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Having appeared in early 2004, what remains most important about this detailed analysis from IBC is that, while some of it is now outdated, most of it remains as pertinent today as then, particularly in regard to official disinterest and (perhaps a little less so) media priorities.

The sad milestone of 10,000 civilian deaths, as recorded by IBC, was cited across the political spectrum (though not necessarily with attribution).

As predicted, this milestone proved to be all too transitory.

2. The blood-spattered balance sheet in the “war on terror”

So far, in the “war on terror” initiated since 9-11, the USA and its allies have been responsible for over 13,000 civilian deaths, not only the 10,000+ in Iraq, but also 3,000+ civilian deaths in Afghanistan, another death toll that continues to rise long after the world's attention has moved on.1 2

Elsewhere in the world over the same period, paramilitary forces hostile to the USA have killed 408 civilians in 18 attacks worldwide (see Table). Adding the official 9-11 death toll (as of October 29th 2003) brings the total to just under 3500:

Paramilitary Attacks on Western Targets resulting in deaths, Sep 2001–Nov 2003
Date Place Target Numbers killed Numbers injured
September 2001 3 US locations World Trade Center, Pentagon 2976 -
March 2002 Islamabad, Pakistan Worshippers at church in diplomatic compound 5 45
April 2002 Djerba, Tunisia Synagogue 21 24
May 2002 Karachi, Pakistaan French naval technicians 14 23
June 2002 Karachi, Pakistan US Consulate 11 45
October 2002 Philippines US special forces soldier 1 0
October 2002 Yemen Limburg oil tanker 1 0
October 2002 Amman, Jordan US diplomat 1 0
October 2002 Bali, Indonesia Sari Nightclub 202 300
November 2002 Kikambala, Kenya Paradise Hotel 11 50
May 2003 Casablanca, Morroco multiple 39 60
May 2003 Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Western residential compounds 29 200
August 2003 Djakarta, Indonesia Marriott Hotel 13 149
November 2003 Istanbul, Turkey 2 synagogues 23 300
November 2003 Istanbul, Turkey HSBC Bank, British Consulate 28 400
Total deaths and injuries (9-11 injuries not included) 3375 1596

For each civilian killed by “terrorists” on and since 9-11, the USA and its allies have brought about almost four non-combatant, civilian deaths in return.3 4

The figures above do not include recent civilian deaths in the Israel-Palestine conflict. Recent estimates (updated November 2004) suggest that the Israeli army has killed over 1600 Palestinian civilians since 2001.5 Around 900 Israeli civilians have died in suicide attacks over the same period. This represents a ratio approaching 2:1 in Palestinian civilian deaths as compared to Israeli deaths. The Israeli leadership has repeatedly claimed that their actions against the Palestinians are part and parcel of the same “war on terror” being fought by the USA and the UK.

One might ask how it is possible to claim that the deaths of some 4,500 civilians at the hands of paramilitaries demonstrates “utter contempt for innocent life” when the blood of some 14,000 innocents staining our own hands is considered noble and necessary. Tony Blair provided the following answer on 20th November, standing alongside George W Bush in London:

This terrorism is the 21st century threat. It is a war that strikes at the heart of all that we hold dear, and there is only one response that is possible or rational: to meet their will to inflict terror with a greater will to defeat it; to confront their philosophy of hate with our own of tolerance and freedom; and to challenge their desire to frighten us, divide us, unnerve us with an unshakeable unity of purpose; to stand side by side with the United States of America and with our other allies in the world, to rid our world of this evil once and for all.6

The claim that a strategy which produces 14,000 civilian deaths is the expression of a “philosophy of tolerance and freedom” is a claim which we find incomprehensible. Our incomprehension is shared, we believe, by the majority of the world’s people.