Monday, May 21, 2007

Questions About Invisible Colleagues

As the U.S. military death toll rises in Iraq, I know without a doubt that somewhere in America there is a city editor planning to publish a new obit tomorrow. Reporters are making calls to grieving family members and friends, and writing up the final facts of a soldier's war-shortened life.

The number of Iraqi civilian casualties is less certain. The Iraq Body Count Website puts the maximum death toll by military intervention in Iraq at just over 70,000. That number doesn't include the ordinary deaths of every day life (disease, homicide, suicide, accident, etc.)

Which makes me wonder...are there obituary writers working in Iraq? If so, how do they choose which subjects to profile? How do they find sources in a war zone? And can they write unbiased obits and have them published?

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