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Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 01:06 pm:   

The Guerilla thread was getting personal, and I was getting pretty wound up. I'm still filled with a black pit of hatred for all the people who cheered and supported this farce... But... I'll try to get step back and be lesson personal with my rhetoric

Most everyone (except the president, apparently) agrees that "things are bad" in Iraq. Ideas on what to do about are very diverse. Should we stay or should we go, and when? I'm of the opinion that ANYBODY who said we should invade Iraq obviously had bad judgment, and was disconnected from the realities on the ground -- that being the case, we should NOT trust their judgment when it comes to when/how we try to fix things now. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice....

Everybody makes noise about a theocratic Regime rising out of the ashes of Iraq if we just leave... Brother, that’s the least of our worries. The longer the US is in Iraq, the more likely the Pakistani government is to fall to Muslim extremists. Pakistan no-shit-really-does have nukes, and they no shit really have been selling them to terrorists. The current government is friendly to the US, but it’s living on a razor’s edge. Pakistan, IMO, currently represents the biggest threat to the US, and to the stability of the world at large.

Likewise, If its an oil supply that is our biggest strategic interest, staying in Iraq only makes Saudi Arabia more unstable... If the Saudi regime were to fall, we would be in some serious trouble. If Iraq is tied up in a guerrilla war/death grip with us, it certainly isn’t going to be pumping oil.

Finally, the Humanitarian side of things must be considered. The US invasion has already slaughtered 15K civilians. In 1 year, we've managed to kill more civilians then Saddam did in the previous 10 years. Good job. How many more civilians are going to die if we keep digging... stay put, and "try and make the best of a bad situation.”

From a purely humanitarian perspective, the best thing to do would be to continue the funding of the rebuilding of Iraq(we broke it, we fix it) but put the UN completely in control of the effort. If they don’t want the job (and believe me, if we offered to pay our dues, and fund the operation, and give them complete control, Koffi and the blue hats would be there in an instant – This would be a double win for the long term U.S. intererests – it would fix the damage bush’s preemptive war did to the UN, and get our troops out of harms way.)

In the Unlikely event that the UN doesn’t want to play ball, bring Iran, syria, and all Gulf states to the table and say "we are leaving -- put together a multinational, ARAB/Moslem force, and fix it -- we will pay for it". White Christians with guns and uniforms are the targets of most of the resentment in Iraq. Put some Moslem soldiers on the ground… give them the support and political will to bring stability to the country, and things could be ready for UN supervised elections in a year at best, 2 years at most.

What’s wrong with my assessment? What am I missing? Force projection in the middle east? Yeah. We’ve pretty much shot our wad there. If the entire armed forces are tied down in Iraq, we can’t really threaten/impact anybody else in the region. WHAT are the drawbacks to turning things over to the UN, or a multinational Muslum/arab force? The only drawback I can see is that… Shock of shock… somebody who doesn’t like the US might end up in power. Bummer. A greater threat would be loosing Saudi Arabia and Pakistan over this mess. Cut our losses and take what we can get – which right now, is not much.
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Brendan
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 01:19 pm:   

Jeremy -

I basically agree with what you say. It is clear that the people in power have pretty much blown any possibility of doing good in Iraq, so now it seems to be nearing the time to get out.

It would be hard to imagine a worse government coming into power there than the one the neo-cons have planned - with Chalabi at its head.

Personally I feel the situation is going to shortly get much worse, and the US is really screwing its armed forces by telling them that the work they are doing is making us safer - when in fact it is clearly breeding strong anti-US sentiments.

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rhymes with Smurphy
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 01:35 pm:   

No, no! Yoir naivete is alarming. We must stay and finish the job! We must stay until I have personally redeemed myself for my failure to win the Gulf War! We must stay until I can chase Islamic tail with impunity on the streets of Bagdad, until iced tea is served in the coffeehouses of Najah, until I feel good about myself...and that could take years.
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War Typist
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 02:41 pm:   

Or I could personally invade Pakistan, chase Pakistani tail, pump Pakistani iron and go out to Pakistani clubs for some Pakistani beer. Someone find my DD-214 and my M203! I'm a clerical worker on a mission! I'm gonna kick some ass in triplicate; sign here, here, and definitely, no-shit, here. You eyeballin' my stapeler, boy? You better not be! I'll tear off your customer copy and there ain't no comin' back from that. You hearin' me? Cuz I'm not kidding.... I'm not. Really.
That is all.
Anyone got a Prozac?
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rhymes with Smurphy
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 03:04 pm:   

Yeah! And while you're at it, man. maybe you could score a couple of those Paki nukes and kick the Shiite outa some of the other trouble spots in the Middle East. See how those cats in Teheran like their mushrooms!

You go, War Typist!
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mark samuels
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 03:16 pm:   

Jeremy Lassen

I think your anaylsis would be welcomed and completely endorsed---

by Osama Bin Laden

You're a stooge for Islamic fascism. I don't care if you're a big shot in the horror field. You're deluded.
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mark samuels
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 03:17 pm:   

well,analysis anyway....
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mark samuels
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 03:25 pm:   

And just for your information, "Moslem" is a derogatory term used during the colonial period because Westerners had difficulty pronouncing the more accurate Arabic rendering "Muslim".

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Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 03:31 pm:   

huh? Mark!?!? Where to begin?

Could you explain WHY my strategy would benfit Osama Bin Laden? It seems from my perspective the BUSH has been the perfect stooge for Bin Laden... We obviously have a different perspective on geopolitical events. I’ve shared mine. Feel free to share yours.

Do you disagree with my assessments of pakistan?
Do you disagree with my assessments of Saudi?
Do you disagree with my assessment that "things are bad" in Iraq?

Further -- “A Stooge for Islamic Fascism?” hhmmm. If I were to stoop to your level, I might suggest that YOU are a stooge of "Christian Fascism."

But I'm trying to take a step back, not get personal, and make a clear headed, honest assessment of how things could get fixed. Please feel free to make some suggestions on how to fix the problems the US and Iraq and the rest of the world are facing over this Iraqi shithole that the Bush Regime has created..

AS for being a "big shot" in the horror field? LOL. I had no idea. Thanks, I guess.

-JL
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Bob K.
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 03:32 pm:   

Y'know, Jeremy, I don't care if you're a bigshot in the horror field, either -- I won't hold it against you. Your plan seems humane to me, though politically implausible. A lot of mouth breathers would need to grow a brain stem.

As a fellow stooge, I'd dearly love to see someone make a case why we spent 200 billion dollars on Iraq rather than shoring up Afghanistan and securing the home front.

You've probably seen this:

"Nothing much changes in Iraq. Just before the Shiites rose in revolt against the occupation, a leading member of the occupation authority in Baghdad reported that 'the bottom seems to have dropped out of the agitation and most of the leaders are only too anxious to let bygones be bygones.'

"No, that was not Paul Bremer on CNN, but the British Iraqi expert Gertrude Bell, writing to the local military commander in May 1920. Almost immediately afterwards, most of Iraq erupted in a bloody revolt that inflicted thousands of casualties on the occupation forces...."

http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2004/04/08/occupation/index_np.html
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Thomas R
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 03:41 pm:   

It's not not that bad. I'm disappointed in many things about the war and I'm an internationalist. The UN has many structural problems I think you're ignoring, but if they're willing it's worth considering. If not...

In the Unlikely event that the UN doesn’t want to play ball, bring Iran, syria, and all Gulf states to the table and say "we are leaving -- put together a multinational, ARAB/Moslem force, and fix it -- we will pay for it".

Well this alternative plan is an intensely bad idea. Why? Because Iraq has a sizeable Christian and Kurdish minority. Syrians are Baathists who were having violent clashes with Kurds only a few weeks ago, and the Gulf states are abysmal at dealing with religious minorities. Iran liberalized for a time, but hardliners regained a good deal of power. Egypt I guess does ehh okay with their Coptic minority, and maybe a few other Arab-African nations would be alright. Syrians, Iranians, and Saudis in there is a nightmare not worth contemplating.
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mark samuels
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 03:43 pm:   

Jeremy

The central point is this:

If it's all about oil as you keep saying rather than about regime change please explain why $100,000,000 has been spent on going to war and trying to effect democratic transfer. The USA could have had its mitts on Iraqi oil simply by lifting all sanctions against Iraq.

It's a straightforward question.
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jlassen@nightshadebooks.com
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 03:47 pm:   

Oh my mark. Aren't you being PC today, telling me how to be properly sensitive to the people we are currently bombing the fuck out of. Careful. Rush might revoke your ditto head membership.

I'm sure towel-heads, sand-niggers and camel-jockeys all over the world wouldn't give a fuck what I called them if only my country just stopped dropping bombs on them, overthrowing their elected leaders, and propping up corrupt strong men if there is the merest hint of profit to be had.

But of course, Mark is worried about my spelling. Thank goodness he’s around to stop all the hatred in the world.


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mark samuels
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 03:52 pm:   

On the contrary Jeremy, I'm simply showing that self-righteous American arrogance on the part of the ignorant is just as alive on the left as on the right-wing

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Jeremy lassen
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 03:58 pm:   

Mark,
That is exactly MY question. WHY ARE WE DOING THIS? It’s not cost effective – unless you happen to be Halliburton or Bechtel. Or you happen to be a president who is trying to get reelected.

It is pretty obvious that this war was not fought for humanitarian reasons -- and if you say it is, I've got 2 years of press conferences from the US and British government that say otherwise.


Read some Neo-con policy papers. They've been planning this Iraqi occupation since 1992. Here's a good palce to start. http://www.newamericancentury.org/

I'm not the whacko coming up with this shit, and I'm not the one supporting it. I'm trying to propose ways of getting out of this mess.

Give me some solutions... some ideas on how to make things better... oh wait... you were one of the idiots who was in favor of going to war with Iraq in the first place. Never mind. What I want from you is an admission that you were wrong. The invasion has made things worse, not better – in every possible way. Until then, you are one of the mouth breathers who can’t admit his mistakes.
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mark samuels
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 04:04 pm:   

Ermm

Can you answer my straightforward question first? I've said it's been about regime-change all along. You've said it's about oil.
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Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 04:10 pm:   

ahh... self righteous arrogance... exactly the words that come to mind when I hear your name.

You make my point perfectly. You want to score debating points by suggesting that I'm just as fallible as any other joe-schmoe. Good for you. I'm human. But I was right about Iraq, in every way, and you were wrong. This is not self righteousness. Not arrogance. Just bitter anger -- I didn't want to be correct -- I prayed that this mess would be as quick and easy as people like you promised it would be.

When I ask for some suggestions, and give you my own ideas for a workable solution, you call me names and attack me without bothering to address my arguments.

At least Thomas R. had the decency to say WHY he would be opposed to a pan-Arab force taking over....

You just slander and blather, and call people names, without offering any ideas on how to make things better. Except... Well... you did call me a big shot. I guess that counts for something.
:-)
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Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 04:16 pm:   

Regime change. Okay. The war was about regime change (duh!). WHY was regime change important? Weapons of mass destruction? Terrorist links? Humanitarian reasons? hmmm....

I know why the neo-cons had a hard on for regime change (oil). I know why YOU had a hard on for regime change (humanitarian reasons). Would you care to share with the group how much better off the Iraqi people are now that we've killed 15K civilians, and add a couple hundred more ever day? Now that we’ve essentially turned Afghanistan back over to the Taliban?

sorry. Fuck off. I can't keep this up any more. Circular arguments from idiots, and all...
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mark samuels
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 04:19 pm:   

Ah Jeremy

What I am saying is simply this: Iraq is better off now than it was under Saddam. He thought nothing of killing thousands in a chemical gas attack during a SINGLE day.

You can't deal with that. Nor it seems will you answer my the oil vs regime-chance point.

You are a big shot in the horror field. You produce truly excellent books for Nightshade. Unfortunately your political views are laughable. The two are not related.
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mark samuels
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 04:31 pm:   

I think the posts are crossing a bit here.

The USA and Britain perceived Iraq as a threat to their interests based on faulty intelligence, that much I agree with. However, that faulty intelligence regarding WMD was also accepted by the UN, France and Germany (who, you recall, opposed the war) anyway. So it's a non-issue. It's a cover for pacifism.

Afghanistan is back in the hands of the Taliban is it????? Since when???? They have a foothold in the north. Hardly the same thing.

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Lucius
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 04:41 pm:   

Jeremy, you bigshot you...

what's the point of this shit? All that happens is wee sad mutants like Thomas R, full-blown psychos like the war typist, and dweebs like Samuels get a forum. It's not like this could ever get to be a dialogue. It'd be easier to teach a rabbit the alphabet than penetrate the
headbones of these jerks with even the slightest of logics. I admit it's kinda fun to watch them twitch, sort of like making the corpse of frogs jump in high school biology, but nothing's ever going to come of it. Be better in my opinion to ghettoize them, give them a Right Wing Asshole thread in which they can rave and paint the walls with their feces....

Seriously, I think it's an idea whose time has come.


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mark samuels
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 04:56 pm:   

Lucius

Doubtless the thought police would agree with you

Why not burn their books next? Why stop at ghettoisation?

And so it goes.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 05:02 pm:   

Hey, I am the thought police, motherfucker!

And you, pal, are arrested development. If you had books, I wouldn't burn 'em; I might try to translate them into human.

My suggestion was facetious, obviously, but as has been pointed out, you're way too thick to get it.
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Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 05:03 pm:   

Mark says: “What I am saying is simply this: Iraq is better off now than it was under Saddam. He thought nothing of killing thousands in a chemical gas attack during a SINGLE day.”

Well, I think we will have to disagree here. U.S and British warplanes killed thousands on a single day too… But who cares? Is this a football game? We’re tyring to keep score? Saddam’s atrocities don’t give the US and Britan a get out of jail free card. Bush and Blair were supposed to manage the peace, and make things better for the Iraqi people. They haven’t. Iraq is a far more dangerous place now then it was a 2 years ago. And if an oppressive theocratic regime ends up in power, that too will be the fault of Bush, Blair, and the neocon cronies.


Mark says: "The USA and Britain perceived Iraq as a threat to their interests based on faulty intelligence, that much I agree with"

I never said that. You’re agreeing with someone else... perhaps the propaganda man...

Mark Says: "However, that faulty intelligence regarding WMD was also accepted by the UN, France and Germany"

Not true. UN, France and Germany specifically said there was no evidence of weapons or terrorist ties. The UN had inspectors on the ground in Iraq. They knew there were no weaons. Nice revisionist history.

Mark Says: "Afghanistan is back in the hands of the Taliban is it????? Since when???? They have a foothold in the north. Hardly the same thing."

Your right. The rest of the country is controlled by opium warlords and other nice men who have been doing just good-of-a-job making peoples lives miserable as the Taliban ever did. That's a big humanitarian improvement.


Mark Says "You are a big shot in the horror field. You produce truly excellent books for Nightshade. Unfortunately your political views are laughable. The two are not related."

YOU are the one who brought up me being a "big shot" in the horror field. I've never once mentioned on this thread or board that I'm somehow better or smarter then anybody else because of my chosen profession. Shit, I'm stupider then most for trying to run a publishing company. I'm oddly touched that you continue to insist that I'm a "big shot". I'm all to aware of how insignificant my company is in the grander scheme of publishing.

As for my laughable political views... I'll say it again... two years ago.. which one of us predicted this mess? who's laughable? Yeah. Go ahead and say it… you were wrong. Just say it. No one will hate you, or call you names. It’s called Humility… It feels good sometimes. Running my publishing company for the last 6 years has done a good job of teaching me the lessons of humility.

Mark's posts are like a festing wound... I just can't stop myself from picking at them. (hangs head in shame).
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mark samuels
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 05:11 pm:   

Really? You're the thought police? Well, in that case, you're not as menacing as I heard.

Get back to me on those books when you've written anything worth reading yourself chum.


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mark samuels
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 05:34 pm:   

The estimates (UN verified) are that Saddam was responsible for well over 100,000 murders during his dictatorship.

I'm not just bandying figures about. His regime was far more costly in terms of innocent casualities than the current war.

You're wrong Jeremy on the UN, France and Germany. The UN resolution calling on Iraq to disclose all information on WMD was insisted upon by all these parties. No such resolution would have passed if they believed the weapons were non-existent.
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 06:01 pm:   

"Get back to me on those books when you've written anything worth reading yourself chum."

You're not being fair now, Mark old stool sample. How could I possibly aspire to the literary heights to which you have ascended? The words "Mark Samuels," words that cause even the most discerning of literateurs to lift their heads as if they had caught a delicate scent on the wind....we all incline our heads in awe at that sublime sound. The very thought of your ouvre puts a tingle in the substance of my being. And now, to realize that you have accomplished all this without the benefit of a functioning forebrain...I mean, it's unparalled!

God bless you, Mark Samuels, for proving by your writerly output the truth of a hypothesis that I have always believed in yet never been able to substantiate: that even a monkey can fart God Save The Queen if you feed him enough beans.
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Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 06:08 pm:   

Saddam Hussein in power for how many years? 20 or so? That’s about 5K murders per year. (and about 10 of those years were with the direct support of the US, so don't talk to me like Hussein isn't a creature of British/US policy.)

In just one year, the US and Britan have wracked up 15K murders. We're on pace to outdo Saddam by a long shot. How long do you think we should stay there? Until we rack up 99,000 murders?

As I said before, Saddam could have gone about killing 5K people last year – his yearly average, according to you, and there would be about 10K less dead Civilians. Not to mention the 4-12K dead military personal. Plus, we could have spent 480Billion in humanitarian aid to oppressed people all around the world. No matter how you slice it, this invasion wasn’t a good idea.

Further:
France and German specifically would not vote to authorize the use of force until there was credible evidence that he possessed weapons. The best evidence the US could come up with was Powel’s famous presentation. The US prevented the vote to authorize force from reaching the security council because it knew it would not pass...

arrrgghhhhhhh.... stop arguing with madman.... stop picking at scab.... stop
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T Andrews
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 07:10 pm:   

I'm not the wordsmith you guys are, but I'm going to jump in the fray anyways.
I just feel my blood pressure hit the high notes whenever I hear the 'oh, Iraq is so much better off without Saddam' argument. (Lassen has just provided the numbers and perspective that blow that argument out of the water. )
No matter how evil the guy was, there is no debater alive, no matter how passionate or eloquent who can convince me that going to war with the Iraqi people was the way to deal with him.
No matter how many years go by, nor how clever the spin doctors will work at it, this fiasco will never be seen as having been a success for the people of Iraq.
It sucks now. It will suck next year. The ripple effect is already becoming unmanageable.
It's depressing as all hell.
I remember watching on the news, just before the invasion, Iraqi women anxiously waiting in the hospitals, hoping for a c-section before the invasion lest they go into labour while the stupid 'smart' bombs fall. This is the twenty-first century. This shouldn't happen.
(I was in labour myself as Baghdad fell and I thought of those women more than a few times.)
And what makes it all so hard to swallow is the lying bullshit coming out of Washington...or maybe what really kills me is that people actually believed it, and still do.
The best way to keep this from getting worse (is that even possible??) is to 'stop digging' that hole, as has been said.

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Brendan
Posted on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 10:59 pm:   

Mark -

You know damn well that invading Iraq was a stupid move. You have continuously backed the move, and I suppose you will continue to, no matter how bloody it gets.

As for him using chemical weapons on his own people, who the hell do you think was backing him at the time? The US.

If you are so gung ho why don't you go to Iraq?

And as for the country being better off. I have not seen a hell of a lot of evidence to support that claim. Tell the babies lying beneath the dirt in Falluja that they are better off. Tell it to the American mothers who have their sons come back without legs that what they are doing is worth it for "the good of world".

As for Jeremy being a stooge for Osama: the fact is that this war is making Osama very happy and the people who support it are inadvertently giving him strength. Bush, Blaire and anyone who supports their idiot policies: these are the people who are feeding terrorism.
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Brendan
Posted on Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 02:51 am:   

1 Billion Pounds for UK security firms:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1193871,00.html
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Bob Urell
Posted on Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 05:27 am:   

Sorry to interject, but I keep seeing this firm figure, 15k civilian deaths, and it's kind of pegging my bullshit meter. I mean, who are these civilians? Who counted them? I can't find this figure anywhere, not even on the HRW website.
The reason I ask is that I know, both firsthand from my own Gulf experience, and anecdotally from several friends and former colleagues, that it's just nearly impossible to tell friend from foe and civilian from combatant, over there. And the truth of the matter is, the Iraqui resistance has consistently used every death for propoganda purposes; every dead body is an innocent, every bombed building is a school or a hospital. If we're talking about going over the rubble of a bombed out building and counting every corpse as a civilian casualty, well that's hardly reliable, is it? Anyone remember the Jenin debacle? Palestinian terror groups reported "hundreds" of civilian casualties, and in the end there were a grand total of 23 (of course, the Israelis had lots of other atrocities to account for in that raid).
I'm not refuting the idea of civilian deaths. I won't even steal the horror of that sort of thing by calling it "collateral damage", as we were trained to think of them when we received orders for fire support missions in populated territory. I imagine everyone here knows that uninvolved, unarmed, terrified women and children, fathers and mothers and even infants, have died and will die as a direct result of our aggressions. Not even Murphy is going to try and take up that banner, I'd bet; though I honestly hope he tries, just to see the savaging he receives....
Problem is, even as we're ladling out the sympathy and angst over these deaths, let's not exacerbate the problem by accepting this kind of reverse propaganda. I'm sorry, but I just can't accept the idea of our soldiers massacring 15k innocent civilians, and I'd like to know just where the figure comes from, and what the bias of that source has caused them to lean toward.
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Brendan
Posted on Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 06:16 am:   

I am not sure at where the number has come from, though I seem to recall it NOT coming from Iraqis but rather and independent source.

Here is an article from the Guardian stating that of the deaths in Falluja 350 are women and children (and let us remember that not all men would be enemy combatants):

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1193948,00.html
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Brendan
Posted on Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 06:19 am:   

Actually, this looks like the place where the 15,000 figure came from:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,1072955,00.html

It says out of those up to 4,300 were civilians.

In any case, plenty of civilians have been killed. We don't know how many, but I believe the figure realistically can be put higher than the US suffered in 9-11.

It should also be remembered that many more people have been maimed than killed. (Many more US soldiers also.)
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Bob Urell
Posted on Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 06:39 am:   

Oh, absolutely there are casualties on both sides. I'm not, nor would I ever, even think of trying to deny that. My problem is in placing these collateral damage estimates (there's that term I said I wouldn't use!) out there as solid evidence of the military's homocidal collusion. This just isn't reasonable in discourse or policy, I think. If we're going to quote figures, they ought to have some semblence of concrete fact, shouldn't they? 4300 civilians or 43 civilians, either number is too high, but neither is firm enough to use in an argument. That's all I wanted to set straight, really.
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 07:35 am:   

I suppose I could get upset by all of the pseudoposts, but to be honest, I found them funny.

I also found them rather pathetic. Someone apparently not only reads my posts, but remembers them.

At any rate, at least I own up to my demons and personal problems. Some of you around here, though, could definitely use some therapy.

As for being called Smurphy (ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ). Surely a crop of pro writers can do better than that.

It is sunny outside. Got laundry to do and writing to work on.

Don't stare at the screen too long, or your eyes will go crosswise.

S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com

P.S. I'd say, by the way, from the content of this thread that I'm hardly the only candidate for an anger management course. But I'm probably the only one open minded enough to get anything out of it.
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Bob Urell
Posted on Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 08:57 am:   

Um. Anyone else wanna bat this tetherball around?
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Dr. Sardonicus
Posted on Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 09:07 am:   

Hmmm, what's the subject supposed to be here? "Exit stategy"? Seems to me the best approach is for a functioning Iraqi government to be put in place ASAP. I don't think it's even plausible for us even to begin reducing the number of boots on the ground there till that happens. As recent events have shown, the Iraqi police and army we've been training aren't going to fight -- or be seen to be fighting -- for us, which they would be as long as we're in charge. But they might fight for their own government. And I don't see many other folks lining up to pull security duty there.

We can't just cut and run before an Iraqi government is put in place. That would both make us appear weak (appear weak to our enemies, I hasten to specify, for the sake of the wilfully obtuse) and untrustworthy (again, for the sake of the wilfully obtuse, I explain that I mean this in the sense of failing to stand by your friends -- encouraging people and giving them support for a limited amount of time, only to turn around and throw them to the wolves, which is what we would be doing for example, to the police and troops we've trained, and everyone who's worked to rebuild the infrastructure since we invaded if we simply cut and run without any provision for governance having been made). We made that mistake after Desert Storm -- we encouraged the Iraqi people, particularly the Shia, to rise up against Saddam -- and then ordered hundreds of thousands of our troops who were actually there to stand mutely aside while we let Saddam use helicopter gunships and slaughter them by the tens of thousands. That kind of untrustworthiness is something to be ashamed of.

I could go on and on about why I don't think it was a good idea to go into Iraq when we did (basically, we had enough on our plate with Afghanistan), or why I fault the Administration for not making the legitimate case I believe it could have made for taking out Saddam even though he didn't pose an imminent threat. But I won't go on and on about it because what's done is done. At this point we have to figure out how to extricate ourselves from the mess, but without simply letting things go from bad to worse. If you will, get out as soon as possible, but not sooner.

My vote for most ironic pronouncement regarding Operation Iraqi Freedom:
"There are some who feel that the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is: Bring 'em on. We've got the force necessary to deal with the security situation."
-- President Bush, July 2, 2003
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Lucius
Posted on Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 09:09 am:   

I don't know which tetherball you're talking about -- if you're speaking of the post prior to yours...If you look carefully at what Murphy says, the incoherence, i.e., The posts are pathetic because the people who wrote them remember his posts, and etc.....I mean, with that kind of poorly conceptualized logic going on, you have to recognize that we're dealing with someone who doesn't get it on a very basic level, so the only reason to bat that tetherball is if you're bored. I ain't that bored today.
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Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 09:48 am:   

Body count:
http://www.iraqbodycount.net/

This place gives detailed citations of the deaths it includes in its figures.
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Byron Bailey
Posted on Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 11:55 am:   

I don't know how I feel about the war. I'm not all all sure if I'm a reluctant supporter or a reluctant protestor. Unbiased information seems very hard to come by. Everyone seems to have their own agenda. For example, on the www.iraqbodycount.net/ listed by Jeremy Lassen, I found the following quote:

"In the current occupation phase the database includes all deaths which the Occupying Authority has a binding responsibility to prevent under the Geneva Conventions and Hague Regulations. This includes civilian deaths resulting from the breakdown in law and order, and deaths due to inadequate health care or sanitation."

Deaths due to inadequate health care or sanitation? That can cover an awful lot of deaths that I'm not sure is exactly the US's fault. From what I remember, the health care and sanitation was pretty bad in Iraq before the US arrived. I remember horror stories about dead children and grandmothers blamed on the UN sanctions--very possibly rightly so. It's hard to tell with all the spin going on.

I'm not trying to single Jeremy Lassen out. His views on Iraq may be very accurate. I appreciate his pointing out Pakistan as a potentially devestating threat that I haven't given much thought to. Thanks for the insight. (I wish you could keep the nightmares, though).

What I'm trying to say is that there's serious spin going on in every direction and I don't seem to have the time to cut through enough of the crap to form an accurate opinion.


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Thomas R
Posted on Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 11:57 am:   

Also when it comes to Saddam's body count are we counting the Iran-Iraq war? It'd seem like if we did the figure for him would be higher than mentioned, and counting that would make sense as we count war deaths in this.

BTW: I know the US became intensely supportive of Saddam due to that war, but he fought Iran for his own reasons and with weapons of several powers especially Soviet.
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Bob Urell
Posted on Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 01:02 pm:   

Yeah, I really can't lend too much credence to that source, Jeremy. I'm sorry, but it seems to be counting every death caused by either side as civilian casualties, including those nine policemen killed by a car bomb in March. Are we now being blamed for car bombs? That seems sort of an odd way to define "civilian casualty", to me. Plus, in its own press release, this site references only itself as a source and has only managed to identify 692 of the 10,000 civilian dead it cites. That says to me that all but those 700 or so casualties are actually media estimates (according to the body count page), which is a highly unreliable methodology.
I imagine the HRW will be conducting an investigation into Hague and Geneva Convention violations. I think I'll wait for their figures.
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Brendan
Posted on Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 01:52 pm:   

Well, I think even the lowest estimate of the number of civilian deaths directly caused by US forces (bombing, bullets), is in the thousands. It is a LOT of people.
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mark samuels
Posted on Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 03:46 pm:   

I don't know about needing an anger management course. Perhaps. However I should have thought better about posting here after a skinload of booze last night. I don't think I should have jumped in here and responded to Jeremy with such venom. For that I apologise. I don't agree with his analysis but to make matters personal is just stupid.

I'm just going to relate an anecdote and then I'm gone.

A personal friend of mine went on the last Anti-War demo in London. She deeply opposes the War against Iraq. She saw several Iraq exiles who pleaded to be allowed to speak in favour of Saddam's forcible removal. They were told they could not speak as it might undermine "the cause of the Stop-the-War-Coalition".

There are agendas here and I fear that the ultimate good of the Iraqi people is what's not being debated openly, without rancour and free of bias. I count myself as an offender after what I posted last night. We all go a little crazy sometimes.



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T Andrews
Posted on Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 03:56 pm:   

As Byron Bailey points out, health and sanitation conditions were poor before the war.
But that was in large part because of inhumane sanctions.
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Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 07:40 pm:   

My thoughts are that anybody who has died because of the US/British decision to invade is a casualty of war. Period. I don’t care who did the shooting… or what the circumstances were. My point is, EVERY DEATH on the Iraqi body count site is a direct result of this decision to invade.

And yes... Poor sanitation and bombed out hospitals with no medication... Those are a direct result of the invasion. Things were bad before the war, but nowhere near the level they are at now. If somebody died because there is no medicine, sanitation or electricity… All this, I place squarely at the feet of My government, and the British government, and by extension, my own feet, and the feet of my fellow citizens. These deaths are our faults.

If somebody wants to weasel out of it and place the blame on someone else, or simply argue about specific numbers... well. That doesn't change the fact that MANY people have died that otherwise wouldn't have -- and we spent $480 BILLION to achieve this goal. How many lives could have been SAVED around the world with $480 BILLION?! Yes. I'm pissed, and angry and am mostly not very rational. This blood is on my American hands, and my country and I will be suffering the consequences of this horrible decision for the duration of my lifetime and well beyond.

Mark,
I figured you must be drunk, because there is no other way you could have mistaken me for a big shot. Peace.
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Dr. Sardonicus
Posted on Saturday, April 17, 2004 - 08:59 pm:   

Thomas R said:
Also when it comes to Saddam's body count are we counting the Iran-Iraq war?
No. As you suspect, that'd raise the body count quite a bit. High hundreds of thousands dead, maybe over a million. Don't know how many of those were civilians, but more than a few. The citizens of the city of Khorramshar(sp?) probably didn't fare too well. That city had the misfortune to be near the Iraq border, and was occupied by Saddam's army for quite a while.

One small part of the Iran-Iraq war consisted of Iran and Iraq lobbing ballistic missiles at each other's civilian populations. This was called the "War of the Cities". Iran used a novel method of clearing mine fields -- they marched children through them. Iraq used chemical weapons in the war (but not AFAIK against Iranian civilians). That thing in Baghdad with the crossed swords arched over the street was Saddam's monument to that war. At the base, where the hands were holding onto the hilts, were piled a great many helmets, taken from dead Iranian soldiers.

A little before that war, while Carter was still President, an incident occurred which was brought to mind by the recent festivities in Falluja, where they burned the bodies of murdered Americans and dangled them from a bridge.

The incident occurred after our diplomats were taken hostage in our embassy in Teheran. When the military mission to rescue the hostages failed, Revolutionary Guards took the bodies of the dead American soldiers from the burned-out helicopters, brought them to Teheran, and hung them up in front of the US Embassy, where the hostages were being held.

But the bodies weren't there long. This is because ordinary Iranians by the hundreds called up their local authorities to tell them how disgusted they were by the display. This, in the middle of a revolution whose leaders referred to us as the Great Satan, and by a citizenry who had precious little good will toward the US. The Revolutionary Guards quickly removed the bodies, and arranged for them to be handed over to the United States.
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mark samuels
Posted on Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 04:49 am:   

Jeremy---thanks for the kind response. I feel like a bit of a louse but am grateful that you've accepted my apology. My admiration for Nightshade books and the work you've done still stands however, even when sober :-)

If we can't keep our cool here on a messageboard then imagine what it must be like to be an Iraqi on the ground over there in the country; one either pro or anti the US military action. Ideally all Coalition troops should be out by the scheduled June handover to let the UN take over peace-keeping. I hope that's possible. I hope that will tear the carpet out from underneath the feet of the zealots most of whom seem to be a weird Islamic version of the fanatic Xtian David Koresh.
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Dr. Sardonicus
Posted on Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 08:26 am:   

mark samuels said:
Ideally all Coalition troops should be out by the scheduled June handover to let the UN take over peace-keeping.
That is not going to happen. In the first place, the UN Security Council requires not only a consensus to act, but also for none of its permanent members to veto the implementing resolution. And when it comes to sending troops into Iraq, let alone legitimizing -- or even appearing to legitimize -- the US invasion, I'd rate the chances of nobody vetoing as slim to none. Secondly, members of "the UN" are individual nations. That's what the "N" stands for. Any "UN" peacekeeping troops, police and security personnel, relief and humanitarian workers etc, have to be sent by those individual nations. Nobody's going to send in their doctors or relief workers without security against their being robbed, raped, shot, blown up, kidnapped etc, so member nations are going to have to commit troops first in any case. Member nations such as... ?
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Brendan
Posted on Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 08:36 am:   

The June 30th handover is a joke anhow. Who the hell is there to hand anything over to?
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George Owell
Posted on Monday, April 19, 2004 - 08:40 am:   

Here's an interesting piece from this weekend's NY Times, comparing the situation to the 1920 British occupation of Iraq, rather than Viet Nam. It's definitely worth reading, and do so now, before it ages to where you have to pay for it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/18/opinion/18FERG.html

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