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Being a continuing supporter of the war in Iraq I thought that Tuesday the 20th was a good thing. In any situation where loss of life is involved it’s always important to take moments to reflect on what has happened and about what may yet come. My only qualm with the whole day was the number 600,000. That number was everywhere on Tuesday, there was even huge banner in Alliot proclaiming, “600,000 Iraqis dead.”
Now to those who do not follow the situation closely in November of 2006 a study was released by the researchers at John Hopkins University claiming that 600,000 civilians had died thus far in the war. This claim was developed after random sampling occurred involving a number of Iraqi households and then the numbers were applied on a large scale. (http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2006-10-10-iraq-dead_x.htm)
This claim was highly disputed by not only the Bush administration and the Iraqi Health Ministry but by many people protesting the war themselves and as of right now most organizations world wide still measure the wars cost at being 60,000 dead. The anti-war website IraqBodyCount.org which follows the casualties as they occur reports a maximum of about 65,000 dead. This is almost ten times less than the 600,000 reported by John Hopkins and touted by protesters at SMC on Tuesday.
But you heard none of this from them. All around campus not one sign had a single source attached to give evidence to their claims. They merely force fed us the numbers and left us out to dry. No, that’s not true; there was an open class in the morning where a professor explained the 600,000 dead theory. But that in itself is something almost amusing to me. There are countless reliable sources of information out there concerning the casualties in Iraq and it was opted to use one that has been highly contested and required the explanation of a professor to understand. I’m sorry but what those people who made the posters and banners were doing was not educating the campus on the casualties, they were simply choosing the information that made their cause look best and forcing us to stare at it all day. That sounds strangely familiar to me, that’s right, they have been accusing President Bush of doing that for four years. And while I don’t want to come across as some hard line Bush supporter (because I’m not, the man has made a lot of mistakes), I think what was done one Tuesday was hypocritical at best. There was better information to use and it was ignored in favor of a more gruesome but questionable figure.
Oh and I’m still waiting to see a sign asking us to pray for the million killed by Saddam during his reign. They have just as little voice as those killed in the war and not one of the protesters seems to care about them.