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Book highlights cost of Iraq war


Brigid Veale
31 May 2007
A new book highlighting the civilian fatalities of the Iraq war and the devastating impact on the country’s infrastructure will be launched at the Sydney Writers Festival this week.

‘Dead Bodies Don’t Count’ was written by Dr Richard Hil, a senior lecturer in Southern Cross University’s School of Arts and Social Science, based at Coffs Harbour, and Professor Paul Wilson, Bond University. The book will be launched at the Town Hall in Sydney tomorrow (June 1) and will be followed by a series of smaller launches during July and August at the University’s Lismore and Coffs Harbour campuses.

Dr Hil will also be a panel guest at the Sydney Writers Festival in a session titled ‘The Situation in Iraq’ facilitated by ABC Four Corners host Liz Jackson.

Dr Hil said the invasion of Iraq by US-led forces in March 2003 had resulted in a ‘catastrophe of biblical proportions’ with estimates of civilian fatalities approaching three quarters of a million people, and widespread destruction to Iraq's infrastructure and environment.

“The announcement of the 'end of hostilities' by US President George W Bush in May 2003 was followed by a massive upsurge in insurgency that has resulted in death and injury to tens of thousands of ordinary Iraqi people,” Dr Hill said.

“As Iraq confronts the realities of civil war and the possible break-up of the country this book records the nature and scale of death and destruction that have engulfed the Iraqi nation.”

The book looks at the costs of the conflict beyond the aggregated numbers of the dead and injured.

“We also wanted to bring attention to the 'opportunity costs' of the conflict, which have resulted in the diversion of much needed funds from international aid to a cruel investment in bombs and bullets,” Dr Hil said.

Hugh Mackay, a social commentator and columnist said: “This book is no fun to read. Paul Wilson and Richard Hil are unflinching in their determination to remind us that in amongst all the politics, the religion, the posturing, the spin and the rhetoric, there’s one incontrovertible fact about the invasion of Iraq: it has brought violent death on a massive scale to innocent civilians.”

‘Dead Bodies Don’t Count’ is published by Zeus Publishing and will be available at University Co-op Bookshops at Lismore and Coffs Harbour or via the website