From Jim Gilliam's blog archives
The Cleansing of Fallujah

November 8, 2004 7:53 AM

begins, under order from Allawi. Two marines are already dead, and the insurgents killed more than 60 people over the weekend.

More from the archive in War and Peace.

The Cleansing of Fallujah (11.08.2004)

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Read the 17 comments.

Tom from Madison:

Has anyone heard any estimates on Iraqi civilian casualties? It is outrageous that we aren't even counting or reporting Iraqi civilian deaths that US operations are causing.

Tue Nov 9 2004 9:31 PM


Yes, there was a study by a well respected medical research group at You need to log in to view the report, but use if you don't want to register. From the report:

"Interpretation Making conservative assumptions, we think that about 100,000 excess deaths, or more have happened since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Violence accounted for most of the excess deaths and air strikes from coalition forces accounted for most violent deaths."

Wed Nov 10 2004 12:44 AM


It should also be noted that the link on their web page says 100,000 excess CIVILIAN deaths after Iraq invasion.

Wed Nov 10 2004 12:46 AM


And your point is....? What, exactly? That we should never use military force if civilians could conceivably be killed? That the U.S and coalition forces have shown a reckless disregard for civilian casualties?

Wed Nov 10 2004 4:27 AM

Dave E.:

Thank you for already demonstrating that you're completely missing the point. No further explanation is needed.

Wed Nov 10 2004 8:10 AM


"I'm just mouthing the words I picked up at some website - don't expect me to go into any depth explaining what I mean because I didn't read that far".

And poor Tom - you're "outraged" that we aren't reporting Iraqi civilian casualties. Imagine that! How DARE the U.S. military not keep track of civilian casualties in a war zone! Those callous uncaring non-progressive BASTARDS.

Wed Nov 10 2004 9:00 AM

Independent Jones:


What is your deal, man/woman? You just can't wait to tear into people. You just ooze with contempt for all opinions different than yours.

To dismiss the civilian casualties the way you are is truly ugly. I think the army does keep track of those figures and should. I don't think they are interested in reporting them, however, because it can paint an ugly picture when what most of the public wants to see is sunshine and roses.

Here's the thing, the civilian casualties should go a long way in terms of the pros and cons of the war. Yes, it's a warzone. Yes, civilians will die. But we made it a warzone and if more civilians are being killed and injured after our "victory" than before we invaded, it sort of dilutes our purpose as liberators. Maybe you can see how that might skew the opinion of those living there, right or wrong.

Wed Nov 10 2004 10:02 AM


It's not "my" point, its the point of the study, which is blatantly obvious to me. The way Rumsfeld and his people have decided to wage this war have not only put our troops at danger (failing to secure 380 tons of explosives, and now approximately 4,000 shoulder-fired missiles), but killed thousands and thousands of innocent civilians. I read something where Saddam Hussein, in his 20+ years as ruler of Iraq, killed 300,000 people, most of them earlier on. In over a year, we have possibly killed 100,000 innocent people. Now you tell me that's not messed up. That everything is going "OK", that we're doing the "right thing". I think the only ways you can have a view like tomaig's is if you A: believe all people in the middle east are Muslim, or B: have the "America is the greatest country in the world, so fuck everyone else" attitude.

Obviously the 100,000 dead in Iraq are still just a number to tomaig. So tell me, now why are we in Iraq? It doesn't seem like we're liberating the people right now. To those who disagree, what makes you think that after all the fighting is over, they will accept Allawi as a leader? From what I understand, people in Iraq feel he is vile. And now yesterday I hear that the Sunni political party has withdrew from the interim Iraqi government.

Let's say we do win against the insurgents. Then what? After all that's happened over there, I find it hard that the Iraqi people will accept ANY government we put in place over there.

Wed Nov 10 2004 10:09 AM


whoops. Typo

This line should read:

I think the only ways you can have a view like tomaig's is if you A: believe all people in the middle east are TERRORISTS, or B: have the "America is the greatest country in the world, so fuck everyone else" attitude.

Wed Nov 10 2004 10:11 AM


I didn't "dismiss" the civilian casualties: I asked the two folks who posted about them what their point was and, as you see, I've gotten no cogent answer.
Should we restate the obvious? Yes, civilian casualties are bad...nobody - especially the U.S. military - WANTS civilian casualties. But they are a fact of war and I'll wager that there have been fewer civilian casualties in this war than in any that have come before. Progress? Not to listen to the whining from Tom and'd think the entire war was just one big Bataan Death March for civilians.
Tut-tutting from hand-wringing liberals who are outraged - OUTRAGED! that the U.S. military is not publicizing the number of civilian casualties while the fighting is going on....that's cluelessness of the highest order.

Wed Nov 10 2004 11:54 AM


So you think that this war has had fewer civilian casualties than any other before? Let's take a look at the Gulf war. While I was unable to find any consistent numbers of civilan casualties during the war, they were no where near 100,000.


"Estimates of Iraqi civilian deaths range from 100 to 35,000.

Both from

". In a 1993 paper, former DIA analyst John Heidenrich estimated that only about 1,500 Iraqi soldiers, and fewer than 1,000 civilians were killed during the war. Working independently, John Mueller, a political science professor at Ohio State University, came to a similar conclusion."

"...She estimated that 56,000 Iraqi soldiers and 3,500 civilians were killed during the war,..."

Doesn't sound like progress to me.

Wed Nov 10 2004 12:41 PM


Consider the following scenario:

Several thousand members of various militia groups are terrorizing the people of Anaheim and threatening an armed rebellion against the state of California (they have support in many other cities). Against the recommendations of the local military leadership, who feel that the rebels can be disarmed through law enforcement and selective military strikes, the Pentagon orders an army division to pacify the city. Fighting and moving street by street, soldiers secure a large part of the city. However, news of civilian casualties causes the politicians to flinch, as an election is rapidly approaching. They order the troops to withdraw. Again, the military disagrees with the decision but carries out the order.

After the election, with an army division encircling Anaheim, the population of 350,000 is ordered to evacuate the city. Most civilians who are able to flee do so. However, nearly 100,000 stay behind, as they have no means of getting out of the city, and they have no place to go. They stock up on food and household goods and hope they will be lucky and the fighting will not come near where they live.

Roughly half of the militia leave the city, in order to avoid a head-to-head fight against a militarily superior foe. However, this leaves over a thousand rebels, who force the soldiers to move house-to-house, in order to secure the city. Whenever the source of hostile fire is located, the site is shelled or hit with an airstrike.

Do the authorities pacify Anaheim? Yes, they do. But, a refugee tent city of 100,000 forms in Riverside County and remains there for years, because authorities don't have the resources to house so many people. Anaheim becomes an impoverished city as business dries up. Organized resistance is smashed, and the city remains under martial law.

Support for the rebellion grows in other cities, based on outrage at the strongarm military tactics in Anaheim. Authorities decide that they will have to repeat the operation in Sacramento. Two divisions encircle the California state capitol, and the local population is warned to evacuate the city...

Wed Nov 10 2004 1:06 PM

JJ Soprano:

We don't even have to use the California cities for examples. Anyone remember 1968? A little minor US skirmish called the Tet Offensive? Any remember how the US bragged about breaking the will of the vietnamese, about how their army was no match for the military might of the US. Seven years later, well, you know the rest.

Wed Nov 10 2004 4:41 PM

Right Wing Robby:

Today is veterans day. Its a day to remember and be thankful for all the soldiers who gave their lives for our right be be free. Freedom is not a default setting, it has to be earned.

"It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the agitator, who has given us the freedom to protest. It is the soldier who salutes the flag, serves beneath the flag, whose coffin is draped by the flag, who gives that protester the freedom to abuse and burn that flag."--Zell Miller

Thu Nov 11 2004 7:58 AM


Support the troops!

ACTION ALERT: Walter Reed Wounded Vets Need Phone Cards!

bush walks out of veterans day ceremonies

Thu Nov 11 2004 10:01 AM


I remember that poem being read at my friend's funeral; it's a very good one. He died outside of Tikrit earlier this year from a roadside bomb. And I don't know about the rest of you, but I do support the troops because they're putting their lives on the line. It's just the war itself I'm not supporting, I guess mainly the purpose for WHY we're at war. This is just my opinion though, so I don't want anyone telling me how I'm wrong in thinking this or whatever else.

But even in not supporting the war, I was never mad at my friend. He went to Iraq because he wanted to, and he died truly knowing he was making a difference. That made it easier to cope with. If he had died angry, maybe it would've been a different story.

There's always a price to war, but I guess a good question would be when does the price become excessive? Or does it even matter how many dead bodies on either side there are in the end?

Thu Nov 11 2004 5:23 PM

Mike of the Great White North:

RWR: Indeed it is the soldier who gives the freedom. Nothing could be further from the truth. But taking Zell's dumbass words and spewing them out to support your last comment is wrong. Your troops are not fighting for your freedom, they are apperently 'pacifying' the entire city of Falluhja for 'Iraqi's' freedom. It's too bad that all people's under a military occupation are not free so that makes this comment come to a close. Until the US withdraws its forces from Iraq, allows true Free elections and allow Iraqi's to choose whomever they wish (including anti-us govt) because thats the freedom your fighting to give them. No?

And millers comments are retarded. He billitles the reporter, why? Because they allow a true and democratic public the ability to know what is going on and allow for public discourse on mattters that are important to free people. It was this exact impotence of media in the drum up to war, where all t.v. and newsprint media towed the party line and failed to ask the hard questions that would have alerted an American public to the distortions and outright lies being used to sell an illegal war. I'm assuming the 'agitator' in millers remarks are reference to any of us libertarians who actually did some fact checking and learned Saddam didn't have WMD and had no chance or ability to make WMD since Gulf War 1. and we new that Saddam and Osama hated each other enough not to trust giving weapons that could be used to remove him from his throne. And now the final lie of liberation crumbles lock n step with each building that fall down in Falluhja.

The soldier is important in protecting freedom when it is your freedom that is in jeopordy. It is up to the rest of us reporters, idealists, philosiphers, even agitators to maintain and hold onto that freedom.

Last point. I never billitle or take away or villify the troops over there. Time and again in firefights with njguardsman, i never once said a thing against the troops. They do a tremendous job and carry a terrible burden that is enforce policy from higher ups in the chain of command without question. It is these higher ups i harp on. These weasels and ideologues who never once held a gun, using young men and women to test out theoretical models on reshaping the middle east. I have nothing but admiration for them even when they are forced to do things i cannot agree with.

And thats why i say, if you support the troops... bring them home. Don't let another one of them die for a lie. Cici asked when the price becomes excessive. It BECAME excessive after the first body hit the floor.

Fri Nov 12 2004 11:03 PM

Jim Gilliam
Jim Gilliam


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