"We've killed over 400,000 of their citizens." That's what actor Tim Robbins thinks U.S. troops have been doing in Iraq. He made the claim last week in an appearance on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher.
He's wrong, of course. American soldiers have not been slaughtering 300 Iraqis a day for the last four years. Even for one of Hollywood's most feculent personalities, this is an appalling slander of U.S. troops.
The Iraq Body Count is an antiwar website that tallies all civilian deaths in Iraq as reported in the news media. Theirs is a comprehensive count that seeks to hold the United States and Britain accountable for a wide range of civilian deaths. As explained at iraqbodycount.org: "The count includes civilian deaths caused by coalition military action and by military or paramilitary responses to the coalition presence (e.g. insurgent and terrorist attacks). It also includes excess civilian deaths caused by criminal action resulting from the breakdown in law and order which followed the coalition invasion."
The antiwar group's "maximum count"? At the moment, 77,555. That's one-fifth the number concocted by Robbins's overactive imagination.
Just as we were inclined to dismiss Robbins as a lonely voice of idiocy, news came of director Brian DePalma's Redacted, one of eight new movies about the Iraq War due out in the coming months, according to Reuters. "Inspired by one of the most serious crimes committed by American soldiers in Iraq since the 2003 invasion, it is a harrowing indictment of the conflict and spares the audience no brutality to get its message across."
The film is based on the story of a brutal rape and murder of a young Iraqi girl and the killing of her family at the hands of four American soldiers. Sgt. Paul Cortez, who has admitted his role in the attack, was sentenced earlier this year to 100 years in prison. Most Americans who read about this brutal crime probably understood that most soldiers don't behave this way. DePalma does not. "The movie is an attempt to bring the reality of what is happening in Iraq to the American people," he said last week.
How about the reality of what's happening in Hollywood? Says Pete Hegseth of Vets for Freedom: "These statements reflect the utter ignorance of Robbins and DePalma about what American soldiers are actually doing in Iraq. At every opportunity, they use their celebrity status to bash the very soldiers and Marines who are fighting for them. They reflexively side with radical Islamic terrorists rather than take an honest look at the situation in Iraq."