The Jaker

Mostly rational politics, with occasional rants about how a few crazy Republicans are ruining the country.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2005
With his nominee, Bush has succeeded in taking Karl Rove out of the media spotlight. In fact, it's probable that the announcement was rushed from the original "end of the month" projection precisely for this reason.

Another story that won't get much play today, unless you my faithful readers make people aware of it: an Oxford Research Group study estimates that 25,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed in the Iraq war.

To be fair, a couple of notes: the study counts deaths caused by both insurgents and US/British troops. It says that more overall were killed by the troops than the insurgents, though most of the troop-caused deaths were in the early stages in March 2003 and most deaths nowadays are caused by insurgents. Nevertheless, my opinion is that the insurgency was caused by the war. Obviously Saddam was ruthless and killed civilians, but the war has caused bored foreign Arabs to stream into Iraq to try to kill Americans, and Iraqi civilians are suffering because of it.

Let's remind ourselves... Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network killed 3,000 civilians on Sept. 11th. The U.S. responds in part by inciting a conflict with a different old enemy, that results in 25,000 deaths.

I ask my friends who support(ed) the war: are you still as sure?
posted by CB @ 11:07 AM  
  • At 2:57 PM, Anonymous Bryce said…

    Yes, it's worth it. If we continue with the macabre math, we could convolute the argument even further. According to most human rights organizations, U.N. sanctions leading up to the war resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians (some put the estimate as high as 1 million). More people were dying per year under the sanctions than are dying now.

    Or we could compare the 25,000 people killed over the past several years to the number of civilians killed in the firebombing of Bremman during WWII (80,000 killed in one night), the siege of Stalingrad (100,000+ killed), or even the American Revolution (50,000-100,000 civilians killed).

    War kills people, including civilians. That's just an unfortunate fact. Would I, if I were living under a regime as oppressive as Saddam's, want to risk such a catastrophe upon myself or my children in return for the possibility that I or my children might live in a free society sometime in the future? Absolutely. Would I want the world's sole superpower to come in and help me topple the dictator? Yes. Would you?

    At the end of this tunnel, hopefully, is the prospect of a free, democratically elected Iraq. If, in ten years, they are prospering intellectually, socially, and economically, it will have been well worth the cost.

  • At 3:42 PM, Blogger CB said…

    I loves me some intelligent dialogue. Thanks, Bryce, for commenting.

    Three points:
    1. War to stop genocide, war to stop mass deportation and execution, and self-led revolution are different entirely. No liberal would argue that war is not justified in these situations. But while Saddam is well known to have resorted to (somewhat smaller-scale) executions in the 1980s, it's widely believed that immediately after the first Gulf War, and in 2000-2003 his regime was fairly well contained by intense U.N. scrutiny. There was no genocide going on. I don't mean to sound like I'm defending Saddam Hussein, but if you're going to go to war to oust leaders that are ruthless and mistreat their people, you have to take over half of the continent of Africa, and parts of Southeast Asia and South America. The moral imperative for giving people "freedom" is so clearly a front to justify a pre-determined action. And if the Iraqi people had risen up themselves, like in America, obviously that's different than us imposing our will.

    2. Perhaps it's because I'm not yet American enough, because I'm always amazed how Americans have decided that freedom is the most important thing in life. Not true for me. For me, the most important thing is not freedom, but security. Security is obviously best if accompanied by freedom, but in my family one's first responsibility is to assure the security of one's loved ones. So if my judgment was that I was more secure under an oppressive government than an uncertain one plagued with random violence (not necessarily true, but definitely possible), I'd easily choose oppression.

    3. As for the sanctions, they were a horrible, failed policy. It's just like in North Korea currently (see Nick Kristof's series). They enable the government to vilify the West and maintain power. Why does it have to be sanctions or war? Removal of sanctions for more in-depth weapons inspections (which would have proven that Iraq's weapons program was in disrepair) would have been the right diplomatic route, but Bush had his mind made up.

    Our opinions are not all that far apart. You don't want to invade everywhere without freedom (right?), and I understand that sometimes civilians have to die in the name of a greater cause. So there's got to be a gray line somewhere, and as I see it, you see the moral imperative in Iraq as past that line, and I don't.

    So how do you define where the line goes?

    A recommended article (for your ample free time) :-)

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