Iraq Puts Civilian Toll at 12,000
The wave of terrorist violence across Iraq over the past 18 months has killed 12,000 Iraqis, almost all of them Shiites, according to the Iraqi government. This is in addition to thousands of Iraqi security forces and 1,663 American military personnel that have died since the war resumed in March 2003.
Iraq Puts Civilian Toll at 12,000 (WaPo, A1)
Violence in the course of the 18-month-long insurgency has claimed the lives of 12,000 Iraqis, Interior Minister Bayan Jabr said Thursday, giving the first official count for the largest category of victims of bombings, ambushes and other increasingly deadly attacks.
Interior Ministry statistics showed 12,000 civilians killed by insurgents in the last year and a half, Jabr said. The figure breaks down to an average of more than 20 civilians killed by bombings and other attacks each day. Authorities estimate that more than 10,500 of the victims were Shiite Muslims, based on the locations of the deaths, Jabr said.
There have been 1,663 U.S. military deaths since the United States led the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, according to the Pentagon’s official count. Bombings and other insurgent strikes have killed thousands of Iraqi security force members. No official totals have been released for those dead, or for the total number of civilian casualties since the start of the war. The U.S. military says it does not keep a comprehensive tally of people it has killed in combat, although it has released numbers of dead in major operations and has acknowledged civilians it has killed if it has become generally known that those people died during a U.S. firefight or attack.
Jabr said the government figures showed that Shiites had suffered the bulk of insurgent attacks. No Sunni Muslim mosques, for example, had been destroyed, he said.
Iraq’s insurgency is led largely by members of the Sunni Arab minority that was toppled from power with Saddam Hussein. Foreign Arab fighters are largely blamed for the suicide bombings that now claim most of the lives. Jabr, in some of his first extended remarks to reporters since becoming interior minister, said he saw no legitimacy in the cause of the Sunni Arab fighters. “I have not seen any ‘resistance,’ ” Jabr said in response to a question about clemency for so-called resistance fighters who lay down their arms. “There is terror, and all sides have agreed that anyone raising guns and killing Iraqis is a terrorist.”
Quite right. There’s no other name for the intentional targeting of civilians.