I woke up last night thinking, the answer is so obvious, yet Bush, Cheney, Rove and Rumsfeld all missed it. End the American deaths in Iraq by no longer reporting them to the American people.
As Frank Rich pointed out Sunday in the New York Times, that is exactly what Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri al-Malaki has done. He ordered his Health Minister to stop releasing any figures on the number of Iraq citizens being killed because of the increasing number dying in the civil war going on. It’s bad for morale.
Bush has already implemented part of this strategy. The U.S. Military only releases Iraq civilian death estimates quarterly and that’s only because Congress said they had to.
But the problem of the public and the world knowing what’s really happening in Iraq on a number of fronts goes way beyond efforts to “hide” the number of deaths of Iraq citizens. As Michael Yon of the Conservative Weekly Standard says the present press coverage of Iraq is censorship. He notes that “we have an “embed” media system that is so ineptly managed that earlier this fall there were only 9 reporters embedded with 150,000 American troops in Iraq. There were about 770 during the initial invasion.”
He says there is an an “all too real censorship of the U.S. war effort. I don’t use the word lightly. Censorship is a hand grenade of an accusation, and a writer should be serious before pulling the pin. Indeed, some war-zone censorship for reasons of operational security is obviously desirable and important……But we can and should complain when authorities willfully limit war reporting. We should do so whether it happens as a matter of policy, or through incompetence or bureaucratic sloth. The result is the same in any case.”
But alas Michael Yon is a little slow on bringing up this issue. We already have implemented this censorship not just in Iraq but also at home in the US. The deaths of US servicemen and women are shielded from public view. Note the official policy and censorship that prohibited the photographing of flag draped caskets of dead soldiers. Keep the dead out of the public view. Part of the “wisdom” of the old saying “out of sight out of mind.”
And as we’ve written previously this censorship includes keeping anyone who opposes Bush’s war policies away from him – like blocks away or even in jail.
So not releasing to the American public the names and numbers of soldiers would only be one more step in the censorship game. Bush could officially declare that releasing names and numbers of the dead aids and abets our enemy by letting them keep track of how many Americans have been killed.
We don’t want to increase the enemy’s morale do we? So the answer is – let’s stop releasing to the press how many soldiers have been killed or wounded. Afterall, if we’re “staying the course” by whatever name the Bush war cabinet wants to call it , does it really matter what the cost is?
The numbers can be released whenever the war is over.
The New York Times on Oct 10, 2006 reported that “A team of American and Iraqi public health researchers has estimated that 600,000 civilians have died in violence across Iraq since the 2003 American invasion, the highest estimate ever for the toll of the war here.
Americans who have died in the Iraq War now total 2814.
Soldiers from other countries killed – 232.
Americans who have died in Afghanistan 341.