Casualty counts: LI recommends the WashPost article about lost Iraqi limbs and other matters that, in the post-conflict world, we can perceive to be as utterly trivial as finding the ghostly weapons of mass destruction (which, it turns out, were about to be manufactured en masse in the back of a horse trailor, and in a doghouse in a Basra suburb). Here's a nice three grafs:
To many who lost livelihoods and limbs in the process, a U.S. reconstruction effort in its seventh week should be as much about recompense as restarting electrical grids, pumping stations and a flattened economy. But U.S. officials have made clear to Iraqis that they do not intend to conduct a complete accounting of war damages, nor compensate those who say the occupying army owes them something. While sympathetic to individual hardships suffered as a result of war, U.S. officials say they are wary of beginning a legal process that could entail millions of claims against them.
U.S. officials have approached the issue in much the way they did in Afghanistan, presenting Washington's multibillion-dollar commitment to rebuilding Iraq as compensation enough. But international relief organizations, including the Islamic Red Crescent Society, say the conventions of war hold the United States responsible for paying out such claims.
"The other thing that makes this difficult is the endemic fraud that would creep into this," said John Kincannon, a spokesman for the Pentagon's Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance that is overseeing the civilian part of the postwar occupation. "How do you ascertain facts three months after the incident, for example? And once word gets out that the Americans are paying people for damages, where does it stop?"
Where indeed, with these Iraqis? Well, let's serve em up some private enterprise, as Donald Rumsfeld has suggested. Man, among Saddam's other crimes was that heinous one of socializing medecine! Imagine the horror. Imagine the corruption of the work ethic. This, as a former President Bush once said, will not stand -- and neither will the majority of Iraqi casualties, it looks like.