<< ben fry

President George W. Bush's announcement of the impending invasion of Iraq was a death sentence for thousands of Iraqi civilians. As of one year later, there have been a minimum of 8,581 (maximum of 10,430) confirmed civilian deaths as a result Bush's war. This works out to just over one person per letter of his speech.

I created this project the afternoon after the speech because I was upset about the number of civilian casualties that would be caused by the recklesness of Bush and his administration. I wanted a way to quantify the number of people, since "thousands" dead is so abstract, especially when it's far off in another country.

The numbers are from Iraq Body Count, a site that maintains an accurate tally of civilian deaths in Iraq. They have better commentary on the issue, so if you're looking for more background, check their site.

The full size image is 36 x 54 inches. Click the image below to download it as a high-resolution pdf document for printing. The image is copyright by me, and can be reproduced for personal, non-commercial use.

March 2004

Regarding the most frequently asked questions or comments received from people over the last year...

This image only includes Iraqi civilian deaths, not troops from our side or theirs. The loss of a large number of our troops (especially with friends in the Army and Navy who are there or are likely to be going soon) is also extremely upsetting, someday I'd like to do a project regarding that as well.

When I posted the original project (in March of 2003), I used an estimate of 25,000 deaths, though happily the reality is much less. But as another way of looking at it, the 10,000 people is more than three times as many as were killed on 9/11, and in a country one-tenth the size of the U.S. Having lost friends in the horror of September 11, I can hardly fathom what this must be like for the Iraqi people. In the interest of truthfulness, I much prefer to have this accurate count. But it was much more upsetting to make this update one year later, since the numbers are now real, not just speculation.

And for all the people who have sent email.. Yes, Saddam Hussein is a bad guy, and perhaps tortured and killed even more people. But there are lots of bad guys out there, and if we want to go after a bad guy, Bush should have told the American people and the U.N. about this bad guy that needed to be removed from power, rather than overplaying weak (and discredited) intelligence on weapons of mass destruction. Was he not a bad guy in 1983, when Rumsfeld paid him a friendly visit as special envoy of President Reagan, to relay the support of the Reagan administration?