American policy has killed more Iraqis than Saddam's tyranny; "Pro-Lifers" Silent
The Iraq Foundation, a registered 501(c)3 which was founded in 1991 to promote democracy and economic prosperity in Iraq and the Middle East, has every reason to play up the death count from the Saddam regime. Not that they would overestimate, but they have no political reason to underestimate. An article on their website says this:
Since then, Mr. Hussein's has been a tale of terror that scholars have compared to that of Stalin, whom the Iraqi leader is said to revere, even if his own brutalities have played out on a small scale. Stalin killed 20 million of his own people, historians have concluded. Even on a proportional basis, his crimes far surpass Mr. Hussein's, but figures of a million dead Iraqis, in war and through terror, may not be far from the mark, in a country of 22 million people.
The First Gulf War was short enough to keep civilian casualties relatively low. Between 200 and 2,300 civilians were killed during the fighting, mostly in air raids.
Estimates of the impact of sanctions vary. The Iraqi government claims that 1,500,000 people died as a result of the sanctions. While that estimate is likely to be higher than the reality, an article in CNN sites a UN report which puts the death toll from sanctions at around 1,000,000. Children under 5 account for a disproportionate number of these deaths:
The United Nations estimates 1 million Iraqis, mostly children, have died under the sanctions. The Al-Thawra newspaper gave a higher death toll, claiming 1.5 million people have died as a result of the embargo.
The DoD has famously said that it doesn't keep track of civilian deaths in Iraq, but www.iraqbodycount.net puts number at between 43,000 and 48,000. This number is based on American and Iraqi news sources, as well as the various wire services. A breakdown of these numbers can be found here.
Some may say that Saddam is to be held responsible for these deaths, particularly the ones caused by sanctions. This is a matter of perspective, and a strong argument could be made to support this point of view. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, the US had the power and influence to end the ineffective sanctions and save innocent lives, yet it did not.
We might expect to hear a louder protest to the loss of innocent life on a massive scale coming from members of the pro-life movement, who have voiced strong opposition to the use of stem cells in potentially life-saving research. Why people who call themselves pro-life can get bent out of shape over a lump of cells while remaining utterly silent, or even supportive, of a policy which has caused the death of more than a million innocent people is speaks either to the collective ignorance or hypocrisy of the pro-life movement.
While this movement as a whole has failed to mobilize in any effective way in the issue of the US policy toward the Middle East, some elements within the pro-life community have spoken out, and their message, thankfully, has not been in support of the War. In an article for the Center for Christian Nonviolence, Rev. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy writes about how war inevitably leads to abortion as misplaced persons who are pregnant are faced with few alternatives. He says:
Mass abortions are the necessary and one hundred per cent inevitable consequence of modern war. Morally, that which a person is certain will occur if he or she makes a particular choice represents a choice for which he or she is responsible before God. A person cannot morally claim he or she does not intend abortions that are certain to take place, by claiming he or she only intends to improve the mother's bodily health or the health of the body politic.
To sum up in the simplest terms possible, one cannot be both pro-life and pro-war.
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