Archive for September, 2006

200 Dead in Five Days of Iraq Violence

18 September 2006

In the past five days more than 200 people have been found in Iraq after being tortured and executed, according to Yahoo. Across the country, about 100 people are killed evry day due to violence in Iraq.

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Bombs Kill Four in Thailand

17 September 2006

A series of bomb blasts killed four people in Thailand, according to Seattle PI, and more than 60 were wounded. There were at least five bombs, which are believed to have been exploded remotely.

Officials blamed separatists, who have fought for two years, in a war that has resulted in 1,700 deaths, mostly civilian. Most of the violence has been in the mostly Muslim region in the south, where residents say they are discriminated against by Thailand’s Buddhist majority.

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Afghanistan Body Count Questionable

16 September 2006

NATO’s estimate of Taliban militants killed this month has raised concerns, according to Seattle PI.  NATO says that about 500 militants have been killed, which would mean that either the count is wrong or that the Taliban is far stronger than previously believed.

Some have expressed doubts that so many militants could be killed without more civilian deaths.  NATO says that it avoid civilian casualties by warning residents to leave, and obviously that was highly effective in Lebanon.  Because journalists cannot access the area, it is not possible to verify the numbers given by NATO.

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Darfur Death Toll

15 September 2006

The death toll of the first 31 months of the conflict in Darfur is possibly higher than 255,000, according to The Guardian. Sociologists estimate 170,000 to 255,000 deaths in that time, but they consider it a minimum number. It does not include missing persons, and the fact that there are families with no surviving members may have been left uncounted means that the number from the study is probably lower than the actual figure.

One researcher also noted that the US State Department estimate was much lower, and that this unfortunately led many people to “talk about tens of thousands of deaths rather than hundreds of thousands of deaths.”

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Israel’s Use of Weapons

14 September 2006

“In Lebanon, we covered entire villages with cluster bombs, what we did there was crazy and monstrous,” according to a commander in the Israel Defense Forces’ MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System) unit. Haaretz has published an article about the weapons used by Israel in the invasion of Lebanon, such as phosphorus and cluster bombs.

According to the article, commanders solved the problem of the inaccuracy of the cluster rockets by “flooding” the target area with them. When the IDF trains with these weapons, they rarely use live rockets, because there are so many “duds” that end up as mines, and they obviously didn’t want their training grounds covered with such dangers.

Also, Israeli soldiers report that they used phosphorus shells in Lebanon. Phosphorus causes painful death and severe burns.

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Blast Kills Seven in Turkey

13 September 2006

Seven people were killed in the Kurdish region of Turkey when a bomb exploded and 17 others injured, according to CNN. Five of those killed were children. Two of those injured were seriously wounded, according to officials. The explosion was near an elementary school. It is possible that it was a bomb set by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a group fighting for regional autonomy.

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Landmines in Nepal

12 September 2006

Landmines in Nepal, set by Maoist rebels and government troops, have killed at least 1,290 people, according to Daily News Online, most of them civilians. Since Maoist revolts began about a decade ago, over 13,000 people have been killed. Both groups have agreed to stop setting landmines.

Though this is fantastic, it cannot bring those 1,290 people back. Also, landmines don’t run on batteries, they don’t run out, they don’t expire, they don’t vanish or disappear, they don’t go bad, they don’t rot. They just stay there until someone gets rid of them. There are three ways that can happen: They can be defused, they can be exploded safely, or they can kill someone.

It is obviously in the interests of the civilians that they go through one of the first two means.

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September 12th

11 September 2006

Half a decade ago today, nearly 3,000 people were killed in terrorist attacks in the United States. On that day, millions of Americans re-declared their patriotism; their loyalty to the United States and its commitment to freedom and equality. They did so in recognition of the deaths of the victims of the attacks, and because everyone else was doing it. They decided that on that day their world had changed and that it would bring in a new era of patriotism and American values.

On September 12th though, as many have noted, the country began to change in an entirely new way. No longer were the memories of those victims honored by loyalty to the nation that they died in an attack upon. “A single death is a tragedy, a thousand deaths is a statistic.” As far as most Americans were, and are, concerned, the victims of 9/11 were forgotten, as would be many other deaths, to be replaced by the memory of the day itself.

In the days and months after 9/11, we were told that the world had changed, that our beliefs and ways had to change. No, our lifestyles didn’t have to change to save the ozone layer; no, we didn’t have to carefully consider the subconscious impacts of 9/11 that might result in racism against Arabs; we had to give up our ideas about our rights. We had to give up our freedoms in order to keep us free. And we had to accept the deaths that would be caused by invasions of countries on another continent, the deaths of civilians who had never harmed anyone. We had to respond to the deaths of our civilians by causing the deaths of other civilians. We had to do this to preserve the American way.

Today, five years after we committed to freedom and equality, people want to use racial profiling and tap telephone conversations in violation of one of America’s most important documents, in order to keep us free. We have killed thousands of civilians in response to the attacks that killed thousands of civilians.

Because it’s the American Way.

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Independent’s War on Terror Count

10 September 2006

The Independent published a number of statistics relating to the “War on Terror.” Among the numbers are some of the many estimates of civilian deaths and the financial cost of the invasions. The first paragraph of the article sums it up bluntly: “The ‘war on terror’ – and by terrorists – has directly killed a minimum of 62,006 people, created 4.5 million refugees and cost the US more than the sum needed to pay off the debts of every poor nation on earth.”

There are also a number of stories relating to individuals either killed or injured in the wars, which are very much worth reading.

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Afghanistan Bomb Kills 14 Civilians

9 September 2006

Though you wouldn’t know it from MSNBC’s headline, a bomb blast killed 14 civilians in Kabul recently, and wounded 27 others. Two US soldiers were also killed, and two others wounded. It was the deadliest suicide bombing in Kabul since 2001. One of those killed was woman out with her granddaughter, according to the woman’s son.

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