Morning round-up: “US forces have fired so many bullets in Iraq and Afghanistan — an estimated 250,000 for every insurgent killed — that American ammunition-makers cannot keep up with demand,” The Independent reports.
Meantime, Benjamin Hart Viges, below, a 29-year-old former soldier who served with the 82nd Airborne Division and saw action in Iraq, including Baghdad and Fallujah, has told how indiscriminate fire from U.S. troops is likely to have killed an untold number of Iraqi civilians. “I don’t know how many innocents I killed with my mortar rounds,” he says.
We know Christopher Hitchens insists it’s a lie — see his debate with George Galloway (scroll down for the video) — but the British medical magazine The Lancet has published a report estimating that as many as 100,000 Iraqi civilians may have been killed as a result of the war.
Viges is no flaming liberal. As The Independent also reports, Viges “quit his job as a waiter in Seattle and signed up for the US Army” the day after 9/11. What is more:
[I]t was only when he watched Mel Gibson’s film, “The Passion of the Christ,” that he decided to file for conscientious objector status. “I consider myself a Christian and I thought Jesus wasn’t talking smack,” he told the American-Statesman newspaper, in his current home of Austin, Texas.
Here’s Viges in his own words.
And if anybody had any doubt that the Bullshitter-in-Chief’s regime is protecting the land of the free and the home of the brave from terrorists, British journalist and author Robert Fisk has been denied entry to the U.S. Fisk can always be relied upon to speak truth to power, most recently in this commentary. As Hammond Guthrie writes –he tipped us to that bit of news — “Is it any wonder?”
Finally, The Observer reports, “British troops will start a major withdrawal from Iraq next May under detailed plans on military disengagement to be published next month.” Prime Minister Tony Blair apparently hopes this will show that the threadbare cliché progess is being made still has legs. And as usual, Paul Krugman draws the apt conclusion. In today’s column, “Find the Brownie” (subscription required), he writes: “Something is rotten in the state of the U.S. government.” Obvious, it’s true. But there’s no getting around the “lethal consequences” of the regime’s “culture of cronyism and corruption.”
— Tireless Staff of Thousands