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All Darkness

May 17th, 2006

For those of you who think the reporting out of Iraq is being slanted and is “too negative,” keep in mind facts such as these:

I read stories each day about bodies being discovered in Baghdad neighborhoods, in garbage dumps outside the city, or in remote Iraqi outposts. They’re often found wrapped in plastic tarps, or disposed in mass graves.

Victims turn up showing signs of being tortured, such as having had their eyes gouged, or their bodies punctured by a drill. More victims of ethnic violence in a nation where it seems the scores will never be settled.

… Ministry of Interior sources say that since the December 15 elections, on average, 50 bodies are found in Baghdad daily.

Sectarian violence in Baghdad alone results in around 50 deaths a day. That’s 20,000 dead each year, give or take, in Baghdad alone, from sectarian violence (not the insurgency). Saddam is reported to have killed 61,000 people in Baghdad over his 23-year reign; that’s just over 7 people per day. The present bloodshed is far worse, and yet the same conservatives who don’t want the current killings reported have repeatedly emphasized how much killing Saddam did. They said it was so terrible that it justified the invasion in the first place. And yet, somehow, horrific killings seven times more frequent are supposed to be no more significant than news about how many hours of electricity the city gets daily? When your neighbors are gouging out your son’s eyes and drilling holes into his head, then dumping his mutilated body onto the street in a tarp, I don’t think you give a crap about how long the lights stay on at night. It’s pretty much all darkness at that point.

Forgive me for saying so, but to criticize the press for covering stuff like that instead of school openings is crassly and overtly political. I don’t care if they open a hundred schools a day and everybody gets water and power up and running 24/7. Fifty people brutally tortured and then dumped on the streets in sectarian violence trumps that so significantly that it’s not even close. Criticism of the media “slanting” coverage by reporting the deaths has absolutely nothing to do with representing the reality of Iraq, and has everything to do with trying to whitewash the violence there so as to improve Bush’s image and the GOP legacy; it’s an attempt to fool the American people into thinking that we’ve achieved “success” in Iraq. At best, it is self-delusion.

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