Wikileaks has documented what many of us had known: Iraqi civilians are being killed and tortured by US occupation forces and their allies.
Check it out. Read them slowly.
At 5pm EST Friday 22nd October 2010 WikiLeaks released the largest classified military leak in history. The 391,832 reports (‘The Iraq War Logs’), document the war and occupation in Iraq, from 1st January 2004 to 31st December 2009 (except for the months of May 2004 and March 2009) as told by soldiers in the United States Army. Each is a ‘SIGACT’ or Significant Action in the war. They detail events as seen and heard by the US military troops on the ground in Iraq and are the first real glimpse into the secret history of the war that the United States government has been privy to throughout.
The reports detail 109,032 deaths in Iraq, comprised of 66,081 ‘civilians’; 23,984 ‘enemy’ (those labeled as insurgents); 15,196 ‘host nation’ (Iraqi government forces) and 3,771 ‘friendly’ (coalition forces). The majority of the deaths (66,000, over 60%) of these are civilian deaths.That is 31 civilians dying every day during the six year period. For comparison, the ‘Afghan War Diaries’, previously released by WikiLeaks, covering the same period, detail the deaths of some 20,000 people. Iraq during the same period, was five times as lethal with equivallent population size.
Note: the death toll listed by Wikileaks is definitely an under-estimate. Without doubt, the number of Iraqi civilians killed by US forces in Iraq since the invasion in 2003 is more than 66,000. No doubt.
Why am I so sure?
(1) The Iraq Body Count – which has attempted to keep track of the civilians killed in Iraq — lists different deaths. As Pratap writes: Both the military and the volunteer databases capture roughly 108,000 deaths since the invasion. But a close comparison of the two made by several Iraq Body Count volunteers working in secret around the clock over the last few weeks has determined that only about 64,000 civilian deaths match, suggesting that if the two databases were merged – the real toll of documented violent deaths (civilian and combatant) is actually 150,000. (The Pentagon lists another 192,695 injured.)
(2) The source for Wikileaks is the US Military. The US Military!! Not known for its care for keeping track of those it kills. As the excellent left i on the news writes: It goes without saying that there’s lots of good information in the latest Wikileaks document dump. First-hand reports by the soldiers involved of killing of civilians at checkpoints, for example. But there’s also more than a fair dose of “garbage in, garbage out,” because the source for all the material is the U.S. military, and the U.S. military is nothing if not self-serving.
(3) Who determines who is a ‘civilian’ and who is ‘an enemy’? The occupying forces! Think about it.
Nevertheless. To be read.
Here are a listing of some of the Guardian articles on this topic.
- Iraq war logs: Wikileaks’ virtual memorial
- Iraq war logs: US turned over captives to Iraqi torture squads
- Iraq war logs: UN calls on Obama to investigate human rights abuses
- Iraq war logs reveal 15,000 previously unlisted civilian deaths: Leaked Pentagon files contain records of more than 100,000 fatalities including 66,000 civilians