The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Monday, November 15, 2004

RIGHT, NOTHING LIKE 'NAM

As anyone who's followed the Iraq war from the beginning knows, our military, and hence our government has made it clear that we wouldn't be doing any body counts. To illustrate that point, allow me to quote General Tommy Franks, heading up CentCom at the time:
"We don't do body counts"
See, that would suggest we don't do body counts.

The rationale is understandable. Our government tried to use body counts in Vietnam as a way to convey to Americans that we were winning the war there. That didn't exactly work out according to plan, even though a few million Vietnamese died while a shade over fifty thousand Americans perished there. Thus, we stopped doing that, especially since we weren't fighting an out-and-out, highly-organized national army, but were mired in what amounted to a large-scale guerrilla war, where casualty numbers and "body counts" weren't the final word on who was "winning".

So we don't do that anymore.

Er, we didn't do that anymore. Until Fallujah. Suddenly we're counting Iraqi bodies the way Astros fans count Roger Clemens strikeouts.

November 12:
American forces have killed about 600 insurgents in their fight to retake Fallujah, the U.S. military said Thursday as troops pushed toward the city's southern corridor.
November 13:
Iraq's national security adviser says more than 1,000 insurgents have been killed and some 200 captured during the six-day military operation by U.S. and Iraqi forces in the rebel stronghold of Al-Fallujah.
November 14:
Maj. Gen. Richard Natonski, commander of the 1st Marine Division,said Sunday as many as 1,600 insurgents have been killed since the operation began.
CNN is all over these numbers too, they escaped Anderson Cooper's lips a couple times in the first couple minutes of 360 today.

It would seem that our government is not only counting bodies, but really, really wants us to know that they are. And yet, at the same time, are they claiming a complete lack of civilian casualties?

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