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Old 10-11-2006, 06:10 AM   #1 (permalink)
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How many dead is too much?

Someone mentioned in the NK thread in Gen Chat that 1.5 million Iraqis had died under Saddam because of Saddam's mishandling/subversion of the oil for aid program.

Here is a new study suggesting 600,000 Iraqis have died violently (from US bombings, sectarian violence, terrorism, etc) since the US invasion.

If that is the case (and I realize these numbers are very open to debate, with Iraq Body Count listing 48,000 deaths), does anyone who once supported the war now regret it? Basically, I'm curious about whether there is a limit to the casualties people will accept.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article...398967,00.html

War and turmoil has cost 600,000 Iraqi lives, study finds

By Sam Knight and agencies

A new study by public health researchers estimates that up to 600,000 Iraqi people — nearly 1 in 40 — have died violently since the US-led invasion of the country in March 2003.

The estimate, which far exceeds figures compiled by the UN and the Iraqi Government, is the second made by a group of American and Italian researchers and used a sampling of nearly 2,000 households across Iraq to extrapolate a total number of violent deaths, be they caused by crime, the US-led coalition or sectarian strife.

The first report, issued in October 2004 by a team led by Les Roberts of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, estimated that 100,000 people had been killed in the first year of the war. The study was criticised for its narrow sample and wide margin of error.

The new study, published in the online edition of The Lancet, the British medical journal, also accepts a broad range of error, with its lead author, Gilbert Burnham, also of Johns Hopkins, saying the true figure could lie anywhere between 426,369 to 793,663.

It estimated that a total of 654,965 more Iraqis had died as a consequence of the war than "would have been expected in a non-conflict situation". Of those, 601,000 had died directly of violent causes, including gunfire, car bombs, air strikes and other explosions.

The rest had suffered from a general decline in healthcare and sanitary standards due to failing water supplies, sewerage and electricity supply.

The researchers have defended their methods, which replicate those used to estimate the death toll in humanitarian emergencies such as Darfur, claiming that studying the mortality rate of a sample of families across Iraq is at least as accurate as relying on casualty figures issued by morgues, hospitals and the Iraqi Government.

According to a report in today's New York Times, the researchers maintain that their study reflects the larger breakdown of order across Iraq and reflects the turbulence outside Baghdad, which dominates press and official reports about the progress of the war.

"We found deaths all over the country," Dr Burnham told the newspaper, adding that Baghdad was an area of medium violence compared to the provinces of Diyala and Salahuddin, north of the capital, and Anbar to the west, which all had higher death rates.

The study found that up to 15,000 people are dying violently every month in Iraq, a level that far exceeds that most recent UN estimate.

Last month the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq said that 3,009 civilians had died violently in August, down from 3,590 in July, two of the worst months of the war so far. More than 5,000 of the deaths were reported in Baghdad.

The US military does not keep an official count of the civilian casualties in Iraq, but according to its latest report to Congress, around 120 Iraqis, including police officers and soldiers, died every day in August, a total of 3,600, up from 26 a day, or 800 per month, in 2004.

The Iraqi Government, meanwhile, has sought to take control of the compilation of mortality statistics. Baghdad's central morgue, until now the main source of information for violence in the capital, was prohibited from issuing its own information last month.

Iraq Body Count, an independent group that monitors media reports of the war to compile a running total of civilian casualties, estimates that 48,000 Iraqis have been killed since the start of the conflict.

The authors of the John Hopkins study chose 1,849 families from 47 districts across Iraq — chosen for their geographical location and population size, rather than level of violence — and found that the death rate among the 12,801 people they studied was 13.3 deaths per 1,000 people since the war began. That rate compared to an estimate of 5.5 per 1,000 under Saddam.

The researchers extrapolated their findings to come up with a total of 601,000 deaths that could be directly attributed to violence, with gunfire accounting for 56 per cent of deaths. Air strikes and car bombs accounted for 13 to 14 per cent of the total.

Commenting on the results, Dr Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet, said: "The disaster that is the West’s current strategy in Iraq must be used as a constructive call to the international community to reconfigure its foreign policy around human security rather than national security, around health and well-being in addition to the protection of territorial boundaries and economic stability."
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Old 10-11-2006, 06:21 AM   #2 (permalink)
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One.

Sorry, but it's true. And as much as I (a) hate Bushwars (b) hate Bush (c) think his reasons weren't justified.. I don't think I'd advocate pulling out, until OUR death count (confirmed death at US hands) reached 1/2 of Saddam's regime.
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Old 10-11-2006, 08:28 AM   #3 (permalink)
 
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I dont think the high 600,000 figure is any more credible than the low 30,000 figure used by the Defense Dept., even though they dont keep numbers.

The fact is more Iraqis are killing, wounding and displacing more Iraqis with no end in sight. And the US is not only fighting the limited number of al Queda-related terrorists in Iraq, but fighting a Sunni insurgency that continues to grow (as Gen. Casey said....for each insurgent we kill, two of his brothers or cousins join the movement) and now are fighting the radical Shia militia, who will also respond by attracking more of their followers to the cause. It is a failed strategy.
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Old 10-11-2006, 09:30 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Ah yes, acceptable loss. It creates an imbalance in willingness to go to war. In Somalia, we pulled out after losing 18 troops. Vietnam, 58,000. In the west, we are a bit squeamish when it comes to acceptable loss. It becomes problematic when we are up against regimes that do not care about their own population or have a higher threshold for acceptable loss. EX: China lost a million men in the Korean War and didn't bat an eye.

In my opinion, Kim Jong Il probably has a high threshold for acceptable loss which make a war with him or any conflict likely to be very bloody.
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Old 10-11-2006, 11:23 AM   #5 (permalink)
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When you 'far exceed' the UN estimate, which is not known for being 'conservative' in the traditional sense of the word, odds are you are in the 'pulling numbers out of our ass' school of research.
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Old 10-11-2006, 11:59 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Should I post links on Horton or just the video?...ok video it is.
<object width="425" height="350"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/v7BzM5mxN5U"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/v7BzM5mxN5U" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="350"></embed></object>

moonbat anyone?
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Old 10-11-2006, 12:50 PM   #7 (permalink)
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You present an interesting question.

If I believed that by laying down our arms, all the violence would stop, one death would be too many. However, I do not believe if we layed down our arms the violence would stop. I also think we would be targets of violence no matter what we do at this point. There is too much history that has caused too much hatred for fighting parties (including the US) to forgive and forget. We are dealing with a fundamental flaw in human nature, I can not think of anything on this earth presently that will stop the cycle of violence. Based on that I would rather be the wolf, not the lamb.
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Old 10-11-2006, 01:01 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Some collateral damage should be expected in any war. Is it right? Not really, but it's a matter of deciding whether their lives are worth more or less than the war that makes it an effecive moral equasion. Of course, many people think that moral equasions are fundamentally flawed in that there are no hard set rules of morality. Is morality just a numbers game, or is it more? Was Spock right when he said the needs of the many outweight the needs of the few? Kirk certinally didn't think so.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ustwo
When you 'far exceed' the UN estimate, which is not known for being 'conservative' in the traditional sense of the word, odds are you are in the 'pulling numbers out of our ass' school of research.
Fine, then what about the 15,000 Iraqi civilians dead? Instead of dodging a question by suggesting it might be exaggerated, maybe try answering this time.
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Old 10-11-2006, 01:05 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aceventura3
If I believed that by laying down our arms, all the violence would stop, one death would be too many. However, I do not believe if we layed down our arms the violence would stop. I also think we would be targets of violence no matter what we do at this point. There is too much history that has caused too much hatred for fighting parties (including the US) to forgive and forget. We are dealing with a fundamental flaw in human nature, I can not think of anything on this earth presently that will stop the cycle of violence. Based on that I would rather be the wolf, not the lamb.
But as you said, it doesn't matter which we are, we're a target either way. So why put our soldiers in harm's way? If we're really dealing with a rock rolling downhill that's too big for us to stop, to stick an analogy on what you've said here, then why keep throwing ourselves in front of it? I don't agree that that's the case, by the way, but I'm willing to challenge your logic from inside your logic.

Inside that context, "I'd rather be the wolf" translates to "I want to take as many other people out as I can before I go." Which is a valid worldview, I suppose. Unenlightened, but valid.
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Old 10-11-2006, 01:09 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ratbastid
Inside that context, "I'd rather be the wolf" translates to "I want to take as many other people out as I can before I go." Which is a valid worldview, I suppose. Unenlightened, but valid.
I think the wolf/sheep analogy stinks. Analogies on the whole are oversimplifications. Since we're all smart people here, I doubt we need the situation oversimplified so much.

I don't know if I would use the word unenlightened for the wanting to be the wolf, as enlightenment is subjective. I'd rather say that it's simply underexplored. I see potential in Ace becoming more empathetic towards others.
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Old 10-11-2006, 01:27 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willravel
Fine, then what about the 15,000 Iraqi civilians dead? Instead of dodging a question by suggesting it might be exaggerated, maybe try answering this time.
Because its a retorical question, and in this case a rehtorical question set up on a backdrop of tottal and utter bullshit numbers who's sole purpose is to make it the US look as bad as a homocidal dictator.

And besides Will, if the US government was willing to kill 3000 of its own with the controlled demolition of the WTC, what is 15,000 Iraqi's anyways? Don't get snippy with me, you haven't earned it.

Traffic accidents killed 1.2 million people world wide last year and injured over 40 million, according to WHO, so, is it worth it? How many deaths are too many?
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Old 10-11-2006, 01:40 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ustwo
Because its a retorical question, and in this case a rehtorical question set up on a backdrop of tottal and utter bullshit numbers who's sole purpose is to make it the US look as bad as a homocidal dictator.

And besides Will, if the US government was willing to kill 3000 of its own with the controlled demolition of the WTC, what is 15,000 Iraqi's anyways? Don't get snippy with me, you haven't earned it.

Traffic accidents killed 1.2 million people world wide last year and injured over 40 million, according to WHO, so, is it worth it? How many deaths are too many?
*Gasp* What do you know? You didn't answer again. The "tottle and utter bullshit" you mention is a huge aspect of the war in Iraq. We are there to free them? Yes, but we're going to kill a lot of them, too. As far as getting snippy I actually answered the question posed by the OP, something you are clearly unable to do. It always makes me laugh when you bring up content from Paranoia, as it is always a sign that you have no real argument.

Traffic accedents DO kill 1.2 million people a year, so the US government spends billions to stop terrorism, that has only taken a few thousand American lives. So, following your moral methematics (something you apparently missed in my last post), the war on terror is wrong!


Also, the question is not rhetorical. Just because we don't give a real number doesn't mean we don't answer the question.
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Old 10-11-2006, 02:01 PM   #13 (permalink)
 
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if you are going to dismiss the study referenced in the op, ustwo, at least look at it:

http://www.thelancet.com/webfiles/im...3606694919.pdf
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Old 10-11-2006, 03:30 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ratbastid
But as you said, it doesn't matter which we are, we're a target either way. So why put our soldiers in harm's way? If we're really dealing with a rock rolling downhill that's too big for us to stop, to stick an analogy on what you've said here, then why keep throwing ourselves in front of it? I don't agree that that's the case, by the way, but I'm willing to challenge your logic from inside your logic.
I am amazed by how different we see the world. My goal is to stop the attacks by stopping the attackers. I think we can do that, or at least make them impotent. I think being passive is a failing strategy.

Quote:
Inside that context, "I'd rather be the wolf" translates to "I want to take as many other people out as I can before I go." Which is a valid worldview, I suppose. Unenlightened, but valid.
Wolves only kill when they need to.
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Old 10-11-2006, 03:41 PM   #15 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
My goal is to stop the attacks by stopping the attackers.
And the fact that the recent NIE and other intelligence data concludes that our invasion and continued presence in Iraq has, in part, created and continues to create more attackers is to be ignored?
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Old 10-11-2006, 04:21 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ustwo
When you 'far exceed' the UN estimate, which is not known for being 'conservative' in the traditional sense of the word, odds are you are in the 'pulling numbers out of our ass' school of research.
Then you don't consider the UN's estimate of a million dead Iraqis due to sanctions/Saddam prior to the war to be accurate?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dc_dux
And the fact that the recent NIE and other intelligence data concludes that our invasion and continued presence in Iraq has, in part, created and continues to create more attackers is to be ignored?
Well this is it, and part and parcel of the original non-rhetorical question. Thousands of Americans, Brits, Spaniards, Aussies, Indonesians, Turks and other have died due to terrorism within Iraq and terrorism in Europe and Asia.

But again, I'm not asking anyone to say "oh, crap, I'm a fool for supporting the invasion". I'm only asking people to consider what they consider to be acceptable losses. The military - that organization often criticized by people both for and against the war - asks that question of themselves, why should not the public?

If the figures presented in Lancet are to be believed, might this whole adventure might not have been better resolved by simply dropping a nuke on Basra, for example? And would that have been an acceptable course of action?
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Last edited by highthief; 10-11-2006 at 04:28 PM.. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Old 10-11-2006, 04:31 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Well played highthief.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ustwo
Because its a retorical question, and in this case a rehtorical question set up on a backdrop of tottal and utter bullshit numbers who's sole purpose is to make it the US look as bad as a homocidal dictator.
This statement is based on assumptions that I don't believe to be true.
Quote:
Originally Posted by aceventura3
Wolves only kill when they need to.
The war in Iraq was not started out of necessity.

Last edited by Ch'i; 10-11-2006 at 05:40 PM..
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Old 10-11-2006, 05:13 PM   #18 (permalink)
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War kills, I dont think any of us will ever know the exact number. Best estimates are matters of opinion and all we are ever going to get.
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Old 10-12-2006, 06:10 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dc_dux
And the fact that the recent NIE and other intelligence data concludes that our invasion and continued presence in Iraq has, in part, created and continues to create more attackers is to be ignored?
The world has never had an extended period of peace since man has been on this earth. Someone said I had an unenlightened view, I beg to differ based on world history. NIE reported what you wrote, true. I am responding to the question in a much broader context than simply looking at the last 5 years. When Sadaam was killing his own country men, it did not have anything to do with the US. When Muslims kill Muslims it doesn't have anything to do with the US.

Our perspectives are so different perhaps there is a book opportunity here: Ace is from Mars, DC is from Venus.
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Old 10-14-2006, 10:49 AM   #20 (permalink)
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If a war is unjust, one death is too many.

If a war is just, you fight until there's nobody left on the other side who is willing or able to fight back.
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Old 10-15-2006, 04:51 AM   #21 (permalink)
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in my opinion is the problem that only the invasion was planned, but not the time of the occupation of iraq. look into history, napoleon released egypt from the osman empire and he was able to win the trust of the egypts. napoleon was clever, the behavior of the US in iraq was sometimes just stupid. one example: u cannot sign only contracts with businesses which are runned by people with a specific religion. the hate of people of other religions is than just a question of time.

i was not a friend of that war, but i thought the time after is well planned, the culture and history is recognized and something like a marshall-plan exists which include all people. a false conclusion.

now it is a great problem and i think it is very difficult to find a solution for this very complex constellation which results not in a loss of face...

Last edited by Humanitarismus; 10-15-2006 at 04:53 AM..
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Old 10-17-2006, 08:19 AM   #22 (permalink)
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One. to be blunt and simply answer the question. I think that you need to justify every sinlge death. By name. Unless you put names to these number people will never understand. More importantly the right people will never understand.
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Old 10-17-2006, 08:25 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Personally, if Madeline Albright can say, on national television, that 500,000 Iraqi citizen deaths are worth the price of getting Hussein to abide by the UN resolutions and nobody from the clinton fan club bitched, then they don't have a right to bitch now about the deaths.
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Old 10-17-2006, 09:07 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dksuddeth
Personally, if Madeline Albright can say, on national television, that 500,000 Iraqi citizen deaths are worth the price of getting Hussein to abide by the UN resolutions and nobody from the clinton fan club bitched, then they don't have a right to bitch now about the deaths.
I bitched a great deal when they decided to kill off hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis in the 90s. The economic sanctions were clearly wrong, and the result was that the same people Hussain persecuted were starved by us in an attempt to control Hussain. There is madness to that logic. We restricted medical supplies, food and water, chemicals (such as chlorine, needed for disinfecting water), and Albright sat up there on her potium and said it was worth it. George H. W. Bush - "By making life uncomfortable for the Iraqi people, [sanctions] would eventually encourage them to remove President Saddam Hussein from power"*. Saddam was not overthrown, and innocent people died. The UN was wrong. Bush 1 was wrong. It was wrong then and it's wrong now for us to invade and destroy.



*www.commondreams.org/views03/0807-01.htm
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Old 10-17-2006, 09:53 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dksuddeth
Personally, if Madeline Albright can say, on national television, that 500,000 Iraqi citizen deaths are worth the price of getting Hussein to abide by the UN resolutions and nobody from the clinton fan club bitched, then they don't have a right to bitch now about the deaths.
That logic fails no matter who's in office. I was against it then.

Re "clinton fan club".... It sure seems to me like Clinton's supporters were vastly less dogmatic than Bush's supporters are. There are people who would follow Bush right down into Hell. When Clinton screwed up, he heard about it loudest from his own party.
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Old 10-17-2006, 09:56 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ratbastid
Re "clinton fan club".... It sure seems to me like Clinton's supporters were vastly less dogmatic than Bush's supporters are. There are people who would follow Bush right down into Hell. When Clinton screwed up, he heard about it loudest from his own party.
That is not entirely accurate. I voted for Clinton, both times, and I remember some of those times, but I don't remember but a handful of his own party condemning him for his screwups.
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Old 10-17-2006, 10:02 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dksuddeth
Personally, if Madeline Albright can say, on national television, that 500,000 Iraqi citizen deaths are worth the price of getting Hussein to abide by the UN resolutions and nobody from the clinton fan club bitched, then they don't have a right to bitch now about the deaths.
dksuddeth....even the white house refutes your opinion, and Madeline Albright appologized. Demonize someone else, puh---leeeze !
Quote:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/ogc/apparatus/suffering.html
Case Study

Baby Funerals

"Small coffins, decorated with grisly photographs of dead babies and their ages – 'three days', 'four days', written usefully for the English-speaking media – are paraded through the streets of Baghdad on the roofs of taxis, the procession led by a throng of official mourners."
– The Observer (London)

People the world over are moved by the suffering and deaths of innocent children, and where possible, the Iraqi regime attempts to link images of child deaths to the policies and actions of its adversaries. They have blamed thousands of child deaths on United Nations sanctions, not the Iraqi regime's policies that caused those sanctions. They also claimed that exposure to depleted uranium from spent munitions used in the Gulf War had caused many deaths and deformities in children. To support these claims, they have staged mass children's funerals, and to stage those funerals, they need dead children. There is only one problem, according to defectors, journalists, and participants in these funerals: To have enough children's remains to make a proper show, the regime has to collect and store them.

A BBC Correspondent documentary aired on June 23, 2002, exposed how the Iraqi regime staged these processions: Instead of burying dead children immediately in accordance with Muslim custom, Iraqi authorities hold the bodies in cold storage until enough bodies are available to conduct a "parade of dead babies."15 In one such event, the Iraqi regime exhibited some 60 coffins, decorated with large photographs of the deceased, around Martyr Square in Baghdad while government-controlled demonstrators chanted anti-U.S. slogans and demanded the elimination of UN sanctions, all for the benefit of foreign reporters who were present.

On camera, an Iraqi identified as Ali, described as a former member of Saddam's inner circle living in northern Iraq, related the account of a taxi driver who had explained to him how it worked: "He went to Najaf [a town 100 miles south of Baghdad] a couple of days ago. He brought back two bodies of children for one of the mass funerals."16

Ali continued: "The smell was incredibly strong. He didn’t know how long they'd been in storage, perhaps six or seven months. The drivers would collect them from the regions. They would be informed of when a mass funeral was arranged so they would be ready. Certainly, they would collect bodies of children who had died months before and been held for the mass processions."17

In a separate article, the program’s host reported, "“A second, Western source went to visit a Baghdad hospital and, when the official Iraqi minder was absent, was taken to the mortuary. There, a doctor showed the source a number of dead babies lying stacked in the mortuary, waiting for the next official procession."18
This 2003 NY Times article reported Albright's apology and backed the claims on the white house website, quoted in the preceding quotebox:

Quote:
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/27/ma...rtner=USERLAND

Were Sanctions Right?
By DAVID RIEFF

....Madeleine Albright was widely excoriated in 1996 for telling a television interviewer who asked her about the deaths of Iraqi children caused by sanctions, ''This is a very hard choice, but the price, we think the price is worth it.''

<b>She says now that she regrets the comment -- ''It was a genuinely stupid thing to say'' </b>-- and in a recent interview seemed still to be struggling with the moral and strategic questions that underlie the sanctions debate. For Albright, the comprehensive regime of sanctions imposed on Iraq represented at best a tragic choice between unhappy alternatives -- a search for the lesser evil.

As Albright put it to me, ''I wish people understood that these are not black and white choices; the choices are really hard.'' Sanctions like the ones that were imposed on Iraq, she said, ''are a blunt instrument. That's their tragedy. What was so terrible for me was that I did see the faces of the people who were suffering -- even if I thought then and think now that the sufferings of the Iraqi people were Saddam's doing, not ours. There's a terrible price you pay. A terrible price.''

The actual history of American sanctions on Iraq is fairly straightforward. On Aug. 2, 1990, in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 661, imposing comprehensive multilateral international sanctions on Iraq and freezing all its foreign assets. Iraq was no longer free to import anything not expressly permitted by the United Nations, and companies were forbidden from doing business with Iraq, with very limited exceptions. Before the conflict started, Iraq had imported roughly 70 percent of its food, medicine and chemicals for agriculture. Although its oil reserves, and hence its wealth, were virtually limitless, it was nonetheless a country that without international trade could not feed itself or sustain the modern developed society it was becoming.

On Feb. 28, 1991, Iraq, defeated on the battlefield, capitulated to American-led forces. The sanctions remained in place. On Aug. 27, 1992, the United Nations declared ''no fly'' zones over the Shiite areas of southern Iraq and the Kurdish areas of the country's north, adding physical containment of Hussein's military to the program of sanctions. This created a policy that several Clinton administration officials would later describe to me as ''keeping Saddam in his box.''

By early 1993, opposition to sanctions was growing, especially in the Arab world, and so was dissension within the United Nations. Albright, then Washington's newly appointed ambassador to the United Nations, recalls that when she arrived in New York to take up her post in February 1993, there was confusion about sanctions policy. As she put it: ''No one had thought they would be in place for so long, but then, no one had really thought Saddam Hussein would still be there either. The intelligence was that he'd be gone fairly soon.'....

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/27/ma...rtner=USERLAND
......Meanwhile, Saddam Hussein used the pretext of the sanctions to wage a propaganda war -- one that even many American officials would later concede he probably won. Not only did Hussein use the sanctions to rationalize to Iraqis every shortage they were enduring, but he also proved himself a kind of genius at exaggerating and exploiting the effects of sanctions that were already tragic enough when reported truthfully. To rally his population, and probably also in a bid to win support from Western sympathizers and the international media, Saddam Hussein orchestrated a kind of traffic in suffering -- all meant for the television cameras.

One doctor I spoke to who spent several years in a hospital in the provincial city of Baquba, about 25 miles north of Baghdad, told me that the hospital staff had instructions, whenever a child died, to keep the corpse in the morgue rather than burying it immediately as mandated by Islamic custom. ''When a sufficient number of bodies accumulated,'' he explained, <b>''the authorities would stage a mass funeral, railing against the sanctions, even though as often as not there was no connection between a particular child's death and the sanctions.''</b>

I asked the doctor how a child's parents could possibly have agreed to such a deception.

'This was not a country in which one disagreed,'' he replied. ''And in any case, they got 50 kilos of rice and 50 kilos of flour. Or else they were paid, you know, like the families of the freedom fighters in Palestine.''

I inquired whether there had been other manipulations of the system to make things seem worse than they had really been.

''Of course,'' he replied, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. ''It happened all the time. For example, we would get a shipment from the Ministry of Health of vaccines provided by the World Health Organization. But then we would be instructed not to use them until they had reached or even exceeded their sell-by date. Then the television cameras would come, and we would be told to lie and tell the public how the U.N. made ordinary Iraqis suffer. You have to understand: this was a system where everyone knew what was expected of them. Most of the time, we didn't even have to be told what to do.''

This media campaign was extremely effective. If anything, it was more influential in the West, mobilizing public opinion against sanctions, than it was within Iraq. What began as a campaign of left-wing fringe activists, like Ramsey Clark and the British member of Parliament George Galloway, soon became the dominant opinion. In the late 1990's, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan was privately emphasizing to American and British officials his own moral qualms about the humanitarian effects of Iraq sanctions. As another senior Clinton administration official put it to me: ''I still think sanctions were the right policy. But there is no question that in terms of public opinion, as the 90's wore on we were increasingly on the defensive in the sanctions debate.''

In Iraq itself, the experience of the doctor in Baquba was anything but unique. Dr. Mohammed al-Alwan, the head of the department of surgery at Baghdad's leading teaching hospital and one of the most prominent physicians in Iraq, told me very much the same thing. ''Yes,'' he said, ''the sanctions played a great role in the destruction of our health services and in health care generally. The shortages were extraordinary, particularly with regard to cancer patients, but even descending to such ordinary items as urinary catheters and chest tubes. I don't know what you Americans intended by these sanctions, but I do know that catastrophic effects were intended by Saddam Hussein's regime. The government wanted to say, 'Look, the Iraqi people are suffering so terribly.' But in reality, there were more than enough drugs for 'special' people.''.....
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Old 10-17-2006, 11:09 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by host
dksuddeth....even the white house refutes your opinion, and Madeline Albright appologized. Demonize someone else, puh---leeeze !

This 2003 NY Times article reported Albright's apology and backed the claims on the white house website, quoted in the preceding quotebox:
I see NO apology or backed claims of an apology in your whitehouse website article. I also did not demonize Albright, I placed the title of 'hypocrite' on those that voiced their support or did not voice their displeasure at albrights remarks yet vilify any politician for a like example simply because there's the letter R after their name.

I also note that Albright did NOT apologize for her comment, she says she regrets it and that it was stupid to say. I've heard many politicians CLAIM an apology and this one doesn't sound any different that to be sorry for having said her remarks in public.
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Old 10-17-2006, 11:18 AM   #29 (permalink)
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If the war itself was unjustified, then most of the deaths happening during that same war are unjustified, IMO.
Now to determine if the Iraq war was justified, we can argue all day, and will never agree.
I'm personally unhappy with how Iraq was invaded, and how the war was conducted, and the fact that in the end there was no proof of the WMDs.
However, there was a regime that was oppressing the population, and I don't know what kind of intervention would have been appropriate.
In any case, because I'm straying away from the subject, I disagree with the war, and I think the casualties were all unnecessary, except for the few killed terrorists.
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Old 10-17-2006, 11:26 AM   #30 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dksuddeth
I see NO apology or backed claims of an apology in your whitehouse website article. I also did not demonize Albright, I placed the title of 'hypocrite' on those that voiced their support or did not voice their displeasure at albrights remarks yet vilify any politician for a like example simply because there's the letter R after their name.

I also note that Albright did NOT apologize for her comment, <b>she says she regrets it and that it was stupid to say.</b> I've heard many politicians CLAIM an apology and this one doesn't sound any different that to be sorry for having said her remarks in public.
I'll revise "demonize" to "criticizing and marginalizing in an unreasonable and unyielding manner"....even more so near the end of your most recent post. For my part, "demonize" was a stupid thing to post.....but I'm not apologizing....
nosiree !
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Old 10-18-2006, 10:02 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Oy. What a thread.

'Scuse me while I piss in the Kool-Aid.

Body Count Or October Surprise?

Disturbingly Yellow

The Greatest Conspiracy Ever

And finally........

Quote:
THE Iraqi government today described as "exaggerated" an independent US study which estimated that 655,000 Iraqis had died since the 2003 US invasion.
Disputed study claims 655,000 Iraqi deaths

Last edited by xxSquirtxx; 10-18-2006 at 10:09 PM..
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Old 10-19-2006, 02:45 AM   #32 (permalink)
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I think, Squirt, that everyone concedes that the number of dead is virtually unknowable and that the true figure probably lies somewhere between those of Iraq Body Count and the Lancet report, just as, one would hope, the war proponents understand that the figures bandied about prior to the war by Saddam, Bush and the UN, variously, are also unknowable.

The OP merely asks the question about what theoretical number of dead pushes the cost of the war too high.
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Old 10-19-2006, 06:29 AM   #33 (permalink)
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From a left-wing anti-war site:
http://www.iraqbodycount.org/press/pr14.php
Quote:
A new study has been released by the Lancet medical journal estimating over 650,000 excess deaths in Iraq. The Iraqi mortality estimates published in the Lancet in October 2006 imply, among other things, that:

1. On average, a thousand Iraqis have been violently killed every single day in the first half of 2006, with less than a tenth of them being noticed by any public surveillance mechanisms;
2. Some 800,000 or more Iraqis suffered blast wounds and other serious conflict-related injuries in the past two years, but less than a tenth of them received any kind of hospital treatment;
3. Over 7% of the entire adult male population of Iraq has already been killed in violence, with no less than 10% in the worst affected areas covering most of central Iraq;
4. Half a million death certificates were received by families which were never officially recorded as having been issued;
5. The Coalition has killed far more Iraqis in the last year than in earlier years containing the initial massive "Shock and Awe" invasion and the major assaults on Falluja.

If these assertions are true, they further imply:

* incompetence and/or fraud on a truly massive scale by Iraqi officials in hospitals and ministries, on a local, regional and national level, perfectly coordinated from the moment the occupation began;
* bizarre and self-destructive behaviour on the part of all but a small minority of 800,000 injured, mostly non-combatant, Iraqis;
* the utter failure of local or external agencies to notice and respond to a decimation of the adult male population in key urban areas;
* an abject failure of the media, Iraqi as well as international, to observe that Coalition-caused events of the scale they reported during the three-week invasion in 2003 have been occurring every month for over a year.

In the light of such extreme and improbable implications, a rational alternative conclusion to be considered is that the authors have drawn conclusions from unrepresentative data. In addition, totals of the magnitude generated by this study are unnecessary to brand the invasion and occupation of Iraq a human and strategic tragedy.
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Old 10-19-2006, 07:37 AM   #34 (permalink)
 
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the ibc page above is the conclusion/summary of a longer piece that is mostly about the main problem with the lancet study--methodology. the methodology was presented in the lancet study itself, which i linked earlier in the thread, and simply reading that could have easily lead anyone to wonder if there were problems with it--the study was based on a small house-to-house survey sample which was then generalized. the report is pretty up front about the question that this technique obviously raises--that of representativeness of the sample.

the ibc methodology is not without its own problems--as the overview on the site says--it relies very heavily on press reports from a range of sources which means that in the final analysis they are trusting the good faith of a pooled press. but the arguments in the ibc critique--which is not bad, and is quite alot longer than what is bit above--rests principally on the magnitude of unreported deaths that would be implied by the lancet numbers, and in the end simply claims that this magnitude of unreported carnage is implausible.

from this two points:

1. there are ways to think about this matter substantively, and then there is the rightwing blog and ibd way of "thinking" about it, which amounts to saying the word "lies" many times. in the end, the "critiques" squirt linked really are not worth anything. they present no data, they say nothing about methodology, they simply address a conservative audience, make assumptions about dispositions and then draw their conclusions--this is a lie. well, that is worthless.

2. the op is predicated on a kind of strange notion--that there would be a number, a casualty rate, that would on its own function as an indicator that the iraq debacle is not worth the cost. i would think that a casualty rate is AMONG the factors that you would have to take into account to arrive at that judgment. at the moment, there are so many such factors that the idea the iraq debacle can be justified seems surreal.


btw--in the nonamerican press, the outlines of the baker report on iraq are starting to emerge. there has been pretty extensive coverage about it in le monde, for example (not quoting it here because, well, it's in french)..the idea of course was to no release this until after the elections in november. so no-one from the right in any position---at all---to make any complaints or argument about the political nature of the lancet report--given that their boy george is trying to delay anything like a realistic assessment of the iraq debacle until after the elections.
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Old 10-19-2006, 12:47 PM   #35 (permalink)
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After a lot of soul-searching and waffling (yes, I admit, I have waffled!) on the issue of the Iraq War since its inception, and after much reading about the ME and the conflict the west is having with radical Islam, I've come to the conclusion that the events happening in Iraq are horrific and senseless, and yet in many ways completely inevitable. But, that said, I don't think I could ever think of the deaths of innocent people as being "worth" anything. To say so, I think, is downright disrespectful and reflects an aloofness that is...well, rather creepy for lack of a better word right now.

I support the democratization of the middle east, and frankly, think we have no choice but to strive in that direction. The world is too small and the stakes are too high to continue ignoring the conditions that have engendered and nurtured Islamic radicalism. And I think all of this left/right discussion about whether the war was necessary or not disregards a very important point. It distracts us from the fact that the reason we are even having these discussions today is because America and the other powers of the world allowed this blight to fester because of greed, indifference, lack of vision and foresight and the laissez faire attitude that the west was and always would be untouchable, unchangeable. I don't rightly see how anyone, democrat or republican, can deny that fact. This is what I blame the right/left conflict on. We're all just reacting to the results of past actions/inactions, which is kind of why I can understand both sides.

How we should move on from here, that is another discussion, but having said all that up there I would like to state plainly that I don't support the invasion of another country. Sometimes my viewpoint gets misunderstood that way.
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