“Only” 4500 Civilian Deaths In Iraq In 2009
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This is being portrayed as a good thing: the fact that more civilians die in Iraq every year than American soldiers. Reuters, for example, headlines: “Iraq Civilian Death Toll Down To 4500 In ’09: Study”.
Human rights group Iraq Body Count (IBC) put the 2009 civilian death toll in Iraq up to December 16 at 4,497, the lowest since the 2003 invasion and less than half the 2008 toll of 9,226.
Unlike 2008, the decline in violent deaths seemed to stagnate in 2009 — the first half and the second half of the year had roughly similar figures, the group said in a report released on Friday.
U.S. and Iraqi officials have hailed the dramatic drop in violence from the height of sectarian killing in 2006 and 2007.
But don’t let these numbers fool you. Iraq is not chugging along toward a peaceful democracy:
the report noted troubling trends, such as a rise during 2009 in the toll from large-scale bombings, killing more than 50 civilians each. In 2008, 534 people were killed in nine such attacks compared with 750 in eight attacks in 2009.
“Iraq is clearly suffering more daily violence from terrorism and instability than any other country, considerably more violence even than Afghanistan and Pakistan,” said John Sloboda, the group’s co-founder and spokesman.
He said that, despite Iraqi authorities’ inability to stop a constant drumbeat of violence, there was “complacency among Western politicians and Western commentators who kind of imply that Iraq is solved.”Click here for reuse options!
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