Unnatural disasters

Much of the world’s attention has rightly been focused on the catastrophic loss of life caused by the tsunami that swept across the Indian Ocean last month, reminding us in the most horrific way that nature’s capriciousness can be as deadly as man’s own enmity or folly. As the nations of the world scramble to provide relief for the survivors, the number of the dead is now estimated at 140,000 and rising. The human toll and the scope of the destruction left behind by the ocean are nearly impossible to grasp.

It is perhaps just as sobering, then, to be reminded that estimates of the Iraqi loss of life following the U.S. invasion and occupation of that country are of a similar magnitude. U.S. deaths in Iraq are also mounting, now nearing 1,400, with the number of seriously wounded approaching 11,000. By some estimates, the fierceness of the fighting rivals anything seen in Vietnam or World War II. As Peter Dula wrote in our December 3, 2004, issue (“The War in Iraq”), “Iraq is a catastrophe-on all accounts.” Yet nature’s capriciousness had nothing to do with bringing this tragedy about. Responsibility for this disaster lies squarely on the shoulders of President George W. Bush, who chose to launch an unjustified and unnecessary war, and whose management of the occupation and “stabilization” of Iraq has been as destructive as any natural calamity.

Every day brings news of more terrorism and death in Iraq...

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