The (UN mission in Iraq released a new report, saying that 3,709 Iraqi civilians were killed in October, the highest monthly toll since the 2003 U.S. invasion. The Iraqi government disputed this number calling it "inaccurate and exaggerated. "http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15848198/U.N)
While researching the different numbers and talking to various organizations as to how they arrived at their figures I realized that there is no accurate or very
reliable way to get an accurate civilian death toll figure.
The true figure probably lies somewhere between the Associated Press count of 1,216 and the U.N one. But does it really matter? The fact of the matter is that innocent Iraqi civilians are getting slaughtered in record numbers and each month it gets worse.
Why is the US still debating on whether or not to ‘officially’ call this a civil war? The civilian population of Iraq continues to be victims of terrorist acts, roadside bombs, drive-by shootings, crossfire between rival gangs or between police and insurgents, kidnappings, military operations, crime and police abuse. Please let me know where, then, civil war would be an apt term.
So while we journalists here and outside Iraq debate the politically sensitive death toll numbers and wonder about the methodology used to arrive at the different figures, does it really matter? Is there a magic number that we must reach to label this conflict a civil war? Innocent men, women and children are living under horrific conditions, isn’t that enough?