Thursday, October 12, 2006

Half a million? Is that enough yet?

It looks like the best current scientific data we have shows that the US invasion--our US invasion--has killed round about 655,000 Iraqis, or more accurately put:

Based on the numbers they observed and the statistical limitations of their methods, the authors estimate that the true number of excess deaths would fall between 426,369 and 793,663 nineteen times out of twenty.

Well, 425,000 or 325,000, 525,000 or 800,000--haggle over probabilities as you will, somewhere in all this is mass-murder.

Here's Canon Harmon from Titusonenine; remember, the Lancet study shows deaths above the pre-war baseline, which would include the number Saddam was responsible for pre-invasio:

One of the sad facts revealed about American life in the midst of this conflict is that most American religious leaders cannot handle this war. They obscure the real issues at stake, they create basic category confusion, they parrot the denominational leadership’s anti-war stance without providing a meaningful or coherent alternative, or they dodge the question altogether.

This was from 2003 as far as I can gather; I have not seen him report the Lancet study to his readers yet; I am sure he will soon. For it offers an opportunity for critical reflection: for instance, the time is ripe to ask should they--those on the Anglican right--now, finally, unite with the left in opposition to continuation of the war, or at least its beginning? I can't find mention of it over at CANN either. Who knows? Perhaps we shall hear from them on the study shortly.

It seems to me complicity in the invasion is a measure of the degree to which one has deviated from the moral response called for by the Gospel. The slaughter of Iraqis is an evil which Christians should have no part in supporting, and which they should have exercised themselves already in preventing. To actually support such slaughter, even to tolerate it as an "unintended double effect," seems to me an a priori mark of viciousness. The evil which appears to be a good to such a person is no mean error--we are not talking a type of action for which there could be a permissible mean, and that fact should have been evident from the beginning of the war in Christian circles.

It would be fascinating to correlate names of Network bishops--and Windsor bishops--with opinions about the Iraq war and especially the slaughter associated with it. They, no doubt, do not wish the national leadership to speak for them on moral questions--will these bishops speak up and let us know where they stand?


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