These days, in spite of the fact there really are Americans and Europeans (not all white....) killing people in various corners of the Muslim world, it would take a potentially lethal dose of credulity to maintain that Muslims need infidels around for to engage in violence. Some of them seem quite proficient all on their own.
Yesterday the Guardian supplied some numbers: 4,500 dead civilians in Iraq (with very little connection with American troops, I'd add); more than 2,000 dead civilians in Afghanistan in ten months (I wrote about this here), and 3,021 deaths in terrorist attacks (note the T-word!) in Pakistan. Or maybe that's 12,600 dead. Or is it 2,000 or so? Confused? Me too:
Pakistan saw 3,021 deaths in terrorist attacks in in 2009, up 48% on the year before, according to a new report by the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS), an Islamabad-based defence thinktank. Researchers counted a total of 12,600 violent deaths across the country in 2009, 14 times more than in 2006.At least half of the dead were militants who were killed in US drone strikes or, mostly, sweeping army offensives against their mountain strongholds of Swat and South Waziristan along the Afghan border. Another 2,000 or so Pakistanis died in bloodshed unrelated to militancy: political clashes, tribal feuds and border skirmishes.I'm not certain what "bloodshed unrelated to militancy" is, and the elaboration isn't helpful. I'd go so far as to say it's probably bogus, since political clashes, tribal feuds and border skirmishes all sort of fit into the same general drama, don't they?
So I went to the source of the Guardian reporter (this can be done quite easily these days, raising the question what the added value of reporters is). It's over here: the Report by the Pakistani think tank. (But note that the link leads to a PDF file which will soon be moved elsewhere on their site, so this link will lose its accuracy in a week or two). Table Nr. 2 contains the following data:
Terrorist attacks: 3,012 killed
Operational attacks: 6,239 killed
Clashes between security forces and militants: 1,163 killed
Political violence: 210 killed
Inter tribal clashes: 1,209 killed
Border clashes: 700 killed.
None of these lines say who's killing whom. The paragraph preceding the table, however, clarifies that it includes US and NATO attacks. Spectacularly, to my mind, nowhere is there a distinction between fighters and terrorists and regular civilians. True, the Guardian fellow misled us a bit in implying that the terrorists are killing civilians while the security forces are killing militants, but the source doesn't say that. It merely counts bodies.
The rest is left to our imagination. Or, in the case of world opinion, media interest, speechifying politicians and pontificating bloggers: it is left to our general disinterest. So long as it isn't Palestinians, no-one really cares who they are, those dead people.