Saturday, August 27, 2022

US government is the greatest exporter of . . . deaths

The US government's greatest export in the 21st century?  Death.  Daniel Brown and Azmi Haroun (BUSINESS INSIDER) report

In the 76 countries in which the US is currently fighting terrorism, at least three have been incredibly deadly: Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

And as the US pullout from Afghanistan nears the one year mark, Brown University's Costs of War Project report details just how deadly they've been. It counts how many people have been killed by the "United States' post-9/11 wars" in these three countries, along with others.

The report accounts for deaths in Afghanistan and Pakistan between October 2001 and October 2018, and in Iraq between March 2003 and September 2021.

In October 2001, the US invaded Afghanistan to defeat the al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and 20 years later, on August 30, 2021, the US completed a chaotic withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan as the Taliban regained full control of the country.

[. . .]

6,951 US military deaths.

Iraq: 4,550 deaths.

Afghanistan: 2,401 deaths.

Pakistan: 0 deaths.

There were also 21 civilian DOD deaths, including six in Afghanistan and 15 in Iraq, the Cost of War report notes.

7,820 US contractor deaths.

Iraq: 3,793 deaths.

Afghanistan: 3,937 deaths.

Pakistan: 90 deaths.


109,154 national military and police deaths.

Iraq: 41,726 deaths.

Afghanistan: 58,596 deaths.

Pakistan: 8,832 deaths.

1,464 Allied troop deaths.

Iraq: 323 deaths.

Afghanistan: 1,141 deaths.

Pakistan: 0 deaths.

244,124 — 266,427 civilians.

Iraq: 182,272 — 204,575 deaths.

Afghanistan: 38,480 deaths.

Pakistan: 23,372 deaths.

109,396 — 114,471 opposition fighters.

Iraq: 34,806 — 39,881 deaths.

Afghanistan: 42,100 deaths.

Pakistan: 32,490 deaths.

362 journalists and media workers.

Iraq: 245 deaths.

Afghanistan: 54 deaths.

Pakistan: 63 deaths.

566 humanitarian and NGO workers.

Iraq: 62 deaths.

Afghanistan: 409 deaths.

Pakistan: 95 deaths.

479,858 — 507,236 total deaths.

Iraq: 267,792 — 295,170 deaths. 

Afghanistan: 147,124 deaths.

Pakistan: 64,942 deaths.

Read the full report here.

Read the original article on Business Insider

It's an undercount, to be sure, but it's the most serious attempt at a real count in over a decade.

Anyone worried about an overcount on US troops killed in Iraq and citing DoD figures, should grasp that the US government's count buries troops killed in Iraq after December 2011 under the heading "Operation Inherent Resolve" and which covers deaths in "Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the Mediterranean Sea east of 25 [degrees] longitude, the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea."

That lumping is how they and the press get to pretend that the war ended at the end of 2011 -- when in fact, there are 74 more deaths after that.

In addition, Brown's Costs of War study notes that there have been 30,177 suicides among veterans of the post-9/11 wars.

Now let's note this from Human Rights Watch:

(Baghdad) – Kurdistan regional security forces arrested dozens of journalists, activists, and politicians on August 5 and 6, 2022 in advance of planned protests, Human Rights Watch said today.

On August 1, Shaswar Abdulwahid, leader of The New Generation opposition party called for demonstrations in Sulaymaniyah, Erbil, and Duhok in the face of worsening “corruption, poverty, and unemployment” in the region.

“Using arbitrary repression to quell protests and intimidate activists and journalists is a recipe for spreading further grievance among KRI residents,” said Adam Coogle, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “The better way to address public anger is to ensure respect for basic rights and freedoms, including the right to peaceful protest.”

Human Rights Watch has in recent years documented increased targeting of independent media outlets and journalists in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). Both federal and Kurdistan Region authorities have used a range of defamation and incitement legal provisions against critics, including journalists, activists, and other dissenting voices.

Rahman Gharib, director of Metro Center, which monitors media freedom in the Kurdistan Region, told Human Rights Watch that the group had identified 78 rights violations by security forces against 60 journalists and media outlets during the arrests. The security forces detained at least 26 journalists, confiscated equipment from 23, and prevented 16 from covering the protests.

“It has become clear to us that the security forces are targeting journalists during protests rather than protecting them,” Rahman said. The security forces “are afraid of camera lenses because they reveal their own illegal behavior.”

Sirwan Gharib, editor of the independent news website Westga News, said that he was detained in Sulaymaniyah on the day of the protests, August 6, for several hours, along with many of his colleagues.

“As we arrived to cover the protests, a drone belonging to the Asayish [internal security forces] filmed us from a close distance to intimidate us” as “I waved to them showing my journalist ID card so they would know that we were journalists,” Gharib said. He said he had sought to ensure safe conditions to cover the protests by calling the mayor of Sulaymaniyah, Awat Mohammed, in advance, asking him to allocate a place in Al-Saraya Square, the protest site, for journalists, but the mayor did not respond.

Asayish personnel were already in the square when they arrived, journalists and activists said. As the protest began, the Asayish fired teargas at the protesters and journalists, though witnesses said they did not see any violence that would justify the use of teargas or of arrests.

As the protest proceeded, the Asayish arrested his crew’s cameraman, Zanyar Mariwan, Gharib said. Then, as his colleagues tried to help him, the Asayish arrested the rest of the crew, Lania Bakhtiar, Arkan Abdul Qadir, Hevar Hiwa, and Gharib.

“We were all taken in a minibus to Asayish security offices, where they confiscated our mobile phones and treated us like criminals,” he said. “But covering the news is a fundamental right, not a crime. During the investigation they told me that we didn’t have permission [to cover the protests]. I told them that I am a journalist, and that when covering demonstrations, I don’t need permission.”

They were released a few hours later, without charge.

Taha Ahmed Saeed, a leader in the New Generation Movement, told Human Rights Watch that Asayish security forces arrested 86 party members, some before the protests and others as they began.

He said that on August 6, Asayish raided his home, and then his father’s home, both in Sulaymaniyah, arresting him at his father’s home without showing a warrant. They confiscated his mobile phone, and also confiscated his brother and sister’s mobile phones, searched through them, then returned them.

Security forces held Saeed in Kani Goma prison in Sulaymaniah for four days, then released him after he paid bail, but did not tell him whether any charges were pending against him.

“During the investigation, one officer asked me, ‘Why did you incite the protest?’” Saeed said. “I told him that the right to assembly is a fundamental right for political parties, for any citizen. How is it a crime?”

Rebwar Abdul Rahman, an Iraqi parliament member representing the New Generation Movement, said that he and two other Iraqi parliament members from the party, Omed Mohammed and Badrya Ibrahim, were arrested on their way to the protests.

“At 4:30 p.m., Asayish arrested the three of us just 200 meters away from the protest square,” Abdul Rahman said. “They put us in a minibus and drove us around the city for four hours, then they dropped us off on 60th Street. [The security forces] didn’t show us an arrest warrant, they just told us that they have orders to arrest us. They just didn’t want the protest to happen.” He said they were not charged.

Taif Goran, Duhok office director for the local outlet Nalia Radio and Television (NRT) News, said that security forces arrested 18 NRT staff members in Erbil, Duhok, and Sulaymaniyah.

Goran said that on August 5, as he and a reporter, Briyar Nerwayi, left their office, local police arrested them, confiscated their equipment, including a camera and two livestream boxes, and took them to the Duhok emergency police office.

Among the other staff arrested, Adil Sabry, a cameraman from the channel’s Duhok office, and Sabah Sofy, a reporter from NRT’s Shekhan office, were also taken to the Duhok emergency police office.

“The security forces didn’t provide us any legal reason for our arrest,” Goran said. “They arrested 11 activists too. So we were 15 persons in custody.” After 27 hours in detention, security forces released all 15 of them, each on a sponsored guarantee of 5 million Iraqi dinar (US$3,430) bail but did not tell them what they were charged with.

Kurdistan regional authorities often use regional laws against journalists and activists exercising basic rights like freedom of assembly, including the Press Law and the Law to Prevent the Misuse of Telecommunications Equipment. These laws prohibit, among other things, misusing cell phones and email – or more broadly the internet – to threaten someone, using profanities, spreading misinformation, sharing images counter to the public’s values, and sharing private information, even if true.

The Kurdish Law for Organizing Protests in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq requires written permission for all protests from the regional interior minister or the local administrative unit. If permission is refused, protesters can be charged with a crime.

“Kurdish authorities often tout the region’s prosperity and stability relative to other parts of Iraq,” Coogle said. “But the pre-emptive arrest of activists, opposition politicians, and journalists merely for organizing, attending, and covering peaceful political protests is nothing to be proud of.”

Human Rights Watch is pretty much the only organization that consistently notes every attack in Iraq on protesters.  And there have been a ton of attacks on protesters since the 2003 US-led invasion.  Here's the thing though, in all this time of protests, only one group hasn't been attacked by Iraqi forces.  That would be Cult of Moqtada.  They broke into the Green Zone, they broke into Parliament and not only were they not evicted, they didn't face the abuse that the other groups had.  That's because an order was put in place by 'caretaker' prime minister Mustafa al-Kahhimi that not a hair on their heads should be harmed.  So they were allowed to break the law and the law looked the other way.  Meanwhile, the young Shi'ites of The October Revolution were attacked -- and I'm not just talking before Mustafa became prime minister.  Let's just deal with after.  They were beaten.  They were mowed down.  Their shelters were burned and run over.  

All they did was occupy the public square in downtown Baghdad.  

Fairness?  Not in Iraq.  

Moqtada is once again demanding that the Parliament dissolve itself.

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Neither Dante Nor Caesar Will Save Us


Neither Dante Nor Caesar Will Save Us

By David Swanson

Dante wrote bizarre and powerful poetry about Hell and Heaven that united Italians around a non-Latin language and the Western world around various images and misquotations regarding who’s destined for which circle.

He also wrote a book in Latin defending and praising monarchy, which was recently praised as useful in 2022 for creating a benevolent world government federation and worldwide peace. The trouble is that this is complete and utter bollocks. One can find bits where Dante suggests that conquered territories require unique local laws, and so forth, but nowhere that even hints at respect for self-determination or democracy. It’s a book praising monarchy, and in particular the Roman Empire, and proving its points with the authority of fairytales and poems by Virgil.

The most interesting thing about the whole book on monarchy is the question it raises as to whether Dante thought his own fantastical poetry was nonfiction, or that just Virgil’s was. The book is also interesting as an historical artifact, but as a plan for action in the 21st century it’s utter nonsense and doesn’t even contain a plan for action in the 14th century other than to go forth and fight.

There’s no great effort required to read 700-year-old musings as nonsense. The problem is how many people actually do still think in similar ways even as the world contains nuclear weapons.

Dante does start out by naming peace as the greatest good. But those of us who already think that, think it because of the horrors of war: death, injury, trauma, homelessness, environmental destruction, hatred, division, and the diversion of resources away from urgent needs. Dante’s addition of some selected scriptural quotations isn’t going to strengthen our beliefs or persuade anyone to join us.

Dante — in a move worthy of a job offer from Stanford University — declares the greatest tool for peace to be “temporal monarchy / empire.” He then proves through syllogisms that would be laughed out of a decent second-grade classroom, that a good government must be a monarchy — essentially because it’s possible to quote some crap that Aristotle and Homer said about families and draw an analogy. Only a hyper-wealthy dictator with total power can selflessly govern, Dante assures us, just as Trump supporters promised that only a pseudo-billionaire conman could care about you because everyone else is corruptible.

Dante’s model is not Trump of course; it’s Augustus (under whose rule, “a perfect monarchy existed. That mankind was then happy in the calm of universal peace is attested by all historians”). I suppose the enslaved and tortured and wounded and starved may have voiced a few negligible complaints, of course, but not one protest was ever heard from any of the dead.

Dante opens Book II of his treatise by recounting how he used to sympathize with peoples wanting self-determination, but he had a chat inside his own head with an imaginary friend and came to understand that such people should shut up and obey, as that would establish true and holy peace.

As if that were not proof enough of the need to re-establish the Roman Empire, Dante adds proof by racism: “[I]t is appropriate that the noblest race should rule over all the others.” But how do we know that the Romans were the noblest? Why, because they were ruling over all the others, Dante helpfully explains. He never explains how or whether they ceased to be the noblest, or how one can tell which race will be the noblest in the future, or why you should bother helping some race conquer others since it will do so automatically if it is the noblest and won’t if it isn’t.

Also, for readers who are slow to catch on, Dante later returns to the argument-from-racism to explain that God has condemned certain peoples to be ruled, which we know because Aristotle said so, even though God never bothered to make Himself known to Aristotle.

As if THAT were not convincing enough, Dante adds the argumentum-from-because-Virgil-said-so.

And just to pile on the unnecessary proofs, Dante also explains that Rome had the help in its rise to dominance of various miracles, including geese honking, which we all know that geese never do normally but only when they are granting divine sanction to imperial slaughter.

Well, not slaughter, exactly, because Rome only had good wars, a fact we know because, as Dante reminds us, Cicero said so. Also, we know that Cicero quoted Ennius who in nine short lines claimed that war must be a last resort and that negotiations must be rejected in favor of wars because it is only through the trial-by-ordeal of wars that we can find out the will of God, which happens to be that whoever wins a war should rule whoever doesn’t. Dante assures us that Rome did just this, nobly and piously choosing wars, which proves that it was right for Rome to rule (right made by might and insistence on using might).

Dante passes swiftly over Rome’s relations toward Christians, but open-mindedly translates “Hera” in the lines from Ennius as “divine providence” meaning both the will of God and that it was the will of God for people to get His name wrong. This is followed, however, by a lengthy explanation of how “God wills what he does not will” which I highly recommend not reading.

On top of which — this is the real clincher — people died in the wars. This super-convincing argument is still used today, of course. Thou must not oppose war because people have died in wars. What makes Dante believe he’s telling us anything new here from centuries gone by is beyond me, but I suppose I can cut him a greater break than his readers since he’s dead.

Having so thoroughly proved his case, Dante then assures us that all the people who disagree with him, including the Pope and assorted big shots destined for whatever circles of Hell they might be destined for, cannot claim that their baseless nonsense overrides Dante’s own baseless nonsense because, well, because of additional pages of baseless nonsense.

“It is tedious,” Dante writes, “to offer proofs in matters which are self-evident” — this near the close of a book lacking just about anything either self-evident or non-tedious.

Yet, in closing, Dante lets us know that the emperor must be subject to the pope — even though whomsoever the emperor smites deserved it, and even though the pope foolishly disbelieves in the holy sanctioning of whatever the emperor does. I suppose this riddle is a bit non-tedious.



David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is executive director of and campaign coordinator for Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at and He hosts Talk World Radio. He is a Nobel Peace Prize Nominee and U.S. Peace Prize Recipient.

Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.

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Talk World Radio: Zaher Wahab on How the United States in Killing More Than Ever in Afghanistan

 Talk World Radio: Zaher Wahab on How the United States in Killing More Than Ever in Afghanistan


Talk World Radio is recorded as audio and video on — except when it can’t be and then it’s Zoom. Here is this week’s video and all the videos on Youtube.


This week on Talk World Radio we’re discussing Afghanistan with Dr. Zaher Wahab, Professor Emeritus, Lewis and Clark College and the American University of Afghanistan; born, raised, and schooled in a village in Afghanistan; Attended the American University of Beirut, Columbia University, and Stanford University. Zaher Wahab was senior adviser to the Minister of Higher Education of Afghanistan from 2002 to 2006; taught at Kabul University and Kabul Education University 2006 to 2013; and directed MA programs and taught full time at the American University of Afghanistan from 2013 to 2019.

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David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is executive director of and campaign coordinator for Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at and He hosts Talk World Radio. He is a Nobel Peace Prize Nominee and U.S. Peace Prize Recipient.

Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.

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