December 10, 2003

i'm not a name, i'm not even a number

wow. they must have numbers dealing with civilians in iraq. first, a census movement is derailed. now, those pesky civilian deaths are no longer to be counted:

Iraq's Health Ministry has ordered a halt to a count of civilians killed during the war and told its statistics department not to release figures compiled so far, the official who oversaw the count told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The order was relayed by the ministry's director of planning, Dr. Nazar Shabandar, but the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority, which oversees the ministry, also wanted the counting to stop, said Dr. Nagham Mohsen, the head of the ministry's statistics department.

"We have stopped the collection of this information because our minister didn't agree with it,'' she said, adding: "The CPA doesn't want this to be done.''

of course, this shouldn't be surprising since we don't even have a record of the number of civilian deaths from the first iraq war. we don't count the number of civilians we kill, after all, but we do try to keep them low.

sure, when we uncover mass graves, we're quick to say how many bodies of people saddam killed. when we need a pr boost, we're quick to say that we killed 54 or 46 soldiers (oops, that might have been 8 civilians). but when we do it, well, we're doing god's work, so that's not really important.

once again, the way you win is just as important, and if we are killing a larger number of civilians than previously thought, then something needs to be done to prevent that from happening.

hey, look a veiled threat! yay!

Many hospitals responded with statistics, Mohsen said, but last month Shabinder summoned her and told her that the [health] minister, Dr. Khodeir Abbas, wanted the count halted. He also told her not to release the partial information she had already collected, she said.

``He told me, `You should move far away from this subject,''' Mohsen said. ``I don't know why.''

i don't know why, either.

Posted by kilgore at December 10, 2003 10:09 PM | TrackBack
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