Hiding the dead; an exercise in cynical and despicable deception
Surprise, Surprise. The revelation that Iraqi authorities have been hiding true casualty figures will come as a surprise to no-one except perhaps IBC media acolytes. Le Monde (Friday) reports that the Iraqi government instructed medical authorities not to reveal the true extent of civilian casualties. This by implication means that media reports will automatically have missed these casualties. Ashraf Qazi, the head of Iraq's UN mission sent a telegram saying:
“This development risks damaging the capacity of the UN’s Assistance Mission to report the number of civilians killed or injured.”
The UN has used data provided by Baghdad’s Forensic Institute and the Iraqi health ministry to form an estimate of civilian deaths, since 2005. The telegram is quoted as saying that the estimate:
“was certainly imperfect but an indicator nonetheless of the growing number of civilian victims”
The latest UN report stated that 3590 civilians died violently in July and 3009 in August. A day after publication of this report, Nuri al-Maliki (Iraq's PM) wrote to the health ministry with orders not to reveal further figures. What is obvious is that Iraq's government is under instruction from the occupation, and is attempting to hide figures from the media and the world. Now the ministry of heath has taken over the 'body count' and sent the morgue workers for 'early retirement' for their impudence in reporting the offensive figures. The mishmash of jihadists, resistance, death squads, criminals and ruthless occupation have rendered the situation an unprecedented disaster. How can anybody come up with a real figure when many deaths go unreported. Can anybody prove that the media covers all these deaths? Victims of torture and death are dumped in rivers, mass graves, woods, street corners and may or may not be reported (or found). Many are buried immediately by the family as is muslim custom. In this climate, how can one believe official statistics of issued death certificates or even morgue statistics are adequate to describe civilian victims? What about the victims vapourised in buildings by US missiles? Do their bodies make it to the morgue for counting? Do any surviving relatives always report the death to the media? The Lancet figures may be imperfect and may have some biases/imperfection, but I don't find them 'unbelievable' in the words of media supporters of the occupation. The larger picture is that the war on Iraq and the occupation have been a total and utter disaster. It needs to be brought to an end and the criminals responsible prosecuted.