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  • Nov 12th, 2018
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In a distressing reminder of the death and destruction caused by America's so-called war on terror following the 9/11 attacks, a study report released by Brown University's Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs puts the death toll at between 480,000 and 507,000, recognizing though that the actual number is likely higher, and that the 'war on terror' remains intense. Indeed, the number is much, much higher than that and continues to increase. Giving a country-wise casualty count, the report says between 182,272 and 204,575 people have been killed in Iraq, 38,480 in Afghanistan and 23,372 in Pakistan. Predictably, there is no mention of the US and its allies' meddling in Syria, which has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and driven millions out of their homes forcing them to seek shelter in neighbouring countries or to knock at the EU countries' doors.

First of all, it is wrong to call America's wars in Muslim countries, especially its invasion and occupation of Iraq as war on terror. That illegal and immoral war was waged using false pretexts. Saddam Hussein may have been a brutal dictator but contrary to the US and British claims at the time, he was neither in possession of weapons of mass destruction nor did he have ties to Osama bin Laden. That war alone caused a lot more casualties than the number cited by the present report. It is worth recalling here what a survey by the highly respected British medical journal 'The Lancet' found way back in August 2006. An estimated 654,965 Iraqi deaths were reported as consequence of the war, which corresponded to 2.5 percent of the population in the study area. Of post-invasion deaths, noted the lancet report, 601,027 were due to violence, the most common cause being gunfire. As for the statistics for the other two countries, Pakistan lost nearly 70,000 lives due to the blowback from the Afghan war. In the case of Afghanistan, no one has kept the casualty count. In fact, the author of the Watson Institute report acknowledges we may never know the total death toll in these wars because many of those reported by US and local forces as militants may actually have been civilians. There have been several instances in both Afghanistan and Pakistan wherein drone strikes on purported Taliban gatherings turned out to be wedding parties or jirga meetings.

A direct result of these wars is a rise in anti-Americanism across the word. According to PEW Research Center surveys conducted in 2013 and 2017 in 30 nations, more and more people say America poses a major threat to world peace. Unsurprising, the sentiment is the strongest in the Muslim countries. Many Muslims radicalized by America's wars in their lands have been attacking innocent civilians in Western countries. Unfortunately, however, the people and the media in those countries tend to ignore asking their governments the pertinent question, why?

Copyright Business Recorder, 2018

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