Mounting Deaths, Narrow Vote Underscore Iraq Dilemma

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/4975886/4975887" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
  • Transcript

Senior news analyst Daniel Schorr says that the deepening dilemma of the war in Iraq is starkly illustrated in two areas: the narrow passage of the Iraqi constitution and the growing body count of Americans and Iraqis.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

DANIEL SCHORR:

The deepening dilemma of Iraq is written in two current sets of numbers.

SIEGEL: That's senior news analyst Daniel Schorr.

SCHORR: One is the constitution referendum on which the Bush administration has reposed--its fingers crossed, hoped--for a functioning democratic authority that will permit a phase-out of American troops. But although a high voter turnout was reported, most Sunnis turned out just to vote no. And the constitution won by a whisker, with the Sunni vote for rejection just short of the needed two-thirds in one Sunni province. Already the Sunnis have started mobilizing for sweeping amendments after the December parliamentary election to protect their threatened minority position. And some militant Sunnis are negotiating with bomb and bullet.

The sectarian tension helps to explain the second set of numbers: the toll that insurgent violence is taking. This country yesterday marked a gloomy point where Americans killed since the invasion reached the 2,000 mark. It took 18 months for the first thousand to be killed and 14 months for the second thousand, meaning the pace is accelerating. But less attention has been given to the number of Iraqi casualties. The Pentagon keeps no official count, but private research organizations estimate 20,000 to 30,000 Iraqis dead, at least 10 Iraqis to every American.

The insurgents are clearly engaged in an assault on the effort to create a unified government, and it's likely that violence will be accelerated as the election nears. The insurgents have displayed a growing and deadly efficiency at bomb-making and delivery, often by suicide bombers. It appears that the Iraqi vote count is running up against the Iraqi body count. This is Daniel Schorr.

Copyright © 2005 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.