13 September 2006

The Link Between 9/11 and the Debacle in Iraq Revealed

The Real Link Between 9/11 and Iraq (Finally) Revealed

By Tom Engelhardt

You've heard the President and Vice President say it over and over in various ways: There was a connection between the events of September 11, 2001 and Iraq. Let's take this seriously and consider some of the links between the two.

Numbers and comparisons

*At least 3,438 Iraqis died by violent means during July (roughly similar numbers died in June and August), significantly more than the 2,973 people who died in the attacks of September 11, 2001.

*1,536 Iraqis died in Baghdad alone in August, according to revised figures from the Baghdad morgue. That's over half the 9/11 casualties in one city in one increasingly typical month. According to the Washington Post, this figure does not include suicide-bombing victims and others taken to the city's hospitals, nor does it include deaths in towns near the capital.

*By the beginning of September, 2,974 U.S. military service members had died in Iraq and in the Bush administration's Global War on Terror, more than died in the attacks of 9/11. (Twenty-two more American soldiers died in Iraq in the first 9 days of September; at least 3 in Afghanistan.)

*Five years later, according to Emily Gosden and David Randall of the British newspaper, the Independent, the Bush administration's Global War on Terror has resulted in, at a minimum, 20 times the deaths of 9/11; at a maximum, 60 times. It has "directly killed a minimum of 62,006 people, created 4.5 million refugees and cost the US more than the sum needed to pay off the debts of every poor nation on earth. If estimates of other, unquantified, deaths -- of insurgents, the Iraq military during the 2003 invasion, those not recorded individually by Western media, and those dying from wounds -- are included, then the toll could reach as high as 180,000." According to Australian journalist Paul McGeough, Iraqi officials (and others) estimate that that country's death toll since 2003 "stands at 50,000 or more -- the proportional equivalent of about 570,000 Americans."

*Last week, the U.S. Senate agreed to appropriate another $63 billion for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, where costs have been averaging $10 billion a month so far this year. This brings the (taxpayer) cost for Bush's wars so far to about $469 billion and climbing. That's the equivalent of 469 Ground Zero memorials at full cost-overrun estimates, double that if the memorial comes in at the recently revised budget of $500 million. (Keep in mind that the estimated cost of these two wars doesn't include various perfectly real future payouts like those for the care of veterans and could rise into the trillions.)

*In 2003, with its invasion of Iraq over, the Bush administration had about 150,000 troops in Iraq. Just under three and a half years later, almost as long as it took to win World War II in the Pacific, and despite much media coverage about coming force "draw-downs," U.S. troop levels are actually rising -- by 15,000 in the last month. They now stand at 145,000, just 5,000 short of the initial occupation figure. (Pre-invasion, top administration officials like Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz took it for granted that American troop levels would be drawn down to the 30,000 range within three months of the taking of Baghdad.)
Continues here.

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