Written by Darius Shahtahmasebi; Originally appeared at theantimedia.org
At the end of May, the Washington D.C.-based Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) released a study concluding that the death toll from the American-led “War on Terror” could be as high as two million just since the years following the 9/11 attacks.
The study, entitled “Body Count,” is 97 pages long and involved tallying up the total number of civilian casualties from U.S.-led adventures in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Not surprisingly, the mainstream media has paid close to zero attention to this report despite the high-profile nature of the group that produced it (they shared in the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize with the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW).
The study found that in many instances, previous estimates had “grossly” underestimated the body count. According to the researchers:
“The figure is approximately 10 times greater than that of which the public, experts and decision makers are aware of and propagated by the media and major NGOs. And this is only a conservative estimate.”
The report also found previous estimates had whitewashed the culpability and responsibility of those who had done the killing. In regards to the Iraq War, PSR found that despite “all the inaccuracies…the answers still allowed for the conclusion that approximately one third of all victims of violence had been directly killed by the occupation forces.” [emphasis added]
The U.S. and its allies (particularly the United Kingdom) also bear the ultimate blame for civilian deaths, specifically, following the 2003 invasion. It was their presence that unleashed the chaos to begin with, as noted by independent journalist Ben Swann:
“Before the 2003 U.S. invasion, do you know how many suicide attacks there were in Iraq? None. In the country’s history there had never been one. But since the 2003 invasion, there have been 1,892.”
The PSR study also found some momentous flaws with a number of other death toll studies. For example, a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine ignored the areas of Iraq that were subject to the heaviest violence, including Baghdad, the capital city of Iraq.
Overall, the PSR speculated that the most accurate number for the death toll in Iraq since 2003 is about one million. Together with a conservative Afghanistan death toll of 220,000 and a Pakistani death toll of 80,000, the PSR found that the number of deaths from the “War on Terror” was at least 1.3 million. However, PSR concluded that the real figure could easily be “in excess of two million.”
Nafeez Ahmed, a journalist who was axed from the Guardian for exposing Israel’s motives for bombing the Gaza strip in 2014, has compiled a death toll of his own, noting that the war in Iraq did not begin in 2003.
“The war on Iraq did not begin in 2003, but in 1991 with the first Gulf War, which was followed by the UN sanctions regime.” Ahmed writes.
Noting that the U.N. has found these draconian sanctions were responsible for the deaths of approximately 1.7 million civilians (between 500,000 and 600,000 of whom were children), Ahmed found that from 1990 to the present day, the U.S. has realistically killed close to three million Iraqi civilians.
All in all, Ahmed finds that the death toll from the U.S.-led “War on Terror” since 1990 is close to four million – the majority of whom would undoubtedly be Muslims given Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan are majority Muslim nations.
Any criticism of Islam and its 1.6 billion adherents that ignores this devastating recent history is a dangerous and illusory waste of time.
Last year, leaked ISIS documents revealed that its members had an extremely poor understanding of Islam. This was further confirmed by Lydia Wilson of The Nation, who interviewed captured ISIS fighters herself:
“Why did he [an ISIS fighter] do all these things? Many assume that these fighters are motivated by a belief in the Islamic State, a caliphate ruled by a caliph with the traditional title Emir al-Muminiin, ‘Commander of the faithful,’ a role currently held by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi; that fighters all over the world are flocking to the area for a chance to fight for this dream. But this just doesn’t hold for the prisoners we are interviewing. They are woefully ignorant about Islam and have difficulty answering questions about Sharia law, militant jihad, and the caliphate.” [emphasis added]
According to Wilson’s interviews with ISIS fighters, one main reason for their radicalization was not their religion, but George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq.
“‘The Americans came,’ [one fighter] said. ‘They took away Saddam, but they also took away our security. I didn’t like Saddam, we were starving then, but at least we didn’t have war. When you came here, the civil war started.’”
If a few ragtag Muslims committing heinous acts of terrorism on Western soil are enough to radicalize Westerners to form resistant groups, surely one can understand the sheer horror and plight of a group of people who have been killed by the millions in the past two or three decades over nothing more than a geopolitical chess game of oil, money, and natural gas.