In the March 23 Signal Adjunct Professor Khawaja suggests, as the headline noted, that my “war estimates” were “inaccurate.” He may well be right. The number of Iraqi dead in this war have been difficult to estimate, because the pentagon does not count Iraqi casualties: not women, children or actual combatants. I took the John’s Hopkins numbers as they were given: as an estimate of 100,000. But let’s take Professor Khawaja’s premise of an overestimate at face value. Would 75,000 deaths make him feel happier about the war? How about fully halving the Hopkins’ estimates to 50,000 men, women and children? Does this level of split blood make us proud of the actions of this government?
For the record, I actually underestimated the number of American deaths. It has now surpassed 1300. And, please, Professor Khawaja, don’t imply that there is justification for our actions by pointing to Saddam’s brutality. The United States actually armed and supported his government when he carried out the genocide of the Kurds.
It was asserted that I was offering an “implicit” cost/benefit analysis of this war. No so. Any single death in this conflict is one too many. The fact that the numbers are now in the thousands is evidence of the shame and brutality of a policy of pre-emptive war.