2,268 Iraqis and their Families Thank You

More good news from Iraq: along with the deaths of Uday and Qusay Hussein, American authorities announced that the head of the Special Republican Guard, Barzan Abd al-Ghafur Sulayman Majid al-Tikriti, was captured on Wednesday. This leaves only 18 of the 55 most-wanted members of the former regime still at large.
Yet the demise of Hussein’s hated sons shared newspaper headlines this morning with the news that two more American servicemen were killed in attacks by Baathist forces. I intend to comment at greater length before long on the difficulty of fighting a war when every casualty is front-page news. For the moment, however, to give perspective to the casualty statistics, let’s consider the U.N.’s estimate that Saddam murdered approximately 300,000 Iraqis over the course of his reign. I suspect this figure is low, and it doesn’t take into account the unknown number of Iraqis who died prematurely because of the poverty and inadequate medical services imposed on the country by Saddam, but using the U.N. number, and averaging the murders over the approximately 30 years of Saddam’s rule, yields an average of around 10,000 murders per year. This in turn works out to 27 a day–every day, for 30 years.
Given that 84 days have elapsed since the end of “major combat operations” on May 1, we can crudely compute that approximately 2,268 Iraqis have been spared a horrible, unjust death at the hands of the Baathist criminals. Keep that in mind when you consider the costs and benefits of the war.


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