— The Erimtan Angle —

‘Abby Martin calls attention to the gross underestimation of Iraq War casualties, and calls out the WHO over a report that blatantly covers up the connection between the use of depleted uranium by occupation forces and congenital birth defects among Iraqis (21 Oct 2013)’.

This revisionist approach to the war in Iraq is highly disturbing. The efforts by the WHO seem baffling in view of the ready availability of contradicting data in this internet age of ours. Last June, Rebecca Hellmich, writing for the media watch group FAIR, posited that “results from a new poll commissioned by the British media watchdog group MediaLens exposed a startling disconnect between the realities of the Iraq War and public perceptions of it: Namely, what the Iraqi death toll was. When Britons were asked “how many Iraqis, both combatants and civilians, do you think have died as a consequence of the war that began in Iraq in 2003?,” 44 percent of respondents estimated that  5,000 or fewer deaths had occurred. As Alex Thomson, a reporter for the UK’s Channel 4 (5/31/13), wrote: ‘That figure is so staggeringly, mind-blowingly at odds with reality as to leave a journalist who worked long and hard to bring home the reality of war speechless’. And polls done in the United States have offered similar conclusions. A Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) poll (3/1/06-3/6/06) that asked how many Iraqi civilians had been killed since the beginning of the war yielded a median estimate of 5,000 deaths. And when respondents were asked in a different poll (AP/Ipsos, 2/12/07-2/15/07) to give their “best guess” about civilian deaths, 24 percent chose the option of 1,001 to 5,000 deaths. These answers are, of course, way off the mark. Estimates of the death toll range from about 174,000 (Iraq Body Count, 3/19/13) to over a million (Opinion Business Research, cited in Congressional Research Service, 10/7/10).  Even at the times of those U.S. polls, death estimates were far beyond the public’s estimates. Of course, these findings are disheartening because they reflect a very distorted public perception of the war. But they are indicative of an even bigger problem: corporate media’s inadequate coverage of the human costs of U.S.-led wars”.[1]  The human cost of war is hard to fathom and getting at the real numbers of the dead and wounded in Iraq may be impossible, still these recently released low figures do suggest a kind of whitewash operation.

[1] Rebecca Hellmich, “How Many Iraqis Died in the Iraq War?” FAIR Blog (07 June 2013). http://www.fair.org/blog/2013/06/07/how-many-iraqis-died-in-the-iraq-war/.


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