The blood stains and the child's sandal convey the profound cruelty of Iraq's odyssey. The manga character, with its allusion to girl power and international pop culture, also personalizes and compounds the sense of lives, and innocence, dashed. The fact the image shows just a section of floor also connotes that this culture has been laid low -- and that one must keep ones head way down in order to survive.
In the emotion, however, I don't want to completely overlook the controversy over how Johns Hopkins arrived at this number. The best treatment of the issue, I thought, was William Arkin's at WAPO. If the report's ultimate value was to force the Administration, the Pentagon and the media to accept an overall toll in Iraq that is closer to 400,000 than Bush's 30,000, than why belabor the methodology.
I saw news of this report on the front page of numerous international papers this week and frankly, the standard headline seemed to marginalize the significance. I credit The Independent for upping the visibility.
(hat tip: lv)
(image: unattributed. The Independent. U.K. Oct. 12,2006. Cover)