Friday, October 21, 2011

Killers of Americans dead, but what about the victims of Americans?

It really is appalling to read something like this, which breaks down the heart-wrenching toll of US victims of nasty terrorists, guys like bin Laden, Gaddafi, a few lesser lights of the worldwide terrorist conspiracy:
Open Channel - After Gadhafi's demise, biggest killers of Americans now are dead: "Since May 1, U.S. intelligence and special operations forces, or foreign forces working with U.S. intelligence and special operations forces, have killed the leading terrorists who targeted and killed more Americans than any others in the past 25 years.
Not only did the U.S. kill Osama Bin Laden on May 1, but also took out — "removed from the battlefield" — three of the jihadists they had identified as potential successors to bin Laden in the hours after the attack. Also, Somali forces loyal to the U.S. killed the mastermind of al-Qaida's East Africa embassy bombings. With 224 killed, 12 of them Americans, the attacks in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam were the group's deadliest attack before 9-11.
As for Moammar Gadhafi, it was his intelligence service that has been strongly linked to the attack on PanAm 103 in December 1988, which until September 11 was the single worst terrorist attack directed against the U.S., killing 269 people. "
After bin Laden's alleged attack on the World Trade Center in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001, the US retaliated by launching the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT), otherwise known as "the long war" or a war that will not end in our lifetimes. On its face, the operation to overthrow the Taliban regime in Afghanistan could be portrayed as justified retribution for hosting bin Laden -- although under closer scrutiny, it appears that the campaign against the Taliban had been conceived and planned long before 9/11.

Then there's Iraq, where the Bush administration made a case for war against Saddam Hussein by alleging the dictator was somehow in cahoots with the 9/11 plotters, and that the Iraqis were bristling with weapons of mass destruction, and could hit the US and allied targets within minutes. While more credible sources attempted to expose these tall tales about WMD, the decision to go to war in our times is more dependent on an effective PR campaign than a real, material threat. Everyone recalls the masterful "big lie" that the US wouldn't dither in carrying out an attack against Saddam, lest "the smoking gun turn out to be a mushroom cloud."

Obviously, when there's a war, people die. In the contemporary version of warfare, they often die in great numbers, particularly innocent civilians, who happen to be caught in the crossfire, or simply have the bad luck to become the euphemistic "collateral damage." US service personnel also die, although the military goes to considerable lengths to remove the brutality and horror of war from the TV screens of the nation, preferring a version of war that resembles an exciting video game.

While there was a great loss of innocent lives in the events of 9-11, and some military casualties in events like the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen, the biggest killers of Americans, as the headline of the story heralds them, have been nowhere near as prolific as the leaders of the US when performing as stand-ins for the grim reaper. While it's far easier to gather statistics for US persons who've lost their lives in violent acts, one has to do a bit of research to find the equivalent numbers among the victims of the Red, White and Blue. Indeed, the Pentagon makes a point of making it known the "We're not in the business of doing body counts," although it has been revealed by Wikileaks publication of purloined confidential US documents that this assertion is false.

The website at provides a good overview of the death toll of all major conflicts (not exclusively US-related), as well as references to source material. It's not presented in tabular form, however, so it doesn't present totals for each conflict. documents 9,759 Afghan civilians killed in the US operation to topple the Taliban and dominate the country through its proxy leader, Hamid Karzai.

The story in Iraq -- where the US invasion was based on especially dubious pretext -- the figures are staggering, if in dispute. They range from a US military guesstimate of 77,000 Iraqis killed in the conflict, up to a Johns Hopkins University study printed in the Lancet in 2006 that suggested the number was 601,000.

The beat goes on, and so does the killing, with the US engaged in various countries like Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and recently extended to Uganda, in a never-ended, blood-soaked crusade to make the world safe for US domination -- and exploitation by various commercial interests.

However horrific the acts of individuals like bin Laden and Gaddafi, none can hold a candle to the US government when it comes to prolific death and destruction around the world. It would be refreshing to read, occasionally, some acknowledgment of the awful toll of US imperialism around the world.

But don't hold your breath.

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