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Iraq War Fatalities - The Next Iconic Web Animation
June 25, 2005 11:36 PM   Subscribe

Iraq War Fatalities is a chart of US and coalition military fatalities that have occurred in the War in Iraq since the onset, mapped across the dimensions of time and space. It is an ongoing project that is updated regularly, and will continue to go on as long as the war does. The animation runs at ten frames per second--one frame for each day--and a single black dot indicates the geographic location that a US fatality occurred. Each dot starts as a white flash and a larger red dot that fades to black over the span of 30 frames/days, and then slowly fades to grey over the span of the entire war. Accompanying the visual representation is a soft 'tic' sound for each fatality, the volume of which increases relative to the number of fatalities that occurred simultaneously that day. More deaths in a smaller area produces visually deeper reds and audibly more pronounced 'tics.'

Iraq War Fatalities   (via Bop News)
posted by y2karl (100 comments total)

 
That is a fascinating use of data visualization. I was surprised at how quickly casualties moved deeply into Iraq.
posted by teece at 12:00 AM on June 26, 2005


Woah, people died in Iraq? This is definitely the first I'm hearing of it. Is there a war going on there or something?
posted by kjh at 12:38 AM on June 26, 2005


Certain sources claim that there had been up to 9,000 dead soldiers so far.
posted by growabrain at 12:45 AM on June 26, 2005


The consistency is interesting, there are peaks here and there but generally the violence seems more or less steady. What's pacing this? Are the insurgents purposely applying the same pressure over a long period or is this actually their best all-out effort? If so, what's regulating their attacks. Is it the supply of some key resource such as weapons or money? Perhaps the training of volunteers? Maybe the pacing is coming from the other side such as the rate at which the insurgents are being hunted down and destroyed?
posted by scheptech at 12:56 AM on June 26, 2005


dammit, I was going to code this.

The only thing it needs is a 3D approach to build bargraphs. Fallujah in November didn't really register like it should have.

If so, what's regulating their attacks. Is it the supply of some key resource such as weapons or money?

That's the thing about guerillas. To win, all they have to do is survive. They're staying, but we'll be going eventually.

Maybe the pacing is coming from the other side such as the rate at which the insurgents are being hunted down and destroyed?

Lt. Col. Frederick P. Wellman, who works with the task force overseeing the training of Iraqi security troops, said the insurgency doesn't seem to be running out of new recruits, a dynamic fueled by tribal members seeking revenge for relatives killed in fighting. "We can't kill them all," Wellman said. "When I kill one I create three."
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 1:11 AM on June 26, 2005


Nice find
posted by srboisvert at 1:20 AM on June 26, 2005


Military Action Won't End Insurgency, Growing Number of US Officers Believe

The CIA believes the Iraq insurgency poses an international threat and may produce better-trained Islamic terrorists than the 1980s Afghanistan war that gave rise to Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda, officials said yesterday.A classified report from the agency says Iraqi and foreign fighters are developing a broad range of skills, from car bombings and assassinations to coordinated conventional attacks on police and military targets, officials said.Once the insurgency ends, Islamic militants are likely to disperse as highly organized battle-hardened combatants capable of operating throughout the Arab-speaking world and in other regions including Europe.The May report, which has been widely circulated in the intelligence community, also cites a potential threat to the United States.

Iraq a site to train terrorists, CIA says
posted by y2karl at 1:22 AM on June 26, 2005


Car bombers have struck Iraq 480 times in the past year, and a third of the attacks followed the naming of a new Iraqi government two months ago, according to an Associated Press count based on reports from police, military and hospital officials. The unrelenting attacks, using bombs that can cost as little as a carton of American cigarettes each, have become the most-favored weapon of the government's most-determined enemies — Islamic extremists. The toll has been tremendous, according to the AP count: From April 28 through June 23, there were at least 160 vehicle bombings that killed at least 580 people and wounded at least 1,734. In total, for the year from the handover of sovereignty on June 28, 2004, until June 23, 2005, there were at least 480 car bombs, killing 2,174 people and wounding 5,520.

Car Bombings Surge in Iraq
posted by y2karl at 1:31 AM on June 26, 2005


The CIA produced a study this May on a topic so sensitive that even the title is classified. The paper discussed the environment in which jihadists trained at Al Qaeda's camps in Taliban-run Afghanistan, contrasting that against the environment in which Iraq's insurgents are mastering the techniques of urban warfare. For starters, not all new recruits in Afghanistan necessarily hated America before undergoing Al Qaeda indoctrination. In Iraq, on the other hand, hostility toward America is practically the only thing that all insurgents agree on—foreign infiltrators and native recruits alike. And jihadists in Iraq are getting direct, on-the-job training in a real-life insurgency, with hands-on experience in bombing, sniping and all the skills of urban warfare, unlike the essentially artificial training that was given at Al Qaeda's rural Afghan camps. One of the paper's main points is that America's Iraqi troubles will not end with the insurgency. In effect, Iraq is producing a new corps of master terrorists with an incandescent hatred for the United States—the "class of '05 problem," as it's called in the shorthand of CIA analysts. This war is proving to be longer and nastier than almost anyone expected. One day, its results may be felt closer to home.

The Enemy Spies
posted by y2karl at 1:40 AM on June 26, 2005


Not to mention $180B already spent, another $100B in the pipe, horrendous wear and tear on equipment, tens of thousands of US families torn apart, and all because Saddam wouldn't let the inspectors in or disarm.

It's odd that our government could spend $300B on this and we don't even notice it, just some more bonds get floated somewhere. There are only 150M taxpayers, so if you're near the average the eventual bill to you is already up to $2,000+interest.

If Bush had the balls to raise taxes to pay for this support would plummet to 20%. 'course, good governance is not the Bushite's thing right now.

How anyone can support this disaster of an administration is simply beyond me.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 1:49 AM on June 26, 2005


The May report, which has been widely circulated in the intelligence community, also cites a potential threat to the United States.

This war is proving to be longer and nastier than almost anyone expected. One day, its results may be felt closer to home.


And Karl Rove will blame it on liberals.
posted by homunculus at 2:03 AM on June 26, 2005


This afternoon, I heard that my LiveJournal friend Jacian was shot twice while serving in Iraq, with one of the bullets hitting him in the neck.

We're not sure yet how serious it is. All he's wanted lately is just to be home with his girlfriend so that they could spend the rest of their lives together. He's seen enough war to last a lifetime.

If he dies, he'll be the third so far out of about 120 soldiers I know on LJ who have served in Iraq.
posted by insomnia_lj at 2:39 AM on June 26, 2005


It was surprising to see just how many more American casualties there were in contrast to every other country involved when visualized in such a way.

9000 casualties is not quite so close to the 58,000 that died in the Vietnam war, but it still makes the Iraq war the great American tragedy of our time - and I would count it greater than 9-11 due to it being a self inflicted tragedy.

I hope that Jacian gets home ok now.
posted by Meccabilly at 3:51 AM on June 26, 2005


This afternoon, I heard that my LiveJournal friend Jacian was shot twice while serving in Iraq, with one of the bullets hitting him in the neck

merde! :(

it still makes the Iraq war the great American tragedy of our time - and I would count it greater than 9-11 due to it being a self inflicted tragedy

(not to mention the fact that iraqi civilian casualties make it at least thirty times greater than 11/9, from their perspective)
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:01 AM on June 26, 2005


Interesting that you can select any number of countries (including, frankly, some near-irrelevant ones), but not Iraqi deaths. I guess Iraqis die at such rates these days that its futile to even bother counting.
posted by bumpkin at 5:00 AM on June 26, 2005


That 9000 fatalities number has been refuted by the good folks at icasualties.org.
posted by artanis at 5:00 AM on June 26, 2005


Every dot stands for a whole community affected.

Time to read "Brave New World" again, there must be a reason we are at war.
posted by nostrada at 5:05 AM on June 26, 2005


That's pretty effective. As pointed out, unchecking the American casualties makes for a much sparser presentation.
posted by fire&wings at 5:07 AM on June 26, 2005


> How anyone can support this disaster of an administration is simply beyond me.

One doesn't have to love it to marginally prefer it over any of the even suckier alternatives on offer.
posted by jfuller at 5:30 AM on June 26, 2005


Great find, y2karl.

insomnia_lj, sorry to hear about your friend -- hope he pulls through.
posted by languagehat at 6:24 AM on June 26, 2005


One doesn't have to love it to marginally prefer it over any of the even suckier alternatives on offer.
posted by jfuller


thats the best reason i have heard voiced so far, and i believe you mean it.

but if you don't mind my saying so , i think you're sadly mistaken.
posted by nola at 7:04 AM on June 26, 2005


The CIA believes the Iraq insurgency poses an international threat and may produce better-trained Islamic terrorists than the 1980s Afghanistan war...

Well, who'd 'a thunk it.
posted by Termite at 7:34 AM on June 26, 2005


One doesn't have to love it to marginally prefer it over any of the even suckier alternatives on offer.

How does it get any suckier than this with *any* of the other alternatives we might have had, going back to the stolen election of 2000? This is an illegal regime. We are living under a coup d'etat. Civil liberties and the truth are withering daily. Bodies piling up. Power being concentrated in the most undemocratic ways possible. Fear rules the land. Blood soaks the streets of Iraq. For chrissake, these people even use medical doctors to practice a more scientific form of torture. Dick Durbin was exactly right the first time, and should never have apologized. We're like that famous frog in a pot of water being slowly heated to boiling. Except some of us have noticed that it's getting a little warm around here.

If history is any consolation, eventually justice will be done. And anyone who supported these monsters will look just as guilty as the ordinary Germans who silently acceded to the Nazi scourge when it was still possible it might have been stopped.

Tell me you seriously believe that a Gore or Kerry administration would have been so evil as this. I'll try not to puke.

And don't tell me "they started it." Osama is still a free man, Afghanistan a disaster, and the 3000 who died on 9/11 are still dead.
posted by realcountrymusic at 7:43 AM on June 26, 2005


artanis: icasualties methodology states: There is no magic to coming up with the number of coalition dead from our war on Iraq. Our sources are not secret. In fact, our primary source is the U.S. government.

I disagree. There is much magic, strong magic, DoD magic. The sort of magic that reclassifies "combat casualties" as "casualties caused by hostile fire" rather than "casualties related to hostile fire that happened to actually occur in a hospital in Germany so cannot be definitely proven to be a direct result of hostile fire." It's the same sort of reconciliation we went through, as a nation, when we left open spaces on the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial for all the men who'd yet to die for their participation in that experiment.

realcountrymusic: Keep your guns clean. I think revolution is healthy, and would reveal these fuckers for who they really are. That said, I also think you're overreacting a titch with the whole "Fear rules the land, blood soaks the streets of Iraq" stuff. We've still got a pluralist system chugging away, no one has yet asked me to sign any registry or anything of the sort. I think we're a far cry from Nationalist Socialism.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 7:50 AM on June 26, 2005


If history is any consolation, eventually justice will be done.

You mean those Norman bastards will have to pay for the Harrowing of the North?
posted by TimothyMason at 7:57 AM on June 26, 2005


Uh, Baby_Balrog, what about the Real ID act? We now have a national ID card system, under a slightly different name.

I'm not sure I ever wrote this argument down, but I had it verbally many times. What we've done with Iraq is opened Terrorist Training Central, where they can learn what works and what doesn't against the best combat-trained troops in the world. And they don't even have to leave the comfort of their own homes... we'll break right in!

Our loss of this war has been inevitable since Abu Ghraib... we did once have a good chance to win it, but after Abu Ghraib demonstrated our commitment to the welfare of foreign civilians, our loss became inevitable. They will never accept us or any government we create. They'll never feel they can trust it.

Once we turn tail and run, they'll start thinking about civilians, who are going to be easy prey compared to people being trained to fight militants... and paid to do it 24x7x365.

This was a job for police, not armies, and Bush and Cheney may have (inadvertently?) started World War 3.

The terrorists didn't just win, they hit the fucking jackpot.
posted by Malor at 8:24 AM on June 26, 2005


There are 300 dead and 2700 wounded contractors too ... numbers that are assumed to be low since there is no mandatory reporting mechanism. Workers comp claims provide the best gauge. The presence of contractors who do much of the work that the military used to do in prior wars has served to depress the number of actual casualties and mask the financial costs because the government picks up the tab for any combat-related workers comp claims. From the LA Times article:

In Iraq, industry observers predict the U.S. will reimburse hundreds of millions of dollars to the insurance industry. Death claims have routinely resulted in payments of $1.2 million to $1.8 million each, depending on the salary and age of the worker, industry officials said. With more than 300 death claims filed so far, that means U.S. taxpayers may pay more than $500 million to insurance companies.

Good post, as usual, y2karl. And insomnia_lj, I am very sorry about your friend.
posted by madamjujujive at 8:30 AM on June 26, 2005


bumpkin writes "I guess Iraqis die at such rates these days that its futile to even bother counting."

There has never been any attempt to humanize count the civilian deaths in Iraq due to the US/UK invasion and occupation. It's official policy.
Too difficult aparently.

Well I know that explanation satisfies me, hoo yeah.
posted by asok at 8:34 AM on June 26, 2005


You know, Malor, I was thinking about RealID as I was typing that.

You're right. World War 3 has probably started and we're all about to end up in a deep fascist stewpot from which we shan't return, I'm afraid we're all truly fucked.

Bah.

Hyperbolic rhetoric is incendiary and only serves to humor the right. Or enrage college republicans. Only one of these outcomes is worthwhile.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:34 AM on June 26, 2005


I'd be interested to see a map like this that includes Iraqi casualties. Pretty sure that's impossible, though.
posted by fungible at 8:36 AM on June 26, 2005


This is a good way to "see" the war in Iraq. But for me I see its reflection (and the other current spectacles) in the erosion of the spirit of the people I encounter. In the book Civilization by Kenneth Clark he suggests western civilization was saved by a group of monks perched on the rocky shore of France, "by the skin of our teeth". In the inevitable aftermath of this vector we travel, I predict a similar scenario. He also states the very base of civilization is confidence. We could lose a lot of that if we lose in Iraq. As y2karl suggests with these postings this is very possible,even likely.
posted by JohnR at 9:08 AM on June 26, 2005


I'm afraid I need a little more proof of the claims of 9,000+ dead soldiers in Iraq. Ie. I need to see proof that even just one soldier died there that isn't on the 'official' list.

That proof would ideally take the form of people (fellow soldiers) who know that they are dead or family who have been informed but have found that they have not been added to the list officially.

If this is true (and I'm not saying that it isn't), proof would have to be provided to make this stick in the media. If the media can provide better evidence than growabrain's linked site above does, then the story will have legs and may ultimately be what brings this war to a head.
posted by Kickstart70 at 10:06 AM on June 26, 2005


World War 3 has probably started and we're all about to end up in a deep fascist stewpot from which we shan't return, I'm afraid we're all truly fucked.

If that's the case, the USA is playing the role of Germany. It's the aggressor nation.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:08 AM on June 26, 2005


fungible: The tics would blow your speakers.
posted by baphomet at 10:14 AM on June 26, 2005


all because Saddam wouldn't let the inspectors in or disarm.

Wait a second here... last I checked, there were plenty of inspectors combing through Iraq, and they didn't really find anything. Nor did the US occupation turn up any WMD's either, so how exactly was he supposed to disarm if he wasn't armed in the first place?
posted by gwenzel at 10:40 AM on June 26, 2005


What will they say when the "official" count surpasses the body count of 9/11?

They're still using 9/11, as Rove demonstrated recently.
posted by amberglow at 10:43 AM on June 26, 2005


You mean those Norman bastards will have to pay for the Harrowing of the North?

Yeah! .. and what about those Anglo-Saxon bastards that committed genocide of the Celts.

and those Celtic bastards who displaced the Neolithic Beaker people around 900BC.

Bastards.
posted by stbalbach at 11:07 AM on June 26, 2005


It's hard to say what Heywood Mogroot is saying exactly, gwenzel, but I think it's a quote of Bush.

Bush has said both: that Saddam refused to disarm and that Saddam refused to let the inspectors back in, so he had to go to war.
"[W]e gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power, along with other nations, so as to make sure he was not a threat to the United States and our friends and allies in the region."
G.W. Bush, Oval Office, 14 Jul. 2003

The last claim was particularly stupid: Saddam had let the inspectors back in and had given them all the access they wanted, and the President actually still said the above in front of a live audience, as a justification for war. It didn't really get the coverage it deserved, and as far as I know Bush never retracted the statement.
posted by teece at 11:08 AM on June 26, 2005


Viewing those numbers, reading the post about the true U.S. casualties (plus mercenary deaths and wounded), thinking about the numbers of over 100,000 Iraqi civilian deaths (probably substantially more than that.), just leaves me more convinced than ever that the U.S. is in the final death throes of imperialism.
The way this administration is wearing down the military, running up debts, doing everything it can to alienate it's own citizens as well as the rest of the world has me convinced that at the end of it all, 'Murica will exist no more as a dominant force before long and perhaps then, just perhaps, the possibility of peace, freedom and personal security for all might finally have a chance.
I just wish so many innocent lives didn't have to be sacrificed to get there, both on our side and most especially all the Iraqis, Afghanis, Palestinians and all others across the world who have had to suffer because of this country's arrogant and stupid overzealous quest to subjugate others for 'capitalism and free markets.'
The argument of doing this for the sake of 'freedom and democracy' has always been a lie and now, whenever that argument is used, no one, absolutely *no one* will ever believe it again.
posted by mk1gti at 12:05 PM on June 26, 2005


Well, shit.

The current picture of peaceful, prosperous Iraq is just another example of how we on the "far left" really blew it on Iraq. It's really been just an absolutely smashing success, welcomed with flowers and open arms, "mission accomplished", "hearts and minds", worldwide decrease in terrorism, and all that. Yeah, those of us who warned that this would be a bloodbath and a complete disastrous quagmire really got it wrong. Yeah, we really need to tone down the MoveOn-ish rhetoric on this meaningless issue, being how it's so unimportant and trivial, all these unimportant broken bodies and familes and stuff. We should really learn to be more polite and nonconfrontational with the cowards (and their supporters) who are sending Americans off to kill Iraqis. Yeah.

War supporters: how many more American and Iraqi deaths will it take before you finally do the right thing and join in calling for an immediate recall of our invading, hired killers from Iraq; immediate dialog about the West's sad and criminal history in this region, and immediate massive relief effort in Iraq? American and Iraqi blood is on your hands. How many more lives you want to shatter, how much more world insecurity do you want to promote, before you finally do the right thing and try to correct your despicable mistakes?

End this criminal war NOW.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 12:46 PM on June 26, 2005


You mean those Norman bastards will have to pay for the Harrowing of the North?
. . . Yeah! .. and what about those Anglo-Saxon bastards that committed genocide of the Celts.
. . . and those Celtic bastards who displaced the Neolithic Beaker people around 900BC.


I meant to say if *modern* history is any judge, of course. As a species, many of us had started getting used to the idea that we had finally advanced two or three steps from pure power-of-violence-rules barbarism. The conventions of the last century or so (Geneva, international human rights standards) have established, finally, some sort of standard of accountability for acts of genocide, though it is concerning that we barely extend them back to, say, slavery or the eradication of Native peoples in the Americas only a little more than a century ago.

So let it not be that the 20th century, while also violent on a scale never before possible, was nevertheless the one shining moment in our progress toward some simulacrum of "civilization" and enlightenment and nah, let's forget all that justice, human rights, democracy bullshit after all.

Which only makes it more sickening to hear the Iraq war justified in terms of bringing democracy and human rights to the Middle East. The hypocrisy is so flagrant. Even if that *were* the result, at some far future date, that has never been the true justification for our current masters of war, who quite on the face of it couldn't give less of a shit about democracy or human rights or law. We might catch a historical break here, but that will never excuse Bush and his puppeteers in my eyes. They've killed more Iraqis than Saddam ever did already (leaving aside Iraqis killed by Iran thanks to Saddam's regional bellicosity, which had long been contained, and which Iran would have ensured easily with a little tactical coaltion-building by the west (via Europe, of course). The greatest casualty of war is the damn truth. And these mafiosi have just waltzed us right into war without end, and thus lies without end, and death without end. If human rights finally prosper in Iraq or the broader region, if democracy brings about peace and relative prosperity, it will be in SPITE of and not BECAUSE of the actions undertaken here under such cynical and false pretenses.

We have become an aggressor state that tortures prisoners systematically, bullies smaller powers into bending over for us, and eyes resource-rich territories while scheming the most effective way to ensure their fealty and acquiescence to our ravenous needs.

I have only one cautionary thought: China. When and if we are no longer the globally dominant military power (and I do think it is "when." given the sheer ineptness of the gang that can't rape, oppress, and exploit straight (Neocons) rather than any lack of trying on their part to Do Domination Right), we may find out what it means to be a supplicant at the UN protesting another nation's naked aggression. That, or Taiwan triggers something much worse. Meanwhile, they watch us tear our own strongest fabric -- liberty -- to shreds as they prepare the make our new clothes. I say bring it on. What this country needs now is a humiliation on the scale of Vietnam. I believe that as a patriot, not a traitor. I wish it did not have to come, and certainly at such a price, but hubris is the cause of our foolishness. The parallels to Rome are extraordinary, and obvious.

Watch the birdy. The birdy is oil. And pay no attention to the (nuclear) man behind the curtain. Human rights, my ass. Democracy? Let's have it at home again. If not, we're going down hard and fast and it will be televised and ugly.
posted by realcountrymusic at 1:26 PM on June 26, 2005


Just heard from a friend that Jacian is getting medically evacuated to Landstuhl in Germany, though I don't know anything more about his condition. That's both good and news... bad, because his wounds are severe enough to require medical evacuation. Good, because most of the people who make it there survive.

My big worry is how well he will survive. A neck wound can mean a whole lot of bad things, depending on the circumstances, and they seem to be increasingly common with the new helmets. I have to wonder why they don't extend protection down further on the back of the neck. Maybe it's because they don't want our helmets to look too much like other helmets out there.

Nothing like German design, eh?
posted by insomnia_lj at 1:41 PM on June 26, 2005


Here's hoping Jacian makes it back okay, and that the troops remaining are brought home sooner than later. The better for all. . .
posted by mk1gti at 2:25 PM on June 26, 2005


And on the helmet design: Fucking stupid. Yeah, it looks like a WWII german helmet, which is the *first* thing I noticed about it (as I'm sure many others did) when it was first deployed several years ago.
Now that they've changed the design (who makes these absolutely *stupid* decisions, anyway?) the defense contractors make more money, more troops die, resulting in anger and frustration on the part of the troops stationed there and a desire for 'revenge' and more Iraqis go over to the insurgency, the cycle repeats and on and on. Stupid military helmet designers. Now look at what they've gone and done: added fuel to the fire in the Iraq War.
posted by mk1gti at 2:32 PM on June 26, 2005


The counterargument -- that we honor the service of those now in theater, those who've done their time, and especially those who've made the ultimate sacrifice by "finishing the mission" -- is specious on its face. Kerry was right. This was the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time. He should have added "for the wrong reasons." Yes he voted for the war, but didn't repeat the obvious explanation often or loudly enough: "yes, because like many Americans traumatized by 9/11 and accustomed to living in a free country I trusted my president, and his betrayal of that trust is the greatest crime a president could commit."

You cannot "win" a war that is not just, that was entered into on the strength of Big Lies, and that has no support from those who will judge the victory's cost and validity. This is Apocalypse Now Redux. Even if we were to pull out tomorrow, or carry forward a brutal occupation until a properly totalitarian new puppet regime can be established in Iraq (the only way the place will hold together), for the next few generations at least we have made our country a pariah state, and the juciest target imaginable for the very terrorists we seek to defeat, and justly so. We have become death, the destroyer of worlds. Oppenheimer's dark vision required no nuclear weapons, only the false claim that some might exist somewhere besides in our bloody hands.
posted by realcountrymusic at 2:37 PM on June 26, 2005


So when... others talk about "sacrifice," what do they mean? They mean the other guy. This is not actually something new under the sun -- older men have forever sent younger men to war -- but this war is a category unto itself. It's not just that there is no draft -- and none contemplated -- but also that taxes have not been raised and we're not even asked to save paper or aluminum foil or something like that for the war effort. The war is being conducted out there, on television, and although U.S. fatalities are creeping toward 2,000, they are nothing like the numbers from Vietnam (58,000). The sacrificing can continue for years before most of us are asked to sacrifice a thing.

...This war was conceived by sunshine patriots and directed by them -- and fought for reasons that some in the administration knew were exaggerations or, in some cases (Dick Cheney's nuclear scare-mongering), sheer fabrications. It has become the sorriest of wars, conceived for one reason, fought for another, good enough for others to fight, not good enough for ourselves and, maybe, an awful quagmire in the making. It's time the sunshine patriots looked outside.

It's raining.


The Other Guy's Sacrifice
posted by y2karl at 2:38 PM on June 26, 2005


Even Rumsfeld has to acknowledge reality sometimes.
posted by clevershark at 2:53 PM on June 26, 2005


Thanks for this.
posted by Busithoth at 3:03 PM on June 26, 2005


From Meet the Press earlier today:
MR. RUSSERT: I think the concern that many people have is that if we were wrong or misjudged that, are we making some other misjudgments now? This is how The Washington Times reported in exchange before the hearings. "[Sen. Carl] Levin asked whether the general thought the insurgency was in its `last throes,' as Mr. Cheney said ... last month. `In terms of the overall strength of the insurgency, I'd say it was the same as it was' six months ago, Gen. [John] Abizaid replied."

For the sake of clarity for the American people, what about this insurgency? Is it in its last throes or is it alive and well and vibrant and strong as it was six months ago?

SEC'Y RUMSFELD: Well, there are various ways to measure it. If you measure the number of incidents, it's gone up during the election period and now it's back down. If you look at lethality of those instances, it's up. Now, what does that mean? Does it mean that the insurgency's stronger? Is it in its last throes? The last throes could be violence, as you well know from a dictionary standpoint. I think the way to think of it is that the insurgents are foreigners in some significant number. They are attacking Iraqis and killing them...
posted by ericb at 3:04 PM on June 26, 2005


In response to Rumsfeld on "Meet the Press":

"Bad foreigners, bad. So, besides the whole semantics game about "last throes" and their complete inability to be honest, do the Bush people really not get that the US are foreigners who invaded Iraq first? Um, isn't that what got this whole quagmire started -- when Iraq was invaded by foreigners from America who were killing Iraqis. As it stands now, the trouble is that there is an insurgency, of mostly foreigners, who are fighting foreign invaders. Bush and Rumsfeld don't seem to grasp that we are considered foreign invaders, too." [AMERICAblog | June 26, 2005]
posted by ericb at 3:06 PM on June 26, 2005


Oh, the semantic twists Rumsfeld is forced to make!
posted by ericb at 3:06 PM on June 26, 2005


"The strength of the violent opposition to the U.S.-led coalition since the invasion in March 2003 has raised questions about whether the Bush administration understood that such a sustained reaction was possible.

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., stressed that he and other critics of Bush's Iraq policy are determined to show their support for American soldiers in Iraq. At the same time, 'we're also determined to be constructive critics of the policies which not only sent them there, as unequipped, and without international support, and without plans for the aftermath,' he said." [Washington Post | June 26, 2005]
posted by ericb at 3:18 PM on June 26, 2005


And while we are on the subject, "Mr Rove, do your comments about 'liberals' also extend to the liberal members of the military, including the many now serving in Iraq, or those who have died there? If so, how can you say you support the troops? And if you republicans are so brave, why do virtually none of the leading figures in your party have records of service in combat in Vietnam, or children currently serving in Iraq?" PLEASE. Some reporter must ask this.
posted by realcountrymusic at 3:39 PM on June 26, 2005


realcountrymusic
Thanks for the link to 'Taking the fight to Karl', the american service men and women really put it in words so much better than I can right now. Hats off to them.
posted by mk1gti at 5:17 PM on June 26, 2005


thanks for showing us this, karl.
posted by crunchland at 5:20 PM on June 26, 2005


I saw Bono with Tim Russert this morning talking about getting another billion or so from the US to help out in Africa. I could not stop thinking about how much safer (not to mention all the lives that would have been saved, both US and other) we could be in the US if we had spent the hundred million dollars or whatever we are up to so far on aid to Africa and other places in need. Among all its other faults, this war was a pretty lousy investment.
posted by caddis at 5:30 PM on June 26, 2005


Wow! We are doing really well in the casualty department. I remember reading on Metafilter, before the war started, that there would be 30,000 soldiers coming home in bodybags before Saddam was deposed. This place is just a lot of shrill alarmists chirping at one another. It's amusing, keep it up!
posted by acetonic at 5:35 PM on June 26, 2005


What, 1750 or so isn't bad enough for you? Are any of them your children, neighbors, friends, or family? If not, bite me.

I remember administration officials telling us we would be greeted as liberators with flowers and candy, acetonic. Lots of people made unrealistic and silly projections on all sides. I don't recall anyone on the right saying "no, it will only be a couple of thousand *in the first couple of years,*" or promising us that we only be losing a few dozen a week a year and half after "mission accomplished." You can't articulate any substantive defense of the disaster as it has actually unfolded, so you attack a few fringe voices for making alarmist projections when not many pundits called it exactly right. However, it is quite clear that the people who had a duty to call it close to accurately have failed miserably, and now we're talking about "generational commitments" and "a dozen years." You're the one who is amusing, reduced like our Masters of War in DC to spouting truisms and obvious but irrelevant attacks on your perceived opponents.

This war wasn't worth the life of one American soldier or one Iraqi civilian. For all the reasons stated above, it is irredeemably wrong because it is irredeemably corrupt.

I do recall plenty on the right who were concerned that Saddam would *use* "his WMDs" (sic) on invading coalition troops, even if it was suicidal. Maybe some of us thought casualties would be higher because we *believed* the Liar in Chief when he told us Saddam had NBC capabilities. Look to your own side's lies to explain the left's pre-war exaggerations.
posted by realcountrymusic at 5:47 PM on June 26, 2005


Among all its other faults, this war was a pretty lousy investment.

Caddis: I'm not so sure about that. I wouldn't call it a lousy investment.
Afghanistan was a lousy investment. All that lead to was a sated appetite for vengeance and an astronomical spike in the illicit drug trade.

This war could lead to an official, bonefide, permanent U.S. military presence in the Middle East. With enough long-term troops stationed in U.S. bases in Iraq, we might be able to protect an oil pipeline connecting our Asian oil interests up into Turkey and over to Europe. Yum! Look at a map. Look at Saudi Arabia in relation to Iraq and Turkey. How can we get all that oil out of S.A. without some sort of pipeline on U.S. soil? Answer: Buy Iraq. Let's see... Iraq is 106,974,720 acres. At $300,000,000,000 U.S., that's only... $2,804 per acre. Not bad... not bad... plus we get to try out some sweet new guns in the process.
All in all, a nifty investment.

A nifty investment indeed.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 6:02 PM on June 26, 2005


acetonic writes "I remember reading on Metafilter, before the war started, that there would be 30,000 soldiers coming home in bodybags before Saddam was deposed."

Really? Could you perhaps point to that particular discussion?
posted by clevershark at 6:06 PM on June 26, 2005


Is Iraq becoming 'Terrorism U'?
"Classified intelligence reports say post-Saddam Iraq is serving as a real-life laboratory for the next generation of jihad, a curriculum so complete that it may be an even more effective training ground than Afghanistan was for al-Qaida. Car bombings are becoming so commonplace that today there were four alone in and around Baghdad on Wednesday and a record 700 bombings against U.S. forces in just the last month." [MSNBC | June 26, 2005]
posted by ericb at 6:22 PM on June 26, 2005


And hey, mkigti, thanks for the thanks . . . it's pretty amazing stuff to read. And there are a lot of soldiers opposed to this war. I know many. Rove managed to insult people whose shoes he isn't fit to shine.
posted by realcountrymusic at 6:23 PM on June 26, 2005


Those who've read my stuff before know I grew up a military brat in a Cold War world. Funny thing about those days is talking to my father and his friends then and now, everyone never really believed 'We'd be goin' toe-to-toe with the Russkies'. I would look at photos my father would show me from the cruises he did out in the North Sea, the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Mediterranean, all showing Russian warships, Bear bombers BARCAP fighters had intercepted, Russian trawlers, etc. and every now and then you would see one of the guys on a Bear bomber holding a centerfold from Playboy up to the window for the 'murican pilots to laugh at. From what I understood, it was a common thing to exchange porn back and forth air-to-air.
Our respective governments, soviet and american, were convinced that they would have to show each other who's boss, but those out on the frontlines knew better. Sure, they wore different uniforms, flew or sailed in different ships or planes, but underneath it all they were still human, still feared not coming home one day and most of all, *wanted* to come back home safe and sound at the end of it all.
The current situation doesn't allow that possibility at all, neither did Vietnam. Look where that got us.
So screw you, acetonic. Go join up and 'defend the flag' you yellow elephant pussy. Real Americans dare you.
posted by mk1gti at 6:57 PM on June 26, 2005


acetonic, you're exactly the type of asshole who should sign up and ship out.
posted by bardic at 7:13 PM on June 26, 2005


Right on. If you support this war, you go fight it and I'll take you seriously. Or better, send your kids.

This war is creating a new generation of seriously traumatized veterans. This is one of the most under-reported stories of the war. How dare a bunch of prissies who never wore the uniform, or at best wore it in daddy's champagne unit stateside, dare call anyone else a coward? The numbers speak for themselves. Far more democrats in congress served in Vietnam in combat (and in other wars) than republicans. And not one of the current Masters of War has a piece of shrapnel in his or her ass, a nightmare in his or her brain, or a combat medal on his or her lapel. The real cowards doth protest too much.
posted by realcountrymusic at 7:14 PM on June 26, 2005


I saw Rumsfeld on Meet the Press this morning. I don't have words to describe it--except for "doublethink."
posted by bardic at 7:25 PM on June 26, 2005


To have the sober conversation about the war in Iraq that America badly needs, it is vital to acknowledge three facts:

The war has nothing to do with Sept. 11. Saddam Hussein was a sworn enemy of Washington, but there was no Iraq-Qaeda axis, no connection between Saddam Hussein and the terrorist attacks on the United States...

The war has not made the world, or this nation, safer from terrorism. The breeding grounds for terrorists used to be Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia; now Iraq has become one...

If the war is going according to plan, someone needs to rethink the plan... A top general said this week that the insurgency was growing. The frequency of attacks is steady, or rising a bit, while the repulsive tactic of suicide bombings has made them more deadly.


Three Things About Iraq
posted by y2karl at 7:49 PM on June 26, 2005


A clear head and a calculator will tell you very quickly that the costs of this conflict in Iraq are on a scale far beyond whatever benefits it was supposed to bring. If Saddam had been behind 9/11, OK. But he wasn’t. If he’d really posed a clear and present danger to the United States with weapons of mass destruction, then the invasion would have been justifiable. But he didn’t, and it wasn’t. Bringing freedom and democracy to the Iraqi people is a laudable goal, but not one for which the administration made any worthwhile preparations—which is why the occupation has been so ugly, bloody and costly. Tabloids may amuse their readers with snapshots of Saddam in his skivvies, but it’s the Bush administration’s threadbare rationales for postmodern imperialism that have been exposed.

“Some may disagree with my decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power,” the president suggested in his weekly radio address last weekend, “but all of us can agree that the world's terrorists have now made Iraq a central front in the war on terror … Our troops are fighting these terrorists in Iraq so you will not have to face them here at home.”

Wait a minute. Who disagreed about Saddam? Do you know anybody anywhere, who said, “Hey, the Butcher of Baghdad is a stand-up guy, let’s keep him around”? The problem was always what or who might come after. What skeptics said was, “Occupying Iraq is a dangerous idea because 1) it will cost an enormous amount of blood and money, 2) it’s an open-ended commitment that has no defining moment of victory or scenario for departure and 3) zealous terrorists will thrive there under foreign occupation, then spread anti-American violence far and wide...

One of the hardest issues for the American public to grasp has been the enormous price tag, as if numbers, repeated often enough, lose their meaning. When the president first asked for an $87 billion supplemental appropriation for the GWOT back in 2003, the issue dominated the headlines. Another supplemental, almost as big, was passed by Congress last month with minimal public outcry.

You have to keep telling yourself, “That’s billions with a B,” and even then the concept blurs. But the Cost of War site (costofwar.com) run by the Massachusetts-based nonprofit and officially nonpartisan (but liberal) National Priorities Project crunches the numbers for you simply and effectively. As I write, the NPP calculates that we’ve spent almost $179 billion in Iraq. That could have paid for some 23.7 million American preschoolers to attend a year of Head Start. It might have funded global AIDS programs for 17 years. Not that it would have, of course. Security is security. But compare the budget for the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Safeguards division: $100 million a year to try to track down and monitor people trying to build nuclear weapons on the sneak. We spend $100 million on the Iraq war every couple of days. Are we safer for that?


The Empire’s New Clothes
posted by y2karl at 8:02 PM on June 26, 2005


acetonic writes "This place is just a lot of shrill alarmists chirping at one another. It's amusing, keep it up!"


posted by clevershark at 8:10 PM on June 26, 2005


Of course, that war on terror makes it much, much safer for us to travel overseas, seeing as how the rest of the world knows not to mess with us caucasian 'muricans. Specially over in Australia, where caucasian 'muricans can mix with caucasian 'strayins happily and with good cheer.
posted by mk1gti at 8:12 PM on June 26, 2005


Caddis, you're off by a huge amount..... it's not a hundred million dollars, it's approaching 200 billion, or two thousand times that much.

I saw some estimates way back when, before we invaded, that the total cost would exceed 300 billion. Wow, maybe those wrongheaded liberals weren't quite so crazy as all that. Of course, that would only be admitted by people who care about facts more than ideology.

I look forward to the day when we have leadership that isn't afraid to 'flip-flop'... changing one's mind in the face of new facts is the essence of adult thinking. Accurately sorting truth from fiction is another, but perhaps I'm asking for too much.
posted by Malor at 8:34 PM on June 26, 2005


homunculus writes "This war is proving to be longer and nastier than almost anyone expected. "

Lots of people expected this and worse.

Back on thread this is one cool GIS.
posted by Mitheral at 8:35 PM on June 26, 2005


Nothing like German design, eh?

Fucking stupid. Yeah, it looks like a WWII german helmet, which is the *first* thing I noticed about it (as I'm sure many others did) when it was first deployed several years ago.


Those Germans made some good shit. Ask any vet who had to go up against a Panther tank or took fire from an 88'. God knows I don't understand all the voodoo involved in Pentagon procurement, but unless you can find some proof where someone said, "We need to change the helmet because it makes us look like Nazis! Saftey be damned!" you're obscuring any greater point you hoped to make. Whatever it is about the helmets, I'm pretty sure it ain't the Krauts.

how many more American and Iraqi deaths will it take before you finally do the right thing and join in calling for an immediate recall of our invading, hired killers from Iraq. (emphasis mine.)

Stop that. Stop it right now. I've always got the impression from you past posts that that you severed in the military (in a medical capacity, if recalling correctly.) If that's true, that gives you more than enough cred to decry the horrors of war. It does not give you free reign to denigrate those currently serving. The arrogance that you display to condemn those who in their youth made the same decision you apparently made long ago is just staggering. A pouch of salt, the King's Shilling and a tot of rum, a barely livable wage...solider's get paid. And if you were one, you took the taxpayer's money too. If you were half the humanitarian you present yourself as, you'd be twice what you are when you insult those who would gladly serve with you again.

Thanks for the link, y2karl. And I hope Jacian comes home soon.
posted by Cyrano at 8:56 PM on June 26, 2005


homunculus writes

I was quoting y2karl's quote a few posts up. I expected all this too.
posted by homunculus at 9:16 PM on June 26, 2005


One needs to watch that flash animation again.

Regardless whether you think the war is justified or not, please just think "an honourable man died for that click."

Just those seven words, for each click. They deserve that much respect at least.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:35 PM on June 26, 2005


I have to wonder why they don't extend protection down further on the back of the neck.

Because the lower neck coverage causes impaired sight when wearing a ruck and all the other battle rattle, especially in the prone position. In other words, the top of the ruck hits the back of the helmut, forcing it forward on the brow, thus reducing the line of sight.
posted by Juicylicious at 9:42 PM on June 26, 2005


I don't think they changed the helmet design because they thought it made them look like nazis, most likely it's what juicylicious said.
As far as the germans making some good shit during WWII, all one has to do is read as much about WWII history as I have (and I'm sure many here) to see the truth in those words.
I wasn't criticizing the fact that the helmet might make troops look like nazis, just making an observation.
Regardless of the reason the design was changed (because the lower neck coverage impaired sight, with the IED's being used now, and the reduction in coverage on the neck and sides, it wasn't the improvement they had hoped for.
Here's hoping they find a 'mk III' helmet real soon now, cause 'mk II' needs to be retired, and quickly.
posted by mk1gti at 10:56 PM on June 26, 2005


Bush's big speech on Tuesday is a very GW-style reaction to the plummeting poll numbers reported widely in the news. To have a very significant impact, the news will have to be huge, given that Rumsfeld's "last throes" comment was so ridiculously discredited... Got Osama?
posted by VulcanMike at 4:38 AM on June 27, 2005


It does not give you free reign to denigrate those currently serving. The arrogance that you display to condemn those who in their youth made the same decision you apparently made long ago is just staggering.

I don't remember ever reading that f&m served, and it would certainly surprise me given his ferociously anti-military views, but if so, your remarks are on point. But f&m, much as I respect him, has never shown the slightest interest in convincing anyone or even trying to come across as a reasonable person: it's all evil death-dealing hired killers blah blah blah... He's an intelligent and sensitive person, yet he insists on coming off as that ranting street-corner guy peddling copies of The Militant. I don't get it.

By the way, just as a point of information, it's "free rein" -- it's a horse metaphor.
posted by languagehat at 6:04 AM on June 27, 2005


Quotes worth recalling:

Facing clear evidence of peril, we could not wait for the final proof that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud. The Iraqi dictator could not be permitted to threaten America and the world with horrible poisons and diseases and gases and atomic weapons. Inspections would not work. We gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in. The burden was on those people who thought he didn't have weapons of mass destruction to tell the world where they were...

We waged a war to save civilization itself. We did not seek it, but we fought it, and we prevailed. We fought them and imposed our will on them and we captured or, if necessary, killed them until we had imposed law and order. The Iraqi people were well on their way to freedom. The scenes of free Iraqis celebrating in the streets, riding American tanks, tearing down the statues of Saddam Hussein in the center of Baghdad were breathtaking. Watching them, one could not help but think of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Iron Curtain...

It was entirely possible that in Iraq you had the most pro-American population that could be found anywhere in the Arab world. If you were looking for a historical analogy, it was probably closer to post-liberation France. We had the overwhelming support of the Iraqi people. Once we won, we got great support from everywhere...


Revision Thing: A history of the Iraq war, told entirely in lies
September 20, 2003.
Harper's Magazine
posted by y2karl at 6:29 AM on June 27, 2005


Here's the timeline: in March 2002 no one had thought about the aftermath. Four months later, in July, postwar planning was still nonexistent. In August, General Tommy Franks "essentially shrugged his shoulders at what to do once Baghdad fell" — and Donald Rumsfeld shrugged along with him.

Six months later, on February 28, 2003, Paul Wolfowitz gave his infamous testimony to Congress in which he suggested that postwar Iraq would be relatively peaceful and wouldn't need very many troops for very long. On March 16, just before the war started, Tim Russert asked Dick Cheney, "Do you think the American people are prepared for a long, costly, and bloody battle with significant American casualties?" Cheney said no: "I don't think it's likely to unfold that way, Tim, because I really do believe that we will be greeted as liberators." Four days later the war began.

On May 2, one day after George Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech, senior military planners in Baghdad said cheerily that they figured they could draw down American troop levels to 30,000 by fall. That same month, 400,000 Iraqi troops were disbanded with no thought given to what should be done with them. By summer the insurgency was in full swing and the administration had nothing but a wildly shifting set of ad hoc plans to deal with it.

The Bush administration never seriously considered what to do with Iraq after the war, and never had a clue that they would be facing a long, difficult insurgency. All along, they just figured they'd install some kind of friendly government and then get out.

This was criminal neglect. The Downing Street Memos are just one more piece of primary evidence that this neglect started at the very beginning.


Kevin Drum
posted by y2karl at 6:43 AM on June 27, 2005


mk1gti writes "Here's hoping they find a 'mk III' helmet real soon now, cause 'mk II' needs to be retired, and quickly."

They should equip the helmets with a movable guard similiar to the throat guards hockey goalies wear except at the back/sides instead of the front.
posted by Mitheral at 7:06 AM on June 27, 2005


Mitheral
I was thinking the same thing. Plus, it won't look like a 'nazi' helmet anymore! (^_^)
posted by mk1gti at 7:43 AM on June 27, 2005


I remember when I was characterized on MeFi as both a troll and being shrill when predicting the very outcomes we are seeing and calling out the lies of the Bushies that are now confirmed. There is no joy in my being correct.
Damn them and their stupid rabid supporters who enable them.

Excellent links and great post y2karl.

For those who believe in prayer, now would be a great time to offer prayers up for insomnia's friend and for all those who suffer under this quagmire.
posted by nofundy at 10:05 AM on June 27, 2005


VulcanMike: "Got Osama"

That would be an interesting strategy. My gut feeling is that support for the Iraq war would completely bottom-out with the capture of Osama.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:25 AM on June 27, 2005


Bring 'em on!
'tic
Bring 'em on!
'tic
Bring 'em on!
'tic
ad infinitum

(very nice links y2karl)
posted by Smedleyman at 11:22 AM on June 27, 2005


this does not include contract warriors hired by CIA like Blackwater / other private security, because no one is obligated to report those deaths.

support our mercenaries
posted by eustatic at 11:35 AM on June 27, 2005


I just started watching the Frontline documentary about the mercenaries today. One of the mothers of these people who got attacked in Fallujah responded "What else are you going to do if all you know how to do is kill people?"

Flip burgers? Dig ditches? Clean restrooms? Pump gas? Work in a call center? Geeeeezzzzzzz . . .
posted by mk1gti at 12:05 PM on June 27, 2005


Poll: Optimism on Iraq Is Premature
Most Americans Dispute White House Assessment of Weakened Insurgency, Washington Post-ABC Survey Finds
"A majority of Americans reject claims by the Bush administration that the insurgency in Iraq is weakening...according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Barely one in five Americans -- 22 percent -- say they believe that the insurgency is getting weaker while 24 percent believe it is strengthening. More than half -- 53 percent -- say resistance to U.S. and Iraqi government forces has not changed.

The Post-ABC poll also found that few Americans agree with Vice President Cheney that the insurgency is in its "last throes." That claim, which Cheney made recently in an interview with Larry King on CNN, has been repeatedly challenged by critics of the administration's Iraq policy and defended by Bush officials."
posted by ericb at 12:52 PM on June 27, 2005


In related news ...

The Unofficial War: U.S., Britain Led Massive Secret Bombing Campaign Before Iraq War Was Declared
"A U.S. general who commanded the U.S. allied air forces in Iraq has confirmed that the U.S. and Britain conducted a massive secret bombing campaign before the U.S. actually declared war on Iraq....Starting in late May to June of 2002 a flurry of activity began both in the United States and in the Middle East. In what appears to be an admission of covert activity, chief allied air force commander Lieutenant-General Michael Moseley divulged in a little-noticed quote in the New York Times that US/British aircraft flew 21,736 sorties between June 2002 and March 2003."
posted by ericb at 12:56 PM on June 27, 2005


Graph tracking allied bombings of Iraqi installations during the period leading up to the Iraq war.
posted by ericb at 12:58 PM on June 27, 2005


The ship of fools is developing many leaks. . .
posted by mk1gti at 1:00 PM on June 27, 2005


I look forward to the day when we have leadership that isn't afraid to 'flip-flop'... changing one's mind in the face of new facts is the essence of adult thinking. Accurately sorting truth from fiction is another, but perhaps I'm asking for too much.

They are--they're negotiating with the insurgents now, something they swore they wouldn't ever do, and trashed Kerry about. It shows how much we're losing, although it's the first sensible thing they've done in this whole horrible mess.
posted by amberglow at 1:02 PM on June 27, 2005


From the WaPo poll, they say that: As with virtually every facet of the Iraq issue, deep partisan divisions were reflected in views of the current state of the insurgency. More than a third of all Republicans -- 35 percent -- said the insurgents were growing weaker in Iraq, compared to 13 percent of all Democrats and 19 percent of all political independents.


Which is not a sign of deep partisan divisions at all, but a sign of our unity:
65 percent of Republicans, 87 percent of Democrats, and 81 percent of Independents all agree.
posted by amberglow at 1:05 PM on June 27, 2005


I understand mercs. It's a dirty job. Nothing wrong with that sometimes, although there are many outfits with no conscience (Dynacorp comes to mind). I have a few friends doing that kind of work. I respect them. They are professionals. That said, fuck their casualties. That's what they get paid for. I don't like Americans using them anyway. But the war isn't about freedom and democracy or any ideology really, it's about capital. Which is ultimately why one hires mercs. Dead givaway I suppose. Why hire more mercs than you need when you can get a top politcian in your pocket and get the work done cheap? But that's tinfoil hat talk, innit?
posted by Smedleyman at 1:10 PM on June 27, 2005



Sunshine Patriots Get New Hats
posted by ericb at 1:22 PM on June 27, 2005



posted by ericb at 1:28 PM on June 27, 2005


ericb
I think you've summed it up quite nicely. . .
Watching the documentary about 'contract workers', I couldn't help but notice the name of Erinys, some of the sleaziest, most murderous mercenaries to ever take on the name. Robert Young Pelton's book 'Three Worlds Gone Mad' takes a look at these guys when they were in Africa. They attacked a village so a corporation could move in and exploit the local resources. They attacked the unarmed village with mortars, being sure to even target the pathway used to the community latrine to make sure they got everyone.
There is a good reason these types of organizations were outlawed, and it should have stayed in place.
posted by mk1gti at 2:03 PM on June 27, 2005


Insomnia_lj & Juicylicious both make good points about the helmet. Here is an article that examines the issue.
An Army Surgeon Says New Helmet Doesn't Fit Iraq
Stronger, Lighter and Smaller, But Does It Cover Enough?; Military: 'Good Trade-Off'; Studying Shrapnel's Entry Point

Wall Street Journal
August 25, 2004
posted by mlis at 4:30 PM on June 27, 2005


You are right Malor. I meant billion, not million. It was just a bit of a guess on my part as the cost has been out of the news lately. This site puts it at about $180 billion (with a "b").
posted by caddis at 5:03 PM on June 27, 2005


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