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December 15, 2005 11:22 AM   Subscribe

Newsfilter: Iraq votes for a permanent government. Despite warnings from insurgents and al Qaeda that the elections are "the work of Satan", estimates are that over 10 million of the 15 million eligible voters have cast ballots for their first non-interim government, including many Sunni Muslims at the urging of their leaders.
posted by loquax (172 comments total)

 
There have been no large scale attacks on voters, and the overwhelming feeling among Iraqis is that this is a day of optimism.

"This election is the one we've been waiting for - it's going to determine our destiny," said Ali al-Nuaimy, 49, a physical fitness trainer, who voted in Baghdad. "It's a day of victory, a day of independence and freedom," said 60-year-old Shia Muslim Mohammed Ahmed al-Bayati as he voted in Baghdad.

Not the end of the road by any means, but another step on the long road to recovery. Whatever has gone wrong aside, it is remarkable again to watch Iraqis elect their leaders after the nightmare that was Saddam Hussein.
posted by loquax at 11:24 AM on December 15, 2005


Dictatorship replaced with theocracy! Freedom is on teh march!!1!
posted by moonbird at 11:25 AM on December 15, 2005


This is a good day for Iraq. Relatively little violence, it lok

15m eligible voters... is that registered voters? Or age-eligible voters?
posted by ibmcginty at 11:28 AM on December 15, 2005


This is good superb news.

Too bad the responses will be nothing but attempts to shout it down and spin it negatively.

The historic nature of this day, and the potential for being a hinge moment in the life of 15 million people seems to be something that is entitled to some degree of optimism. But then again, this is Metafilter.
posted by dios at 11:29 AM on December 15, 2005


ugh.
posted by ibmcginty at 11:29 AM on December 15, 2005


ugh to my typo, not to you, dios.
posted by ibmcginty at 11:30 AM on December 15, 2005


I would guess age-eligible:

15-64 years: 57% (male 7,530,619/female 7,338,109)
65 years and over: 3% (male 367,832/female 413,811)

posted by loquax at 11:30 AM on December 15, 2005


"We want freedom ... to drink alcohol, dance and go to nightclubs," said Allawi supporter Jasim Faisal, 34, in the southern Shi'ite city of Samawa.

quoted from this Yahoo news article. He's just a hip Iraqi looking for some fun.
posted by Roger Dodger at 11:33 AM on December 15, 2005


I honestly can't think of a single person on MeFi who doesn't wish for it to turn out good dios. We might hate the way that events have been decided and acted upon but I sincerely doubt a single person wouldn't wish them the best of luck.

I genuinely do hope it turns out to be the start of some seriously positive changes for the people of Iraq. Let's see how it goes shall we?
posted by longbaugh at 11:37 AM on December 15, 2005


Oh, no longbaugh. I for one am evil and hope for nothing but the worst.
posted by brundlefly at 11:41 AM on December 15, 2005


It's not that I hope for any kind of failure, dios, I just dread the inevitable back-slapping that will come from the Administration after success. After all, they'll say, it was worth it.
posted by NationalKato at 11:41 AM on December 15, 2005


I just dread the inevitable back-slapping that will come from the Administration after success. After all, they'll say, it was worth it.

Odd. Surely the long term success of rebuilding Iraq and a positive future for the country would be worth enduring Bush administration backslapping, however misguided?
posted by loquax at 11:44 AM on December 15, 2005


Heh... lets not do this again, shall we?
posted by prostyle at 11:46 AM on December 15, 2005


My bad brundlefly, I forgot that you were pure distilled evil ;)

on preview loquax - the problem is that barring a resounding military success (despite the obstacles of piss-poor planning and logistics) the administration has been resonsible for fuck all. The Iraqi people deserve the praise, not the bumblefucks who will claim it.
posted by longbaugh at 11:46 AM on December 15, 2005


I have to agree with the other posters, dios. If things turn out well in Iraq I will be the first to say that I'm thrilled beyond words. Electing a government is one very important part of building a stable Iraq.

My worry is just that people tend to forget that successful elections to not ensure all the OTHER building blocks will fit into place. Nation-building in the most volatile region in the world is not a task for the easily distracted or the smug. We'll see.
posted by verb at 11:49 AM on December 15, 2005


I wonder how many Iranians cast a vote?

Police Seize Forged Ballots Headed to Iraq From Iran

I would bet any amount of money that the Pro-Iran ticket will win in a landslide.

But good for 'em.
posted by Cycloptichorn at 11:50 AM on December 15, 2005


The unfortunate part is that as noted Bushies will shout about their Right Move but what is ahead is how theings will sork out after a time. Those opposed to the elections because they were a minority now see their mistake and have asked that insurgency be stopped for the election: to see how things go. That seems to suggest that when forging a coalition, there may well be a return to insurgency.
Yes. It is good that elections being held.Yes; it is good that Saddam no longer in power. But I do not see myself and my country as the defender of every nation that has bad people in charge. Will we leave Iraq and its oil ? Will we now ignore Syria and Iran?

Our president got us into a war that has cost us zillions. He has caused us to lose 2 thousand troops, plus the wounded. And the country is hardly in any decent shape at this point. For what reason? He admits intel wrong. But he would do it again! To bring democracy to the region? ILt ils not going to happen in surrounding nations. Witness the "democracy" in recent Egytpian elections, and now the slow but sure religious takeover, brought about via "free elections."
posted by Postroad at 11:50 AM on December 15, 2005


loquax

so a woman in a long abusive relationship with a man who beats her leaves him, goes back to school, and turns her life around. Surely the long term success of rebuilding her life and a positive future for her would be worth enduring hearing how "he taught her right", however misguided?

Long story short, ends don't justify the means, but great for the Iraqi people.

And Dios
When and if this turns out great for the Iraqi people, that will still not change my opinion that it was orchestrated by a craven bunch of cowards who lied to the american people and used other peoples sacrifices to enrich themselves. There is nothing noble about the way this war was run
posted by slapshot57 at 11:52 AM on December 15, 2005


The true test will be whether violence decreases in the wake of elections, if (heretofore rising) attacks on coalition and Iraqi security forces decrease.

As after "major combat operations are over", as after "we got him" as after the October elections...each time we were told by the Bush administration that "Iraq has turned a corner", and each time people who suggested otherwise were ridiculed and dismissed as cranks -- but the cranks were right, violence increased, and the Bush supporters were wrong. And clapping louder didn't and doesn't change a damn thing.

I continue to hope I'm completely wrong, and the optimistic people are correct. I'll even say that if what we're hearing about a large turnout and decreased violence are true, that I'm guardedly optimistic myself. I'll be the first to clap louder if it means that a measure of stability is brought to the situation, because it means we can begin to bring our troops home, and hopefully a brighter future for Iraqis, both of which are good things.

But after being deceived so many times, and so many platitudes, and so much undeserved ridicule for turning our to be right all along -- I say to Dios and Loquax -- you shouldn't expect anything better than guarded optimism, because that's all that's warranted.

The measure of violence in post-election Iraq will be the yardstick. We will see.
posted by edverb at 11:53 AM on December 15, 2005


This is GREAT news, and fuck you Dios.
posted by Balisong at 11:54 AM on December 15, 2005


I just dread the inevitable back-slapping that will come from the Administration after success. After all, they'll say, it was worth it.
posted by NationalKato at 1:41 PM CST on December 15


I appreciate the honesty. Too many people here try to hide their fear of a positive outcome.
posted by dios at 11:58 AM on December 15, 2005


The reason we're pessimistic is pretty simple: The people in charge are the people who started this whole mess. Badly, I might add.
posted by fungible at 12:02 PM on December 15, 2005


It is my best hope that the election makes a major difference,
because it is certain that nothing else this Administration has
done has helped the situation.
posted by the Real Dan at 12:03 PM on December 15, 2005


Shut the fuck up, dios
posted by prostyle at 12:03 PM on December 15, 2005


More good news: Sources: White House to Accept Torture Ban
posted by caddis at 12:05 PM on December 15, 2005


Who fears a positive outcome? I think everyone hopes for the best for the Iraqi people...disagreement with the justifications for war or its prosecution doesn't equal hope for failure.
posted by blefr at 12:06 PM on December 15, 2005


Too many people here try to hide their fear of a positive outcome.

Wait, dios, NationalKato said he didn't hope for anything negative, but he did dislike what he saw as unwarranted self-congratulations after anything positive. And you omitted from his quote the part where he said, "It's not that I hope for any kind of failure, dios". So he does not express any fear of a positive outcome.

I wish we had more conservatives here-- and set me straight if I'm misreading you-- but it's hard to take you seriously if you're selectively quoting people and mischaracterizing what they said.
posted by ibmcginty at 12:09 PM on December 15, 2005


I honestly can't think of a single person on MeFi who doesn't wish for it to turn out good dios.

Actually, someone said this in the most recent Iraq thread--he hopes the US will fail, badly, because the original invasion of Iraq was unjust.

Myself, I'd say that what I want to happen and what I think is actually likely to happen are two different things. I hope that an elected Iraqi government will have sufficient legitimacy with Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds to be able to provide security and return Iraq to normality. But I think it's unlikely, for reasons we've discussed at length earlier. I doubt the minorities--the Sunnis and Kurds--will disarm themselves and put themselves at the mercy of the central government, considering the past experience of the Shiites and Kurds under Saddam. So I would expect the violence to continue.

By the way, I disagree with people on this thread who say that if things turn out well, the Bush administration won't deserve any credit. Hardly; it was the Bush administration that decided to go to war, as opposed to continuing containment and inspections. If things turn out well, Bush will deserve credit. Personally, I think Bush has been a terrible president (possibly the worst ever), but I don't see anything wrong with saying that.
posted by russilwvong at 12:10 PM on December 15, 2005


it was the Bush administration that decided to go to war, as opposed to continuing containment and inspections.

Well, russilwvong, he might deserve some amount of credit if it all ends well. But as there are sound reasons to criticize the manner in which the administration convinced the public, timed of the start of the war, conducted the war, and failed to acknowledge and address errors in the conduct of the war... it's not too far-fetched to think the bad far outweighs the good.

Also if the result is a democratic Iraq that hates us. That might be the worst possible thing.
posted by ibmcginty at 12:16 PM on December 15, 2005


Hopefully the third time will be the charm!

Maybe they should just hold a national election every day. It seems to do wonders for keeping down the level of violence.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:18 PM on December 15, 2005


Heh... lets not do this again, shall we?

Agreed!

The Iraqi people deserve the praise, not the bumblefucks who will claim it.

Agreed! (Somewhat. Partially)

Surely the long term success of rebuilding her life and a positive future for her would be worth enduring hearing how "he taught her right", however misguided?

Absolutely! Far better than her not putting her life back together and putting the husband in jail and putting yourself on the back for that. If I follow the analogy. Feel free to ignore whatever claims to success that Bush et al put forward if you disagree with them, and to continue to campaign against them. There are certainly more weapons in the arsenal against Bush than Iraq alone.

So I would expect the violence to continue.

I'm very agreeable today. However, I do think that as the Iraqi government gains more and more legitimacy (and this election is certainly a major step on that specific path), it becomes harder and harder for the insurgents and foreign elements to muster local support, or justify their attacks. With every day that passes, attacks are less and less on imperialistic Americans, and more on a nascent sovereign Iraq. Of course, sectarian and regional tensions are a totally different story, and it will be interesting to see how the newly elected parliament organizes itself into a government. I share both your optimism and your fears, but tend to lean more towards the former.
posted by loquax at 12:18 PM on December 15, 2005


Consider the following two scenarios.

Scenario One: The Sunnis win big, gaining up to a quarter of the assembly. The Shiite bloc fragments. The religious Shiite parties suffer significant defections by urban, educated, and more secular Shiites, who opt instead for the party led by former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi and other, smaller parties. After the election, the Shiite bloc falls apart, as the radical faction of rebel cleric Muqtada Al Sadr goes its own way, further weakening Al Dawa and the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. A two-thirds majority in parliament emerges among religious Sunnis, secular Sunnis, Allawi and the Kurds--enough to force the SCIRI-Dawa forces to come to the table and talk about a brand new constitution with a strengthened, more centralized state, a smaller role for Islamic Sharia law, and a fairer distribution of oil revenues. And finally, the parties agree to peace talks with the armed resistance, including a ceasefire and amnesty for fighters and for prisoners. Central to the deal, the new Iraqi government demands a six-month timetable for the complete withdrawal of U.S. forces in Iraq. The new government takes office in late January, and, as planned, in February the Arab League convenes Phase II of the peace process that began in Cairo in mid-November, this time in Baghdad, giving international and Arab approval to the new Iraqi concord. Together, Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish police hunt down the remnants of Al Qaeda in Iraq throughout 2006.

Scenario Two: For whatever reason, Sunni candidates fail to win a fair share of seats in the new parliament. The religious Shiite coalition--SCIRI, Al Dawa and the Sadrists--not only win big, but through ballot-stuffing, vote fraud, and help from Iran’s intelligence service, gain enough power to continue their grip on power. The Kurds opt to ally once again with the Shiites. The U.S. military begins to draw down its forces in Iraq, so that President Bush can win political points at home, and the Shiite militias fill the vacuum left over by the slowly dwindling U.S. force. Sunnis, marginalized politically, fail to muster enough votes to make any changed in the constitution imposed in October by the dominant Shiite-Kurd alliance; frustrated and outraged, the Sunnis support the insurgency with renewed vigor. The Kurds retreat into their northern enclave, the Shiite militia launch a brutal and bloody offensive against the Sunnis, with ethnic cleansing of southern Iraq, and Iraq slides into open civil war. Not only is the Phase II Arab League meeting never held, but the Arab world mobilizes in defense of Iraq’s Sunnis, and both Iran and Turkey are drawn into the conflict.

Which of these scenarios is most likely? Frighteningly, the second one. In fact, it would be amazing if Scenario One wins out...

If Scenario Two begins to unfold, what then?

...It’s hard to see a light at the end of this tunnel, as much as optimists and rosy-scenario mongers might search for options. As Chas Freeman, the former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, once told me about Iraq: 'Sometimes, when you’ve driven your car off a cliff, there are just no good options on the way down.'


Iraq's Tipping Point
posted by y2karl at 12:20 PM on December 15, 2005


I do hope they look out for those chads.

Else they'll be subjected to endless ridicule as sore losers.

Is the UN monitoring these elections?

Will this election stem the civil war in Iraq?

As for crediting the Bushistas, I would borrow a phrase, "They never fail to miss an opportunity."

Also, when Bush says "I was wrong and I'm sorry" and takes some responsibility, then we can start talking about assigning credit. After all, the grownups ARE in charge, correct?
posted by nofundy at 12:24 PM on December 15, 2005


y2karl writes "The religious Shiite coalition--SCIRI, Al Dawa and the Sadrists--not only win big, but through ballot-stuffing, vote fraud, and help from Iran’s intelligence service, gain enough power to continue their grip on power. The Kurds opt to ally once again with the Shiites. "

Why would this scenario even require vote fraud? Isn't a Shiite-Kurdish coalition the most likely parliamentary majority, regardless of how well the Sunni Arabs make out?
posted by mr_roboto at 12:24 PM on December 15, 2005


Cool.
I do, however, agree with the abusive relationship metaphor above. Nothing justifies deception when it comes to spending lives.

I’m also unclear on some of the intangibles. Much as I love speading democracy as many idealists here, I want to see value for my hard earned dollar. Call me a crass materialist, but we spent a sha-hitload of dollars on this, what’s our end? I grant that democracy is it’s own reward, and so is middle east stability. But when we come down to the brass tacks the reason we want middle east stability so much - as opposed to stability in certain parts of Africa say, is because of the oil. Wide fluctuations in oil prices bad. Monopoly on oil bad. Leveraging our foreign and domestic policy b/c of an oil monopoly bad. So all that is part of our dividends here.
I suppose what I’m saying is, we’ve avoided the negative, where’s the positive payback?
Will it be in treaty form? Will the new Iraqi govt. owe us? I mean we have bonds to pay off, right? We took out loans to fund this war. Gotta feed the bulldog.
One step at a time I suppose. But we saw a lot of private profit here, I just want to see the public good we get out of it. We paid for it after all. How do I know we’re not going be stuck with the check? The deception on the front end kinda queers my desire to trust the folks in charge.
But again, free elections are good. This is a good thing.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:29 PM on December 15, 2005


Which of these scenarios is most likely? Frighteningly, the second one. In fact, it would be amazing if Scenario One wins out...

From aljazeera.net:

There are no reliable opinion polls; but observers expect the United Iraqi Alliance (UIA), a grouping of conservative Shia Muslim parties within the current coalition government, to win the most votes.

Its share is expected to fall, however, from the 48% it won in January to perhaps about 40%.

The Kurds, the second-biggest bloc in parliament, are predicted to win about 25% of the vote, and will be pushed hard for second place by Iyad Allawi, a former interim prime minister, whose broad coalition took 14% in January but is expected to make ground.


My best estimate for the Sunni Arab (non-Kurdish) percentage of the population is about 20%. Assuming half of them have voted (which would be remarkable), a fair share of the seats would be 10%, assuming they all vote for Sunni parties.

Is the UN monitoring these elections?

On the eve of Iraq’s elections, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today urged the country’s people to go to the polls in a peaceful manner and pledged the world body’s support.

Addressing Iraqis directly, Mr. Annan encouraged them “to turn out and exercise your democratic right to vote as a first step towards building together a stable, united and prosperous Iraq.”

He also issued an appeal to all to refrain from violence or any other action which might undermine the democratic process.

“Ultimately, only you as a people can move Iraq forward,” Mr. Annan said, voicing satisfaction that the UN has been able to support every step of this process, including assistance to the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq. “Irrespective of the outcome of the election, the United Nations will continue to do all it can to help all Iraqis succeed in building a new Iraq,” he pledged.


For what it's worth.
posted by loquax at 12:33 PM on December 15, 2005


Whoops, that first sentence in my last comment was a quote from y2karl.
posted by loquax at 12:33 PM on December 15, 2005


Absolutely! Far better than her not putting her life back together and putting the husband in jail and putting yourself on the back for that. If I follow the analogy.

If you're following the analogy, the best possible outcome (given that you can't change the past) is for her to put her life back together *and* for the abusive husband to go jail, yes?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 12:39 PM on December 15, 2005


Thank you loquax.
I'll take that as a no.
Too dangerous I would assume.

I wish for Iraq stability and basic services established. I'm thinking Iraqis would agree that food, water, electricity, schools and safe neighborhoods are probably more important priorities right now.

The elections being done at this time are for the political benefit of Bush, not at the hurried request of Iraqis.
posted by nofundy at 12:39 PM on December 15, 2005


Why is everyone so fucking mad at dios? Maybe you could all relax a little bit.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 12:44 PM on December 15, 2005


If you're following the analogy, the best possible outcome (given that you can't change the past) is for her to put her life back together *and* for the abusive husband to go jail, yes?

Sure. Like I said above, nothing about this election precludes anyone from continuing to campaign against Bush for a variety of reason. Just like the rebuilding of the woman's life doesn't preclude sending the man to jail.

Thank you loquax.
I'll take that as a no.
Too dangerous I would assume.


The UN claims an awful lot of credit for goings on in Iraq. I don't know how much they actually do, but I've seen many print ads highlighting their contribution to the democratic process, complete with purple fingers.

The elections being done at this time are for the political benefit of Bush, not at the hurried request of Iraqis.


These elections were part of the timeline established two years ago, and despite many doubts about the ability to stick to that timeline, the unfolding of the constitution and the formation of government have proceeded according to schedule. Many Iraqis would appear to disagree with you that these elections are not for their benefit.
posted by loquax at 12:46 PM on December 15, 2005


Too many people here try to hide their fear of a positive outcome.

Is that what's known in lawyerly circles as 'poisoning the well'?

What a load of crap. Why is it that every time something goes right, dios, your first comment absolutely has to contain the veiled implication that all the lib'ruls are secretly hoping for disaster?
posted by spiderwire at 12:51 PM on December 15, 2005


Give credit where credit is due because this administration opposed one-person, one-vote elections.
posted by badger_flammable at 12:51 PM on December 15, 2005


Many Iraqis would appear to disagree with you that these elections are not for their benefit.
posted by loquax at 3:46 PM EST


Don't try to twist what I said. I was talking about the timing and you damn well knew it. I made it VERY clear.
posted by nofundy at 12:57 PM on December 15, 2005


Why is everyone so fucking mad at dios? Maybe you could all relax a little bit.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 12:44 PM PST on December 15 [!]

Post-deception fatigue.
posted by Balisong at 1:00 PM on December 15, 2005


Don't try to twist what I said. I was talking about the timing and you damn well knew it. I made it VERY clear.

I wasn't, but I apologize if it seems that I was. Let me try to be clearer - many Iraqis would appear to disagree with you that the timing of these elections are not for their benefit. Here are 14 who seemed to have no trouble with making their opinions known as soon as possible.
posted by loquax at 1:02 PM on December 15, 2005


Also, as per badger_flammable's link, Iraqi leaders themselves were pushing for free open elections as soon as possible, over the misgivings of the old CPA.
posted by loquax at 1:03 PM on December 15, 2005


I don't expect any backslapping from this administration. They wouldn't be stupid enough to go through the whole "Mission Accomplished" fiasco again, would they?

Not in the middle of continued deaths of our troops and a low-grade civil war. They wouldn't pretend this somehow turns the corner.

No, they'll be wise and accept a cautious wait-and-see attitude. They'll continue to try to improve their approach. They'll hold hearings on how to improve international investment in Iraq to increase international interest in stability there -- even if it means surrendering US control of the oil rights.

Won't they?
posted by surplus at 1:07 PM on December 15, 2005


russilwvong writes "Actually, someone said this in the most recent Iraq thread--he hopes the US will fail, badly, because the original invasion of Iraq was unjust."

This is incidental and a bit off-topic, but since I have been quoted, let me just point out that my hopes for the Americans do not extend in any way to the Iraq people. Hoping for the US to fail does not equate hoping for Iraq to fail in any way. Actually, quite the contrary - I hope the Iraqis win, expel the invader forces and rebuild their country as they see fit.
posted by nkyad at 1:10 PM on December 15, 2005


Why is everyone so fucking mad at dios? Maybe you could all relax a little bit.

Um... because he implied that anyone opposing the war secretly wants Iraqis to fail and die, for purely political reasons?
posted by spiderwire at 1:12 PM on December 15, 2005


leaders, loquax?
posted by badger_flammable at 1:13 PM on December 15, 2005


I don't expect any backslapping from this administration. They wouldn't be stupid enough to go through the whole "Mission Accomplished" fiasco again, would they?

The administration comments:

President Bush hailed Thursday's voting in Iraq as 'a major milestone' in establishing a democratic ally for the United States in the Middle East and moving toward the day when American troops can come home.

'We're certain that the turnout was significant and that the violence was down,' Bush said,

Sen. Lindsey Graham, in Baghdad for the voting, said he was encouraged by what he saw but it was only a step toward building a stable democracy in Iraq, and more help is needed from the international community.

'Let's don't take this election to mean the problems in Iraq are solved -- really in many ways they're just beginning,' Graham, R-S.C., said Thursday in an interview with NBC's 'Today' show.

'We've got a second chance on life here after this election,' he said. 'Look at this election as a chance to re-engage and learn from our mistakes.'

'This is a major step forward in achieving our objective, which is ... having a democratic Iraq, a country able to sustain itself and defend itself, a country that will be an ally in the war on terror and a country that will set such a powerful example to others in the region, whether they live in Iran or Syria, for example,' he said.

A day earlier, Bush warned that the elections would be 'followed by days of uncertainty,' with final results perhaps not to be available until early January and violence not expected to wane.


Also, it looks like estimates of the turnout are closer to 11 million.

leaders, loquax?

As I recall, the IGC was in favour of free elections as soon as possible in addition to Sistani, if that's what you mean.
posted by loquax at 1:18 PM on December 15, 2005


This is a bad day for Metafilter. Any day that makes the US look good, and the US effort to liberate and fix Iraq look good, is a bad day for Metafilter...
posted by ParisParamus at 1:20 PM on December 15, 2005


This is a bad day for Metafilter. Any day that makes the US look good, and the US effort to liberate and fix Iraq look good, is a bad day for Metafilter...

Or at least, a bad day for Paris' persecution complex. After all, the liberal Bush-hating media is serving up an awful lot of purple-finger-waving stories about the election. Even that bastion of evil NPR was interviewing teary Iraqi exiles here in Chicago about how much it means to everyone.
posted by verb at 1:26 PM on December 15, 2005


I don't have a persecution complex. It's those who hate President Bush who do.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:28 PM on December 15, 2005


ParisParamus, can you please shut the fuck up too and let us celebrate this?
posted by spiderwire at 1:28 PM on December 15, 2005


What a sad sad day for that sad sad man ParisParimus, most of the Metafilter posts have failed to sling arrows at the United States so he has to resort to trying to incite a riot. Slink away ParisParimus, it's what you're best at.
posted by substrate at 1:28 PM on December 15, 2005


spiderwire: yes. And yet no! The only people upset by my comments, supra are those oppose(d) the war, and those who think it's doomed to failure.

But in any case, IU've said my piece. Peace?
posted by ParisParamus at 1:32 PM on December 15, 2005


And why did we want to fix Iraq?
posted by Smedleyman at 1:41 PM on December 15, 2005


I'm having a prety good day myself.
posted by ozomatli at 1:41 PM on December 15, 2005


The snarks by dios, pp, et al are just a recycling of the old right wing fantasy meme, that people who disagree with them "hate America" or "hope for failure" or "live in rage." Then they sit back and laugh as people fight against the slurs, while they style themselves as reasonable, decisive, decent people.

Since the right wingers have so few legitimate arguments to make that favor their positions, they just have found that it's easier to watch liberals and lefties tie themselves up in knots responding to the lies and slander.

Nothing new there.
posted by jasper411 at 1:42 PM on December 15, 2005


And why did we want to fix Iraq?

Because we were concerned Iran didn't have enough influence in the Middle East.

But seriously, Saddam was a bad, bad man. No disagreements there.
posted by verb at 1:42 PM on December 15, 2005


I guess it'll also be a sad day for me when the next occupant of the White House isn't some Leftist, pacifist weasel like John Kerry or Howard Dean. Here's to more "bad days"!
posted by ParisParamus at 1:43 PM on December 15, 2005


User Blacklisted.
.
posted by prostyle at 1:45 PM on December 15, 2005


What made this war a beautiful play was that there was always a kernel of good in the shitlog of bad.

Kill 100,000 Iraqis, but they've got purple fingers today.
Spend $400B we don't have, but they've got purple fingers today.
Shiite theocrats strengthened in the region, but they've got purple fingers today.
Freeze out pre-existing French and Russian commercial interests in Iraq, but they've got purple fingers today.
Get ~20,000 US soldiers killed and maimed, but they've got purple fingers today.
The WMD rationale proven to be a deceptive marketing campaign, but they've got purple fingers today.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 1:46 PM on December 15, 2005


It was a bad day when I sprained my ankle and somebody stole a bunch of favorite cd's out of my car. Man that sucked...
posted by ozomatli at 1:46 PM on December 15, 2005


Dear ParisParamus: Until you call for the indictment of president Bush, as you earlier said you would if WMD were not found in Iraq then do us all a favor and STFU you stinking hypocrite. Thanks.
posted by sotonohito at 1:48 PM on December 15, 2005


soton, that's because there clearly ARE WMD's. They're just very, very stealthy and we haven't found them yet. We may never find them, but that doesn't mean they're not there.
posted by verb at 1:52 PM on December 15, 2005


Iraq the Model has many first hand accounts and photos of the election today, along with reported attempted attacks.
posted by loquax at 1:54 PM on December 15, 2005


"Saddam was a bad, bad man. No disagreements there."


the [a
href="http://pbskids.org/lions/printables/stories/story_help.html"
title=""Hen"]Little Red Hen[/a}
posted by Smedleyman at 2:03 PM on December 15, 2005


/got the html off the ground...man this machine is ass.

"Saddam was a bad, bad man. No disagreements there."

And that justified the invasion?

I?m just trying to cut through some of the b.s. here. (Not directed at anyone, just a general statement).

What would ?failure? be?
What would a ?success? be?

You see, part of the problem with assholes like PP saying: ?...it'll also be a sad day for me when I can?t abort children every day...? is not just the derail, or sheer stupidity, but we lose focus delving into this partisan b.s. and other idealistic crap that has no bearing on the real world.

Blood was spilled. Hard American cash was spent. And we get what? A ?win? for Bush because Saddam is out of power? Because why? He might have at some point threatened us?
Even granting that - now what? Do we allow a democratic Iraq to have nukes or other WMDs?
How hard do we press to get at least some of that money back or is this all somehow worth it?
Again, I’m all for stopping carnage, but now I feel like we’re the little red hen
posted by Smedleyman at 2:08 PM on December 15, 2005


I appreciate the honesty. Too many people here try to hide their fear of a positive outcome.

No, we welcome a (potential) positive outcome for the Iraqi people. It's too bad that we had to kill over 30,000 of them to achieve that, though, isn't it?
posted by chuq at 2:12 PM on December 15, 2005


I wonder if the new Iraqi government will pick up on some of the more positive developments that occured under the Ba'ath regime:

At the center of this strategy was Iraq's oil. On June 1, 1972, Saddam Hussein led the process of expropriating Western oil companies, which had had a monopoly on the country's oil. A year later, world oil prices rose dramatically as a result of the 1973 world oil shock, and Saddam was able to pursue an all-the-more ambitious agenda through skyrocketing oil revenues.

Within a period of just a few years, the state provided some social services to Iraqi people unprecedented in other Middle Eastern countries. Saddam initiated and controlled the "National Campaign for the Eradication of Illiteracy" and the campaign for "Compulsory Free Education in Iraq," and largely under his auspices, the government established universal free schooling up to the highest education levels; hundreds of thousands learned to read in the years following the initiation of the program. The government also supported families of soldiers, granted free hospitalization to everyone, and gave subsidies to farmers. Iraq created one of the best public-health systems in the Middle East, earning Saddam an award from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

In order to diversify the oil-dependent economy, Saddam oversaw and advocated a national infrastructure campaign that made great progress in building roads, promoting mining, and development of other industries. The campaign effected a comprehensive revolution in energy industries. Electricity was brought to nearly every city in Iraq, including many communities in the countryside and far outlying areas.

Before the early 1970s, the majority of the population resided in the countryside, where Saddam himself was born and raised; and peasants accounted for roughly two thirds of the populace. This number would decrease dramatically, though, during the rapid industrialization and urbanization of Iraq in the 1970s, which was propelled by Saddam's channeling of oil revenues into the rapidly growing Iraqi industrial sector and the new Ba'athist welfare programs.

Nevertheless, Saddam focused intensely on fostering loyalty to the Ba'athist government in the rural areas. After nationalizing foreign oil interests, Saddam supervised the modernization of the Iraqi countryside, the mechanization of agriculture on a large scale, and the distribution of land to farmers.6 He broke up the large holdings of the landowners and gave land to peasant farmers. The Ba'athists established farm co-operatives, in which profits were distributed in accordance with the labors of the individual peasant and the unskilled were trained. The government's commitment to agrarian reform was demonstrated by the doubling of expenditures for agriculture development in 1974–1975, a policy that Saddam largely spearheaded. Moreover, agrarian reform in Iraq improved the living standards of the broad strata of the peasantry and increased production, though not to the levels for which Saddam had hoped.

Saddam became personally associated with Ba'athist welfare and economic development programs in the eyes of many Iraqis, thus widening his original popular base of support while co-opting new sectors of the Iraqi population. Part of a combination of "carrot and stick" tactics, expanding government services forged patron–client ties between Saddam and his support base among the working class and the peasantry and within the party and the government bureaucracy.

Saddam's ruthless organizational prowess was credited with Iraq's rapid pace of development in the 1970s; development went forward at such a fevered pitch that two million persons from other Arab countries and Yugoslavia worked in Iraq to meet the growing demand for labor.
posted by Neologian at 2:13 PM on December 15, 2005


It really will be a long time before enough data will be available to enable us to determine if this really was worth it or not, in all its human, financial and political costs. In the meantime, these right wing triumphalists show themselves (again) to be shallow morons by pointing to it as unqualified success.
posted by psmealey at 2:14 PM on December 15, 2005


Is that what's known in lawyerly circles as 'poisoning the well'?
posted by spiderwire at 12:51 PM PST on December 15 [!]


The term that comes to my mind is 'fruit of a poisoned tree'. I don't think the Bush administration can ever claim responsibility for anything good that happens in Iraq because they are responsible for so much that went wrong in the first place.

I don't see what there is to celebrate anyway. This election just takes the south of Iraq closer to theocracy, the north closer to war with Turkey and the middle closer to open conflict with everybody.
posted by Mr T at 2:16 PM on December 15, 2005


Smedleyman - Your questions are fair, but from a non-American perspective, most are invalid. I couldn't care less about the money spent or the fate of the Bush administration (in so far as it doesn't have other consequences, but that aside). That's perhaps why I focus far more on the ends than the means. If Iraq ends up being a successful, safe, prosperous and peaceful country, it's worth the US (and allied) investment to me, though it costs me very little to say that, quite admittedly.
posted by loquax at 2:18 PM on December 15, 2005


dios and ParisParamus make valid points that people should be happy that something good might be happening for the Iraqis. What concerns me is the idea that if the Iraqi people wind up better off in the long run, then we should consider the invasion to be a success.

Black people in the US right now probably live in better conditions than they would be living in if their ancestors had not been captured and sold into slavery. Would we say that slavery was worth it and was a good idea because it wound up improving the lives of the descendants of Africans?

I do not feel that the US has a right to invade a sovereign nation and kill tens of thousands of their citizens to make way for a change in government form.

The Europeans ultimately brought democracy to the Native Americans a couple hundred years ago. It ended hundreds of years of tribal conflict and wars. I am still awaiting my thank you notes.
posted by flarbuse at 2:19 PM on December 15, 2005


Thankfully, a good chunk of a Americans can see the connection between attacking terrorism in Iraq, and reducing it everywhere. Even if people here are either too slow, or pretend they are to grasp the concept.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:21 PM on December 15, 2005


Well, looks like we had him...and let him go. Not too competent there.
posted by NationalKato at 2:26 PM on December 15, 2005



posted by Heywood Mogroot at 2:29 PM on December 15, 2005


Thankfully, a good chunk of a Americans can see the connection between attacking terrorism in Iraq, and reducing it everywhere. Even if people here are either too slow, or pretend they are to grasp the concept.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:21 PM CST on December 15 [!]


Paris I would never wish you banned or even for you to leave, but if you depise this website so much why do you keep tolerating it? I mean its one thing to dislike the way things are run or maybe even disagree with many of the post or comments, but it seems to me as if you genuinely can't stand us.

I may disagree with dios a lot and he takes a lot of shit from people around here, probably more than he deserves, but I never get the sense of contempt from him towards the rest of the metafilter user base.
posted by ozomatli at 2:31 PM on December 15, 2005


If Iraq ends up being a successful, safe, prosperous and peaceful country, it's worth the US (and allied) investment to me, though it costs me very little to say that, quite admittedly.

LOL. Your thoughts on this are indeed literally worthless. I'd be all for the intervention too if it were totally costless.

Well, the part about killing 30-100k Iraqis isn't too hot. Killing people tends to produce blowback down the line.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 2:31 PM on December 15, 2005


ozo: PP is just reduced to being a snivelling jerk. It's what he does.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 2:32 PM on December 15, 2005


Heywood - I was referring to smedleyman's post, particularly the last part. I wasn't referring to what you mentioned.
posted by loquax at 2:34 PM on December 15, 2005


Sadly, at least one person on thjis forum can't see the connection between attacking Iraq and spreading terrorism everywhere. Even when everyone else in the world has been swift enough to recognize that reality.
posted by Neologian at 2:34 PM on December 15, 2005


...attacking terrorism in Iraq, and reducing it everywhere...
because the US needs to keep the monopoly on violence.
posted by badger_flammable at 2:36 PM on December 15, 2005


hey gang. just wanted to drop in and remind you not to talk to paris. thanks!
posted by mcsweetie at 2:36 PM on December 15, 2005


ozo: PP is just reduced to being a snivelling jerk. It's what he does.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 4:32 PM CST on December 15 [!]


To be frank I am not trying to turn this into a piss on Paris contest, so your post really doesn't help much. I want to know from him. I have been reading metafilter for a looooooong time now and I am giving him the benifit of the doubt.
posted by ozomatli at 2:38 PM on December 15, 2005


"Well, the part about killing 30-100k Iraqis isn't too hot. Killing people tends to produce blowback down the line.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 5:31 PM EST on December 15 [!]"

Just how does "blowback (which I think is a subjective, rather than objective term)" compare with weakness and naive diplomacy? Which one got us Arafat, Assad, Saddam, Osama and 9/11 in the first place? Did blowback get us Iran, led by a soon-to-be nuclear holocaust denier? Just where is the periphery of your blame-us-for-existing model of reality?
posted by ParisParamus at 2:42 PM on December 15, 2005


As honest and accurate as our own elections have been the last few elections, it's only appropriate that we're setting the example for other nations as to "how democracy is done..."

The elections are unlikely to change much in the long term, as anyone remotely familiar with the last 100 years of Arab history should have figured out by quite a while ago, if not from the start of this debacle.

Though I'm glad to hear that this round of elections resulted in a somewhat more peaceful day, *if* anything positive comes of this for Iraq, it will be in spite of the neoconservatives' best efforts.

Elections and potential "Democracy" are a sideshow for Cheney and company - a distraction intended to justify our prolonged presence in the region.

We're there for one primary reason. Oil.

China's emerging middle class combined with the prescience of Hubbert's Peak mean lean times for the western powers in the years to come.

All the geopolitical maeuvering we've seen take place since approximately 1996 (the year of the dissapointing Caspian Oil fields survey) has to do with which world players will have control over enough energy resources to survive transitioning into a post-oil economy and energy infrastructure, while keeping this information as quite as possible to avoid panic, crisis, and overt militarized conflict.

And from the American perspective, if we have to kill off a few thousand of our own, here in NY and DC, or there in Iraq, in order to preserve the "non-negotiable" American way of life for the majority, so be it.
posted by stenseng at 2:44 PM on December 15, 2005


while keeping this information as quiet rather
posted by stenseng at 2:46 PM on December 15, 2005


stenseng: just how many murals of NOAM do you have on your walls? Ceilings, too?
posted by ParisParamus at 2:50 PM on December 15, 2005


prosperous writes "Which one got us Arafat, Assad, Saddam, Osama and 9/11 in the first place? Did blowback get us Iran, led by a soon-to-be nuclear holocaust denier?"

I don't know about Arafat or Assad, but Saddam and Osama are definitely blowback. We propped up Saddam in a proxy war against Iran in the 80s, and supported Osama's jihad with the mujahideen in Afghanistan during the same decade.

There's also a strong argument that the anti-American aspect of the Iranian revolution was fueled by the United States' support for the repressive government of the Shah.

These are pretty standard criticisms of the way things were handled by the US during the Cold War. Even the current President has repudiated this way of doing things, claiming to prefer free democracies to friendly tyrants.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:56 PM on December 15, 2005


Whoops; that should be quoting ParisParamus. I accidentally spell-checked it.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:57 PM on December 15, 2005


Iran is also in large part blowback - remember the Shah?
posted by kyrademon at 2:58 PM on December 15, 2005


Mr T: The term that comes to my mind is 'fruit of a poisoned tree'.

No, dude. Poisoning the well. :)
posted by spiderwire at 2:58 PM on December 15, 2005


We propped up Saddam in a proxy war against Iran in the 80s, and supported Osama's jihad with the mujahideen in Afghanistan during the same decade.

But what were the alternatives? Would not supporting Iraq in the 80's led to Khomeni conquering it? Would allowing the USSR to take Afghanistan unopposed (assuming they could) have been better than the alternative? I'm not saying you're wrong, only that those decisions were not binary, but part of a broad spectrum of options, many of which may have carried worse outcomes. Maybe the Soviet Union doesn't collapse? Maybe Iran destroys Israel in 1991? Of course, there were also likely better options in hindsight, that being what it is.
posted by loquax at 3:01 PM on December 15, 2005


loquax writes "Would not supporting Iraq in the 80's led to Khomeni conquering it?"

Iraq was the aggressor in that war. I don't think Khomeni was particularly interested in "conquering" Iraq.

"Would allowing the USSR to take Afghanistan unopposed (assuming they could) have been better than the alternative?"

I'm thinking something that didn't involve setting up an international financing network for insurgent warfare by radical Islamists would have been preferable.

Yeah, hindsight is 20/20. That's why hindsight rules!!!
posted by mr_roboto at 3:08 PM on December 15, 2005


“That's perhaps why I focus far more on the ends than the means. If Iraq ends up being a successful, safe, prosperous and peaceful country, it's worth the US (and allied) investment to me.” - posted by loquax

Fair comments. I don’t care for the Bush administration. I do care for America. They are not synonymous.
But - why? What’s the payback for having Iraq successful, safe, etc?
You see, as much as I enjoy charity work, I also realize I’m not going to put a 2nd mortgage on my house to help one guy get on his feet. There are a lot of other guys out there and if I sink myself helping him, I’m not only not going to be able to help them, I might not be able to help myself.
I’d like to see some tangible benefits - admittedly as a taxpayer I have kicked in, so my perception of events are skewed that way.



“Thankfully, a good chunk of a Americans can see the connection between attacking terrorism in Iraq, and loving Hitler. Even if people here are either too slow, or pretend they are to grasp how great Hitler was.” - posted by ParisParamus

Yeah. I’ve actually fought terrorists. Before it was, y’know, cool. While I admit there is some reasoning for attacking Iraq on that basis, it’s more than a bit of a stretch. And I don’t see the ancillary indications that we’re doing that...But hey, you’re the smart one. Please explain to us all the geopolitical strategy there. How exactly have we attacked terrorism in Iraq? How has this lessened terrorism elsewhere? Does stability in the region mandate a lessening of terrorism in the region or does it limit our ability to remain mobilized ?


“I want to know from him. I have been reading metafilter for a looooooong time now and I am giving him the benifit of the doubt.” - posted by ozomatli

I envy your patience. But I can have no respect for someone who’s admitted goal is to disrupt the communication of others.

“Did blowback get us Iran, led by a soon-to-be nuclear holocaust denier? I’d love to suck Hitler’s dick.” - posted by ParisParamus

Yes, we had mountains of blowback from installing the Shah.
What’s with the fixation on Hitler?
posted by Smedleyman at 3:11 PM on December 15, 2005


Hey, Member #1. How about a ban on anyone who fakes quotations by someone.

Hitler is the Gold standard of evil. So, are you now arguing the Iran having a little Hitler is out fault too?
posted by ParisParamus at 3:17 PM on December 15, 2005


(our; not out)
posted by ParisParamus at 3:17 PM on December 15, 2005


Blood was spilled. Hard American cash was spent. And we get what?

Good point, Smedleyman. The US government isn't responsible for everyone in the world; it's responsible for protecting the security of the US and its citizens. Even assuming that Iraq gets back to normality (again, I'm pessimistic), was going to war in Iraq in the interest of the US?

It did have some benefits (the sanctions against Iraq were a major grievance in the Arab world), but I think they were far outweighed by the costs; think of the long-term damage to US prestige done by the practically unilateral decision to go to war, or Abu Ghraib, or the effect on the US military of trying to fight a war with too few troops. Not to mention the opportunity costs of not concentrating on al-Qaeda.

Again, I’m all for stopping carnage, but now I feel like we’re the little red hen.

So far the US has spent close to half a trillion dollars on the war. Economist William Nordhaus, writing in November 2002:

This discussion, however, vastly oversimplifies the analysis by constructing only two cases, whereas reality presents a dizzying variety of outcomes. Returning to the metaphor of war as a giant roll of the dice, we might say that the US could end up paying the "low" costs of around $120 billion if the dice come up favorably. If some dice come up unfavorably, the costs would lie between the low and the high cases. However, if the US has a string of bad luck or misjudgments during or after the war, the outcome, while less likely, could reach the $1.6 trillion of the upper estimate.

loquax: Your questions are fair, but from a non-American perspective, most are invalid.

As a Canadian (like yourself), I strongly disagree. Canada has a strong interest in the preservation of the international status quo, and the US is the most important backer of the status quo. If the Iraq war proves to have significantly weakened US power, that's very bad news for Canada.
posted by russilwvong at 3:23 PM on December 15, 2005


Godwin!
posted by jasper411 at 3:24 PM on December 15, 2005


"Hey, Member #1. How about a ban on anyone who fakes quotations by someone." - posted by ParisParamus

Keep talking there free speech lover.

"Hitler is the Gold standard. So, are you now arguing the Iran having a little Hitler is out fault too?"
-posted by ParisParamus

Hey, Member #1. How about a ban on anyone who fakes concepts by someone?

Look Paris, It looks like Bush is going to say? Ummm...Oh yes, I was looking for. I'm so glad I remembered it. Yeah, what I have wondered if I had committed a crime. Don't eat with your assessment of Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld.  Up your nose with a guy from a firm that specifically researches the teen-age market.  As a friend of mine would say, "It really doesn't matter". It looks like Bush is holding back the arms of the American eating public have changed dramatically, and it got pretty boring after about 300 games. People, having a much larger number of varieties, and are very different from what one can find in Chinatowns across the country (things like pork buns, steamed dumplings, etc.) They can be cheap,being sold for around 30 to 75 cents apiece (depending on size), are generally not greasy, can be adequately explained by stupidity. Singles have felt insecure since we came down from the Conservative world at large.  But Chuqui is the way it happened and the prices are VERY reasonable. Can anyone think of myself as a third sex.  Yes, I am expected to have.  People often get used to me knowing these things and then a cover is placed over all of them.  Along the side of the $$ are spent by (or at least for ) the girls.  You can't settle the issue.  It seems I've forgotten what it is, but I don't. I know about violence against women, and I really doubt they will ever join together into a large number of jokes.  It showed Adam, just after being created. So I will conclude by saying that I can well understand that she might soon have the time, it makes sense, again, to get the gist of my argument, I was in that (though it's a Republican administration)
posted by Smedleyman at 3:26 PM on December 15, 2005


Smedleyman, I dub thee Trollsbane, Furious Smiter of Sycophants, White Langued, Contemptous Absurdism Jessant, Reguardant on Field Azure.

Carry on.
posted by Haruspex at 3:45 PM on December 15, 2005


Actually, I think that was the world's first ever reverse Godwin.
posted by spiderwire at 3:47 PM on December 15, 2005


Mine fingers misspoke: ...Contemptuous.
posted by Haruspex at 3:49 PM on December 15, 2005


And, ParisParamus, you haven’t answered my questions. How did we fight terrorists by invading Iraq? How has this lessened terrorism elsewhere? Does stability in the region mandate a lessening of terrorism in the region or does it limit our ability to remain mobilized ?

As for Iran I couldn’t care less what Iran does with itself. I’m not a weepy idealist or an internet tough guy shouting “bomb ‘em”. Now that we have a strategic hold on the middle east’s testicles they can blow themselves to wherever. They have a dictator? Fuck him (the dictator that is).
Unfortunately they have a big beef Israel. If it’s my call for a war I let Mossad diddy mao into their territory and agitate a war. Maybe by firing a missle at Israel from Iran if they can. Doesn’t really matter though, it isn’t like they (Iran) haven’t been sponsoring terrorism anyway.
But it’s just a matter of time. No war is needed. The Iranian people like us. They don’t like what they’re going through and if we start pulling some of the stuff we pulled with Poland under Reagan the Iranian government is on it’s way out with no bombing and no war.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:52 PM on December 15, 2005


I can’t take the credit. I stole that bit from Mark V. Shaney ( I understand he was promoted to Lt. in Iraq). ...although can one steal nonsense?
posted by Smedleyman at 3:56 PM on December 15, 2005


Any day that [ParisParamus posts] is a bad day for Metafilter...

I am happy to see that the election went well. Every cloud has a silver lining, they say, and given the size of the turd-laden cumulonimbus that's been raining a shitstorm over the world for the last five years, this should be one hell of a silver lining. Let's just hope Team Bush manages to avoid ripping the lining right out of the cloud.
posted by mkhall at 3:58 PM on December 15, 2005


It has raised the stakes. It has told all present and potential terrorists and those the sponsor them and pay for them that the free ride is over. THE FREE RIDE IS OVER, FUCKS; CLINTON ISN'T IN OFFICE ANY MORE. WE GOT SADDAM; ASSAD, YOU'RE NEXT.

And then, hopefully, we won't have to take out Iran (because that will be messy).
posted by ParisParamus at 3:59 PM on December 15, 2005


It has raised the stakes. It has told all present and potential terrorists and those the sponsor them and pay for them that the free ride is over. THE FREE RIDE IS OVER, FUCKS; CLINTON ISN'T IN OFFICE ANY MORE. WE GOT SADDAM; ASSAD, YOU'RE NEXT.

I'm talking about drawing a line in the sand, dude. Across this line, you DO NOT... Also, dude, chinaman is not the preferred nomenclature. Asian-American, please.
posted by 235w103 at 4:06 PM on December 15, 2005


Chinaman? Huh? Is that some cinematic reference?
posted by ParisParamus at 4:08 PM on December 15, 2005


Metafilter: Heh... lets not do this again, shall we?
posted by Football Bat at 4:17 PM on December 15, 2005


I hear Bill Clinton is hiding in a cave on the Afghani-Pakistan border.
posted by bardic at 4:21 PM on December 15, 2005


Chinaman? Huh? Is that some cinematic reference?

Obviously you're not a golfer.
posted by trondant at 4:23 PM on December 15, 2005


“Chinaman? Huh? I hate minorities. Clinton was sexually attractive to me. I don’t blame Monica, I know I’d blow him ” -posted by ParisParamus

I’m really getting tired of your weird racist sexual comments paris.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:26 PM on December 15, 2005


If I was an Iraqi, I would vote for Smedleyman, Teh Man
posted by jaronson at 4:30 PM on December 15, 2005


"THE FREE RIDE IS OVER, FUCKS; CLINTON ISN'T IN OFFICE ANY MORE. WE GOT SADDAM; ASSAD, YOU'RE NEXT."


Osama who?
posted by stenseng at 4:40 PM on December 15, 2005


And "cinématic" sounds awfully French to me.
posted by Haruspex at 4:41 PM on December 15, 2005


trondant, is that some sorta eastern thing?

parisparamus, you're out of your element! You're like a child who wanders into the middle of a movie...

OVER THE LINE!
posted by anomie at 4:48 PM on December 15, 2005


There was an article in today's NYSun, again speaking of Saddam having shipped WMDs to Syria. Not the most far-fetched of possibilities.

ASSAD, YOU'RE GOING DOWN. SOON.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:14 PM on December 15, 2005


ASSAD, YOU ASS.

No wait, that's too kind...
posted by ParisParamus at 5:14 PM on December 15, 2005


If the Iraq war proves to have significantly weakened US power, that's very bad news for Canada.

Agreed - when I made my comment I was speaking very very narrowly in response to a previous comment referring to actual American costs an investments, and whether or not the effort will have been worth it from that perspective for the US. Obviously the broader ramifications of a weakened or changed US have a great impact on the rest of the world, and failure/defeat/exhaustion in Iraq can certainly contribute to that.
posted by loquax at 5:22 PM on December 15, 2005


No way. No way that exchange was real.
posted by spiderwire at 5:25 PM on December 15, 2005


Parisparamus - the rug pisser of metafilter.
Although to be fair to your hero Bill Clinton, paris, the bombing of the WTC was stopped on his watch.

Does raising the stakes for terrorists legitimize the invasion?

We lost what, $1.2 trillion or so related to 9/11, about 3,000 dead. We haven’t caught OBL, much less dismantled al-Qaeda, but those are red herrings anyway. Because we haven’t traced the source of the $400,000 to $500,000 the plotters spent on the attack (according to the 9/11 commission reports - “specific origin of the funds used to execute the attacks remained unknown”)
Meanwhile the massive mobilization of all those troops has cost us, what, about $200,000,000,000 so far? Which is costing me personally about two grand or more.


Ok. To do what? According to Rumsfeld some of our military objectives were to: search for capture and drive out terrorists from Iraq and collect intelligence related to terrorist networks.

We pretty much made the fedayeen and the Sunnis into guerillas, which could be mitigated by this vote. But collecting intel? We had a perfectly good base in Saudi with which to do ops.

You see, I’m concerned not so much about the fighting or “victory” I’m concerned about the efficiency. It’s an old saw: good generals study tactics; great generals study logistics.
We keep focusing on the Clausewitizian strategy, winning “decisive battles” and looking at the war as a set piece rather than overall strategy. We keep doing that and we’ll be worn down over time.

Again - half a million investment by our enemies cost us over $1.6 trillion on the front end and $200 billion so far.

Now, the point I alluded to earlier which was missed (because I’m so f’ing smart? Not likely) is that - yes - seizing control of that chunk of the middle east oil supply does limit the leverage terrorists could have on us. We are indeed fighting them over there - but not because we want to avoid fighting them here.
It’s because over there is the infrastructure that we need to protect. Whether that’s done by a stable Iraqi government or our guys on the ground is not that important in the context of the war.

You see, it’s not our “homeland” we’re protecting from terrorism. It’s the oil flow. Which I’ve admitted is a necessity for myriad reasons. (And I’ve conceded we need to get the hell off oil dependence ASAP).

What is important however is that the Iraq war could have been avoided by employing small mobile groups doing nasty things in other people’s back yards.
Granted it’s more sinister, and granted it’s got less oversight (it’s not like the Iraq war has much oversight anyway), but it’s cost effective, we had the bases in place in the region anyway. Our “Whaddya going to do about it?” response is deflecting interference from the Iraq war.
It would have worked with a more efficient response as well.
Hell, the CIA secret prison stuff proves that.
Not that I like it.

But the point is: Cost effectiveness.
I would rather clip a few guys in some alley in Nok Kundi than bomb some nerf herder and 500 of his friends in Mosul who have jack to do with shit. Obviously because of the human concerns, but also because it costs me more money and it pisses off the nerf herder’s families which means they might want to do something to hurt us. Which means more money.

Rumsfeld statement that we need to “secure Iraq's oil fields and resources, which belong to the Iraqi people” I also have a problem with. We’re doing this for free?

It’s two thousand dollars out of my pocket already and I haven’t seen an upside for me.
We haven’t nailed the bastards who slammed the planes into the WTCs. And I have yet to see, for my two grand, any evidence that we’re on their trail except for some trotting out of al-Qaeda suspect.
I can spend a three day weekend in Vegas for two grand. I can live half the year in my house for two grand. For two grand I get police and fire protection, my kids get to go to school for almost 1/2 a year, I can use my local library...etc.

It’s great they’re voting and all.

But I want to see a line - “with your money, we did ‘X’ which lead us to ‘Y’ and now ‘Z’ which means you get ‘A.’”

“A” being either they found the money trail and nailed the guys who were involved in 9/11 (since that cost me money too) or have found some tangible way to prevent it from happening again (anything happening with that reinforced door for the cockpits or giving pilots guns with soft-nosed bullets - anyone?).

I want my government trim and lean and working smart with my money. That’s all. Spending $200 billion that freaking quickly so people somewhere else can vote freely and a kiss and a promise that no terrorists will hit us again aint it. I want to see the bottom line and I want to see it clearly. I don’t. And I’ve been looking.

There’s a long conservative tradition against this kind of thing (nation building). I really wonder where the hell my old skool conservative homies is at.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:33 PM on December 15, 2005


“...failure/defeat/exhaustion in Iraq can certainly contribute to that.’ - posted by loquax

You read my mind. Wish I caught your concise version earlier I wouldn’t have had to ramble.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:36 PM on December 15, 2005


There was an article in today's NYSun, again speaking of Saddam having shipped WMDs to Syria. Not the most far-fetched of possibilities.

posted by ParisParamus at 5:14 PM PST on December 15


Why the fuck would someone build WMDs only to not use them when attacked by the most powerful conventional forces in world history?
What was Hussein planning on doing once Iraq was overthrown, hitch a ride to Syria and smuggle tons of weapons back home in his backpack?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 5:39 PM on December 15, 2005


Optimus, at every moment until it happened, Hussein didn't think the US would have the balls to flout the Euro-weasels, etc., and take him out. He envisioned remaining in power. He thought his Oil-For-Food dealings were sufficient bribery.

As it is, the whole Muslim word goes orgasmic about destroying Israel; now the WMDs are even closer!

The article speaks of the WMDs being moved six weeks before the war actuallly started.

In any case, I don't think Hussein ever though he could defeat the US with them; just intimidate his "neighbors."

In any case, while it remains unproven, it doesn't seem an idea of the lunatic fringe. We shall see, I suspect during the Bush administration.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:51 PM on December 15, 2005


What was Hussein planning on doing once Iraq was overthrown, hitch a ride to Syria and smuggle tons of weapons back home in his backpack?

Well, there are reasons that this could happen. Perhaps Hussein lost control of the country in the last days and the Baathist apparatus moved the weapons to Syria so that Syria could have them. Perhaps they weren't weapons, but evidence of weapons programs. Perhaps their presence was an embarrassment to one or another power and were removed in exchange for other considerations. Perhaps it was a calculated move to embarrass the US, in the hopes of a quick pullout and a return to power for Hussein. Maybe they're being saved for future use, considering that nothing would have stopped the US in 2003 anyways. While I haven't seen anything close to conclusive evidence, I wouldn't totally preclude the idea that this could have happened. Considering the machinations of an organization like the Baathists (who learned everything they knew from the masters of subterfuge and deviousness, the USSR), I wouldn't be surprised by much.
posted by loquax at 5:52 PM on December 15, 2005


Yeah, or perhaps it's a load of crap.

pretty convenient too that Paris doesn't have to call for Dear Leader's indictment
posted by spiderwire at 6:09 PM on December 15, 2005


Why would it not have been done as soon as troops started building up region? Again, these weapons were/are oriented towards terrorism, domestic and otherwise. Syria LOVES terrorism, and the relationship between Syria and terrorists in Iraq is now evident.

Nor would it be surprising if the R&D and manufacture of WMDs was always cross-border: Baathists on both sides; Syria in need of funds; Syria relatively less of a target than Iraq.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:12 PM on December 15, 2005


Hey spiderwire, could you make tha font a little smaller?

Well, it could be a load...as you say, but it wouldn't surprise anyone. Except people on Metafilter, perhaps.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:14 PM on December 15, 2005


ParisParamus, take this for what you will, but after the Chinaman flub, demanding that Matt ban someone for making fun of you, posting retarded conspiracy theories, a couple of all-caps comments demanding the immediate elimination of Assad and that Mossad fire missiles covertly at Israel to start a war, your seeming inability to finish a single post without some sort of typographical error, and the indictment comment that you keep getting called out on and conveniently ignore, what little credibility you had on this thread -- or on the site, for that matter -- is precisely zero. I honestly couldn't care less.

I was responding to loquax, 'cause he's been reasonable and I wanted to wave him off of defending you.

Now, seriously -- I asked you to leave as soon as you got here, and you agreed to. Now piss off.
posted by spiderwire at 6:23 PM on December 15, 2005


Out of troll food. Later, all.
posted by spiderwire at 6:25 PM on December 15, 2005


I never agreed with PP on much, but now that he's using all caps I'm starting to come around.

MARRY ME ANN COULTER PP CAN BE OUR BEST MAN/PERSON AND WE MAKE NEOCON BABIES!!!

It's one thing when he trolls anti-Bush threads, but now he trolls the pro-Bush ones as well. Super nice. Mission Accomplished.
posted by bardic at 6:27 PM on December 15, 2005


“In any case, while it remains unproven, I love having sex with dogs. We shall see, I suspect during the Bush administration.”
posted by ParisParamus at 5:51 PM PST on December 15 [!]

And the terrorists aren’t using the weapons now because....
And Bush admitted the intel on the WMDs was faulty because....
And General Tommy Franks said no one was more surprised than he was that we didn't find WMD's because....

I’m not discounting the findings of the Iraq Survey Group, but the final report said even though some treaty banned weapons might have existed in Iraq they weren’t of a militarily significant capability. We kicked over his tea wagon in the first gulf war and it stayed kicked over.
If they were in Syria, the guerillas would be using them now against us.

It’s a moot point anyway. There is voting going on.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:29 PM on December 15, 2005


Oh for fuck's sake. I suppose Khrushchev would have handed over his entire arsenal to Mao if the shit came down, just because they both nominally represented the same movement.

There is one circumstance where Syria has Iraqi WMDs, only one, and that's if they stole them during the months we bumbled along with our hands in our pockets after the invasion. If that were the case, they probably would have shown up by now, and Iran would have some too.
posted by furiousthought at 6:36 PM on December 15, 2005


You’re trusting Boogie Yaalon?
The yaalon who that the lesson that terrorism will not pay "must be seared onto the Palestinians's minds”
The former head of Israeli Intelligence, Moshe Yaalon, is your source? Sharon too?
The “we’re having terrorism problems with Syria” folks are your source as to where the WMDs went?
In other news, "General Yaalon's comment could increase pressure on the Syrian government that is already mounting from Washington and the United Nations. Mr. Bush has been keeping the rhetorical heat on Damascus. On Monday, he said in a speech, "Iraq's neighbor to the west, Syria, is permitting terrorists to use that territory to cross into Iraq." "

Ya think there’s an agenda there? Ya think it’s spelled out?
I think Syria needs a kick in the ass, but WTF are you THAT stupid? Or does sucking the cock of whomever you agree with come naturally?
...never mind. Answers itself.

How does Syria having the WMDs legitimize anything? They have been engaging in terrorism anyway.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:42 PM on December 15, 2005


No, the guerillas/terrorists/demons are not using them because if they did, Damascus would have US flags flying within weeks.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:46 PM on December 15, 2005


here’s the conveniently forgotten link:
Saddam's WMD Moved to Syria, An Israeli Says
posted by Smedleyman at 6:47 PM on December 15, 2005


“Damascus would have US flags flying within weeks. I have cum in my mustache.” - posted by ParisParamus

Why aren’t they using them in Iraq? Why are you conveniently ignoring my other questions?Why haven’t you responded to any point I’ve made about efficiency? Why do you refuse to remain on topic?
Why haven’t you left if you ‘don’t have the time’ to do it as you’ve lamented in the past?

Well?
posted by Smedleyman at 6:51 PM on December 15, 2005


Well, there are reasons that this could happen. Perhaps Hussein lost control of the country in the last days and the Baathist apparatus moved the weapons to Syria so that Syria could have them.

Uh, your boy Paris just told me they were moved six weeks before the war again.

Perhaps they weren't weapons, but evidence of weapons programs.

Uh-huh.

Perhaps their presence was an embarrassment to one or another power and were removed in exchange for other considerations.

Such as?

Perhaps it was a calculated move to embarrass the US, in the hopes of a quick pullout and a return to power for Hussein.

Oh, come on. The Baathists are idiots for all sorts of reasons but they're not that stupid.

Maybe they're being saved for future use, considering that nothing would have stopped the US in 2003 anyways.

I think that nuclear and chemical weapons would have stopped ground troops pretty well.

While I haven't seen anything close to conclusive evidence, I wouldn't totally preclude the idea that this could have happened. Considering the machinations of an organization like the Baathists (who learned everything they knew from the masters of subterfuge and deviousness, the USSR), I wouldn't be surprised by much.
posted by loquax at 5:52 PM PST on December 15


You haven't seen any evidence, loquax. You just postulate these bizarre theories without evidence or logical reasoning. Consider that only you and Paris happen to believe these theories. Consider that even the Bush administration doesn't buy this shit. This is a new low for you.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:54 PM on December 15, 2005


Just for argument's sake - Pacepa and the Sarindar plan. (Ion Mihai Pacepa - "the highest ranking secret-service officer ever to have betrayed and defected from the former Eastern Bloc. Pacepa is the former acting chief of Communist Romania's espionage service.")

Frontpage Magazine: Welcome to Frontpage Interview, Mr. Pacepa. Let’s begin. As a former Romanian spy chief who used to take direct orders from the Soviet KGB, you are obviously armed with a wealth of information. You have written about how the Soviets armed Hussein with WMDs, and also taught him how to eliminate any trace of them. Can you talk a bit about this and tell us its connection to the “missing WMDs” in Iraq today?

Pacepa: Contemporary political memory seems to be conveniently afflicted with some kind of Alzheimer's disease. Not long ago, every Western leader, starting with President Clinton, fumed against Saddam’s WMD. Now almost no one remembers that after General Hussein Kamel, Saddam’s son-in-law, defected to Jordan in 1995, he helped us find “more than one hundred metal trunks and boxes” containing documentation “dealing with all categories of weapons, including nuclear.” He also aided UNSCOM to fish out of the Tigris River high-grade missile components prohibited to Iraq. That was exactly what my old Soviet-made “Sãrindar” plan stated he should do in case of emergency: destroy the weapons, hide the equipment, and preserve the documentation. No wonder Saddam hastened to lure Kamel back to Iraq, where three days later he was killed together with over 40 of his relatives in what the Baghdad official press described as a “spontaneous administration of tribal justice.” Once that was done, Saddam slammed the door shut to any UNSCOM inspection.

FP: So was any Sãrindar plan activated?

Pacepa: Certainly. The minimal version of the Sãrindar plan I made for Libya’s Gaddafi. Soon after I was granted political asylum in the US, Gaddafi staged a fire at the secret chemical weapons facility I knew about (the cellar underneath the Rabta chemical complex). To be sure the CIA satellites would notice that fire and cross that target off its list, he created a huge cloud of black smoke by burning truckloads of tires and painting scorch marks on the facility. That was written in the Sãrindar plan. To be on the safe side, Gaddafi also built a second production facility, this time placed some 100 feet underground in the hollowed-out Tarhunah Mountain, south of Tripoli. That was not in the Sãrindar plan.

FP: It is undeniable, therefore, that Saddam had WMDs, right?

Pacepa: In the early 1970s, the Kremlin established a “socialist division of labor” for persuading the governments of Iraq and Libya to join the terrorist war against the US. KGB chairman Yury Andropov (who would later become the leader of the Soviet Union), told me that either of those two countries could inflict more damage on the Americans than could the Red Brigades, the Baader-Meinhof group and all other terrorist organizations taken together. The governments of those Arab countries, Andropov explained, not only had inexhaustible financial resources (read: oil), but they also had huge intelligence services that were being run by “our razvedka advisers” and could extend their tentacles to every corner of the earth. There was one major danger, though: by raising terrorism to the state level we risked American reprisal. Washington would never dispatch its airplanes and rockets to exterminate the Baader-Meinhof, but it might well deploy them to destroy a terrorist state. We therefore were also tasked to provide those countries secretly with weapons of mass destruction, because Andropov concluded that the Yankees would never attack a country that could retaliate with such deadly weapons.

Libya was Romania’s main client in that socialist division of labor, because of Ceausescu’s close association with Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. Moscow kept Iraq. Andropov told me that, if our Iraq and Libyan experiment proved successful, the same strategy would be extended to Syria. Recently, Libya’s Gaddafi admitted to having WMD, and the CIA inspectors found them. Why should we believe that the almighty Soviet Union, which had proliferated WMD all over the world, was not able to do the same thing in Iraq? Every piece of armament Iraq had came from the former Soviet Union—from the Katyusha launchers to the T72 tanks, BMP-1 fighting vehicles and MiG fighter planes. In the spring of 2002, just a couple of weeks after Russia took its place at the NATO table, President Putin and his ex-KGB officers who are now running Russia concluded another $40 billion trade deal with Saddam Hussein’s tyrannical regime in Iraq. That was not for grain or beans—Russia has to import them from elsewhere.

posted by loquax at 6:54 PM on December 15, 2005


OC - I didn't see your comment before I posted. I'm just saying it's possible. Not likely, not even plausible.
posted by loquax at 6:57 PM on December 15, 2005


I assume by the number of comments that this thread went the way all threads of this nature went.

Can the US fix other country's ills? Sure we can.
Should we be? No way.

So how can we make the world a better place? By living up to the standards we wish to enforce with guns and bombs and with shouting and argument.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:59 PM on December 15, 2005


“Pacepa: September 11, 2001 was directly rooted in a joint Soviet/Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) operation conceived in the aftermath of the 1967 Six-Day Arab-Israeli War. The object of this joint operation was to repair Moscow's prestige by turning the Islamic world against Israel and by creating a rabid and violent hatred for its main supporter, the United States. The strategy was to portray the US, this land of freedom, as a Nazi-style "imperial-Zionist country" financed by Jewish money and run by a rapacious "Council of the Elders of Zion" (the Kremlin's epithet for the US Congress), the aim of which was allegedly to transform the rest of the world into a Jewish fiefdom. In other words, the heart of the joint plan was to convert the historical Arab and Islamic hatred of the Jews into a new hatred of the United States. We threw many millions of dollars at this gigantic task, which involved whole armies of intelligence officers.”

- Just putting those two thoughts together.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:14 PM on December 15, 2005


What do you mean Smedleyman? I'm not sure I follow.
posted by loquax at 7:16 PM on December 15, 2005


“I'm just saying it's possible. Not likely, not even plausible.” -posted by loquax

I think you’re being reasonable loquax. I concede the possibility as well. But why spend the money on the WMDs to sucker the U.S. into attacking Iraq, when you can simply make them think they are there? Why wouldn’t Saddam talk tough or even make it look like he had a weapons program?

Sorta the same result, if that’s the goal he just outlined. And plenty of reasons for Saddam to rattle an illusionary sabre.

Or if I’m Israel, why not participate in the WMD lying end of it if it knocks out one of the assholes in your backyard? Then point at Syria.
mimicry: “No! They’re over here now! (boom) No wait! Now they’re in Iran! (boom) No, they’re in Egypt now, yeah! (boom) etc.”

But it’s a moot point. We have to make the region stable and bring democracy in Iraq anyway just to save face and keep every Arab everywhere from trying to bite us.

A lot of this could have been saved through patience. We could have waited until it came out in the wash. Lots of pro-active things could have been done in that time to suss out whether Saddam did in fact have WMDs or not. In the meantime, he could have maybe had an accident. Or not. But we needed this Wagnerian shock and awe for some reason.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:25 PM on December 15, 2005


“What do you mean Smedleyman? I'm not sure I follow.” - posted by loquax

From the article:
“ Why should we believe that the almighty Soviet Union, which had proliferated WMD all over the world, was not able to do the same thing in Iraq?”
and
“In other words, the heart of the joint plan was to convert the historical Arab and Islamic hatred of the Jews into a new hatred of the United States.”

The two goals aren’t mutually exclusive.

As I stated earlier - why spend the money on the WMDs if you’re the soviets? You don’t want Saddam to use them anyway, right?
If your goal is to make the US look like an asshole/Nazi, you’re going to want to have them invade a country...well, sort of like the Nazis did (invaded Poland).

But this is just speculation.

I don’t think there is any question Saddam was moving right along in his weapons program before round one of the Gulf War. But whether he continued or did in fact have anything is very doubtful.

It’s entirely possible ?someone? was telling Saddam they’d give him WMDs when he needed them and then left him hanging. Savvy?

Or any number of scenarios involving other players (Israel for example: the enemy of my enemy is my friend). It’s not merely occam’s razor, there are excellent standard behaviors to expect from various types of individuals and organizations. There are standard practices you can expect (the "seven deadly sins" of collective behavior, nepotism, restriction on information flow, et. al) Narco trafficking organizations are great examples (or Iranian businesses, Nigerian crime cartels, etc).

But again - speculation.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:54 PM on December 15, 2005


The two goals aren’t mutually exclusive.

Ah, now I follow, sorry. Yes, sure, you're right. I'm not arguing with anything you're saying. Like you said, speculation.
posted by loquax at 8:01 PM on December 15, 2005


Boy, it sure does quiet down around these parts after Dios and Paris go back under their bridges for the evening.

And thank you Smedleyman!
posted by Balisong at 9:15 PM on December 15, 2005


1) it's one thing to hold and win elections ... it's quite another to govern

2) the whole "we must secure the oil flow" argument is offset by one simple fact ... that oil isn't going to do them any good if they leave it sitting in the ground ... if they want money for it, they've got to sell it ... if they sell it to the chinese, that's oil the chinese aren't buying from someone else and we can buy that oil

one way or another, the oil gets put on the market ... the only thing that could change any of this is if the chinese were to actively attempt to control middle eastern oil themselves

of course, one could argue that there are extremists who don't care if they get any money for it at all ... but it's my understanding of history that most extremists soon become corrupted by the desire to make a buck

(of course, the oil running out is another story altogether ... but i don't know what can be done about that)
posted by pyramid termite at 9:28 PM on December 15, 2005


p.t: the PTB don't care about the oil, they care about the oil profits.

Didn't US & UK oil companies get some sweetheart deal:

(google google)

like this?

Looks like we just rebooted the oil situation back to what it was in the 1960s.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 9:33 PM on December 15, 2005


Tens of thousands of Iraqis and Americans have been killed by an American invasion. There's no "could have been" about it, in stark contast to the arguments of idiots who continue to argue that we were justified in killing all those humans because of what "might have happened" otherwise."

None of the dead are voting today, nor will they participate in whatever becomes of what's left of Iraq.

Their future was cut short, by my country, on the basis of lies. Their deaths came from our military action against despotic rulers, rulers that we supported for years, when they served our purposes. The dead met true weapons of destruction, American weapons, not some neocon wetdream WMDs. They met true terrorists, American terrorists.

Their is no doubt whatsoever about these deaths. No whitewashing vote in carefully rigged elections, no futile bleating by endlessly rationalizing right-wing armchair warriors, will ever change those deaths.

A democracy of the dead. Yeah. Brilliant. Genius. And of those not yet dead, generations yet to come of those who, having been warred upon, will war upon.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 10:55 PM on December 15, 2005


You should write a book, f&m.
posted by loquax at 11:13 PM on December 15, 2005



"2) the whole "we must secure the oil flow" argument is offset by one simple fact ... that oil isn't going to do them any good if they leave it sitting in the ground ... if they want money for it, they've got to sell it ..."


EEEEH, wrong. You're still looking at it from a pre-peak mindset. First, from a sheer profitability standpoint, the longer they sit on it, the more valuable a commodity it becomes. There's no advantage to pumping and selling it NOW.

More importantly, this goes beyond profiteering. This is about the ultimate lifestyle maintenance. There's only one true currency in this world, and money isn't it. It's ENERGY. You'll see right quick in the years to come just how non-valuable currency becomes for those nations that lack appreciable energy stockpiles.

Think about it. When the scarcity of energy gets high enough, it will become the only currency. It will also become the only real measure of power.

The reality is that our way of life is "fueled" if you will, by oil - an energy resource of unparalleled energy density. Oil is the lifeblood of western culture.

There IS NO alternative energy resource with an energy density anywhere NEAR that of petroleum. This means that when the oil gets low enough, there won't be international flights, commuter cars, petrochemically fertilized agriculture, transportation of goods and services, etc.

Even "alternate" forms of energy like solar, fuel cells, etc have an inbuilt petrochemical cost to energy production.

If when the time comes, (say 20 years from now) you don't live in a nation that's had it's shit together regarding the geopolitical positioning and hoarding of what's left, your life will be taking a turn for the middle fucking ages, right quick.

The long and the short of it is that a world post-oil CAN NOT support the energy and food output requirements of the 6+ billion people currently living on this planet.

It is a very possible reality that a solid fifth to a third of the Earth's population will likely die off, or be killed off, in order to sustain the rest. Even still, our standards of living will be drastically altered.

This is not rocket science, it's basic math and chemistry.

There's no plan post-oil, and we are indeed on the downward side of Hubbert's curve. The US peaked in the 1970s. The Saudi fields likely peaked sometime last year.

Iraq holds 13% of the world's known usable oil reserves.
That's why we're there. We're there because the powers that be don't want to be the asshole left holding the short straw with the empty grocery cart and gas tank in the next few decades.

The Caspian fields were supposed to be the miracle that would stave off thinking about this crisis for another 20-30 years, but the oil just wasn't there in the quantities hoped for. The right way to tackle the problem would be to work toward real-world alternative energy solutions, while using our once-vaunted position of world leadership to make sure that we use what's left equitably and intelligently.

Instead, it's a dishonest and disorganized scramble to grab what's left and make a tidy profit on the way.

The dilemma, and the unspoken agreement between the world powers that have caught on (US, Russia, China, UK, others,) is how to wrangle, jockey for, and divvy up these energy resources on the sly, without alerting the general populace.

9/11, the "global war on terror," all of this is a farce and a manipulation. The global war on terror is more accurately, the "global war for petroleum reserves and safe routes to transport them."

Everything else is just smoke and mirrors.
posted by stenseng at 11:36 PM on December 15, 2005


I was going to agree and disagree with several points and arguments in this thread but I'm afraid history will later embarass me when some space-baby is reading the entire internet for fun, so I'll just say that, assuming it really happened the way we hope it did, this election is excellent news and I hope the Iraqis can establish a stable, peaceful, moderate nation.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 12:26 AM on December 16, 2005


the balls to flout the Euro-weasels

And also let's not forget - let's not forget, Dude - that keeping wildlife, uh . . . an amphibious rodent, for, um, you know, domestic . . . within the city . . . that ain't legal either.
posted by gompa at 12:55 AM on December 16, 2005


Can we just call him "Walter" from now on?
posted by spiderwire at 1:45 AM on December 16, 2005


That was well said, f&m and stenseng. If only those resources, squandered on this terrible enterprise and those frivolous tax cuts, could have been applied to fusion research.

Best of luck to the Iraqi people. To everyone. We'll need it.
posted by cytherea at 1:58 AM on December 16, 2005


What stenseng said.

And what f&m said too.

parisparamus - jeff gannon/guckert's sock puppet account (and there's a crusty mess in the sock)
posted by nofundy at 5:59 AM on December 16, 2005


Nofundy, why aren't you still banned here? Go back in the penalty box where you belong.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:15 AM on December 16, 2005


I honestly can't think of a single person on MeFi who doesn't wish for it to turn out good dios.

To be fair, human beings are often prone to wanting to be proven right. I'm sure no one fully & explicitly hopes for failure, but the satisfaction of saying "I told you so" is a very common human trait. My dad is very left wing & I'm more moderate, but since we both vote democrat he generally assumes I'm on the same page as him, and I do notice the barely suppressed gloating he exhibits when he talks about continuing problems in Iraq. I don't think it's unreasonable to suggest that there's a level at which some of the more ardent opponents of the invasion would feel vindicated by a total failure.

Black people in the US right now probably live in better conditions than they would be living in if their ancestors had not been captured and sold into slavery. Would we say that slavery was worth it and was a good idea because it wound up improving the lives of the descendants of Africans?

That's an entirely different scenario because the second part is a random and entirely unforeseen consequence of the first. In the case of Iraq, the purpose of the invasion was to overthrow Saddam and help set up a democracy. To suggest that if it ends up working, it had nothing to do with the invasion, is utterly disingenuous.

I do not feel that the US has a right to invade a sovereign nation and kill tens of thousands of their citizens to make way for a change in government form.

The US hasn't actually killed tens of thousands of the citizens; rather, it's instigated a civil war in which tens of thousands of Iraqis have been killed - but most of them have been killed by other iraqis. The question really is whether our getting involved in the politics of other sovereign nations is reasonable; the arguments for it include economic and humanitarian concerns, and the increasingly global political sphere, while the arguments against it include cultural relativism, "change must come from within", and the need to maintain respect for sovereignty. (though to be fair the respect for sovereignty is really a belief of the post WWI world - it's just that in the past countries invaded each other only for their own gain with no concern for the foreign citizens, while in this case the fate of the iraqis is part of the motivation, along with benefits to us in terms of stabilizing economics and international relations)

1) it's one thing to hold and win elections ... it's quite another to govern

absolutely true - we really aren't going to have a good perspective on this for decades, and even then it's not unlikely people will still be divided (as re: israel/palestine).
posted by mdn at 10:10 AM on December 16, 2005


Paris, why don't you crawl back under the scummy rock where you belong? Go jerk off to Ayn Rand or something.
posted by stenseng at 11:23 AM on December 16, 2005


The US hasn't actually killed tens of thousands of the citizens; rather, it's instigated a civil war in which tens of thousands of Iraqis have been killed - but most of them have been killed by other iraqis.

That is not true:

Iraqi Civilian Deaths Increase Dramatically After Invasion

Civilian deaths have risen dramatically in Iraq since the country was invaded in March 2003, according to a survey conducted by researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Columbia University School of Nursing and Al-Mustansiriya University in Baghdad. The researchers found that the majority of deaths were attributed to violence, which were primarily the result of military actions by Coalition forces. Most of those killed by Coalition forces were women and children. However, the researchers stressed that they found no evidence of improper conduct by the Coalition soldiers.

The survey is the first countrywide attempt to calculate the number of civilian deaths in Iraq since the war began. The United States military does not keep records on civilian deaths and record keeping by the Iraq Ministry of Health is limited. The study is published in the October 29, 2004, online edition of The Lancet.

“Our findings need to be independently verified with a larger sample group. However, I think our survey demonstrates the importance of collecting civilian casualty information during a war and that it can be done,” said lead author Les Roberts, PhD, an associate with the Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for International Emergency, Disaster and Refugee Studies.

The researchers conducted their survey in September 2004. They randomly selected 33 neighborhoods of 30 homes from across Iraq and interviewed the residents about the number and ages of the people living in each home. Over 7,800 Iraqis were included. Residents were questioned about the number of births and deaths that occurred in the household since January 2002. Information was also collected about the causes and circumstances of each death. When possible, the deaths were verified with a death certificate or other documentation.

The researchers compared the mortality rate among civilians in Iraq during the 14.6 months prior to the March 2003 invasion with the 17.8 month period following the invasion. The sample group reported 46 deaths prior to the March 2003 and 142 deaths following the invasion. The results were calculated twice, both with and without information from the city of Falluja. The researchers felt the excessive violence from combat in Falluja could skew the overall mortality rates. Excluding information from Falluja, they estimate that 100,000 more Iraqis died than would have been expected had the invasion not occurred. Eighty-four percent of the violent deaths were reported to be caused by the actions of Coalition forces and 95 percent of those deaths were due to air strikes and artillery.


Why U.S. Media Dismissed the Lancet Study of 100,000 Iraqi Civilian Dead

The Chronicle of Higher Education today has a top-drawer article about the researchers from Johns Hopkins and Columbia Universities who published the study in the British medical journal The Lancet suggesting there were 100,000 Iraqi civilian dead from the war and the occupation. Lila Guterman, the article's author, notes that, "On the eve of a contentious presidential election -- fought in part over U.S. policy on Iraq -- many American newspapers and television news programs ignored the study or buried reports about it far from the top headlines."

The Chronicle article recounts in detail the methdology used for the study's 8000 interviews, in which 30 homes in each of 33 neighborhoods all over Iraq were visited. And other statisticins confirm the validity of the Lancet study's methdology: "Scientists say the size of the survey was adequate for extrapolation to the entire country. 'That's a classical sample size,' says Michael J. Toole, head of the Center for International Health at the Burnet Institute, an Australian research organization. Researchers typically conduct surveys in 30 neighborhoods, so the Iraq study's total of 33 strengthens its conclusions. 'I just don't see any evidence of significant exaggeration,' he says.

The researchers, including Johns Hopkins' Les Roberts--whose previous mortality statistics of conflicts had been used as fact by both the State Department and the U.N.--were particularly shocked by their findings in Fallujah:

"The Fallujah data were chilling: 53 deaths had taken place in the study's 30 households there since the invasion commenced, on March 19, 2003. In the other 32 neighborhoods combined, the researchers had counted 89 deaths. While 21 of the deaths elsewhere were attributable to violence, in Fallujah 52 of the 53 deaths were due to violence.

"The number of deaths in Fallujah was so much higher than in other locations that the researchers excluded the data from their overall estimate as a statistical outlier. Because of that, Mr. Roberts says, chances are good that the actual number of deaths caused by the invasion and occupation is higher than 100,000.


This American Life had an interview with Johns Hopkins' Les Roberts--What's In A Number

About a year ago, a study estimated the number of Iraqi casualties since the war began. It came up with a number – 100,000 dead – that was higher than any other estimate, and was mostly ignored. This week, Alex Blumberg revisits that study to look at the reality behind it. In Act One he reports that not only is the study probably accurate, but it says that most of the deaths were caused by Coalition forces (despite concerted efforts to avoid civilian casualties). In Act Two, we hear U.S. forces trying to cope in the aftermath of some of those deaths.

You can listen to it here.

The 100, 000 of the John Hopkins survey was derived scientifically. The figure of 300,000 Iraqi deaths at the hands of Saddam is derived from a estimate published in a position paper put out by Human Rights Watch which, if I recall correctly, may have included those soldiers killed during the Iraq-Iran War. Human Rights Watch admitted it was at best a guess. This figure was subsequently inflated for propaganda purposes by figures in the US and UK governments to first 400,000 and then, later, 1,000,000 dead--with no science or evidence to back up said inflations.

So far, the number of bodies recovered from mass graves in Iraq number less than 10,000 and many of those corpses are soldiers killed in the Iran-Iraq War. If we wish to add such military deaths, then there are the 100,000 Iraqi soldiers killed in the first Gulf War to be added to the total.

Number of Iraqi Mass Graves Cited in USAID Report Discredited

the Observer revealed that a claim by Tony Blair that "400,000 bodies had been found in Iraqi mass graves" was false and that o­nly 5,000 bodies have been discovered so far. Tony Blair's claim was prominently featured in a report entitled Iraq's Legacy of Terror: Mass Graves that was published by USAID and remains unchanged o­n its website...

It comes amid inflation from an estimate by Human Rights Watch in May 2003 of 290 000 "missing" to the latest claims by the Iraqi Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, that o­ne million are missing.

At the heart of the questions are the numbers so far identified in Iraq's graves. Of 270 suspected grave sites identified in the last year, 55 have now been examined, revealing -- according to the best estimates that The Observer has been able to obtain -- about 5 000 bodies.


Let it be noted that by far the bulk of Saddam's killings happened well before 1992.

It is quite likely by now that the the number of civilians killed by Coalition forces alone far outstrips the number of civilians killed by Saddam during his entire reign.
posted by y2karl at 12:33 PM on December 16, 2005


That was 100,000 deaths as of October, 2004, let it be noted.

As for Iraqis killing Iraqis, Robert Fisk reported seeing a report in the Baghdad Morgue in August of this year that listed 1000 deaths for the month of July 2005 alone.

July was the bloodiest month in Baghdad's modern history - in all, 1,100 bodies were brought to the city's mortuary; executed for the most part, eviscerated, stabbed, bludgeoned, tortured to death. The figure is secret.

We are not supposed to know that the Iraqi capital's death toll last month was only 700 short of the total American fatalities in Iraq since April of 2003. Of the dead, 963 were men - many with their hands bound, their eyes taped and bullets in their heads - and 137 women. The statistics are as shameful as they are horrifying. For these are the men and women we supposedly came to "liberate" - and about whose fate we do not care.

The figures for this month cannot, of course, yet be calculated. But last Sunday, the mortuary received the bodies of 36 men and women, all killed by violence. By 8am on Monday, nine more human remains had been received. By midday, the figure had reached 25.


Secrets of the Morgue: Baghdad's Body Count

See also

Because of the timing of the study's release, and the fact that Roberts was outspoken against the war, the study was discredited in the press and given little coverage. The study was said to be deeply flawed because the methodology was corrupt and the samples weren't random, but as the This American Life story demonstrates, the study's methodology was sound and the samples were completely random. In fact, Roberts is the world's leading researcher on war-caused civilian deaths and his studies of Congo and Kosovo are widely cited across the political spectrum (and by the government). It is only his Iraq study, which used identical techniques as his others, that is flawed, a curious coincidence given how "we don't do body counts."

To be as fair as possible, Roberts didn't include numbers from Falluja, though they had surveyed that city. The numbers of civilians killed during the seige were so high Roberts feared they would have inaccurately skewed the other results, so they only averaged the deaths in the thirty-one other communities they surveyed. Watching Operation:Dreamland I thought about those high numbers. I thought about how so many Iraqi families were torn apart, and how so many soldiers came home with their minds impossibly heavy with nightmares of the civilians they had killed. Of the 100,000 dead, more than 50% were women and children.


The Falluja Nightmare And Our Unknown Numbers
posted by y2karl at 12:46 PM on December 16, 2005


Inforce is one of many teams of scientists from Europe that has carried out initial forensic tests on grave sites, to verify that they are graves and to estimate how old they might be. Forrest's team worked in Iraq for five months last year. "I do not believe that any forensic scientists have exhumed any bodies in Iraq at all," he says.

With no evidence by way of officially exhumed bodies, how did the coalition arrive at the estimate of 300,000 buried in mass graves? Levison says there is an "international consensus" that this number of Iraqis perished under the Ba'athists. Forrest believes that he might, inadvertently, have played a part in giving prominence to this figure. He says journalists in Iraq constantly asked his team how many were in the graves. "So we adopted the Human Rights Watch figure of 290,000, and rounded it up to 300,000."

Yet HRW's figure is an estimate for the number of Iraqis who disappeared under the Ba'athists, "many of whom are believed to have been killed" - not for the number buried in mass graves. HRW itself refuses to use its figure of 290,000 as an estimate for the number of bodies in mass graves. The group's senior researcher in Baghdad says: "How can we conclude that they are all in mass graves? We won't know that until there have been full-scale exhumations of the grave sites. There have been no official exhumations yet."

The estimate of 300,000 Iraqis killed by the Ba'athists also includes deaths for which the western powers arguably bear some responsibility. According to the US state department, most of the graves discovered to date correspond to five major atrocities committed by the Saddam Hussein regime: the 1983 attack against Kurds of the Barzani tribe; the 1988 Anfal campaign against the Kurds, for which estimates of the numbers killed vary from 50,000 to 180,000; chemical attacks against Kurdish villages from 1986 to 1988; the 1991 massacre of Shia Muslims during their uprising at the end of the Gulf war; and the 1991 massacre of Kurds who fought for autonomy in northern Iraq after the Gulf war.

Saddam's brutal attacks on the Kurds in the 1980s occurred as part of the Iran-Iraq war, during which the Reagan administration supported and armed his regime. When that war ended in 1988 Saddam sought to consolidate his rule at home; in the Anfal campaign he sent forces to quell the Kurdish uprising in the north (supported by the Iranians), again with US consent. The massacre of the Shias in 1991 took place after they were encouraged by the first Bush administration to rebel following the first Gulf war, and then abandoned to their fate.


Unrecorded victims
posted by y2karl at 12:53 PM on December 16, 2005


I'll link to the December 15th update of the Brooking's Institute Iraq Index again, where they use Amnesty International, Iraq Body Count, HRO Iraq and various other sources to arrive at the figure of roughly 30,000 dead Iraqi civilians from acts of aggression without differentiating between American, insurgent or other culpability. I'll leave it to you to determine who's been more responsible for the daily deaths of civilians in Iraq lately. By the way, without posting the entire report, Both Amnesty and the Shaik Omar Clinic in Baghdad reported roughly 10,000 dead civilians in September 2004. Nowhere near 100,000.
posted by loquax at 12:56 PM on December 16, 2005


...Roberts is the world's leading researcher on war-caused civilian deaths and his studies of Congo and Kosovo are widely cited across the political spectrum (and by the government).

100,000 deaths. The figure, according to Roberts, is not the high end. The total number is quite possibly higher.

Eighty-four percent of the violent deaths were reported to be caused by the actions of Coalition forces and 95 percent of those deaths were due to air strikes and artillery.

... 'That's a classical sample size,' says Michael J. Toole, head of the Center for International Health at the Burnet Institute, an Australian research organization. Researchers typically conduct surveys in 30 neighborhoods, so the Iraq study's total of 33 strengthens its conclusions. 'I just don't see any evidence of significant exaggeration,' he says.

Roberts differentiated between the cause of deaths becasue they asked detailed questions.

There is a very good reason the Coaliton has not kept records of civlian deaths. The carnage has been unbelievable. Air war is a classic example of risk transfer militarism.

Walzer also provided the fly in the ointment when he pointed out that “Simply not to intend the death of civilians is too easy. … What we look for in such cases is some sign of a positive commitment to save civilian lives. Civilians have a right to something more. And if saving civilian lives means risking soldiers’ lives, that risk must be accepted.” In risk-transfer war, this is precisely what is avoided at all costs.

This is the dark side of force protection.

You should listen to the This American Life program. In the Roberts interview, you get a thorough discussion of the survey and the rigor with which it was conducted. In another section, Marc Galasco, a man who was responsible for targeting air strikes is interviewed.

It is interesting to note that the acceptable limit for collateral damage is 1:30. The US Air Force is willing to kill up to 30 civilians in order to get one terrorist, insurgent, or what ever you wish to call them. 30 innocents for one bad guy. Galasco was quite proud of the work he did in targeting airstrikes. He did not contest the findings of the John Hopkins Survey.

Now Galasco works for Human Rights Watch in Iraq tracking down how many civilians have died there, which just shows that fiction has nothing on real life.

Nan Laird, a professor of biostatistics at the Harvard School of Public Health, who was not involved with the study, says that she believes both the analysis and the data-gathering techniques used by Dr Roberts to be sound. She points out the possibility of “recall bias”—people may have reported more deaths more recently because they did not recall earlier ones. However, because most people do not forget about the death of a family member, she thinks that this effect, if present, would be small. Arthur Dempster, also a professor of statistics at Harvard, though in a different department from Dr Laird, agrees that the methodology in both design and analysis is at the standard professional level. However, he raises the concern that because violence can be very localised, a sample of 33 clusters really might be too small to be representative.

This concern is highlighted by the case of one cluster which, as the luck of the draw had it, ended up being in the war-torn city of Fallujah. This cluster had many more deaths, and many more violent deaths, than any of the others. For this reason, the researchers omitted it from their analysis—the estimate of 98,000 was made without including the Fallujah data. If it had been included, that estimate would have been significantly higher.

The Fallujah data-point highlights how the variable distribution of deaths in a war can make it difficult to make estimates. But Scott Zeger, the head of the department of biostatistics at Johns Hopkins, who performed the statistical analysis in the study, points out that clustered sampling is the rule rather than the exception in public-health studies, and that the patterns of deaths caused by epidemics are also very variable by location...

Reporters do not actively go out to many random areas and see if anyone has been killed in a violent attack, but wait for reports to come in. And, Dr Roberts says, passive-surveillance systems tend to undercount mortality. For instance, when he was head of health policy for the International Rescue Committee in the Congo, in 2001, he found that only 7% of meningitis deaths in an outbreak were recorded by the IRC's passive system.

The study is not perfect. But then it does not claim to be. The way forward is to duplicate the Lancet study independently, and at a larger scale. Josef Stalin once claimed that a single death is a tragedy, but a million deaths a mere statistic. Such cynicism should not be allowed to prevail, especially in a conflict in which many more lives are at stake. Iraq seems to be a case where more statistics are sorely needed


The Economist: Counting the casualties

See also "Media Spin" on Civilian Iraqi Deaths

Mortality before and after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: cluster sample survey

"Violent deaths were widespread, reported in 15 of 33 clusters, and were mainly attributed to coalition forces. Most individuals reportedly killed by coalition forces were women and children."

"Making conservative assumptions, we think that about 100,000 excess deaths, or more have happened since the 2003 invasion of Iraq,"


The researchers blamed air strikes for many of the deaths.

"What we have evidence of is the use of air power in populated urban areas and the bad consequences of it," Roberts said.

Gilbert Burnham, who collaborated on the research, said U.S. military action in Iraq was "very bad for Iraqi civilians."

"We were not expecting the level of deaths from violence that we found in this study and we hope this will lead to some serious discussions of how military and political aims can be achieved in a way that is not so detrimental to civilians populations," he told Reuters in an interview.


The researchers did 33 cluster surveys of 30 households each, recording the date, circumstances and cause of deaths.

They found that the risk of death from violence in the period after the invasion was 58 times higher than before the war.


The following is from an interview that is part of a Democracy Now program broadcast Wednesday December 14, 2005:


Study Shows Civilian Death Toll in Iraq More Than 100,000


Juan Gonzalez Welcome. Your reaction to the President finally saying something about the civilian deaths, and his numbers?

Les Roberts: I have a couple of reactions. I guess, politically, he has to downplay this issue, but for him to say a number, that of the eight estimates out there is probably the lowest one, really is not a strategic thing to do in terms of winning hearts and minds in Iraq. Secondly, I’m even more struck that here a year after our study came out, the first time the President has been asked about this was not by a reporter, but by someone from the public when he took a question...


Juan Gonzalez: Your study, when it came out, came under enormous attack, especially from conservative forces here in the United States. Do you still stand by the methodology, and could you talk a little bit about that methodology?

Les Roberts: Sure. What we did was the standard way of estimating malnutrition and immunization coverage and mortality in the developing world. We got a list of how many people lived in what cities and towns and villages. We randomly allocated 33 points, in which we would go visit, and we went out to the villages or towns and picked up that point, and visited the 30 houses close. We’ve got 33 neighborhoods. We visited 30 houses in each one. And we asked people: Who lives here now? Who lived here the first of January, 2002? Had anyone been born? Had anyone died? And at the end of the interview, if they had reported someone dead, on a sub-sample, we asked, can you show us the death certificate? And about 82% of the time, they could do that. And we found that the death rate after the invasion was far, far higher than before.

The criticism of our report isn't in the method. It isn’t in the validity of our conclusion that mortality is up. It's in the imprecision. And the reason that the imprecision was so high was in part because one of the randomly picked neighborhoods was in the city of Fallujah, and while in most neighborhoods about 2% of the population had died, in Fallujah about a quarter of the population in those houses left, where we knocked on the door, had died. And as a result, we had this really huge death toll attributable to Fallujah, less than that in our other 32 neighborhoods. So, what we did was we said, okay. We're going to set that Fallujah number aside and report that we think in all of those other neighborhoods, essentially, outside of Anbar Province, we think 100,000 are dead. And we're only 90% sure it's more than 44,000. So there's a distribution around that, and it's possible it could have been 90, and it's possible it could have been 110. But we said, well, when you consider then Anbar Province, as well, the chances that it’s under 100,000 are very, very low.

That was a little nuance, I think, for the press to pick it up as a sound bite. And so, those who attacked us did not attack us for our methods. In fact, I think, if you read the reviews in the Wall Street Journal or The Economist, of what we did, the scientific community is quite soundly behind our approach. The criticism is of the imprecision. But realize the imprecision is: Was it 100,000 or was it 200,000? The question wasn't: Was it only 30 or 40? There's no chance it could have been only 30 or 40.


The program revisited the John Hopkins Study after President Bush named a figure of 30,000 Iraqi civilian deaths on Monday. As you can see, Roberts believes that is an absurdly low figure.
posted by y2karl at 5:29 PM on December 16, 2005


I had to go back and see what this FPP was about after all that.

Back on the topic; watch for Sunni, Kurd and secular Shia to form a bloc in opposition to the religious Shia supported by Iran.

And if, god forbid, dios had posted such a verbose derail as is above, the shit tosser brigade would be going ballistic.
posted by stirfry at 6:43 PM on December 16, 2005


The US was patrolling the no-fly zones in the north and south of Iraq, and probably had the whole country blanketed with satellites, and that was before the run-up to war. We were told we had true, well-documented evidence of tons and tons of stockpiled WMD. If there were any, why didn't we see them being shipped to Syria?
posted by kirkaracha at 8:11 PM on December 16, 2005


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