When the 2,500th American soldier died in Iraq earlier this month, the White House dismissed the news as "a number." Here's another one: According to the Los Angeles Times, more than 50,000 Iraqis have died violent deaths since the U.S. invaded their country in 2003.
The Times' number comes from data from the Baghdad morgue, the Iraqi Health Ministry and other agencies, but the Times itself acknowledges that the number is almost certainly too low; conditions are so bad in the Al Anbar region that deaths go un- or undercounted there, and Iraqi officials in Baghdad don't have data from the Kurdish provinces in the north.
Still, as the Times says, the 50,000 number is daunting, particularly in a country with a population of about 26 million. "Proportionately," the Times says, "it is equivalent to 570,000 Americans being killed nationwide in the last three years." Put another way: It's as if the United States had suffered an attack of the magnitude of 9/11 once every five or six days since March 2003.