Stephan homepage Saddam captured rationale source Bush jokes about WMD the dead (picture) fallujah coffin photos Abu Ghraib story



Liberty's Century

by Gerard Donnelly Smith

October 18, 2004   


(Swans - October 18, 2004)   "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure," said Thomas Jefferson in a letter to William Stephens (November 13, 1787). If Jefferson is right, then the desert will bloom!

By the end of 2004, if the insurgency in Iraq continues, the human toll (not counting casualties in Afghanistan) will reach 11,253 wounded, or "injured" as the Bush-Administration reports, and 1,301 killed in action. How many "volunteer" US soldiers will be killed by this time next year? At current rates, approximately 2050. Moreover, an estimated 15,000 (Iraqi Body Count [IBC]) civilians have been killed in the conflict: an average of 588 per month. Of course, Dick and Bush aren't keeping track of that growing list: neither combatants nor non-combatants. By conservative estimates, at this rate another 7,000 civilians will be killed by the end of 2005. How many Iraqi police and security members will die securing Fallujah, Kirkuk, and Mosul after the elections? How many more will die trying to secure Baghdad where 42% of all insurgent attacks have taken place? (See New York Times Graph.)

According to Iraqi Body Count, between 13,182 and 15,284 civilians have died since the US invaded Iraq. (See IBC Database.) According to IBC, "casualty figures are derived from a comprehensive survey of online media reports and eyewitness accounts." (See IBC Methods.)

(The URLs on the following chart and the events indicated by dots on the line are hyperlinked.
Reprint permission granted by Ed Stephan:
Pic: Chart of US Military Deaths in the Conquest of Iraq; courtesy of its creator, Ed Stephan, Sociology Department, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA. -

Will this death toll be different if Bush is re-elected? At the end of 2005 will the potential deaths of over 2,000 US soldiers and another 6,800 potentially wounded achieve the current administration's goals? Imagine if the conflict in Iraq lasts as long as the Vietnam War.

On average, 5,800 US soldiers were killed each year in Vietnam with a total of 58,229 US soldiers killed and 2,000 MIAs. In the Indochina theatre 300,000 soldiers were wounded in action and 75,000 were disabled.

Assuming the Iraqi conflict doesn't spread, as it did in Indochina, in the next ten-years the body count could reach as high as 13,000 Americans killed and over 100,000 Americans wounded with one-third of those permanently disabled. Hopefully, the next president will have an exit strategy, a way to win the peace. But imagine the horror of a 10-year Iraqi insurgency. Consider the possible Iraq civilian death toll: at current rates, over 80,000 will have been killed. How many civilians will be wounded or permanently disabled if the conflict lasts a decade?

Are the Iraqis better off? According to a New York Times article by John F. Burns (Jan. 27, 2003), "Casualties from Iraq's gulag are harder to estimate. Accounts collected by Western human rights groups from Iraqi émigrés and defectors have suggested that the number of those who have 'disappeared' into the hands of the secret police, never to be heard from again, could be 200,000."

Saddam Hussein was in power from 1979 to 2003. During that time an estimated 200,000 people "disappeared" and another 300,000 or more died in the Iraq-Iran War and the Kuwait War. So, during the debate when asked whether the loss of life was worth it, perhaps the presidential candidates should have considered the grand total. The U.S.-led coalition stopped Saddam and his henchmen from killing more Iraqi civilians, and so perhaps 1,058 dead US soldiers is acceptable: the sacrifice of the few for the benefit of the many? Yet, 1,058 US soldiers represents a small portion of the bloody total used to refresh the Tree of Liberty in Iraq and the Middle East.

Saddam Hussein should be held responsible for the death of 500,000 Iraqis. But an estimated 500,000 Iraqi children died because of 10 years of U.S.-driven sanctions and military operations.
BAGHDAD (Reuters)
- A senior U.N. official said Friday about half a million children under the age of 5 have died in Iraq since the imposition of UN sanctions 10 years ago.

Anupama Rao Singh, country director for the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), made the estimate in an interview with Reuters.

"In absolute terms we estimate that perhaps about half a million children under 5 years of age have died, who ordinarily would not have died had the decline in mortality that was prevalent over the 70s and the 80s continued through the 90s," she said.
Evil begets evil, death begets death. Let's add the blood of innocent children to the blood of patriots and tyrants. Is it still good, "natural manure?" Wait, the tyrant is still alive. His blood hasn't been used to refresh liberty, yet! Indeed, Osama bin Laden is still at large! Children die for liberty, yet the tyrants still breathe.

Yes, the U.S. slowed the blood-letting in Iraq by capturing the bloody tyrant, but it has not stopped the hemorrhaging. Insurgence and terrorists still kill civilians and US soldiers and security forces. US soldiers still -- accidentally -- kill Iraqi civilians and torture prisoners. Operation Iraqi Freedom may just kill the patients.

Even if the doctors can stop the bleeding, systemic shock may finish them off: continued economic chaos, continued blood. Will the Iraqi patient survive the operation? Will the Afghan patient survive the operation? What kind of democracy will take root in the Middle East if the following atrocities indicate what Bush's Iraqi Freedom has inspired?

Besides the well-known photographs and stories of sexual humiliation, torture and murder of Arab prisoners at Abu-Ghraib prison, eyewitnesses report the US massacre of 3,000 Afghan prisoners, now being called the "Convoy of Death."

Originally aired on BBC, the following video shows the massacre of Iraqi farmers by Apache Helicopter:

The most recent atrocity occurred in Fallujah where 30 civilians were massacred by a US jet pilot in October 2004: Such "verified" reports of war-crimes indicate why Bush, nor any other US president, will not recognize ICC jurisdiction in the U.S. During a stop at a Milwaukee church, July 3, 2003, Bush said "The International Criminal Court is troubling to the United States [. . .] As the United States works to bring peace around the world, our diplomats and our soldiers could be drug into this court, and that's very troubling -- very troubling to me." In a September, 2004 article in the ABA Journal, Bush claimed "Submission to the jurisdiction of the ICC would put our troops and officials at unacceptable risk of politically motivated prosecutions." The fact that his troops -- he is Commander and Chief -- have committed war crimes doesn't seem to trouble Bush very much. In his acceptance speech candidate Bush promised that this century would be "liberty's century" and that "freedom" was a god-given gift, a faithful cause "from beyond the stars." Consider his pledge to continue the War on Terror, as well as Kerry's pledge to seek out and kill terrorist wherever they live. Jefferson thought patriots' blood good manure for liberty. So far this century, US foreign policy promises to add to the shit pile. Liberty's Century may be the bloodiest yet.

· · · · · ·

Iraq on Swans

America the 'beautiful' on Swans

Poetry on Swans


Gerard Donnelly Smith on Swans (with bio).

Do you wish to share your opinion? We invite your comments. E-mail the Editor. Please include your full name, address and phone number. If we publish your opinion we will only include your name, city, state, and country.

Please, feel free to insert a link to this work on your Web site or to disseminate its URL on your favorite lists, quoting the first paragraph or providing a summary. However, please DO NOT steal, scavenge or repost this work on the Web without the expressed written authorization of Swans. This material is copyrighted, © Gerard Donnelly Smith 2004. All rights reserved.
· · · · · ·

This Week's Internal Links

2004 US Presidential Election: Recapitulation - by Gilles d'Aymery

God, The Ghost Of Richard Nixon, And The Demons Of Election 2004 - by Phil Rockstroh

Ralph Nader: A Vote For Sanity - by Gilles d'Aymery

Anyone But Bush? - Cartoon by Jan Baughman

Why Vote? - by Philip Greenspan

A Summary From The Hawaii Political Trenches: Letter To The Election Commission - by Milo Clark

Never Buy a Cat in a Bag: Poland, a Country that Asked for Freedom...but Got "Democracy" - by Anna Kuros

Herman Melville's Typee: a Peep at Polynesian Life - Book Review by Louis Proyect

Usus Fructus - Poem by Gerard Donnelly Smith

Blips #4 - From the Editor's desk

Letters to the Editor


Published October 18, 2004
[Copyright]-[Archives]-[Resources]-[Main Page]