Thursday, March 24, 2005

Self determination, Iraqis and Terri Schiavo

Mrs. Expat Teacher was reading Time this week and enjoying a very good article about the top quality health care American soldiers in Iraq are receiving once they are injured. The new technology is saving hundreds of lives. The whole story is very moving. However, a few lines really set Mrs. Expat Teacher off.
As of last week, just over 1,510 U.S. military personnel had died in Iraq and 11,344 had been wounded. The Pentagon does not keep count of dead or wounded Iraqis. Human-rights groups and Iraqi health officials have tried to estimate the number of Iraqi deaths, but the figures vary wildly, between 15,000 and 100,000. No one is sure of the number of Iraqis who have been wounded.

What really bothered her was that the Bush Administration's latest reason for going to war was to depose a horrible dictator who didn't care about his people. Now that America is in charge, we don't care enough to keep track of how many Iraqis are killed or injured. In light of our negligence in keeping records, the Bush Administration's to be endeavoring to win hearts and minds seems like mere lip service. We appear to not care about how many Iraqis we have killed. Tragic, really.

Speaking of Iraq and tragedy, Bush, and many Congressional Republicans, are very proud that Iraqis exercised the right to self-determination. I remember the blue fingertips at the State of the Union speech, yet in the Terri Schiavo case Republicans voted to overturn her right to self-determination. 23 courts have ruled that Terri's wish was not to live like she is now. Republicans swooped in from Washington to declare that her rights don't matter since she made the "wrong" choice. Isn't that more blatantly paternalistic than liberals are often accused of being?