Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Civilian Deaths in Iraq

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Civilian Deaths in Iraq


Civilian Claims on U.S. Suggest the Toll of War - New York Times

On the front page of the New York Times today is an article about the process of compensating Iraqi and Afghani civilians for deaths and injuries suffered because of the ongoing war on terror.

Here is the key section of the article which discloses the existence of these damage claims and the fact that these incidents are not usually publicized. Accidental deaths are a big part of war. The question is how are civilian casualties covered. Should the reporting of civilian casualties be minimized to limit the damage to international and domestic support for the war effort? Who was reponisible for bringing these facts to light?

According to the Times:
"The incidents are among many thousands of claims submitted to the Army by Iraqi and Afghan civilians seeking payment for noncombat killings, injuries or property damage American forces inflicted on them or their relatives.

The claims provide a rare window into the daily chaos and violence faced by civilians and troops in the two war zones. Recently, the Army disclosed roughly 500 claims to the American Civil Liberties Union in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. They are the first to be made public.

They represent only a small fraction of the claims filed. In all, the military has paid more than $32 million to Iraqi and Afghan civilians for noncombat-related killings, injuries and property damage, an Army spokeswoman said. That figure does not include condolence payments made at a unit commander’s discretion.

The paperwork, examined by The New York Times, provides unusually detailed accounts of how bystanders to the conflicts have become targets of American forces grappling to identify who is friend, who is foe. "

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