Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Casualties of America's less casual violence

"American foreign policy is much less casually violent than it was during the Vietnam War." 

 (An Iraqi child thanks U.S. soldiers for being deadly serious when they killed her parents.)

Deaths from Sanctions Against Iraq

Infant Mortality Rate, prior to the U.S. embargo (1989): 56 per 1000 live births
Infant Mortality Rate, after the U.S. embargo (1999): 131 per 1000 live births

Maternal Morality Rate, prior to the U.S. embargo (1990): 117 deaths for every hundred thousand births
Maternal Morality Rate in Iraq, after the U.S. embargo (1998): 294 deaths for every hundred thousand births (one-third of all female deaths)

Per capita income, prior to the U.S. embargo (1989): $3,510
Per capita income, after the U.S. embargo (1996): $450

Overall child deaths due to the embargo: ~500,000. "[As of 1999] [c]hildren under 5 years of age are dying at more than twice the rate they were ten years ago."

U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright: 

Iraqis Killed As Result of 2003 Invasion (*)
Iraqi Body Count: 102,416 -- 111,937

U.S. Government: 104,111

Lancet Medical Journal (March 2003 to June 2006): 601,027 -- 654,965

 Opinion Business Research: 1,033,000

Civilian Deaths in Afghanistan

Initial Invasion: 3,000 -- 3,400

On One Day in August 2009: 140, with 93 of them children

Civilian Deaths from Drone Strikes in Pakistan

New America Foundation: 293 -- 471

Brookings Institution (July 2009): >600 ("That number suggests that for every militant killed, 10 or so civilians also died.")

Pakistani Government (2009): Average of 58 per month, >700 per year

Deaths in Other Random Wars We Barely Acknowledge Exist

Cluster Bomb Strike in Yemen (December 17, 2009): 41 civilians, including 14 women and 21 children

Proxy War in Somalia: 16,210 and counting

 Number of Fucks Given by a Certain Think Progress Blogger


(*Supported by Matt Yglesias)


  1. This really says it all. It takes a special kind of degenerate sociopath to be a progressive--to congratulate yourself on your enlightened cosmopolitan values while you defend institutions of state power and rationalize the violence they perpetrate against the rest of the world's inhabitants.

    I do have to voice my appreciation for ThinkProgress, though. Reading post after appalling post praising Obama's imperialist war in Libya after the rebels took Tripoli (as well as the sentiments of countless partisan supporters who mindlessly cheered their exalted leader's supposed commitment to "freedom" and "democracy") finally convinced me that all the partisan Democrats have to offer is the future of no future.

  2. LorenzoStDuBois5:22 PM

    Great work Charlieboy! I saw on the tweeter you almost didn't blog this, but dammit you should have and you did. Yggie will probably see it and he'll never admit it but there is a part of him -- I won't call it a conscience -- that will feel amiss and will hate you for it. He pays no price for lapping up the viscera of the powerful, but maybe losing his humanity is a small price. We must make them pay what little we can make them.

    The good are banished to be unpaid gringos in Nicaragua. But we love you because you are good.

  3. I appreciate the kind remarks, but a clarification: I do get paid, damn it. Though as a freelance writer my salary's closer to the average income in Nicaragua than the average income in America.

  4. Anonymous8:35 PM

    Hi Mr. Davis,

    Great post.

    I think the major problem with people like Yglesias is that they are so attached to the fable of progress i.e. that history is the story of the march of human progress (of course, always in their preferred form, in this case, “liberal cosmopolitan humanism”) that they end up becoming blind to reality.

    Perhaps from his standpoint as a well-educated and (most likely) rather comfortable writer living in the United States, things are getting better. But can we say the same thing for the common people in Iraq and Afghanistan?

  5. This is the best summary I've seen. Thanks so much. I've been wondering what the estimates have been for some time now.

  6. zilcho1:16 AM

    I'm not sure how I feel about the humorous caption beneath the weirdly horrific yet uncertain (ketchup? staged? in this day and age I'll believe anything) image.

    Certainly made me laugh. And then made it bearable. Now I think I can live with laughing at terrified and murdered children, in reality.

  7. Anonymous1:28 AM

    Also, just to mention in this discussion on needless governmental destruction of lives,
    has anyone seen spike lee's The 25th hour?

    Like an attempt to reach white people by making the victim of punitive drug laws a white whitey. The ending is very beautiful, a fantasy about skipping your reporting to jail and just becoming a fugitive, since he has nothing to lose, being guaranteed far too weak a white boy to survive prison, particularly the new york prison he's destined to. And yet, being a good white boy at heart, he needlessly submits to prison, to nobody's benefit, least of all his own. An almost frightening call to civil disobedience from Mr. Lee: if you can get away from needless punishment that the system doles out, you'd just be stupid to go along with it. Escape if you can.

    It's so easy not to submit when its just a cog, yet he chooses to submit, and destroys his life, blissfully.

  8. Zilcho,

    The photo was definitely not staged. Here's a recent story about it:

  9. zilcho12:13 PM

    Now I'm up to speed with the rest of the world.

    If I don't watch out, you're going to get me throwing up all over the place.

    I already "disapproved" I'm just existentially screwed.

  10. zilcho12:14 PM

    It's worse that the photo isn't new. It's like we've accepted to live with this for that long.

  11. mrpom7:28 AM

    No blowback here. Move along.