In a recent comment Toy Soldier said:
…it is far more likely that men and boys have shouldered the brunt of the war [in Iraq]
He’s right of course. I was researching this with a view to blogging about it, and just about every source confirms that, bad though things are for women in Iraq, it is overwhelmingly men and boys who have suffered and are continuing to suffer violence in Iraq.
I did come across one piece of apparently contradictory information from the BBC’s website reporting on the Lancet’s 2004 study.
Violent deaths were mainly attributed to coalition forces – and most individuals reportedly killed were women and children.
The study (pdf) does indeed make this claim:
Most individuals reportedly killed by coalition forces were women and children.
Feminists would indeed have a point in their portrayal of women as the primary victims, at least with regard to coalition-caused deaths, if that were an accurate and fair categorisation of the study’s findings. But it is?
In fact the 61 recorded post-invasion deaths directly attributed to coalition forces breakdown as follows:
Men 15-65 years – 27 deaths
Boys under 15 years – 16 deaths
Total males – 43 deaths
Women 15-65 years – 4 deaths
Girls under 15 years – 10 deaths
Total females – 14 deaths
Adults (Sex not recorded) over 59 Years – 2 deaths
Children (Sex not recorded) under 15 years – 2 deaths
Total Children – 28 deaths
Total “woman and children” – 32 deaths
It is literally true that “women and children” are the majority of the victims. It is also grossly misleading. Of the four major demographic groups (excluding the elderly) women suffered the least. The plurality of the causalties were adult men. The next largest group was boys. There were more boys killed than female adults and children put together. Males accounted for nearly three quarters of the deaths.
But it’s worse than that. Excluded from these figures are twelve violent deaths (11 adult men, 1 adult woman) not directly attributed to the coalition, up from one prior to the invasion. It’s likely that the great majority of these deaths are a result of the breakdown in civil order caused by the invasion. If these deaths are factored in, then the male deaths increase to 38 – an absolute majority of the casualties.
That the authors of the report distorted their own findings and the medial latched onto it in this way, should come as no surprise to anyone. We live in a culture that puts a high value on female life, while regarding men as dispensable, disposable cannon-fodder, and no opportunity is missed to focus attention upon the more worthy victims. Male combattents, most of whom had little or no choice in the matter, are not even considered worthy of being counted.