The cost of war
Most of what's said about the "costs" of the Iraq war is about dead U.S. soldiers and squandered billions in money. Both are huge tragedies, but neither come close to the scale of horror inflicted on innocent people in Iraq. Stories like this one in today's LA Times are few and far between:
At least 50,000 Iraqis have died violently since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, according to statistics from the Baghdad morgue, the Iraqi Health Ministry and other agencies - a toll 20,000 higher than previously acknowledged by the Bush administration.
Many more Iraqis are believed to have been killed but not counted because of serious lapses in recording deaths in the chaotic first year after the invasion, when there was no functioning Iraqi government, and continued spotty reporting nationwide since.
The toll, which is mostly of civilians but probably also includes some security forces and insurgents, is daunting: Proportionately, it is equivalent to 570,000 Americans being killed nationwide in the last three years.
In the same period, at least 2,520 U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq.
My sense is that the U.S. media thinks its audience doesn't care, so they largely don't report on it -- which makes it a self-fulfilling prophecy. This self-absorption in an age of supposedly "global" media is perhaps part of the reason why the world image of the U.S. continues to slip.
Chris Kromm is executive director of the Institute for Southern Studies and publisher of the Institute's online magazine, Facing South.