Blindingly wonderful piece of hyperbole from Johann Hari this morning:
and there are now 20,000 unidentified corpses in Baghdad morgue alone,
Err, no. There are not 20,000 rotting corpses in the Baghdad morgue. There are also not 20,000 carefully refrigerated or even 20,000 frozen corpses, not even 20,000 skeletons.
We can see where he got his numbers from though:
At the morgue, more than 20,000 of the dead, which even sober estimates suggest total 100,000 or more, are still unidentified.
That\’s the New York Times, from only four short days ago.
What there actually is is this series of photographs of these unknowns in the Baghdad morgue. The number of such unknowns having been mounting since the invasion to this total of 20,000. The bodies have of course all been buried as Islamic tradition would dictate.
Those searching for those missing can view the photographs to try and identify their loved ones so that they can visit the grave(s).
Leave aside for a moment whether the war should have happened, whether the number of dead is worth it (or indeed, whether anything would be worth that number) and just admire the hyperbole.
20,000 unidentified dead over a period of five or six years (a figure not all that different I would wager from the results of any modern war), the records of those 20,000 being held so that greiving relatives have at least the possibility of closure, is transformed into a mountain of 20,000 corpses in just one building.
B- Johann, must try harder.