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Four Thousand U.S. soldiers dead in Iraq
March 23, 2008 8:25 PM   Subscribe

Four Thousand.
posted by XQUZYPHYR (126 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
+1
posted by mazola at 8:31 PM on March 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


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posted by brevator at 8:32 PM on March 23, 2008 [17 favorites]


Four thousand life sentenced for GWB.
posted by Inversehelix at 8:34 PM on March 23, 2008


.
posted by ornate insect at 8:35 PM on March 23, 2008


What else ya got?
posted by docpops at 8:37 PM on March 23, 2008


Hey, at least it's for a good cause, right? Terrorism and all that.

(sigh. According to Wikipedia, this is 1002 more people dead than those who died in 9/11.)
posted by flatluigi at 8:37 PM on March 23, 2008


Eighty two thousand, two hundred and sixty five - Eighty nine thousand, seven hundred and seventy eight
posted by papakwanz at 8:38 PM on March 23, 2008 [5 favorites]


Bring It On!
posted by Balisong at 8:40 PM on March 23, 2008


This number doesn't include the wounded and killed civilian contractors over there, does it? I saw the number eight in the article but it has to be so much more than that.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:40 PM on March 23, 2008


82,267 – 89,778 Iraqi civilians

maybe more.
posted by andythebean at 8:41 PM on March 23, 2008 [4 favorites]


.
posted by Unioncat at 8:44 PM on March 23, 2008


You have over 4000 comments. God kills one every time you comment.
posted by jeblis at 8:47 PM on March 23, 2008


The Iraq body count is bullshit. The basis is only news reports of deaths. If a death dosn't get reported, it doesn't show up in the IBC.

The lancet study is totally reasonable.
posted by delmoi at 8:52 PM on March 23, 2008 [5 favorites]


Mission Accomplished



.
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 9:01 PM on March 23, 2008


Let's not forget the one or two million Iraqi civilians who have been displaced because of the invasion and occupation.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:02 PM on March 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


damn...

After five years, nothing has been gained, people continue to die, we continue to lose the respect of the world.

This occupation needs to end...please do everything YOU can to communicate this to those that can make a difference.
posted by HuronBob at 9:07 PM on March 23, 2008


Golly, just think how many it could be if McCain gets his way with the whole hundred years thing.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:12 PM on March 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Imagine how many US soldiers would've been killed by now if we were losing.

.
posted by Poolio at 9:13 PM on March 23, 2008


That was sarcasm, BTW.
posted by Poolio at 9:13 PM on March 23, 2008


Hows the whole "let's help everyone implement the ethnic cleansing of their choice and hope they don't bother us" plan going?
posted by Artw at 9:14 PM on March 23, 2008


.
posted by sugarfish at 9:21 PM on March 23, 2008


This number doesn't include the wounded and killed civilian contractors over there, does it? I saw the number eight in the article but it has to be so much more than that.

Contractors or killers for hire mercenaries professional bodyguards?
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:27 PM on March 23, 2008


It is times like this when I'm reminded of Soren Kierkegaard.
posted by humanfont at 9:30 PM on March 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


This occupation needs to end...please do everything YOU can to communicate this to those that can make a difference.

Unfortunately ol' George stopped taking my calls after he got all boring and found Jesus. He used to be a lot cooler when we were blowing lines in the Waffle House bathroom.
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 9:32 PM on March 23, 2008


If ever we needed Rage Against the Machine. . .
posted by Inversehelix at 9:35 PM on March 23, 2008


Does this figure take into account the many soldiers that die while getting medical attention (for wounds inflicted in the Iraq battlefield) in army bases such as the one(s?) in Germany?
posted by papafrita at 9:46 PM on March 23, 2008


Casualty rates are similar to Viet Nam - when you remember battlefield medicine is 40 years more advanced, and what would have killed someone dead in 'Nam would now merely cripple and maim for life.

Head trauma is particularly rife, as those cool nazi-looking kevlar helmets (called "Panzer Helmets" by those who wear them) do little to protect you from concussions caused by nearby explosions. This causes a lifetime of physical and psychiatric anguish, but hey, they =look= fine, so back off to the front they go.

The official Pentagon number is close to twenty-four thousand wounded, Iraq and Afghanistan both. In reality, the VA has a hundred and fifty thousand claims of disability from GWOT veterans. If you filter out the usual workman's comp stuff for non-combat injuries, there's still an order of magnitude discrepancy.

Anecdotal evidence shows me that one of my childhood friends is dead, and another who was one of the first marines on the ground in Afghanistan has severe PTSD... and has been ordered back, indefinitely after a temporary medical discharge. We're not talking cold feet wimpishness, we're talking wakes-up-screaming-every-night. He has stories of flicking the eyes of dead Al Quaeda combatants to make sure they were dead and not faking long enough to pull the pin on a grenade. He's OK with that. It's the stuff he starts to talk about and then can't that worries me.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:46 PM on March 23, 2008 [8 favorites]


I reckon I'll get shit for this. Caveats: I'm no blood crazed neo-con. I kill only ticks, roaches, sometimes ants and some of the meat I consume. I was raised to not kill except for safety or food.

However, since the start these numbers re Iraq have been brandied about and I've just never understood the celebration of something that's a net positive as a reason to end the war. Some numbers:

620,000 soldier deaths US Civil War (1861–1865) out of a general population of only 31,443,321, or much smaller than the size of Mexico City and NYC combined.

WWI 291,557 15 million (Worldwide)
WWII 1940–1945 300,000 (Americans only)

Worldwide, WWII 55 million to over 70 million, including Babi Yar, Ukraine, 33,771, dead in 36 hours.

Korea (1950–1953)

36,516 dead (including 2,830 non-combat)
92,134 wounded
8,176 MIA
7,245 POW

South Korea:
58,127 combat deaths
175,743 wounded
80,000 MIA or POW

North Korea:
215,000 dead,
303,000 wounded,
120,000 MIA or POW

China
400,000+ dead
486,000 wounded
21,000 POW

More than 58,000 US military personnel died in Vietnam (1964–1975)
South Vietnam dead: ~250,000; wounded: ~1,170,000
North Vietnam & NLF dead/missing: ~560,000
wounded: 600,000
Vietnamese civilian dead: 2,000,000*
Cambodian civilian dead: ~700,000*
Laotian civilian dead: ~50,000*

Rwanda, 800,000 in 3 months.

WWII Anglo-American bombing of German cities claimed up to 600,000 civilian lives,
The city of London was heavily bombed by the German Luftwaffe from September, 1940 to May, 1941 during their blitz of Britain; at one point the city was bombed for 57 straight nights.


And on and on. I'm concurrently reading 3 books, Chris Bellamy's Absolute War, James Sheehan's Where have All The Soldiers Gone (5 stars) and Lenin, Stalin and Hitler, by Robt. Gellately. I, as a State's Rights Southerner, read Sherman's Memoirs annually.

“War is cruelty. There's no use trying to reform it. The crueler it is, the sooner it will be over.”

“It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation. War is hell.”

“You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out. I know I had no hand in making this war, and I know I will make more sacrifices to-day than any of you to secure peace.”

My grandfather, who like most fault in WWI and II broke with a long family tradition to vote for Eisenhower becase he, much like Barack, vowed to 'bring our boys home' from Korea. Which action left us with North Korea of course.

I mourn the death of any sentient being. One death is horrific. I am not making a stand here on the War Against Terror, I am pointing out that the causality rates are almost ridiculously low.

An average of 114 people die each day in car crashes in the U.S over 40,000 in the past 5 years. That's more per day, on average, than per month in Iraq.

I just don't get the hysteria, if this is war. Perhaps you hate this particular war, (and really all sane people hate all war) but pointing to the death count does not lend credence to yr cause. Indeed this low death rate is unprecedented and, one hope, indicative of how future wars will be fought. 4000 troops in 5 years, 3000 souls on 9/11 in 5 hours.
If we do have a just war (and I'm giving the benefit of the doubt that this one isn't) we are in deep shit if we can't absorb 3 US Solider deaths a day.
posted by dawson at 9:48 PM on March 23, 2008 [7 favorites]


Little known fact: the first combat casualty of this war, according to the US military, was a Guatemalan, Jose Gutierrez.

Siempre habrán más que mueran buscando el sueño americano. Descansá en paz, mano.
posted by papafrita at 9:49 PM on March 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


.

I feel really guilty for having made commitments that kept me busy last Wednesday. I should have been in the street with a bullhorn and a huge sign. I remember painting a huge banner in January of 2003: "Will they die for your SUV?" with a big gas pump on it. The writeup in the paper amounted to this.

People, why is my generation so crappy? I camped out with... a dozen people? on a campus of ~25k? Where are the protests? walkouts? Where is/was the *meatspace* outrage? depressing. :(
posted by tarheelcoxn at 9:53 PM on March 23, 2008


Dawson, I think the point is 4000 dead for a pointless war. Add in the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis that died so Bush and Cheney could have a little pet project (and make themselves and their friends wealthy) and I think you see the root of the disdain.
posted by subaruwrx at 9:56 PM on March 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


dawson: I think pointing at the death count is supposed to be saying "I don't like this war, I don't want this war, there's no reason for us to still be fighting this war, look at how many people have died, why are we still there?"

It isn't a question of how many soldiers are dying, it's why they're dying. We're in Iraq now trying to make up for usurping their government under false pretenses of stopping Saddam and his WMDs in a war started by an attack by a person from Afghanistan still at large. Their deaths, frankly, are going towards a goal that wouldn't have been there if we had just gone after bin Laden.

(forgive me, I don't usually talk about this and I'm less eloquent than usual.)
posted by flatluigi at 10:01 PM on March 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Unicorn on the cob, as of June 30, 2007 government figures show 1,001 contractors had died in Iraq since the start of the war.

Well more than 100 journalists have also been killed in the war.
posted by madamjujujive at 10:10 PM on March 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


I respect that subaruwrx, it's just that I'm not so sure it is a pointless war. I mean, most wars are pointless if you take a hard pacifist view. Of course, I hate any pointless death, and as I hope I indicated in my rambling post, particularity civilian ones. I plan to vote for Obama. So in a sense it's moot for me to argue it anyway I suppose. I just would prefer to see reasoned arguments against the war as tactically and morally wrong rather than the death toll trotted out. Because frankly, that amazes me in a good way more than anything. I mean, wow.
flatluigi,I also respect yr valid points. And as far as being eloquent, my God man, look at the grammatical/spelling error ridden train wreck of my previous post and you'll feel like Cicero.
posted by dawson at 10:11 PM on March 23, 2008


I just don't get the hysteria

no one's hysterical - isn't there a walmart you should be shopping at?
posted by pyramid termite at 10:12 PM on March 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


Removing two letters from a four-letter, one-syllable word does not lend credence to your comment, Dawson.
posted by emelenjr at 10:17 PM on March 23, 2008


"caveats: I'm no blood crazed neo-con"

vs.

"However as one of those oddities who actually respect and adore Geo. W. Bush"

we are in deep shit if we can't absorb 3 US Solider deaths a day

Spoken like a true neocon. There's really no reaching you. We can only Thank Jeebus that you are in a declining, discredited, & retiring minority and not the expanding power bloc of 5-6 years ago.
posted by tachikaze at 10:17 PM on March 23, 2008


SubaruWRX at 20mpg city doesn't understand why we are in Iraq.
posted by humanfont at 10:18 PM on March 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


isn't there a walmart you should be shopping at?

beg pardon? somethings lost in translation here I guess...


and perhaps no one in this thread is hysterical, but yes, many people are bat shit insane about this very thing. Or maybe we are in the wrong thread, was this the askme one about penis size I've been commenting in?

Good one, tachikaze. You are so clever, sir! And know me so well.
posted by dawson at 10:18 PM on March 23, 2008


Dawson: Why, in your opinion, is this war not pointless? I'd like to hear your side.
posted by flatluigi at 10:22 PM on March 23, 2008


dawson. Another way of looking at this, thankfully, is that American's citizen's stomachs for war are growing queasier each decade - and that's a good thing.

A death count is always relevant. And we always try to judge it based on the perspective of its worth. Yes, hundreds of thousands die in car accidents each year. While we try, in broad terms, to make driving safer, from a cold, clinical perspective those deaths are considered the price society is okay with bearing for the convenience of automobiles.

The reasons for the second Iraq War aside, the death toll - irrespective of the number of soldiers in the the conflict - has been judged, by the vast majority of your population, to be not worth the gain (indeed, part of the debate is if there is any gain to be had at all). That is a judgement on its own rights, in its own time, and shouldn't be compared to past conflicts, except to say that the US public's support for war is faltering - and that, in itself, is a decent thing.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 10:27 PM on March 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


flatluigi, again, with respect, I didn't want to get into that for the obvious reason that it can't end well. However I'm pretty impervious to internet insults and you seem sincere so I'll give it a brief go. Let me scare up a few supporting links, and again, note I said I'm no so sure.
posted by dawson at 10:29 PM on March 23, 2008


4000 American deaths in Iraq. A number, much like the stock market, that will always go up.
posted by Avenger at 10:52 PM on March 23, 2008


I didn't want to get into that for the obvious reason that it can't end well.

but, I thought you were for the war?
posted by ODiV at 10:52 PM on March 23, 2008


Most people aren't, ODiV, and bringing up an opinion that largely differs from the majority usually leads to a lot of argument. That said, could we wait a sec for him to bring up his opinion fully before bashing it?
posted by flatluigi at 10:55 PM on March 23, 2008


I wasn't bashing his opinion at all. Just making a bad throwaway joke on his phrasing. No offense meant and hopefully none taken. I'll duck out now.
posted by ODiV at 10:57 PM on March 23, 2008


That wasn't towards you, sorry.
posted by flatluigi at 10:59 PM on March 23, 2008


Dawson:

a) What exactly does being a "State's Rights Southerner" mean? Is that code for being a redneck, a Republican, a racist, or all of the above? And how exactly is it in any way relevant to your post?

b) Were the stats you posted really necessary? Did you really think anyone here was not aware that the American casualties in Iraq were low when compared to all the major wars we've fought?

c) "4000 troops in 5 years, 3000 souls on 9/11 in 5 hours." I cannot but marvel at this word choice: troops vs. souls. Moreover, the juxtaposition seems to beg the question: since the former death count is demonstrably unrelated (save for the lies the Bush administration used to relate them) to the latter, was there something here you were trying to tell us?

d) You want to have it both ways in your nitpicky, callous, tone deaf post: on the one hand, you assure us that you "mourn the death of any sentient being," and yet you want to score some academic point about how remarkably low, in your estimation, the casualty rate is. Which is it: how can you both admit that there is no moral calculus to this, and yet insist we marvel at what you see as a low number?

e) Why is it you give us the Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian casualties, the Rwanda casualties, and yet to fail to list the Iraqi casualties (estimated at anywhere between 90,000 and one million)? Is it b/c it weakens your "argument"?

f) The "hysteria" remark is just a strawman, and a really cowardly, disgusting one at that. People want this unnecessary war to end and are saddened and sickened by the deaths. What you call "hysteria" is in fact grievance, mourning, justifiable anger, and frustration.

g) Maybe a diary marking the tragic "milestone" of the 4000th US soldier casualty in Iraq was not the best place to raise your fussy and arid points? It's a little like bringing up your dislike of someone while attending their funeral: i.e. obnoxious?
posted by ornate insect at 11:05 PM on March 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


flatluigi, unfortunally I can't locate the main link I was looking for, I have a hardcopy in another state. It's an interview with Claire Berlinski and hopefully I'll find it later and MeMail you.
Basically what I'm saying is that I am not well enough informed to make a decision as to whether the war is pointless or just. Many informed men and women agree that it is a necessary war. I don't like the thought of the US policing a nation for 50 years, but perhaps the UN could do so.
The antiwar crowd, for the most part, run on emotion, invective and slippery statistics. There are some brilliant men and women who have made a profession of the subjects involved in a war and who think this one is a bad idea.
I suppose I would say that, from where I sit, it's working. Low casualties, no attacks on the US mainland, etc.
But I simply don't have all the facts to declare unquestionably that the war is pointless.
Perhaps that is a slippery, disappointing answer, but again, is any war not ultimately pointless? I mean given that the earth will be gone in a few billion years anyway? I read the other day that the great Harry Truman, when still senator, suggested we take the side of the Nazis or the Soviets in WWII depending on which nation would be left most vulnerable to us after the major conflict.
Just to demand we pull out NOW is something I am not comfortable getting behind 100%. And I do think, in the long run, history will show that we've done more good than harm. I may be wrong. I don't see how I can be proven wrong at this point, however.


ODiV , I meant the discussion, not the war.
posted by dawson at 11:10 PM on March 23, 2008


I appreciate dawson's perspective on this, and agree with him on most points. Many people - at least here on MeFi - ARE "bat shit insane" over the war in general, and the number of deaths specifically. Every time a "round" number - or somehow symbolic number - of casualties is announced, they gin up their "war is evil! bushitler cheney oil!" cries. So yes, dawson's input and perspective are relevant.

And yes, the number of deaths is amazingly low. As noted by dawson, I agree that the deaths are horrific and sad, but compared to other wars, it is a testament to military technology and medicine that so many are NOT dying. And while the deaths (on all sides) are indeed cause for solemn reflection, they ARE making a difference for the better, one that will grow exponentially in the years, decades to come.
posted by davidmsc at 11:10 PM on March 23, 2008


*LEVEL UP*
posted by obiwanwasabi at 11:12 PM on March 23, 2008


Vietnam was a better war than WWII. Fewer dead Americans. This current ugliness is likely, given current trends, to be better yet.

It will, sadly, lose to the greatest American war of all time: Somalia. Like, barely a couple dozen dead.
posted by hackly_fracture at 11:18 PM on March 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


And while the deaths (on all sides) are indeed cause for solemn reflection pointless, they ARE making a difference for the better more terrorists and greater instability, that will grow exponentially in the years, decades to come.
posted by Avenger at 11:18 PM on March 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


dawson: I suppose I would say that, from where I sit, it's working. Low casualties, no attacks on the US mainland, etc.
But I simply don't have all the facts to declare unquestionably that the war is pointless.

Could you at least tell me what, in your opinion, this war is working towards? What is the point of this war? What are we fighting for?
posted by flatluigi at 11:24 PM on March 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


ornate insect:

Let me try to answer fairly but briefly.

point A: perhaps I should not have juxtaposed 'Southerner' with 'States rights'. I meant that as a Southerner, it would not always be expected that I would be a fan of Sherman, who fault very dirty to put it mildly.
By states rights, I am going back to Lincoln literally suspending habeas corpus and reinventing the States United into the United States. In short, we do not have the country the founders envisioned. The states should have been allows to succeed, just as any state should be able to today, for any reason. But we don't live in that America anymore.
I in no way am endorsing slavery and, in fact, was shocked when my Black African American studies teachers posited that blacks would have been much better off, and sooner, if the south would have won. But I hope I don't have to delve into that in this post. Perhaps I could sign them up and they would do the posting.

b) Well, what is necessary really? Was this OP necessary? It's just something I've felt passionate about for years and I have wondered if people really do realize how many lives are usually lost in war.

c) agreed that 'souls' was a poor word choice. I meant to draw a distinction between professional soldiers , armed and in a war zone with totally innocent people going to work.

d) sorry you find the fact laden post nitpicky ,callous and tone deaf. I attempted to make it NOT that way, but rather reasonable and measured. Buddhist, as you know, seldom kill (it's a fallacy to think that never do). My rinpoche told me once of a dilemma in a Tibetan monastery. Bugs were destroying the precious, centuries old parchment library. The short of the story. Kill sentient beings or preserve the sacred writings? Exterminators were brought in. So, it's like when 9/11 happened, for example. At one point over 50k were feared dead, when the number continued to drop to 'only' 3000 there was a sort of relief, no? In other words, I'm relieved it's 4000 and not 400,000.

e) because the Iraqi civilian casualties are not yet historical fact and by that I mean it's more guesswork at this point. Could be even higher. But since it's 1/3 less than in Vietnam. I wish I had included that, but frankly I was just pounding the keys and verifying facts, not building a careful analysis for a FPP.

f) You really don't know what I mean by hysteria? Obama is against the war in Iraq, but he isn't hysterical. John Murtha is, as are many uni students. Just view the college protests videos and tell me that's not irrational hysteria.

g) I like your tie, also. And I suppose you agree Gore Vidal was out of line spazzing on WFB after he was interred?

Obviously I won't be able to respond to every question tonight. And personal attacks I'll ignore. But I will do my best to give an honest reply to everyone as time permits.
posted by dawson at 11:37 PM on March 23, 2008


fault=fought, and etc...
posted by dawson at 11:38 PM on March 23, 2008


flatluigi :
Could you at least tell me what, in your opinion, this war is working towards? What is the point of this war? What are we fighting for?

I would hope this war is working towards keeping America, and all freedom loving democracies safe from attack.
I would hope that one point of this war would be to nit just throw up our hands in contempt, but to make a serious effort (like we did not do in Viet Nam) to bring stability and peace to the vast majority in the region who just want to work and play and eat and raise their children and sit around the fire at night free to listen to any music they wish to and to worship the God they believe in.
I would hope we are fighting to ensure that freedom, if not democracy, is placed within the grasp of millions of others who, like someone being gang raped, have no hope unless someone steps in.

I know there are arguments that it's all about W penis size and oil and whatnot, and if it is, it is. I tend to think those arguments are bullshit conspiracy fables. But I respect anyones right to have them without me insulting their intelligence.

Unlike many, I hope this will be judged as a 'good war', and generations to come will thank us. If I am wrong, God forgive me. I have ordered no one into war. My candidate is anti Iraqi war (but pro Afghanistan). My desire is not to be proven right on some internet forum, but that justice, truth and freedom will prevail.
I consider myself a cynical skeptic, perhaps I'm not so dead inside after all.
posted by dawson at 11:55 PM on March 23, 2008


Alright then, a second question. How does fighting this war in Iraq keep democracy safe?

A third question, which you may not feel you're prepared enough to answer, is this: Do you think that the people in Iraq are better off now than they were before we entered the country and overthrew the government?
posted by flatluigi at 12:02 AM on March 24, 2008


Tomorrow on Frontline: Bush's War
posted by homunculus at 12:05 AM on March 24, 2008


This may be my last reply tonight, not because you aren't asking great questions that I appreciate, but simply because it's nearing 3:30 AM in my current time zone and I have work tomorrow. All I mean is, I'm not dogging legit questions, and I'll be back.
At the risk of sounding trite, I think we are fighting the war there, rather than here. Sadly for the vast majority of Iraqis, that no more want war in their homeland than I do in mine, their former government allowed terrorist organizations in, gave them safe shelter and aided and abetted them.
By fighting there, it seems to me, though again I have freely admitted I am uninformed as I would like to be, but as informed as any civilian can be, that we are engaging the enemy on their home turf, almost always preferable in a war. Our presence has put the fear of God in Lybia among others.
It's a trite cliche perhaps, but freedom isn't free. It does have to be fought for. Is this the right war at the right place in the right time?
And yes, I absolutely do feel that the people are better off, based largely on the dozens of soldiers I know who have and are serving there.
Don't get me wrong, it's a hell hole, I wish we were not there, But then again I wish we had been in Japan in '43.
But beside the millions of dead, that war turned out OK didn't it?

And I liked a line I heard Obama deliver in a speech the other day, this is not Bush's war, it's our war now, he said. Not that Bush Derangement Syndrome blame game. Clinton would have started this war. He might have ended it sooner, but the war was on.
Boy does this make me uncomfortable, defending war.
posted by dawson at 12:26 AM on March 24, 2008


I think we are fighting the war there, rather than here.

Right there is where you went off the rails in your thinking. Chew on that sentence for a day or two and you'll figure it out.
posted by empath at 12:36 AM on March 24, 2008


Help me then, empath. I don't think I'm being obstinate or argumentative. And I know I'm not being dogmatic.
posted by dawson at 12:43 AM on March 24, 2008


and jeez, yr up late too
posted by dawson at 12:45 AM on March 24, 2008


The important question for me is why...

Why are we there? How did we get there?

Everyone talks about whether to vote for Hillary, Obama, McCain...

People focus on mudslinging, bosnian snipers, 3am telephone calls, presentation, experience, philandering husbands.

Some candidates voted for an invasion. Others voted against an invasion.

An invasion based on not bad intel, not mistakes, but blatant lies.

Why did they vote for it?

The cynical part of me thinks that focus groups that showed how the guise of patriotism played towards middle america.

The less cynical part thinks that politicians viewed it as a way to consolidate their own personal power base.

Now we're years later, hundreds of thousands wounded, thousands dead. Civilians, Military, Contractors..

To what end? What did we accomplish? What did we think we were going to accomplish?

And what do we do next?


I don't have an answer unfortunately..
posted by Lord_Pall at 12:51 AM on March 24, 2008


that's good, LP. almost poetry really.
posted by dawson at 12:58 AM on March 24, 2008


flatluigi
as time premits, would you also anwser yr own questions here? I'd honestly love to see what you (or anyone else who is grounded and not a shrill) will say in response to these questions. (Obviously, you'd have to flip some around).
Back in 10-20 hours.
posted by dawson at 1:26 AM on March 24, 2008


their former government allowed terrorist organizations in, gave them safe shelter and aided and abetted them.

one of your central misunderstandings -- you are apparently a walking, talking mass of misunderstanding -- is not understanding the complexities of Iraqi antipathy toward Americans, Israelis, Iranians, etc.

It is true that Saddam supported external terrorism eg. sending money to Palestianian suicide bomber families. This was popular, and decapitating the regime did not remove this popular sentiment from the population.

It is a common mistake among neocons and the general surviving Bushists to over-personalize the conflict to Saddam vs. Us, but the true situation is much more complex than that, and our wholesale slaughter of civilians there has not made us, or Israel, one whit safer over the long term.

but to make a serious effort (like we did not do in Viet Nam)

You apparently slept through American History when they covered the years 1962 through 1972. Granted, we as a nation dropped the ball in 1973-1975, but this was only due to the fatigue of bearing the costs of the war that we (in your cartoon world) were not fighting "seriously" for the previous 10 years.

We threw everything we had into Vietnam, short of repeating the same mistakes we made vis-a-vis China in Korea, or engaging in mass civil slaughter of the North. At the end of the adventure, we had a broken military, an overheated and fragile economy, tens of thousands of walking wounded, para- and quadriplegics, and the widows and grieving parents that 58000+ dead troops left behind, while by 1973 PAVN *still* controlled every battlefield we contested with them, from Con Thien to the Iron Triangle.

I absolutely do feel that the people are better off

except for the 50% of the population who are women and now find their government knuckling under to the cultural fascism of Sharia, the educated middle class who have been targets of an NKVD-scale liquidation campaign -- the intelligentsia are always a prime target in modern civil war. Heckuva liberation we've got going on, considering how advanced Iraq had become in that part of the world prior to the Iran-Iraq war. Oh, also not counting the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have been killed lo these past 5 years.

Clinton would have started this war. He might have ended it sooner, but the war was on.

Bullshit. He had 8 full years in office to start the war. There was no casus belli. Even the one we went in on was legally inoperative due to the UNSC not yielding to US pressure to rubber-stamp their approval in the run-up.

I don't see how I can be proven wrong at this point, however.

Indeed. That your can utter own self-contradictory words the way you do indicate a detachment from logic, facts, and philosophy that is breath-taking in its boldness.
posted by tachikaze at 2:23 AM on March 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


dawson: Not that Bush Derangement Syndrome blame game.

You do your point no credit by using this grossly dismissive label. Lots of people hate Bush and the people in his administration, and they have very good reasons that they do.
posted by JHarris at 3:02 AM on March 24, 2008


Just another village burning in the hills,
I saw it on the TV, just another thrill,
Someone else's problems, someone else's grief,
Someone else's children living on the planet,
We are in another world living on the planet,
We are in another world living on the planet, we are, we are.
It's just one of those places that never exist till you've been there,
It's just one of those things that you never will see till you wake up ...


~Fish; The Perception of Johnny Punter
posted by bwg at 4:06 AM on March 24, 2008


When 4000 deaths is an insufficient metric for opposition to this war and the circumstances under which it was launched we have truly missed the forest for the trees.

Alternative metrics:
1) Economic impact. We've currently spent $600 billion at last count, and that number doesn't include any projections for re-fitting our forces or caring for our veterans. This i believe is a good metric for considering the costs hidden by our advances in body armor. Casualties are casualties.

2) Geopolitical cost. What allies have we lost?

3) Opportunity cost. Will our forces in their current state be able to respond elsewhere if needed?

Those are just a few of the costs of any war, but I think they are sufficient to weigh against the gains we have yielded from the war. Those being...


.

So yeah, if you have anything to contribute to the other side of the scale I'd love to hear it. My personal calculus would have to see something pretty significant and equally quantifiable on the other end of my scales.
posted by butterstick at 5:20 AM on March 24, 2008


Us: "two thirds of us think this war is not worth fighting"

Cheney: "So?" *(That's Cheney, Dick Cheney, VPOTUS, who spent the 5th Anniversary of this Occupation fishing off the Sultan of Oman's royal yacht)

"Baghdad Morning" one of the better protest songs from this war (cut these guys some slack on the presentation, it was cold in Ann Arbor when this was shot).

But, thankfully, the 5th Anniversary is over, it'll probably be another year before we 5,000, we can all go back to sleep now...
posted by HuronBob at 5:23 AM on March 24, 2008


So?
posted by rzklkng at 6:05 AM on March 24, 2008


Damn you, HuronBob.
posted by rzklkng at 6:06 AM on March 24, 2008


Damn George Bush to Hell.

.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:09 AM on March 24, 2008


I in no way am endorsing slavery and, in fact, was shocked when my Black African American studies teachers posited that blacks would have been much better off, and sooner, if the south would have won.
Good God, man, ask for your tuition back.
posted by etaoin at 6:12 AM on March 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


At the risk of sounding trite, I think we are fighting the war there, rather than here.

if al queda wanted the war fought here, they would fight it here - the fact is that citizens of saudi arabia were the ones responsible for 9/11 - and yet we invade iraq

both sides in this war are letting their political rhetoric obscure what they are actually doing - al queda spews a bunch of nonsense, hoping that natives or immigrants to western countries will be inspired to start plots that they can't be bothered to start themselves - bush is using iraq as a honeypot, so we don't have to fight them in saudi arabia, or allow the iranians to fight them and win - the first reason being cowardly and second being weak and seriously misguided

Sadly for the vast majority of Iraqis, that no more want war in their homeland than I do in mine, their former government allowed terrorist organizations in, gave them safe shelter and aided and abetted them.

in from where?

saudi arabia

but bush wasn't willing to risk the consequences of getting tough with that country - and still isn't, for obvious and good reasons - but substituting another country in an attempt to look tough not only encouraged the radicals, but it helped iran consolidate its power in the region

My rinpoche told me once of a dilemma in a Tibetan monastery. Bugs were destroying the precious, centuries old parchment library.

and he called an exterminator - what he didn't do was send monks in there with gasoline to burn the bugs out

unfortunately, bush wasn't that smart

Our presence has put the fear of God in Lybia among others.

iran isn't one of those others
posted by pyramid termite at 6:31 AM on March 24, 2008


Damn George Bush to Hell.

I'm hoping each of those 4000 will line up to poke him with sticks, then the 100 plus Brits and all the others tjhe alliance... followed by the umpteen thousand Iraqis

.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:33 AM on March 24, 2008


papafrita: Little known fact: the first combat casualty of this war, according to the US military, was a Guatemalan, Jose Gutierrez.

A point worth making, and it is worth adding that (I believe) the first woman to die in Iraq was Lori Piestawa, a Native American of Hopi (and Mexican) ancestry (and there are a disproportionately huge number of Native people in the military and in Iraq, as in every war since WWII). Native Americans have a long and very proud record of military service, and most are deeply patriotic despite a history of genocide in which the US military played a front and center role in the 19th century.

Lori was killed in the incident in which Jessica Lynch was captured.

The shame of this war will be with us for generations. So many young lives, so many good lives, just wasted.

Like I said, damn George W. Bush to hell.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:34 AM on March 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Lori Piestawa (Wikipedia).
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:35 AM on March 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


(And by "first woman to die in Iraq," I meant of course in the American military; we killed several thousand women and children in the first few weeks with bombs dropped nobly from the air on civilian neighborhoods. In no way did I mean to diminish the crime against Iraqi civilians here.)
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:36 AM on March 24, 2008


One more: Lori's Hopi name was Köcha-Hon-Mana (White Bear Girl), and her last name means "people who lived by the lake" in Hopi.

Using her Native name is an important sign of respect for her sacrifice, and that of so many Native people in the US military.

Sorry for the multiple posts.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:39 AM on March 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Here's another number: $5,000 a second.



....the roots of our real national security crisis: People in uniform, people at the CIA and FBI and NSA, those doing to fighting and making the sacrifices, thinking that weak society itself, with its parsimonious standards about spending and its sentimental regard for human life, has become the enemy.
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:19 AM on March 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I pay attention to the numbers so I can take moments to reflect on the individuals that gave their lives, whose families have suffered, whose spouses will never raise children with the love of their lives and whose children will spend their childhood without a parent. For the men who will never have their brother or best friend as their best man, for the parents who will outlive their children, to the communities who will be without another member. To the parties their friends will have that will be just a little different without that one person there, to the shared memories with childhood best friends that there's only one person left to remember.

Dawson, you can trot out any number you like, but each sacrifice deserves its moment of recognition. Brevator's comment is perhaps the most poignant here. Every loss we've suffered has still left us here to see these words...
posted by VulcanMike at 7:29 AM on March 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's a tragedy that Jessica Lynch's name and her manufactured rescue are better known than anything about Lori Piestewa.

.
posted by VulcanMike at 7:32 AM on March 24, 2008


Indeed, VulcanMike, though to her credit Jessica Lynch has consistently refused to be painted as the propaganda tool the Bush admin tried to use her for. I admire her too -- a working class woman from West Virginia, very humble, never wanted any of the bullshit that was built on top of her experience.

And she and Lori Piestawa were good friends. Jessica Lynch has in fact consistently called attention to Lori's death as the greater tragedy of the episode in which she was captured.

Every single one of those dots is a real life, a real person, a real family, a real loss. None of this was necessary.

Damn George W. Bush to hell.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:43 AM on March 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Report: World ignoring Iraqi refugee crisis: 2 million Iraqis have left the country; 2.5 million are displaced inside Iraq. The US is struggling to meet its goal of admitting 12,000 Iraqi refugees this fiscal year. (Since only 1,876 had been admitted by March 1, the goal probably won't be met.) Iraq's population was an estimated 27,499,638 in 2007.

The US has suffered 33,314 casualties in Iraq, four thousand killed and 29,314 wounded. (488 Americans have been killed in Afghanistan.)

Contractor deaths up 17 percent across Iraq in 2007; 1,123 civilian contractors had died in Iraq as of December 31, 2007.

Does this figure take into account the many soldiers that die while getting medical attention (for wounds inflicted in the Iraq battlefield) in army bases such as the one(s?) in Germany?

Yes.

Our presence has put the fear of God in Lybia among others.

Not really. Discussions started in 1999.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:43 AM on March 24, 2008


Over 1,000,000 Iraqis are now dead because of this war. And many of them, unlike these soldiers, are completely innocent and dead because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Remember, these American soldiers signed up for this war of aggression. You should be sorry that they are dead, but you should be more sorry that the many tens of thousands of people that they killed are dead.
posted by dydecker at 7:51 AM on March 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I said, wake up, wake up, Christopher
You are a soldier now, you are a soldier
Got to earn the space that you take up
You are a soldier now, you are a soldier
You'll be dreaming of the crosshairs in your sleep
And you'll be floating on the boys lost to the deep
And you'll be waiting for the, waiting for the sound of the end
And if you're breathing in the morning, make your bed again

All the others
Other people's brothers
Underneath the flag and guard they come home
Dulce et decorum, line 'em up and pour 'em
Everybody loves a man in uniform


.
posted by aihal at 8:39 AM on March 24, 2008


dawson: ...many people are bat shit insane about this very thing.
davidmsc: Many people ... ARE "bat shit insane" over the war...
This adult conversation is boring. Why don't we all just call each other names and be done with it?
posted by Western Infidels at 8:44 AM on March 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's odd, but a chill has settled over the adults in the US I know who opposed the war fiercely from the beginning. The campus antiwar group where I teach is quiescent. A sense of gloom and sadness -- depression, really -- has sucked a lot of the energy out of many of us.

Now that a majority of Americans isn't happy with the war, and Dick Cheney is saying "So?," the question really is, indeed, so fucking what?

I'm not saying it's good. It's a defense mechanism. These war threads could get so heated in the past, but I suspect the tone of calm "adult conversation" reflects despair as much as will to civility.

Humanity sucks.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:48 AM on March 24, 2008



.
posted by moonlet at 9:10 AM on March 24, 2008


Well, nothing's really going to start to change in Iraq until next January at the earliest, and that's only if the Democratic candidate wins the election since McCain's policies are more of the same. The Democrats in Congress don't have the numbers to push anything through--even if they get a majority vote, they don't have the numbers to override a veto--and I'm not convinced they have the political will to do anything even if they had the numbers. The surge accomplished its primary goal: buying enough time so President Bush can run out the clock and pass the problem on to the next person.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:15 AM on March 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty surprised this shit post is still up on the Blue, but I agree 1000% per cent with Dawson. Arguing over who feels more acutely angry or disillusioned over the war dead won't solve a damn thing. And if the decision to go to war or get out was predicated on the number of dead then we had better prepare for a long engagement, because to most people in the USA 4000 isn't much. Christ, how many times have you heard someone interviewed whose son or daughter or spouse was killed and then heard them say they still aren't really sure how they feel about Iraq (or else know in their soul it was the right thing to do).

The dead and maimed are never going to be the thing that gets us out of that hellhole. Our own greed as a society - read, the economy - is going to be the catalyst.
posted by docpops at 9:24 AM on March 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Let's not forget the number of soldiers who survive Iraq physically intact, but are not getting proper psychological help because the Bush administration is still trying to do this war on the "cheap."
The US doesn't need more insane people who know how to use guns.
posted by brevator at 9:44 AM on March 24, 2008


@Dawson

I feel compelled to give you my two cents about the war and why it such a major foreign policy blunder. One that I believe will go down as the worst foreign policy error in American History. I think that the best way to do this is to examine the explanation the Administration used for convincing the American public and congress to support the war.

If you don't agree with this analysis, it seems to me that you are condoning the many lies the administration told to the American public to get them into the war.

Reason #1 - Iraq has WMD's or as I like to call it Big Lie #1. (I'm really trying to lay off the hyperbole here. I appreciate your effort to discuss this is an a reasonable manner. But sometimes I have to call a spade a spade) There never were any WMD's. The WMD's were the whole argument behind the imminent threat Iraq posed to us. And rather than have an open debate about the existence of the WMD's, the Bushies forced this lie down our throats. They bullied Colin Powell (much to his discredit) outed Valerie Plame and questioned the patriotism of anyone who opposed the war. And, five years later: NO WMD'S.

Reason #2 - Iraq aided Al-Quaeda in the 9/11 attacks. NOT TRUE. Despite what Dick Cheney says, there never was any collusion between Iraq's SECULAR LEADER and the fundamentalist muslims of Al-Quaeda. Big lie #2

Reason #3 - "we're fighting them there to keep them from coming over here." Again, not true. To the extent that Al-Quaeda has a presence in Iraq, our invasion opened the door for them to come in and have some power and influence. But they are a very small minority. The real problem is that our inept post war governance allowed the fanatic Shi'ites and Sunnis to embroil the rest of their co-religionists in this religious civil war that is now out of control.

Reason #4 - We need to establish a democracy in Iraq. Sure it would be nice. BUT WHY IS IT OUR BUSINESS? I'd like to see democracies in North Korea, China, Russia, etc. but we don't invade them. They are a sovereign nation and it is their business not ours. We can no longer afford to be the World's policeman. And as bad as Hussein was, I believe that the Iraqis, as a nation, have it worse now than they did under Hussein. The U.S. is responsible for more deaths, more displacement, and the destruction of the infrastructure of the country.

At the end of the day, I believe that this was a pre-emptive war against a threat that did not exist. It was a criminal and immoral act and the Bushies should be tried for war crimes.

Why did they do it? I'm not sure either. My best guess is that the neocons wanted to prove that a lean mean american fighting machine could go "kick ass" against any foe and establish a beach head of democracy. But now we're getting into the execution of the war (Another complete disaster - or as Rumsfeld put it, and I'm paraphrasing - Democracy is ugly) but I'll save that rant for another time.

Dawson, I hope you found this to be an argument based on the facts (and not W's penis size) and I welcome a civil discussion with you.
posted by cjets at 9:52 AM on March 24, 2008 [6 favorites]


tachikaze , thanks for a thoughtful, educational post. The sneering, condescending tone was not really necessary, but then again you are dealing with an idiot here, so I suppose that's forgivable. Seriously, interesting post.

JHarris
Lots of people hate Bush and the people in his administration, and they very good reasons that they do
I understand, and while you probably don't actually mean 'hate' except as in 'I hate peas', personally I don't hate anyone, including Mao, Stalin and Hitler. I simply and honestly do not hate them. So forgive me for not equating Bush and Co w/ the monsters of the 20th century, but even if I did I wouldn't hate them. Nor do I wish anyone in hell as I understand it, for one moment, unless again this is a figure of speech.
You do your point no credit by using this grossly dismissive label.
In hindsight, you are absolutely correct, sir.
However there is a vast difference between those who 'hate' Bush and those who become hysterical and unbalanced in their thinking. Like Scientologists followers, or 9/11 truthers.

butterstick
My original point was about the semi annual trotting out of the numbers. I have not been dogmatic but, if a war is justified, then no cost is to great, right?
of course are saying you have evidence that proves to yr mind that this is a pointless war. I say I don't have that info and can't be so sure. Please note the first few sentences of my initial post.

etaoin
Actually I didn't pay any tuition, but I think yr point was that I had a worthless education. My main alma matter is no ivy league, but it ain't chopped liver. The teachers in question are Dr Stef Richardson (second from bottom) and Dr Sue Richardson. On reflection the comments were made during a dinner discussion, not classroom, and involved such things and the economy, death tolls, the abolition movement, the ravages of 'Jim Crow' and several other sub topics. It was not some 'lets please the white boy' self loathing longing for slavery.

pyramid termite
if al queda wanted the war fought here, they would fight it here
I vehemently disagree. The rest of your arguments however I find persuasive and rather convincing.

VulcanMike

Well said. I did not intend to trivialize the unspeakable suffering of families with lost fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, friends and loved ones. Those who lost limbs, sight and were horribly burned. I'd reference my Sherman quotations and only note that I was speaking of the forest, not the trees. War truly is hell on earth.


dydecker
The million figure is disputed and seems rather high. Plus one would need to factor in how many the former regime would have killed. However, 1 million or 1 dozen, it's still a tragedy. I don't see how you can have some magical number where it becomes an unjust war. Again, the caveat, perhaps this has become an unjust war, my point is that fewer Iraqi civilians have died in this war than that of any other protracted war.
I'm anti-abortion and against the death penalty and guess what, I loathe war. But I can understand that it is sometimes necessary.

Western Infidels
This adult conversation is boring. Why don't we all just call each other names and be done with it?

I'm not calling anyone here names? If I had time to link to some videos of ant-war protesters rioting and screaming that US soliders should be placed in concentration camps perhaps you see the difference between, say, our own pyramid termite and Cindy Sheehan.

On preview, cjets, I glanced through yr remarks and yes, that is the type of debate I would expect from MeFi. I really do have to go for now, but late this evening I will read yr remarks more carefully and give my reaction. I wish I could do so now, but duty (work) calls. So until later...
posted by dawson at 10:08 AM on March 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'd honestly love to see what you (or anyone else who is grounded and not a shrill) will say in response to these questions.

You two careful, he is a shrill

Mr. Speaker, we are for the shrill
posted by oaf at 10:28 AM on March 24, 2008


yr

stop that
posted by oaf at 10:30 AM on March 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


dawson: butterstick
My original point was about the semi annual trotting out of the numbers. I have not been dogmatic but, if a war is justified, then no cost is to great, right?


Wrong. The expense of a war is not relevant to it's justification, but only to the geopolitical gains to be made from it. There is no romantic kind of war that everyone just loves fighting and costs so little in resources that it's outcome is irrelevant.

of course are saying you have evidence that proves to yr mind that this is a pointless war. I say I don't have that info and can't be so sure. Please note the first few sentences of my initial post.

Further, I would say that given the cost of this particular war so far ($600 Billion), the gains need to be quite demonstrable. Citing the lack of an attack since 9/11 does not indicate a successful war.

This stone does not in fact keep away tigers.
posted by butterstick at 10:32 AM on March 24, 2008


97 percent of US death toll came after 'Mission Accomplished'

A look at lives lost as U.S. deaths in Iraq near 4,000: "One in six were too young to buy a beer. About two dozen were old enough for an AARP card. Eleven died on Thanksgiving Day, 11 on Christmas, and at least five on their birthdays."
posted by kirkaracha at 10:48 AM on March 24, 2008


Sadly for the vast majority of Iraqis, that no more want war in their homeland than I do in mine, their former government allowed terrorist organizations in, gave them safe shelter and aided and abetted them.
By fighting there, it seems to me, though again I have freely admitted I am uninformed as I would like to be, but as informed as any civilian can be, that we are engaging the enemy on their home turf, almost always preferable in a war.


Dawson, I gotta say with that particular comment your entire thread collapses. The most unequivocally agreed upon facet of Iraqi society was that Saddam was a secular who wanted nothing to do with terrorist organizations.
posted by docpops at 11:21 AM on March 24, 2008


A Mosaic: 4,000 Americans Dead [full/large version].
posted by ericb at 11:24 AM on March 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


The most unequivocally agreed upon facet of Iraqi society was that Saddam was a secular who wanted nothing to do with terrorist organizations

Not quite. Saddam was happily anti-American & anti-Israeli (in the general old-school U.A.R. pan-Arabist sense). From what I gather, the "Allahu Ackbar" arabic script was added to the Iraqi flag in the effort to throw a bone to the islamic jihadi elements.

dawson's thought processes are still entirely muddled on "fighting 'em there so we don't hafta fight 'em here" but the strongest argument to make for the intervention was in fact the chance to relatively cleanly knock out Saddam & Sons from the middle-east calculus. It is arguably the gross, gross, gross mis-management of the post-war under Bremer and the Heritage Foundation interns that has led us to the widescale policy disasters we find ourselves in now.

That and $30+ trillion worth of sweet, sweet crude that was waiting on the removal of the sanctions regime.

one more pop on dawson:

though again I have freely admitted I am uninformed as I would like to be, but as informed as any civilian can be

well, any civilian who can't even fucking spell Libya, yeah.
posted by tachikaze at 11:52 AM on March 24, 2008


Dawson:of course are saying you have evidence that proves to yr mind that this is a pointless war. I say I don't have that info and can't be so sure.

Let's see if I can connect the dots for ya.

People dying is bad. People being killed by other people is worse. Is this generally agreed?

So, this would generally make war a Bad Thing. War should be close to a last resort, yes? Because war is a Bad Thing, we should only be using war when the alternative (not using war) would be worse. With me so far?

So, ... are you really saying that "I say I don't have that info [that the war is pointless] and can't be so sure." Really? Really really??

If a country goes to war, there really should be a Real Fucking Point to going to war, as in a Really Important Reason and not A Bunch Of Fucking Lies. Furthermore, most everyone should know and agree why their country is going to war. You're ok with this war, but you DON'T know what the Fucking Point of it is?

My humble opinion is that if you don't have a good reason, you shouldn't Fucking Go To War even if it only costs 4000 lives. Even if it cost just one. Forgive me if this point is an obscure one. To go on, it bothers me, more than a little, that somewhere north of 100,000 human lives (total casualties) and enough money to end cancer have been spent on a war. It gets messy if we also consider the maimed and displaced, so let's just push them aside for simplicity's sake.

End point: if someone (or group of someones) commit a nation to war and it turns out that their reasons weren't valid, then Every Fucking Drop of blood shed in this war is on their hands. Every drop.

I hope they sleep well.
posted by Artful Codger at 11:55 AM on March 24, 2008 [4 favorites]


Bill Moyers Journal: Body Of War
posted by homunculus at 11:59 AM on March 24, 2008


The entire "fight them there so we don't fight them here" line is literally insane, by which I mean it is completely divorced from reality. Who, exactly, are we fighting?

The claim that Bush's War is about Al-Qaeda is preposterous on the face of it. There were no WMD, there were no ties between Hussain and Al-Qaeda, and exactly zero of the terrorists involved in the attacks of 9/11 were Iraqi, trained in Iraq, or had anything to do with Iraq.

In Iraq the US military is fighting on side in a civil war that has nothing whatsoever to do with America or 9/11. If the people who planned 9/11 wanted to strike at the US again the presence of US forces in Iraq wouldn't matter in the slightest. Al-Qaeda is not an army, it is not geographically tied, and it is not dedicated to any particular nation but rather to an ideology that exists independently from nationhood and geography.

Attacking the Taliban government of Afghanistan made sense, one can argue it wasn't the best plan, but at least it was a plan that rested on reality. Al-Qaeda was recieving support from the Taliban government, operated extensive training operations with permission from the Taliban, etc.

But, you'll notice, none of that has squat to do with Iraq. We aren't fighting "terrorists" there, we're fighting one side in a civil war, and that's just plain stupid.

If the goal were worthwhile the body count wouldn't matter nearly so much, but there doesn't seem to even *BE* a goal, much less a worthwhile goal. So we talk about the body count becuse it is our view that the war is wrong and therefore every body (American, Iraqi, or of any other nationality) is nothing more than a human sacrifice to Bush's ego and the insane ambitions of the neo-cons.
posted by sotonohito at 12:37 PM on March 24, 2008 [6 favorites]


dawson writes "I have not been dogmatic but, if a war is justified, then no cost is to great, right?"

Strategically, that doesn't work. Resources (soldiers, money, the support of the public) are never unlimited.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:04 PM on March 24, 2008


Citing the lack of an attack since 9/11 does not indicate a successful war.

Besides, the claim is inaccurate since there have been what President Bush called "a second wave of terrorist attacks upon our country"--the anthrax attacks.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:09 PM on March 24, 2008


dawson writes "I'm anti-abortion and against the death penalty and guess what, I loathe war. But I can understand that it is sometimes necessary."

Well, this is a war of aggression, which is unlawful according to international law which the US helped write and ratify. The fact that the UN didn't vote on it further plays on the war's illegitimacy. And you may say that the world's opinion doesn't matter, but there's not a lot of sympathy left for the US, and we don't exist in a bubble.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:14 PM on March 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


“I vow so long as I am president to make sure that those lives were not lost in vain.”

Fucking pimp. Like it’s your right to decide.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:06 PM on March 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Dawson:

Sadly for the vast majority of Iraqis, that no more want war in their homeland than I do in mine, their former government allowed terrorist organizations in, gave them safe shelter and aided and abetted them.

Who did you get that from? Bush, Cheney or Rumsfeld?
posted by notreally at 3:54 PM on March 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Cheney: Bush, Not Troops, Has War's 'Biggest Burden'
posted by homunculus at 5:40 PM on March 24, 2008


Homunculus: You forgot the "obviously". That's the verbal middle finger of that statement.
posted by Gary at 6:26 PM on March 24, 2008


Cheney: Bush, Not Troops, Has War's 'Biggest Burden'

You know whats shocking about that link? The pro-Bush comments below it. They say stuff like "OMG YOU TOOK HIM OUT OF CONTEXT" or "ZOMG MISQUOTE", when he actually posts the comment and it's surrounding paragraphs from the speech, verbatim. Cheney says, "yes the families of our servicemen bear a terrible burden but the President 'obviously' carries a larger burden." I mean, theres no other way you could spin that. It's plain as day.

Godwin alert: Sometimes I feel as if we're living in the last days of the Third Reich, where Hitler and his general staff were still counting on millions of (non-existent) fresh troops and thousands of (fictitious) jet aircraft to swoop in and save Berlin. Meanwhile, the Fuhrer sits in his bunker, ranting and raving about how heavily he bears the burden of office while his soldiers get ground up a few hundred feet away. None of the Germans can bring themselves to admit that Hitler was wrong, that the war was wrong, that they've lost, so they just keep on fighting, believing that, somehow, the Fuhrer will prevail.
posted by Avenger at 7:59 PM on March 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Damn, damn, damn. I don't know what else to say.

I'd like to say "we won't be fooled again", but given that this war was planned and poorly executed mainly by chickenhawks who dodged the 'Nam draft, I don't really believe we won't be doing this again thirty years hence. As long as the US has any money left, and war would benefit our corporate masters.

(I missed this post yesterday, as I assumed it would be deleted by the admins and so didn't look for it.)
posted by orthogonality at 8:07 PM on March 24, 2008


.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 9:06 PM on March 24, 2008


" None of the Germans can bring themselves to admit that Hitler was wrong, that the war was wrong, that they've lost"

After the Allied landing in Normandy and the subsequent breakout, Field Marshal Keitel, Oberkommando chief in Berlin, got von Rundstedt on the telephone and wailed, "What shall we do?" Von Rundstedt snapped, "Make peace, you fools!"[1]
posted by tachikaze at 9:32 PM on March 24, 2008


Erm, this is pretty much what they call "civil war" isn't it?
posted by Artw at 8:09 AM on March 25, 2008


Firstly I will apologize for throwing the thread off track. That was not my intention and perhaps I should have just let it be and be filled with "."'s. I am sorry that I had any part in seeming to cheapen the individual lives that were lost and the bodies that have been ruined. I get weary with the 'milestone deathwatch' (Drudge breathlessly doing a repugnant 'countdown') and it invariably ignores civilian casualties. As I have said this body count thing has irked me for years, and I've had several real life discussions about it. None so acrimonious as this.
I tried to make clear at the outset that I am no blood-crazed neo-con Republican. I am however an old school Conservative, a Jefferson Republican, if you will. Obviously some can't wrap their minds around this and so anyone who honestly has questions is a Bush/Cheney/Rumsfield/Rush/Hannity/Coulter robot with no sense of identity, history or current events.
Most of the responders seem to want to ensure that anyone 'on the fence' falls squarely into the ranks of the pro-war. Because I for one do not want to be part of such a single minded, enraged, hateful group of people who can only sneer and condescend to belittle ones intelligence, motives and sanity. I want no part of that mindset.

butterstick
I like your style and appreciate your comments. These are intresting arguments you bring up that make me think.

docpops

I appreciate your civility, but I am not convinced of the premise of your argument that Sadamn wanted to just live and let live.

tachikaze
I wasn't going to respond to invective, but your main point is not lost on me and I reckon the snark is just to make you look/feel cool and hip and divert attention from your agreeing that Saddam needed to be taken out. Re spelling and grammar, I just don't care much for it frankly and unless I'm making a FPP or writing a paper I rarely preview. And I am a horrible speller. One of my current students, a former boxer turned drug hustler turned clean who lived in the worst parts of inner DC reads on about a second grade level. Two months ago he was reading on a pre-first grade level. He is one of the brightest, most informed critical thinkers I've ever met. Articulate and persuasive. I'm thinking you would discount his arguments because of his spelling? Sorry, but this has always bothered me, and it's a rabbit trail, but this silly fixation with spelling/grammar/pronunciation is tiresome. With this attitude the Great Vowel Shift would not have happened, Shakespeare would not have been written, and we'd all be talking and spelling like Beowulf. Granted there needs to be a bit of a consensus for public discourse.

Artful Codger

I'm sure you have an argument in there somewhere, but all I'm seeing is hyperbole and fuck.
sotonohito
Excellent post with some remarkable points. I thank you.
cjets
Again, I appreciate your post and the questions tou pose, as well as your civility. I hope you won't mind my MeMailing you in the next day or so. I see no point in discussing it further here. This is quickly becoming a chest-thumping dog and pony show that is filled with bile and I want no part of that.
I'm not declaring this is my last word here (though I mean it to be) and flouncing off in a huff to lick my wounds. I welcome any discussion one-on-one as my purpose is not to win at the internets but to better understand the dissenting viewpoints. There are several ways to contact me in my profile.
Apologies to Matt, Jason and Jessamyn. And to OP XQUZYPHYR. Carry on.
posted by dawson at 8:58 AM on March 25, 2008


Sadr urges 'civil revolt' as battles erupt in Basra
posted by homunculus at 12:32 PM on March 25, 2008


your agreeing that Saddam needed to be taken out

and yet, as of today, we're now fighting his enemy, the Sadr elements of Shiite Iraq.

Law of Unintended Consequences, look it up.

Frankly, making policy suggestions either now or in 2003 would be way above my pay grade. I just have the education and reading behind me to see historical parallels and mistakes we have made.

As Ashleigh Brillaint so aptly put it, "I don't have any solution but I certainly admire the problem."
posted by tachikaze at 2:29 PM on March 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


What Does Bush Mean by "Victory in Iraq"? His grandiose definition makes defeat almost inevitable.
posted by homunculus at 9:36 AM on March 26, 2008


homunculus
Thanks for linking to that Kaplan piece, I likely would have missed it, and it's quite good.
posted by dawson at 10:18 AM on March 26, 2008


The Face of Number 4,000 in Iraq
posted by homunculus at 9:45 AM on March 29, 2008


I'm sure you have an argument in there somewhere, but all I'm seeing is hyperbole and fuck.

Let me make it easy for you. Do you know the REAL reasons why the US attacked Iraq? (I assume you're not naive enough to say WMD or Saddam supported the 9/11 terrorists)

If you don't know the REAL reason why, how in fuck (oops , slipped out) can you or anyone support this war?
posted by Artful Codger at 7:08 AM on March 31, 2008


His war is over, but not battle: Army veteran fights for his VA benefits
posted by homunculus at 9:48 AM on April 12, 2008


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