Untold deaths – how many more?

How many people – overwhelmingly innocent men, women and children – have died because of direct action by US military soldiers in Iraq? How much "collateral damage" has there been? How many peaceful families have become victims of the neocon desire to own Iraq in the way that the US owns Kuwait?

Go ahead and take a guess, because nobody can say with certainty. Estimates range wildly, but all of the numbers indicate a lot of killing has happened in our name.

Here's just a few opinions:

"I would say 30,000, more or less, have died as a result of the initial incursion and the ongoing violence against Iraqis."
- George W. Bush, December 12, 2005, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Iraq Body Count estimated on April 12, 2006, that the minimum number of Iraqi dead was 34,030 and the maximum was 38,164.

British medical journal The Lancet on October 29, 2004 stated, "Making conservative assumptions, we think about 100,000 excess deaths, or more have happened since the 2003 invasion of Iraq."

An Iraqi humanitarian group, Iraqiyun, counted 128,000 actual violent deaths as of July 12, 2005.

Les Roberts, one of the world's top epidemiologists, reported on February 8, 2006, that there may be as many as 300,000 Iraqi civilian deaths. His findings in the Sudan and other war zones have been accepted without question by the Bush administration – they even quoted his numbers about estimated Dafur deaths publicly. His figures on Iraqi deaths were immediately challenged as being "ridiculous" by Donald Rumsfeld.

I took an informal tally myself, adding up all the individual public reports of civilians who were killed in Iraq by US soldiers that I could find, going back to the first days of the invasion. My own count, which isn't an accurate total by any means, but represents only those deaths that were reported and seemed to be credible, came to 8,317.

Using only that ridiculously low number as a measure, America as a nation is now responsible for killing more than twice as many innocents in Iraq over a three-year period as were killed in New York on one day by a small band of suicidal religious fanatics.

Where's the moral superiority in that position? How can we expect any intelligent people anywhere in the world to support what we have allowed to be done in our name?

Before the American public woke up and spoke loudly enough to stop the death being dealt in the jungles of Southeast Asia, more than 50,000 US soldiers were dead along with more than a million Vietnamese, Laotions and Cambodians. When will we decide that enough innocent blood has been spilled in Iraq?

And what will you say when you finally meet your Creator if you remain compliant now, quiescent and complicit in the destruction of so many sacred lives?

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