three weeks since the US imposed its blockade on the area three weeks ago. That would be around 19 casualties a day and over 80 wounded. He said a parliamentary delegation is studying the humanitarian situation there, and will be reporting to parliament with a view to demanding the lifting of the blockade].

And the amazing thing is that the people, experts and otherwise, whom the left looks to for guidance, are saying nothing critical about this. Perhaps amazing is the wrong word. But you do have to ask yourself: If the Democratic Party policy-groupies can't bring themselves to criticize this, or even to raise the obvious war-crimes issue, then what confidence can you have that a Democratic administration will be appreciably less brutal than the present one ?

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Badger, good post. Regarding your last point, I have nothing really to add, but I do think it's very unfortunate and a sign of the moral decay of the U.S. with respect to our waging of this war and sustenance of this occupation, that you have no criticism of the massive bombing of residential areas (Sadr City especially) and targeting of civilian population in terms of the blockade imposed on Sadr City.

The reason such criticism has not been forthcoming is twofold, I think. For one, highlighting such potential war crimes goes against the grain of the narrative of the U.S. helping the average Iraqi to reconstruct his nation and improve his material circumstances. Obviously, imposing a massive, destructive blockade and using airpower to bomb a huge slum does nothing to help the average Iraqi.

Second, relatedly, for a "progressive" or Democratic commentator or politician to highlight these things would be suicidal, and would indicate to his constituents that he is taking the side of the "terrorists" in this war. Simply put, in the U.S., U.S. air power = good and our army = good. Millions of poor Iraqis trapped in a teeming slum who generally support the nationalist figure Muqtada al-Sadr? They're just peripheral, just getting in the way.

6:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nodoby wants the american public to put 2 and 2 together. isolated reports of 8 people died in this incidence or 5 people in this or 14 in this.. but adding it up? that is dangerous. from the beginning there has been a concerted effort to hide the death toll. even for US fatalities, if a wounded soldier is shipped stateside, or to germany and dies there in a hospital, it isn't included.

the silence is deafening. even ordinary screams of protest go undocumented by the msm. there are however americans who are awake.

annie

9:17 AM  
Blogger Juan Moment said...

If the Democratic Party policy-groupies can't bring themselves to criticize this, or even to raise the obvious war-crimes issue, then what confidence can you have that a Democratic administration will be appreciably less brutal than the present one ?

None, simple as that. No confidence whatsoever in any of the two democratic candidates. The problem runs deeper than that tho. Those candidates represent the vast majority of the democratic electorate, and as such I have to conclude that I should have also no confidence in the best part of the democratic electorate, which combined with the republican votership would have to add up to about 80% of the population.

Try to imagine what would be the outcry if 10 to 15 Americans were killed in a densely populated urban area for a period of a month and more in a foreign-army assault that included airstrikes.

Damned fine point you are making. That is all too often forgotten. An Israeli likudnik is unable to imagine what it would be like to have Hamas attack the country with fighter jets, tanks and attack helos, leaving cluster bombs after they retreat, but no problem supporting such measures against Palestinians. But this it seems is mankind’s fate, terror brought on itself by not learning the ability (or the will) to put themselves in other peoples shoes.
Re the msm’s role in this, Bernie Sanders, Senator from Vermont, had this to say:

“But, clearly, it is very, very hard to get that into the media. I’ve been an elected official almost since 1981, and during all of that time, not one reporter — and I have done hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of interviews — not one reporter has ever come up to me and said: Bernie, what are you going to do to correct this grossly unfair distribution of wealth and income in America? That question has never been asked of me. I suspect it has never been asked of any of my colleagues.”

10:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Superb, Badger.

"The gap between the actual making and execution of American national policy and the way in which it is reported and discussed is now so wide that the latter barely connects to the former."


Source: "The Unspoken Truths", venerable American commentator William Pfaff's latest article posted on his website yesterday.

PW

11:30 AM  
Blogger Judith Weingarten said...

The world's most minor point in the face of such brutality, Badger: uninterested, not disinterested. I don't think any candidate for POTUS or the media is disinterested.

A sad but accurate analysis otherwise.

11:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No confidence whatsoever in any of the two democratic candidates. The problem runs deeper than that..

so do the consequences ...

(recommend) shadowed forest


Cheney and his friends argued in well-known public writings at the end of the Clinton Administration for a fundamental change in U.S. foreign policy. They achieved that goal temporarily. Were the incoming administration locked into an unspoken acceptance of the legitimacy, morality, and appropriateness of this extremist, belligerent policy of brutal military force as the primary approach of the U.S. toward the rest of the world, the norms of Western behavior would be truly shifted – back from the slow post-WWII emergence of the revolutionary concept of egalitarian international law and “America, leader of the free world,” (the moral example) to the 19th century days of unabashed imperialism.


annie

1:08 PM  
Anonymous Pitirre said...

...what confidence can you have that a Democratic administration will be appreciably less brutal than the present one ?

Many of us never harbored such illusions. Neither will they abandon their "no-holds-barred" favoritism of the Israelis against the Palestinians.

The only thing that will cause the US administrations (both Republican and Democrat) any pause is the economy. Hence there may be a silver lining in this bit of analysis by a well known sociologist:

When the bubble really bursts, it is really painful. The thing is, it is usually more painful for some than for others, even if it is painful for everyone.

At the moment, it might turn out to be most painful for the United States - as a country, and for its capitalists, and above all for its ordinary citizens. It seems the United States has been spending not billions of dollars but trillions of dollars on some wars in the Middle East it has been losing. And it seems that even the wealthiest country in the world doesn't have in its coffers trillions of dollars. So it has borrowed them. And it seems that its credit in 2008 is not as good as it was in 1945. It seems that the creditors are today reluctant to throw good money after bad. It seems that the United States might be going bankrupt, like Bear Stearns.

Will the United States be bought out by China or by Qatar or by Norway, or by a combination of all of them at $2 or even $10 a share? What will happen to those very expensive toys that the United States keeps buying, like military bases in a hundred countries, and those airplanes and ships and superduper guns the United States constantly orders to replace yesterday's toys? Who will feed the people on the breadlines?

3:44 PM  
Blogger onix said...

was looking for a post like this. indeed the media are very silent about actual nr's. Personally i am convinced numbers are inflated. (for an example look at different facts like iraks 2-8! million widows since saddam).
We really don't know what is going on. If the green zone is under severe fire, u may expect the reaction to be just there. Also the blockade is ofcourse inhumane, and insensible from a reconciliatory pov. Personally i am sorry to say, but i am pessimist about the underlying intends of badr and usians to remain the offensive. For badr i think it is mostly fear and a wish to dominate the political irak arena, for usia its the elections.
currently the us is pushing what it can in all continents, in the hopes of provoking a situation where the racist and xenophobe attitudes on wich capitalism thrives are more readily accepted in the public forum.(mobilising the reaction)

4:10 PM  

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