Count the Cost

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As the number of Iraqi casualties increases on an almost daily basis, mainstream news coverage on the web seems to be restricted to fairly simplistic reports, barely covering the real events of the war.

So it's interesting that recently Yahoo! news has included in its related links a number of surprising websites.

First, the beautifully simple www.iraqometer.com - a site with a few graphics and some startling facts, including the number of bombs dropped on Iraq (39,600), the number of Iraqi soldiers killed (11,000) and the number of billions of dollars spent (98). Of course those figures increase regularly, but one statistic doesn't change - the number of sites of WMDs (0).

Still important is www.iraqbodycount.net which should be required viewing for anyone trying to document the effects of the Iraq war. As such, numerous anti-war sites display their counts.

A useful site, particularly related to the US, is www.costofwar.com, which opens with President Eisenhower's 1953 statement that 'Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.' The site's running tally of the cost of the war is contrasted with what could have been bought for the money - divided into sections such as health, education and housing.

Inspired by the Cost of War site, www.whereisthemoney.org documents missing money from the US budget used to balance the books of the Department of Defence and asks, 'Who is responsible?' and 'Where could the money be spent?' It may well be easier to find out such figures for the US, but it would be an interesting and useful project for any web designers out there to create similar sites for Britain.

The pro-war movement is also out in force on the web. Revealingly, they usually have fancier and better designed websites. It's worth checking out some of them - if only to see the rabid fanaticism alive and well in the right wing. www.studentsforwar.org is dedicated to supporting the war in Iraq, and calling for war against North Korea, with Flash graphics depicting nuclear explosions in San Francisco. The most frightening thing about the site is that it doesn't appear to be a spoof.