Between 2004 and 2005, "Rocky Mountain News reporter Jim Sheeler and photographer Todd Heisler spent a year with the Marines stationed at Aurora's Buckley Air Force Base who have found themselves called upon to notify families of the deaths of their sons in Iraq. In each case in this story, the families agreed to let Sheeler and Heisler chronicle their loss and grief. They wanted people to know their sons, the men and women who brought them home, and the bond of traditions more than 200 years old that unite them. Though readers are led through the story by the white-gloved hand of Maj. Steve Beck, he remains a reluctant hero. He is, he insists, only a small part of the massive mosaic that is the Marine Corps." The full story
ran on Veteran's Day, 2005 and won two Pulitzer Prizes: one for Feature Photography
, another for feature writing
in 2006. A nice single-page version of one section: Katherine Cathey and 2nd Lt. James J. Cathey
.) The Rocky Mountain News closed in 2009. [more inside]
- Given Saddam Hussein's central place in the American Consciousness over the last couple decades and particularly in recent years, I found 60 minutes' interview with FBI interrogator
George Piro pretty fascinating.
...These findings come from a poll released today by ORB, the British polling agency that has been tracking public opinion in Iraq since 2005. In conjunction with their Iraqi fieldwork agency a representative sample of 1,499 adults aged 18+ answered the following question: How many members of your household, if any, have died as a result of the conflict in Iraq since 2003 (ie as a result of violence rather than a natural death such as old age)?
Answer: 1,220,580Tables pdfFinalDeadNumbersWEIGHTED.xls
See also Poll: Civilian toll in Iraq may top 1M
See also None Dare Call It Genocide
A teenage girl was stoned to death for loving the wrong boy.
Du’a Khalil Aswad, a 17-year old Yezidi
girl who lived in Northern Iraq, fell in love with a Sunni Muslim boy, and possibly converted to Islam. For this she was stoned to death in a public "honour killing"
which was recorded on video and spread on the internet
(warning: graphic and disturbing. YouTube took theirs down
.) 23 Yezidis have been killed
in retaliation. [Via Disinformation.]
Voices of the Fallen: the war in the words of the dead-- In letters and journals and e-mails, the war dead live on, their words—urgent, honest, unself-conscious—testament to the realities of combat. What do they have to say to us? ... The result is a window on Iraq we have not had before: the bravery, the fear and the chaos of war, and the loves and hates and dreams and nightmares of the warriors. Things are incredibly busy, then they are not. The Iraqis are welcoming, then they are not. The war is going well, then it is not. The mission makes sense, then it does not. ...
(video, audio, email, and text)
Whatever one's opinion of its possible limitations, the 2006 Iraq mortality survey produced epidemiological evidence that coalition forces have failed to protect Iraqi civilians... If, for the sake of argument, the study is wrong and the number of Iraqi deaths is less than half the infamous figure, is it acceptable that "only" 300,000 have died? Last November, with no explanation, the Iraqi Ministry of Health suddenly began citing 150,000 dead, five times its previous estimate. Is that amount of death acceptable? In January, the United Nations reported that more than 34,000 Iraqis were killed violently in the last year alone. Is that acceptable?
Regarding The Number
, the result of what one of the study's authors calls an episode more deadly than the Rwandan genocide
... [more within]
While there have been many posts on Mefi of blogs written by those affected by the Iraq War, I have not seen this one posted. No matter your stance on the war, your opinion of American soldiers, or the amount of other Iraq war blogs you've read, all I ask is that you at least read these few entries
. I've used too many words already, when the journal does more than enough to speak for itself. A Soldier's Thoughts. (via) [more inside]
Rumors were circulating at the hospital that insurgents dosed their homemade bombs with the flesh of dead animals.
---multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter, and how we brought it to Iraq ourselves. "My colleagues and I have been looking for Acinetobacter baumannii in soil samples for years, and we haven't found it," she says. "These organisms are quite rare outside of hospitals."
In other news, conditions in Iraqi hospitals are so bad
due to lack of even the most basic supplies they're calling it a breach of the Geneva Conventions.
Operation enduring chaos: ... the death squads are the result of US policy.
At the beginning of last year, with no end to the Sunni insurgency in sight, the Pentagon was reported to have decided to train Shia and Kurdish fighters to carry out "irregular missions". ... From killing everyone named Omar (a Sunni name) who passes thru the wrong checkpoint, to simply marking businesses (and their owners) they want gone with red crosses, how various squads and militias and "armies" and "brigades" are running Iraq.
...Would it surprise you to learn that if the Johns Hopkins estimates of 400,000 to 800,000 deaths are correct -- and many experts in the survey field seem to suggest they probably are -- that the supposedly not-yet-civil-war in Iraq has already cost more lives, per capita, than our own Civil War (one in 40 of all Iraqis alive in 2003) ? And that these losses are comparable to what some European nations suffered in World War II ? You'd never know it from mainstream press coverage in the U.S. "Everybody knows the boat is leaking, everybody knows the captain lied," Leonard Cohen once sang. The question the new study raises: How many will go down with the ship, and will the press finally hold the captain fully accountable ?Iraqi Death Rate May Top Our Civil War -- But Will the Press Confirm It ?
See also Debating the Body Count in Iraq
See also Deaths in Iraq: how many, and why it matters
The Science of Counting the Dead
See also How the Media Covered The Lancet’s Iraqi Casualty Study
See also More deadly than Saddam
Meet our new Special Envoy to Darfur,
where genocide is taking place
-- Andrew Natsios--he did a heckuva job at the Big Dig in Boston, and in misunderestimating the costs of Iraq, and --while head of USAid--at refusing funding AIDS drugs in Africa because many Africans 'don't know what Western time is.
Pentagon to Soldiers: Don't Post those Trophy Videos Online ... another said it made him feel good to bring the gruesome reality of a soldier's life in Iraq to those living safely behind their "clean, white picket fences at home".
...the taking and posting of trophy video served as some kind of relief from the psychological stresses of serving as a soldier in such a violent and acutely dangerous place. ...
and from PBS' Mediashift: Your Guide to Soldier Videos From Iraq
Never Coming Home
is about the families of five young men killed in Iraq. Slate
presents a short documentary that focuses on the bereavement of the parents, or in one case, a brother. This portrait of grief and sacrifice is brought to life through the use of still photography and the recorded voices of family members.
The Language of Noncombatant Death - Perhaps, however, what the "incidents" have in common -- and what they really tell us about the war in Iraq (as in Vietnam long ago) -- is this: In both Haditha and Ishaqi, the dead were largely or all civilian noncombatants: an aged amputee in a wheelchair holding a Koran, small children, grandparents, students, women, and a random taxi driver all died... In modern wars, especially those conducted in part from the air (as both Iraq and Afghanistan have been), there's nothing "collateral" about civilian deaths. If anything, the "collateral deaths" are those of the combatants on any side. Civilian deaths are now the central fact, the very essence of war. Not seeing that means not seeing war.Collateral Damage: The "Incident at Haditha"
The Power Point version: Why Did We Lose In Iraq ?
In Memoriam and in Protest
--why not use an online deathmatch as a pedestal for speaking out against a war?
Artist/Professor uses US Govt-developed America's Army
(...placing Soldiering front and center within popular culture and showcasing the roles training, teamwork and technology play in the Army. ...
) as protest and art space. DeLappe's homepage (and jpgs) here
Prisoners of their Bureaus--the Besieged Press of Baghdad
What it's like to be a journalist in Iraq now--and especially relevant given the current attacks on the media
for not reporting all the good that's happening in Iraq-- ...
an ever-widening gulf between official language and the reality of the actual situation in Baghdad. While official language is relentlessly upbeat, the already nightmarish reality has been getting worse with each passing day. ... the insurgent attacks on the US forces and Iraqi government and the sectarian fighting between Sunnis and Shiites have become destructive beyond what most journalists have been able to convey ...
(NY Review of Books)
The Still Unsolved Stoffel Affair: How Is Known – but Not Who or Why
Iraqi guerrillas calling themselves Rafidan – the Political Committee of the Mujahideen Central Command – have recently woken up and begun releasing a series of communiqués claiming to shed new light on the still unsolved deaths on December 8, 2004, of two Americans, Dale C. Stoffel, 43, whom they describe as “a CIA shadow manager in Iraq, close friend of George Bush,” and his associate Joseph J. Wemple, also 43.
"He told me his brother was there with him, but he really wanted to see his mother, could he please call his mother. He was crying."
--thanks to the Freedom of Information Act, the ACLU has received documents detailing detention, abuse, and death, of many, including children,
at Abu Ghraib. Mostly PDFs, but summaries
available on most pages: ... Investigation closed because furtherance "would be of little or no value" ...
--statements of that sort are common throughout.
The Salvador Option
--sending Special Forces teams to advise, support and possibly train Iraqi squads, to target Sunni insurgents and their sympathizers, even across the border into Syria, in imitation of our actions in El Salvador. It remains unclear, however, whether this would be a policy of assassination or so-called "snatch" operations, in which the targets are sent to secret facilities for interrogation.
including this: In Iraq, in fact, as in many other places where the United States has tried to train ethical armies to fight dirty wars, the Iraqi troops are tacitly expected to do what American troops won’t. A fundamental purpose of the upcoming elections on January 30 is to create democratic legitimacy for whatever extreme measures the newly organized military decides to take.
Over a thousand U.S. soldiers have died in the War on Terror.
As of today, 872 soldiers have died in Operation Iraqi Freedom and 129 in Operation Enduring Freedom
. Time for a moment of silence, perhaps, before sharing your reflections on the subject.
Pat Tillman's memorial ceremony
was going as planned: John McCain spoke, American flags waved, the Army and the NFL stood together, all mourning their lost colleague. It was going as planned until Pat's brother spoke: "Pat isn't with God,'' he said. "He's f -- ing dead. He wasn't religious. So thank you for your thoughts, but he's f -- ing dead.''
Uday & Qusay's death - a failure?!
Salam Pax thinks the U.S. "wasted a chance to show Iraqis they really are doing something"
. Robert Fisk
asked in yesterday's press conference "Surely, the possibility of the immense amount of information they could have given coalition forces"
justified efforts to try to take them alive. The military had time, the element of surprise, special forces troops, and nonlethal weapons
-- so why did they attack with rockets and TOW missiles? Where is Saddam? Could we have learned more about Iraq's WMD programs? Is it better for the Bush administration to not have some questions answered?
What friendly fire looks like.
BBC reporter John Simpson barely avoids death during a mistaken bombing run which killed at least 10 others in Iraq on Sunday. The BBC has the dramatic video.
Iraq Body Count
is a web "button" that can be cut and pasted to a website showing an updated tally of civilian casualties in the upcoming Iraqi war. Their methodology
is to survey a broad swath of news sites and come up with a "high" and "low" number. They're probably more credible than Saddam's government or the Pentagon. (via TalkLeft