Good News? Bad News?
October 25, 2005 12:29 PM   Subscribe

Milestones. On the same day that Iraqi election officials have reported the draft constitution having passed, U.S. sources are reporting that the American military death toll in Iraq has reached 2,000 people.
posted by XQUZYPHYR (72 comments total)
this is all becoming too mind numbing..
posted by chohoh at 12:34 PM on October 25, 2005

1000 more and we'll have to declare war on ourselves
posted by Satapher at 12:35 PM on October 25, 2005

posted by Captaintripps at 12:36 PM on October 25, 2005

I'd hate to see the Military feel the same way about Iraq that they do about Somalia... that our leaders send them into wars but then don't allow them to complete the job they started. And it's not like there's a shortage of recruits.

For reference, there's always Michael Yon, who tells the military story from the ground, rather than from the interestingly named Palestine Hotel. In case you want to know how the soldiers themselves feel, rather than using soldiers as pawns to push your political point although they may disagree with it.
posted by swerdloff at 12:39 PM on October 25, 2005


Too mind-numbing? Stiff upper lip, chap! The British lost 57,470 in one day at the Battle of the Somme and, as far as I can tell, the country didn't roll up into the fetal position.

Not accusing you of anything, but many people who claim the situation in Iraq is too awful to think about any longer are just trying to justify to themselves the fact that they lack the initiative to do something about it. Even if that "something" is to just to keep it in mind.
posted by you just lost the game at 12:40 PM on October 25, 2005

Have the terrorists won yet? (In the same way drugs won the war on drugs)
posted by wakko at 12:42 PM on October 25, 2005

The British 'only' lost 19,240 (from the Wiki you linked) while 38,230 were injured, horrific.
posted by zeoslap at 12:46 PM on October 25, 2005

That 2,000 number doesn't count the number of soldiers who died en-route, or at, oversea (non-Iraq - or do soldiers who die in hospitals in Iraq also don't count?) hospitals, right?
posted by PurplePorpoise at 12:47 PM on October 25, 2005

posted by kickingtheground at 12:49 PM on October 25, 2005

The 2,000th death occured in a hospital in Texas, PurplePorpoise.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:57 PM on October 25, 2005

Other Iraq news: forty-five per cent of Iraqis believe attacks against British and American troops are justified and eighty-two percent are strongly opposed to the presence of coalition troops, according to a UK Ministry of Defense Survey.
posted by louigi at 1:01 PM on October 25, 2005

In case you want to know how the soldiers themselves feel, rather than using soldiers as pawns to push your political point although they may disagree with it.

Umm... who exactly are you talking to here? I put up two links to what most would respectively consider good and bad news from Iraq. The three comments before you made no references to recruitment or attacked the outlook of the election. Yet you somehow found it necessary to link to the ever-objective Secretary of the Army and his editorial about an unrelated issue, followed by a link to the blog of an Iraqi soldier with views you agree with.

But, really, thanks for that bit about not using soldiers to push a personal political point. You're precious.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:07 PM on October 25, 2005

Meanwhile, Iraq Body Count estimates Iraqi deaths at 26,690 to 30,051.
posted by homunculus at 1:17 PM on October 25, 2005

My bad.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 1:22 PM on October 25, 2005

Did George Bush study at the Zap Branigan School of Military Warfare? Just keep throwing wave after wave of soldier at the enemy until they get too tired to kill them?

How many deaths do we have to reach before they call the war on account of too much death?
posted by fenriq at 1:30 PM on October 25, 2005

posted by Smedleyman at 1:49 PM on October 25, 2005

Did George Bush study at the Zap Branigan School of Military Warfare?

I thought Dubya went to Bender Academy.
posted by Triode at 1:56 PM on October 25, 2005

The great thing about casualty figures is how they keep getting revised. The U.S. military initially released figures of soldiers wounded badly enough that they couldn't fight (the traditional definition of casualty). When that passed 1,000, they revised the stats they released to only include deaths in Iraq. When that passed 1,000, they revised the stats they release to only include deaths as a result of combat in Iraq. I'm not sure what further revisions are possible, but perhaps we'll find out.

Somewhere around 500 private mercenaries fighting for the U.S./British forces (generally called "security forces") have also been killed. Though many of them are American, they don't get any respect, since they've been outsourced and privatized.

Also about 250 U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan. They don't get much respect either.

And let's not even mention the Iraqis.

This is, I guess, the best casualty summary. Totally omits Afghanistan, but who cares about that country?

Besides all the amputations (body armor covers the torso only), at least 20% of all the wounded have "severe brain injuries". You know those nice helmets made out of kevlar? There's no padding in there. Just in case you thought they were like bike or motorcycle helmets.

(I'll predict right here that the next generation of U.S. military helmets, based on "lessons learned" from the Iraq War, will have some sort of lightweight crushable foam inside them, like a bicycle helmet. You heard it here first!)

Sure would suck to get bombed. Or run over a mine.

Osama bin Laden is still alive and free.
posted by jellicle at 2:13 PM on October 25, 2005

Iraq Coalition Casualty Count also tracks US military personnel who died in either Germany or the US of wounds suffered in Iraq. "Note: these deaths are included in our overall totals."

The same site also tracks US military casualties in Afghanistan: 246 killed and 583 wounded so far. The numbers of both killed and wounded have gone up each year of Operation Enduring Freedom, which just started its fourth year.

generally called 'security forces'

The preferred nomenclature is contractors; approximately 272 contractors have been killed to date in Iraq.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:39 PM on October 25, 2005

posted by dances_with_sneetches at 2:51 PM on October 25, 2005

I agree with swerdloff: in light of Somalia, we have to hang in there til everyone's dead.
posted by hackly_fracture at 2:55 PM on October 25, 2005

In case you want to know how the soldiers themselves feel, rather than using soldiers as pawns to push your political point although they may disagree with it.

Dead soldiers don't feel.
posted by iamck at 3:17 PM on October 25, 2005

Meanwhile, Iraq Body Count estimates Iraqi deaths at 26,690 to 30,051.

But homunculus, they're not Americans. Only the idiots who signed up to be shot at deserve our sympathy. Iraqis should be ignored for having the gall to be brown and foreign.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:21 PM on October 25, 2005

Metafilter: Brown and foreign
posted by doctor_negative at 3:29 PM on October 25, 2005

posted by foozleface at 3:30 PM on October 25, 2005

The more important question is how's Halliburton's stock doing?


posted by fenriq at 3:44 PM on October 25, 2005

As good a time as any to repost the Iraq Index from the Brookings Institute. Brief synopsis - US troop death and injury trending down, Iraqi Military and Police deaths trending down, attacks on infrastructure trending down, economic indicators trending up, quality of life trending up, and of course, the constitution was approved in an unprecedented (for the most part) show of freedom and democracy in the region.

Of course, all the while, the "insurgents" keep up their attacks, killing and maiming more and more civilians. With each month that passes, the opponents of liberalism in Iraq lose more and more credibility in their claim that their fight is to drive out the infidels, and expose themselves as Iraq's would-be new slavemasters.
posted by loquax at 3:45 PM on October 25, 2005

Osama bin Laden is still alive and free.

I hope he's got cable. he won't want to miss this.
posted by lowest.common.denominator at 3:59 PM on October 25, 2005 at home trending down.
posted by schoolgirl report at 4:05 PM on October 25, 2005

2,000 isn't exactly a huge number or at least wouldn't seem so huge if we could actually show something gained. Some new roads maybe? New hospitals? Higher quality of life for the Iraqi citizens?

But ofcourse the thinking is that all of the insurgents would be streaming to the U.S. were they not baited into fighting in Iraq. It makes no sense.
posted by snsranch at 4:05 PM on October 25, 2005

Staff Sgt. George T. Alexander Jr., 34
posted by Mick at 4:11 PM on October 25, 2005

“The preferred nomenclature is contractors; approximately 272 contractors have been killed to date in Iraq.”
posted by kirkaracha at 2:39 PM PST on October 25 [!]

Fuck ‘em. They fight for money. I have friends who are in this line of work. I like them. I even respect them. But if they die as a merc, it’s part of the job, not a cause, not a sacrifice, just a maximal demotion.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:12 PM on October 25, 2005

Only the idiots who signed up to be shot at deserve our sympathy. Iraqis should be ignored for having the gall to be brown and foreign.

Right after 9/11, my freinds from Florida, Pedro and John joined the Marines. I worry about them and care what happens to them. One of them is Cuban, the other is Puerto Rican. So I guess they qualify as "brown and foreign," too.
posted by jonmc at 4:17 PM on October 25, 2005

Interesting loquax. Of course, obviously they're all still happening.

But, I don't like the direction all this is heading. Even if American military deaths cease, we've already paid a tremendous cost. Lowering death counts don't make up for the way the public was used for this little crusade of the President's, with the damage to our relations to the international community, and of course everyone who's *already* died. And as has been said previously, wounded figures are much higher than 2,000.

I get the feeling that if all the deaths were to stop tomorrow, the neocons would suddenly raise their hands and say, "See? We were right!" The media might even go along with them, suddenly forgetting the dozens of things wrong with this administration.

In the long run, the worst thing about this whole affair is it shows just how manipulable the whole system is, especially if the one doing the manipulating is a warmongering president. You can bet lots of people are taking notes....
posted by JHarris at 4:24 PM on October 25, 2005

Police deaths trending down, attacks on infrastructure trending down, economic indicators trending up, quality of life trending up, and of course, the constitution was approved in an unprecedented (for the most part) show of freedom and democracy in the region.

Samira Kubba wakes early each day, though she's not sure why. A year ago, she would have been busy helping her husband prepare for work, shopping for her family, meeting friends, planning the celebration for breaking the daily fast after sunset during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Today, she knows she won't leave the house, except in case of emergency: a child in danger, the food supply running low. Even then, the excursion will be carried out with military precision: a timed route, covered by machine guns. She won't stop to chat with friends, she won't look in the eyes of anyone she passes, she won't stop for tea at a favorite cafe - all parts of daily life for her as little as months ago.

"We do not think about how we live our days in Baghdad these days. We wonder whether we will survive them," she said. "No place outside this house is safe."

World for many Baghdad residents has shrunk to inner sanctum of home

The violence here seems to encapsulate the growing difficulties the US military is facing in trying to defeat the insurgency. Pinned down by a constant stream of hit-and-run attacks from former Saddam regime loyalists, American soldiers are unable to focus their attention on the foreign extremists who pose a far more dangerous threat to the future of Iraq.

Yet it is here that the battle against the suicide bombers must be won.

The isolated towns east of the Tigris supply the foreign fighters and their allies and provide a haven where they can regroup after American offensives on their urban strongholds.

If the Americans do not close off these boltholes, it seems unlikely the war can be won.

But hopes for progress are growing more remote. The insurgency in eastern Salahuddin province is growing more intense, more deadly and more sophisticated.

Lt Col Gary Brito, the battalion's commanding officer, said that in recent months the number of roadside bombs targeting his men had increased by a third - even though journeys out of base have been cut back. They are having a more devastating effect too.

"Before only two out of 10 used to be effective," he said. "Now four or five have a catastrophic effect, blowing away a vehicle or causing casualties." In the past few months at least four American soldiers in this battalion alone have been killed. Another 39 have been wounded.

US troops fighting losing battle for Sunni triangle

Millions of Iraqis believe that suicide attacks against British troops are justified, a secret military poll commissioned by senior officers has revealed.

The poll, undertaken for the Ministry of Defence and seen by The Sunday Telegraph, shows that up to 65 per cent of Iraqi citizens support attacks and fewer than one per cent think Allied military involvement is helping to improve security in their country.

Secret MoD poll: Iraqis support attacks on British troops

When the final page is written on America's catastrophic imperial venture, one word will dominate the explanation of U.S. failure -- corruption. Large-scale and pervasive corruption meant that available resources could not be used to stabilize and secure Iraq in the early days of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), when it was still possible to do so. Continuing corruption meant that the reconstruction of infrastructure never got underway, giving the Iraqi people little incentive to co-operate with the occupation. Ongoing corruption in arms procurement and defense spending means that Baghdad will never control a viable army while the Shi'ite and Kurdish militias will grow stronger and produce a divided Iraq in which constitutional guarantees will be irrelevant.

The American-dominated Coalition Provisional Authority could well prove to be the most corrupt administration in history, almost certainly surpassing the widespread fraud of the much-maligned UN Oil for Food Program. At least $20 billion that belonged to the Iraqi people has been wasted, together with hundreds of millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars. Exactly how many billions of additional dollars were squandered, stolen, given away, or simply lost will never be known because the deliberate decision by the CPA not to meter oil exports means that no one will ever know how much revenue was generated during 2003 and 2004.

Money For Nothing
posted by y2karl at 4:52 PM on October 25, 2005

"That 2,000 number doesn't count . . . soldiers who died en-route, or at, oversea . . . hospitals in Iraq also don't count?) hospitals, right?"

Soldiers who are in Iraq who have accidents, health, or infection problem who die after being evac'ed out of Iraq or Afghanistan are not always counted as having died in Iraq.

NPR explained this, in part, during this broadcast (RealPlayer) from September 2004. Keep that in mind when you hear the unreported casualties that NPR cites, because those numbers have gone up significantly over the last year.

This means that the number of deaths -- and especially the number of wounded -- relating to Iraq are significantly higher than is reported.

One easy way of showing how many casualties are not being counted in Iraq is to look at the VA's own failures in estimating them, leading to a massive $2.6 Billion shortfall this year.

From the article:
Veterans Affairs budget documents projected that 23,553 veterans would return this year from Iraq and Afghanistan and seek medical treatment. However, Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson told a Senate committee that the number has been revised upward to 103,000.

That is quite a revision, no?!
posted by insomnia_lj at 5:06 PM on October 25, 2005

quality of life trending up continued...

Security keeps deteriorating, despite the formation of the now-defunct Iraqi governing council in July 2003, followed by a handover of sovereignty, national elections and last weekend's constitutional referendum. After each event - usually accompanied by massive crackdowns and, often, a ban on vehicular traffic - the attacks have dropped, then spiked again in the following months.

The four-week moving average of attacks - which smoothes out daily fluctuations - has had peaks and valleys but generally has stayed about the same or increased during the past 18 months, according to military statistics. Perhaps most worrying, the weekly number of effective attacks - those that wounded or killed American and Iraqi troops or civilians - has on average more than doubled since February 2004 to 165 during the week of Oct. 7.

New constitution may not halt Iraq's fragmentation

Good news. The much-reviled constitution on which Iraq voted yesterday is the best thing that America has given this country in two decades. No other mechanism could possibly hold Iraq together. And praise be, the predicted Sunni veto may not have occurred. Last-minute manoeuvres by Zalmay Khalilzad, the wily American ambassador, enabled the Sunni leaders to think that they can change everything later. The bizarre compromise may have saved the day.

Like the invasion or hate it, that is the good news. The bad news is that a golden opportunity now offered to Britain and America to withdraw from Iraq and restore Iraqi dignity and sovereignty seems certain to be missed.

This past week I found Baghdad’s Green Zone fortress still echoing to the age-old cry of military occupation, that “they still can’t do without us”. Since my last visit this enclave has become a Vatican-like state within a state. Every expedition against insurgents is more counter-productive. Everyone working for the regime risks a brutal death. The Great Mistake staggers on through bloodshed without exit and expense without end.

Visitors to Iraq these days no longer argue the rights and wrongs of the invasion. It is history. The 2003-4 regime of Paul Bremer is like Mao’s cultural revolution: even its participants are allowed to damn its errors. What few can accept is that these errors — Donald Rumsfeld’s errors — were not tangential but fundamental. They wrecked the cause of the occupation for good and all.

If there was an outside chance of the invasion creating a stable and prosperous democracy in Iraq, Rumsfeld’s every decision ensured that this would not be. By removing all law and order — so-called “stuff happens” — Rumsfeld not only wiped out almost every government institution but also domestic consent for central authority...

Visit Baghdad and you can see our golden chance for an exit
posted by y2karl at 5:08 PM on October 25, 2005

103,000? Holy shit.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:12 PM on October 25, 2005

"Meanwhile, Iraq Body Count estimates Iraqi deaths at 26,690 to 30,051."

This is also an underestimate. If you look at Iraqi Body Count's website, you will see that they report only deaths mentioned in major western news sources. (i.e. a serious minority.)

A more complete estimate would include all those who died above the statistical norm, as it would count not just those who died in large attacks, but those who died in ones and twos whose deaths weren't reported. It would include those who died of increased rates of crime, violence, disease, and a shattered health system.

This larger figure -- incrased morbidity -- is exactly what the Lancet Report measured. The report is over a year old now, but the team from Johns Hopkins estimated last year that 100,000 Iraqis died.

Keep in mind that these figures are over a year old, and by Iraq Body Count's estimates, the number of civilians killed was almost twice this year as opposed to last year.

As a result, the best estimate you can get to the number of Iraqis who have died in Iraq is to take the Lancet report's findings and to add another year worth of death to it. That's about 170,000 Iraqis.

For those who criticize the Lancet report, I recommend you read these two articles.

As Dr. Les Roberts, the primary author of the Lancet report said:
"Please understand how extremely conservative we were: we did a survey estimating that ~285,000 people have died due to the first 18 months of invasion and occupation and we reported it as at least ~100,000."

If anyone is interested in researching or reporting on this matter, I suggest you get in touch with Dr. Roberts, who is teaching this fall over at Johns Hopkins.
posted by insomnia_lj at 5:45 PM on October 25, 2005

CNN has a depressing story on a deceased National Guardsman who wrote his own obit. Reminds me of a diary entry I read about that a Union soldier made during the American Civil War: "June 3, 1864. Cold Harbor VA, I was killed today."

And he was.
posted by marxchivist at 5:55 PM on October 25, 2005

By the way, this isn't the first time that a U.S. occupation has resulted in such a lopsided ratio of US fatalities to civilian deaths.

4,324 American soldiers were killed in the Phillipine-American war, while civilian deaths numbered in 250,000 to 1,000,000 Filipinos.

Anyone want to speculate why the Filipinos eventually forced the U.S. to grant them independence and then kicked our military bases out of their country, btw?

Not that Vietnam wasn't lopsided too. It was reported in 1995 that the number of Vietnamese who died as a result of the war was approximately 5.1 million.
posted by insomnia_lj at 6:02 PM on October 25, 2005

Is there any topic more cliché, hackneyed, more pseudo-intellectual than comparing the US to Rome? Get over it. We learned from Rome (as well as the mistakes that more modern Europe continues to make, which are leading to its decline AS WE SPEA...WRITE).

G-d, this post should be deleted.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:02 PM on October 25, 2005

loquax, there are a number of positive signs in that report, but then again, "Multiple Fatality Bombings" (p. 11) are definitely trending up; "Civilians Killed" (p. 13) fluctuates with no obvious trend, as does "Foreign Nationals Kidnapped". "Insurgents Detained or Killed" trends up, which could be interpreted either as greater effectiveness in counterinsurgency operations, or more insurgents; the same report's estimate "neither gaining strength nor weakening appreciably". In any case "Number of Daily Attacks by Insurgents" is trending up. "Unemployment Rate" is essentially unchanged in over a year.

In other words, "Good News? Bad News?"

The Constitution vote suggests that we've done a tremendously effective job persuading the Kurds and Shi'ites that their future lies in a federal Iraq, but the Sunnis certainly do not agree. The future depends on whether they perceive that the constitution has now been forced on them. The only bright spot there is that the vote against was not nearly as unanimous as the vote for -- there does seem to be a 1/4 to 1/3 minority of Sunnis who are ready to accept the terms. I, for one, would really like to know what distinguishes those two groups.
posted by dhartung at 6:03 PM on October 25, 2005

Meanwhile, two democratic congressmen from my home state, Brad Miller and David Price, have introduced a resolution asking the president for an exit strategy. (Yeah, yeah, I know it's a Kos link, but I figured since the post was from the congressman Miller himself, it's pretty linkworthy.)

I've read the resolution and it's not your typical lefty "no blood for oil" jargon. While it does (fairly) criticize the administration's handling of the war, it's pretty even handed. I think this is the sort of thing moderates can (and should) get behind.
posted by jimray at 6:14 PM on October 25, 2005

"The only bright spot there is that the vote against was not nearly as unanimous as the vote for -- there does seem to be a 1/4 to 1/3 minority of Sunnis who are ready to accept the terms."

That seems like a considerable overestimate of Sunni support for the constitution to me, based on the nearly unanimous 90%+ no vote in Anbar province.

If a third to a quarter of Sunni supported the constitution, then you'd expect that even one of their political parties would be accepting the vote's outcome. Instead, even the most mainstream Sunni political party has told its people that the elections were fraudulent, and they shouldn't participate in the next election.
posted by insomnia_lj at 6:16 PM on October 25, 2005

They can't do that. It's the one thing they can't do. They can torture you, make you say anything. But they can't make you believe it. They can't get inside you. They can't get to your heart.
The MSM is starting to gear up (and the anti-war left has been ready for a while) to present us with the story of “the milestone of 2,000 U.S. military deaths in Iraq”.

Unfortunately, this story is bogus for a few different reasons. Please keep in mind I am military, and none of that which follows is to make light of any of the deaths not matter what column they fall into, but rather to point out that those that make hay about this milestone, are actually celebrating it to further their own cause.

First, being in the military is a high-risk enterprise, even when you are not in combat. Humvees roll over, helicopters crash, people commit suicide, people get hit by vehicles. People die. But in this instance, since they happened in a combat zone, they fit neatly into the meme of the leftists that “Bush Lied, People Died”. They would have you believe that all of these brave souls died as victims of imperialist government fighting in an illegal war. says “So far, more than 1950 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq ....”

But only slightly more than 1500 have actually died from hostile fire. More than 400 military members have died due to non-combat causes. And not all of the almost 2000 deaths have actually happened in Iraq. If a military member dies in the AOR, on orders for OIF, his/her death is counted towards “the milestone of 2,000 U.S. military deaths in Iraq”.
Rutherford unperson. Substitute Ogilvy. Ogilvy biog details as follows: war hero, recently killed, Malabar front. Today awarded posthumous secondary order of conspicuous merit second class.

They are denying the evidence of their own senses for war without death.
posted by tapeguy at 6:28 PM on October 25, 2005

Southern Iraq is a democracy but we should not assume that this or any of the other terms which we deploy frequently about Iraq--”insurgency, civil society, civil war, police force or even political party”--mean what they do in Britain. There have been elections, but the government is not responsive to or respectful of human rights. In many ways it resembles Iran, but it is not governed by clerics. Its militias are not infiltrators, they are an integral element of the elected parties. The new government is oppressive, but has a popular mandate; it is supported by illegal militias, but it has improved security.

This is not the kind of state the coalition had hoped to create. During 14 months of direct rule, until the middle of last year, we tried to prevent it from emerging. We refused to allow Shari'a law to be "the source of legislation" in the constitution. We invested in religious minorities and women's centres; supported rural areas and tribal groups; funded NGOs and created "representative bodies" that were intended to reflect a vision of Iraq as a tolerant, modern society. We hoped that we had created the opportunity for civil society to flourish. This was a dream we shared with many Iraqis. We refused to deal with the Sadr militia and fought a long counter- insurgency campaign against them. Then we left, an election was held and the dream collapsed—the Islamist parties took almost all the seats provincially and nationally. The rural sheikhs, the "liberal" middle classes and the religious minorities mostly vanished from the government...

The British soldier engulfed by flames and his colleagues who were kidnapped were not simply victims of mob violence, or even of an illegal militia. They were confronting the authorities of an independent state. In place of last year's insurgency, there is now an increasingly confident governing apparatus in the south, which extends from governors and provincial councillors to the militias, police and ministries. The leaders of these groups have a distinctive Islamist ideology and complex history. This new Islamist state is elected, it functions and it is relatively popular. We may not like it, but we can only try to understand it and acknowledge that there is now little we can do to influence it.

Losing the south
posted by y2karl at 6:31 PM on October 25, 2005

Anyone want to speculate why the Filipinos eventually forced the U.S. to grant them independence and then kicked our military bases out of their country, btw?

I pray to every god there is that Iraq one day is half the paradise that the Philippines is compared to what Iraq was, and much of the rest of the region is. If 2000 Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis have died in that cause, it will have been an overwhelming success.

dhartung (and others): I agree, I didn't mean to say that the picture is overwhelmingly positive by any stretch. However it does seem clear to me that the insurgency is not materially succeeding in affecting or preventing the international presence or the reconstruction and liberalization of the country, despite what may be termed the "popular" opinion. It looks like they are taking every chance to kill as many easy targets as possible and win a propaganda war with both the US and the Iraqi government. Meanwhile, there are signs of amazing progress, like the number of newspapers, radio stations and television stations and the uninterrupted progress of both the short term and long term political process. Of course there are horror stories, of course there is anger on the part of the population at what appears to be the immediate cause of their misery, but that doesn't mean this process should be stopped. I don't care if George Bush is impeached tomorrow for anything, his replacement, and his replacement's replacement must continue, with the ongoing help of the international community and the UN to ensure that the anti-government and anti-liberal terrorists and insurgents are completely wiped out, and that Iraq has a chance to join the free countries of the world.

I'll also post this again, with selective quotations:

PRESIDENT TALABANI: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. President, for your kind remarks. It is honor for me to stand here today as a representative of free Iraq. It is an honor to present the world's youngest democracy.

In the name of Iraqi people, I say to you, Mr. President, and to the glorious American people, thank you, thank you. Thank you, because you liberated us from the worst kind of dictatorship. Our people suffered too much from this worst kind of dictatorship. The -- (inaudible) "It is an honor for me to stand here today as a representative of free Iraq," the President said. "It is an honor to present the world's youngest democracy." White House photo by Shealah Craighead -- was hundred thousand of Iraqi innocent children and women, young and old men. Thank you, and thanks to the United States, there are now 15 million Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq liberated by your courageous leadership and decision to liberate us, Mr. President. We agree with Mr. President Bush that democracy is the solution to the problems of the Middle East. Mr. President, you are a visionary, great statesman. We salute you. We are grateful to you. We will never forget what you have done for our people.

With your support, we could create a society enjoying democracy for the first time, obviously. Now Iraq is a free country. We have all kinds of democracy, all kinds of freedom of expression of parties, groups, civil society, organizations -- that we can say that our democracy is unique in the Middle East.

Our strategy is solvent. We build democracy and defend democracy. We talk about how we could improve our tactics. There is progress in security in our country. The number of the -- (inaudible) -- reduced; the traces which were under the full control of the terrorists are now liberated, and they're now registering their names for the new election.

We will set no timetable for withdrawal, Mr. President. A timetable will help the terrorists, will encourage them that they could defeat a superpower of the world and the Iraqi people. We hope that by the end of 2006, our security forces are up to the level of taking responsibility from many American troops with complete agreement with Americans. We don't want to do anything without the agreement with the Americans because we don't want to give any signal to the terrorists that our will to defeat them is weakened, or they can defeat us.

We are proud that one day will come -- as soon as possible, of course, we hope -- that American troops can proudly return home, and we tell them, thank you, dear friends, and you are faithful to friendship. Of course, we are sorry for the sacrifices of American people in Iraq, but I think a great people like America has a mission in the history -- they have sacrificed hundreds of thousands of their sons in the war -- first world war, second world war, and in liberating people in Afghanistan, Kurdistan. And the great leader, Mr. George W. Bush is continuing the same mission of the American people. We are grateful. We are grateful for American generosity, and we honor -- we honor -- sacrifices of America in Iraq -- and everywhere, not only in Iraq.

posted by loquax at 6:47 PM on October 25, 2005

Is there any topic more cliché, hackneyed, more pseudo-intellectual than comparing the US to Rome? Get over it. We learned from Rome (as well as the mistakes that more modern Europe continues to make, which are leading to its decline AS WE SPEA...WRITE).

G-d, this post should be deleted.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:02 PM PST on October 25 [!]

Sure, but remember that Bush is clearing brush and vacationing as his own nation self-destructs.
posted by snsranch at 6:51 PM on October 25, 2005

But only slightly more than 1500 have actually died from hostile fire. More than 400 military members have died due to non-combat causes. And not all of the almost 2000 deaths have actually happened in Iraq. If a military member dies in the AOR, on orders for OIF, his/her death is counted towards “the milestone of 2,000 U.S. military deaths in Iraq”.

Well damn! Its only 1500. The rest didn't technically die in Iraq. And the wounded? Fuck them, they don't count. So we actually have 2-3 whole months before we get to 2000. Rock and roll...
posted by c13 at 6:54 PM on October 25, 2005

If any of you have lost friends or loved ones in Iraq, I am seeking stories of them at my post here, and would welcome your replies.
posted by insomnia_lj at 7:00 PM on October 25, 2005

If any of you have lost friends or loved ones in Iraq, I am seeking stories of them at my post here, and would welcome your replies.
posted by insomnia_lj at 7:00 PM PST on October 25 [!]

Thank God I have nothing you offer you, YET.
posted by snsranch at 7:05 PM on October 25, 2005

Via Juan Cole:

Here's the headline of The Times of Baghdad [al-Zaman] for Monday, October 24, 2005: Wave of Assassinations in Tikrit, Baqubah, Ramadi, and Mahawil; Oil Exports Halted from Basra & Ceyhan; Kidnapping of Director of Resources at Southern Petroleum Co.; A Sudanese Detonates a Car Bomb Near an American Patrol at Kirkuk.

Brent Scowcroft, national security adviser for President George H.W. Bush and a leading figure in the U.S. foreign policy establishment, said yesterday that he has grown pessimistic about prospects for stability and democracy in Iraq, a view increasingly expressed by other foreign policy figures in both parties.

"The Iraqi elections, rather than turning out to be a promising turning point, have the great potential for deepening the conflict," Scowcroft said. He said he expects increased divisions between Shiite and Sunni Muslims after the Jan. 30 elections, when experts believe the government will be dominated by the majority Shiites.

Scowcroft predicted "an incipient civil war" would grip Iraq and said the best hope for pulling the country from chaos would be to turn the U.S. operation over to NATO or the United Nations -- which, he said, would not be so hostilely viewed by Iraqis.

Scowcroft Skeptical Vote Will Stabilize Iraq

Sixty years ago, Arnold Toynbee concluded, in his monumental "A Study of History," that the ultimate cause of imperial collapse was "suicidal statecraft." Sadly for President George W. Bush's place in history but - much more important - ominously for America's future, it has lately seemed as if that adroit phrase might be applicable to the policies pursued by the United States since the cataclysm of 9/11.

Though there have been some hints lately that the administration may be beginning to reassess the goals, so far defined largely by slogans, of its unsuccessful military intervention in Iraq, Bush's speech of Oct. 6 was a throwback to the more demagogic formulations that he employed during the presidential campaign of 2004 to justify the war that he himself started.

That war, advocated by a narrow circle of decision makers for motives still not fully exposed, propagated publicly by demagogic rhetoric reliant on false assertions, has turned out to be much more costly in blood and money than anticipated.

It has precipitated worldwide criticism, while in the Middle East it has stamped the United States as the successor to British imperialism and as a partner of Israel in the military repression of the Arabs. Fair or not, that perception has become widespread in the world of Islam as a whole.

More than a reformulation of U.S. goals in Iraq is now needed, however. The persistent reluctance of the administration to confront the political background of the terrorist menace has reinforced public sympathy among Muslims for the terrorists.

Zbigniew Brzezinski: George W. Bush's suicidal statecraft
posted by y2karl at 7:22 PM on October 25, 2005

"I pray . . . that Iraq one day is half the paradise that the Philippines is."

Funny that you should mention it... 88% of the population of the Phillipines live in poverty.

The results of the Social Weather Stations’ Social Survey for the third quarter of 2005 showed 15.5 percent of household heads reporting that their families experienced hunger, without having anything to eat at least once during the said period. This is equivalent to some 2.6 million families or nearly 16 million individuals experiencing hunger in this year’s third quarter.

I pray that one day the Phillipines is half the paradise that Iraq was before UN sanctions.
posted by insomnia_lj at 9:56 PM on October 25, 2005

If 2000 Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis have died in that cause, it will have been an overwhelming success.

easy to say when it's always other people's asses that get blown up

that our leaders send them into wars but then don't allow them to complete the job they started.

I agree, the way the Republicans ganged up on Clinton back then was truly shameful -- one wishes they hadn't gotten scared after those images of the dead naked soldier got broadcast 24/7 by the liberal media

And it's not like there's a shortage of recruits.

one wishes we'd have the warbloggers to thank for that -- that they'd be finally leaving their moms' basements in droves, to join the party they have been cheering for from the sidelines since 9-11.
posted by matteo at 11:20 PM on October 25, 2005

and by the way,
A year and a half ago, at the first anniversary of the U.S. occupation of Iraq, the death rate for American troops accelerated. Since then, none of the political milestones or military strategies proclaimed by U.S. officials have succeeded in slowing the toll.
This is among the most striking conclusions of a Times analysis of the fatalities, which have reached 2,000, U.S. officials announced Tuesday.
Two other findings stand out:
The number of deaths attributed to roadside bombs has sharply increased. The bombs have overtaken rockets, mortars and gunfire as the greatest threat to U.S. troops and were responsible for more than half of combat deaths in the last year.
The war has taken a growing toll on National Guard and reserve units
. Their soldiers now account for nearly one-third of the deaths, up from one-fifth earlier in the conflict.
The analysis compared the first 1,000 deaths — from the beginning of the war in March 2003 through early September of last year — with the fatalities since.
so, nowadays it looks quite sad when the cheerleader boys try to stage just another attempt to suck each other's dicks in celebration of the "progress" made in Iraq. this is a war that's being (been?) lost, and lost bad. you don't even need to read y2karl's many, many links -- you just need to have a bit of decency, and a brain, to figure that out
posted by matteo at 11:46 PM on October 25, 2005

"If 2000 Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis have died in that cause..."

But what if it's nearly 200,000 people? Is it worth it then? What if it now costs more each year than Vietnam did? What if they're dying in greater number this year than last year, and they'll be dying in Iraq for several more years.

Would 2000 U.S. deaths and a few hundred thousand dead civilians in Ethiopia have been worth it there too? After all, they have a population three times the size of Iraq, muslim is their primary religion, and they had more of a history of supporting terrorism than Iraq did prior to the invasion.

Please clearly define just how many people are allowed to die in order for you to claim an overwhelming success?
posted by insomnia_lj at 11:53 PM on October 25, 2005

"The war has taken a growing toll on National Guard and reserve units."

To be fair, a lot of this change is due to the vagaries of which unit is deployed where.

Specifically, a large portion of the 'Sunni Triangle' is in the Area of Operations for the 42nd Infantry Division, which is a National Guard command. In a few months, this turf is going to be taken over by full-timers again, which is arguably a bigger strain on the military.

Not that there's really such a thing as a part-timer in the military anymore. "Weekend Warriors"?! Longest. Weekend. Ever.
posted by insomnia_lj at 12:06 AM on October 26, 2005

As for increased lethality of IED's, it's certainly the case, despite electronic jamming countermeasures. Apparently, insurgents have gotten wise, and are starting to use pressure and laser-activated switches, as well as larger explosive charges and shaped charges. Increased lethality. Reduced risk.

In this article, a U.S. Lt. Col. says:

"Before only two out of 10 (IED attacks) used to be effective. Now four or five have a catastrophic effect, blowing away a vehicle or causing casualties."
posted by insomnia_lj at 12:11 AM on October 26, 2005

The U.S. invasion of Iraq only serves the interests of:

1. Osama bin Laden (it made Iraq safe for al-Qaeda, positioned U.S. military personnel in places where al-Qaeda operatives can kill them occasionally, helps radicalize youth throughout the Arab and Muslim world, alienates America's most important and strongest allies--the Europeans--and squanders U.S. military resources that otherwise might be finishing off al-Qaeda in Pakistan.);

2. The Iranians (who were invaded by Saddam and who suffered massive casualties in an eight-year war with Iraq.);

3. And the extremists in both Palestinian and Israeli political circles (who don't really want a peace settlement without the utter destruction of the other side, and probably believe that bogging the United States down in a war in Iraq that will surely become a war with the rest of Arab world gives them the time and cover to wipe out the other side.)

The wisest course for journalists might be to begin sustained investigations of why leading Democrats have failed so miserably to challenge the U.S. occupation of Iraq. The first step, of course, is to establish as conventional wisdom the fact that the war was never in the U.S.' interests and has not become so. It is such an obvious case to make that I find it difficult to believe many pundits and political leaders have not already made it repeatedly.
Gen. (ret.) William E. Odom

The Lowell Sun recently quoted General Odom on the War in Iraq:

The invasion of Iraq I believe will turn out to be the greatest strategic disaster in U.S. history.

See also: Ret. Army General William Odom: U.S. Should "Cut and Run" From Iraq

From the New York TImes - A Look at Those Who Died in Iraq
posted by y2karl at 8:27 AM on October 26, 2005

That's about 170,000 Iraqis.

Wow, pretty soon we're gonna top Sadaam's numbers. Freedom never tasted so good!
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:59 AM on October 26, 2005

From Global Guerillas (via DefenseTech) regarding the attack on the Palestine Hotel yesterday:

...The entire event was staged for the benefit for the western reporters who have become virtual prisoners of their hotel rooms in Baghdad (since they couldn't go to the war, the guerrillas brought the war to them). The incident was in clear view of the AP's mounted video camera (which recorded the entire event) -- footage that will be replayed in endless loops in newsrooms across the globe. Also, the third bomb in the cement mixer may have been targeted at reporters who went to their windows to investigate...

The effect desired from this highly orchestrated event (which is synergistically much more potent than a single event due to FVM) was to radically magnify the menace, uncertainty, and mistrust (all of which are aspects of moral conflict) of those in the media. It was also intended to bring those same feelings, by extension, to the public the reporters represent. It is yet another example of tactical innovation by Iraq's open source insurgency (which unfortunately for us has been happening with increasingly frequency lately). This attack will set the expectations of the media -- re: this conflict -- for months.

And from the comments:

Remember, the Tet offensive was an unmitigated military disaster for the VC, yet it convinced the American public that the war was unwinnable. Score, VC 1, American Forces 0.

And in other news, Canada seems to be coming around as they plan to open their new Bagdahd embassy in 2006:

Canada touts its increased activity in Baghdad as an expression of international support for Iraq's new government and its fledgling democracy.

“It's important for the stability of the country but also for the region, and ultimately for the world,” said John Holmes, Canada's acting ambassador to Iraq.

“We wanted to send a signal that we support the transition and the development of a democracy in Iraq.”


Images of kidnappings, roadside bombs, videotaped beheadings, and flag-draped coffins of U.S. soldiers have bolstered public sentiment in the United States against the war in Iraq.

But Mr. Holmes says those chilling images belie the true success stories of Iraq's mach to democracy.

He noted voters' endorsement of a new national constitution earlier this week. The momentous day was marred by the 2,000th death of a U.S. soldier since the 2003 invasion.

“Everybody focuses on the spike in violence right now,” Mr. Holmes said.

“But the constitution is through, the elections are coming up, there'll be a government in the new year. We're hopeful there will be improvements in the security situation.”

posted by loquax at 9:53 PM on October 26, 2005

The bodies of at least 539 people who died violently have been found since April, according to a count by the Associated Press agency...

The killings have deepened the Sunni-Shi’ite divide at a time when the country is already split over its proposed constitution. The minority Sunnis are being urged by their leaders to vote against it next weekend, arguing that it will lead to further fragmentation.

Amr Moussa, the head of the Arab League, announced yesterday that he would go to Iraq after the referendum in an attempt to reconcile the two communities. “The situation is so tense,” he said. 'A civil war could erupt at any moment."

Iraqi police ‘linked to ethnic cleansing’

Any all-out civil war in Iraq could shake the political foundations of places beyond that stricken land, sending streams of refugees across Iraqi borders, tempting neighbors to intervene, and renewing the half-buried old conflict of Sunni and Shiite in the Muslim world, Middle East analysts say.

"If it's a war between Sunni and Shiite, this war might be extended from Lebanon to Afghanistan," says Diaa Rashwan, an Egyptian expert on Islamic militancy.

...This "really changes the power structure in the Middle East, not only in Iraq, but in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia," said longtime U.S. Mideast scholar William R. Polk, referring to two other Arab lands with fragile religious divides.

...A permanent government will be elected Dec. 15, inevitably controlled by the Shiite majority. Many fear this will lead to clashes between Sunni and Shiite armed groups, transforming the Sunnis' long-running anti-U.S. insurgency into a civil war.

A key neighbor has voiced urgent concern.

"All the dynamics are pulling the country apart," Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, said of Iraq. Speaking with Washington reporters on Sept. 22, the Saudi also warned that Iraq's disintegration would "bring other countries in the region into the conflict."

Turkey and Iran top that list.
The Turks might be tempted to intervene in Iraq's north to keep its autonomous Kurds from supporting Turkey's own Kurdish separatists. Shiite Iran might act -- with arms, intelligence, even "volunteers" -- to ensure victory by a friendly Iraqi Shiite leadership in any civil war, analysts say.

Analysts Warn of Effects of Iraq Civil War
posted by y2karl at 11:43 AM on October 27, 2005

From Iraq the Model:

Polls: can we rely on them?
Then there’s the “suicide attacks against British troops” well, as far as I know, there have been many against American troops but none against British ones and even the link provided in the report leads to a report about a roadside bomb attack and NOT a suicide attack. This makes one think that the results are being used to promote a wrong idea, i.e. we have a twist of bias here.

We also have this secret poll thing; I can understand that the poll was conducted by an Iraqi institute secretly in Iraq for security reasons but there’s no mention of the source through which the results have leaked to the paper, not even a vague note.
The other thing that makes such results unreliable is that the methodology of the poll was not revealed so was the wording of question as well as the scores of other choices of the answers, for example saying that “82 per cent are "strongly opposed" to the presence of coalition troops” is a pretty much tricky sentence because while I do think that maybe even 90% of the people in any country do not want foreign troops on their land, it remains important to state whether a time interval was included in the question or not. If not, then the question was designed to give a misleading result and if there was one, then it should have appeared along with the results.

I mean it could be true or close to the truth that 82% of Iraqis do not want the troops to stay indefinitely but if it was meant to say that 82% want the troops to leave now then I assure you that the results have been forged.

Moreover, there are some contradictions among the results, look at this one closely “43 per cent of Iraqis believe conditions for peace and stability have worsened” this means that 57% of the answers either indicated that stability and peace have improved or they have not changed and this contradicts the other statement that says “less than one per cent of the population believes coalition forces are responsible for any improvement in security” especially that everyone inside and outside Iraq knows that coalition forces are involved directly in all the training and equipping processes of the Iraqi security forces. Mohammed objected to my latter sentence as he thinks that the population is unaware of that role of the coalition forces but wait a minute! At least Iraqi police and soldiers know that and some of their families and even this small fraction is greater than 1%.

After all, I think this 43% is rather an optimistic estimate but it also gives an impression that the bulk of the poll was conducted in relatively safer places like the southern provinces rather than nationwide as the report mentioned.
Now let’s take a look at this statement:

And by the way, I almost forgot to tell you this; when Iraqis are performing a poll they tend to do so while trying to keep as low a profile as possible for concerns about being misidentified as spies or intelligence gatherers for the coalition, the terrorists or even the government so they try to interview the first person they meet and think is safe to interview forgetting about all the known standards and requirements of correct sample choosing. This alone is enough to weaken the validity of the poll results.

Bottom line, I will personally ignore the results as a whole as I think it cannot add anything of value to a view of the situation here in Iraq, which is a shame, as it might have done so, had they framed the questions in a more scientific manner. I tend to recommend that you not take it seriously as well for these reasons.

From the Economist:

Now for the hard part

EARLY projections nearly all said that the Iraqi constitution would be approved in the referendum held on October 15th. But in the end it was closer than expected, with the final results announced only this week. If three provinces rejected the document by a two-thirds margin, the constitution would be dead and the process would begin all over again. Two provinces had already said no, overwhelmingly. This left the result hinging on the province of Nineveh, whose voting tally was finally announced on Tuesday October 25th. Nineveh voted no, but not by enough to kill the constitution: 55% were against it. The document has thus been ratified.

The document’s passage sets the stage for the first elections to a fully constitutional Iraqi parliament. The question now is whether this process will begin to draw Sunnis away from the insurgency. They mostly boycotted the elections that gave Iraq a temporary government in January. But they turned out in far greater numbers for the referendum, and some leaders are encouraging another high turnout in the next parliamentary vote, which is due to be held in December. That way, they hope, a strong contingent of Sunnis will win seats in the chamber and work to amend the constitution. (A simple majority of deputies can put a constitutional amendment to a referendum.) The hope is that the process can create a coherent Sunni nationalist movement with credible leaders, working in the political mainstream. On Wednesday, three prominent Sunni parties, including the Iraqi Islamic Party, announced that they would form a coalition for the December elections. They are nationalist and anti-American, offering frustrated Sunnis their first official voice.

In the meantime, security will remain the priority. Violence preceded and followed the vote. Just one or two battalions of Iraqi troops have been trained and equipped well enough to operate independently of the American-led coalition. But optimists note that perhaps a hundred are now seen as ready to some degree, and Iraqi troops took a leading role in a recent offensive in Tel Afar, an insurgent stronghold. But even in Baghdad, violence is uncontrollable. On Monday, three suicide-bombers grabbed headlines by targeting two hotels in the capital used by western journalists and contractors. As usual, the victims were predominantly Iraqi.

Security officials have pointed to a substantial fall in the number of suicide attacks since the peak months of April and May. Such lulls have brought false reassurance before. But with all eyes now turning to Iraq’s first election of a full-term parliament, a pinpoint of light may be visible at the end of the tunnel. If Iraqis can begin settling their differences with political haggling and deal-making, rather than guns and bombs, that will bring forward the goal that everyone wants to reach, be they Sunni, Shia or Kurd within Iraq, pro- or anti-war in the West: the departure of foreign troops at a time when Iraq is ready to stand on its own.

And of course, the last of Chrenkoff's "Good News from Iraq" series from September, to be continued here.
posted by loquax at 12:31 PM on October 27, 2005, a nice weblog about newspaper design, had an interesting look at how different American newspapers treated the the news of 2,000th American military death in Iraq on their front pages.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:34 PM on October 27, 2005

posted by kirkaracha at 1:45 PM on October 27, 2005

Some more numbers (Via Wikipedia and the Iraq Index) to perhaps put things in perspective:



Total dead
South Vietnam - 250,000+
USA - 58,226
North Vietnam - 1,100,000

US - 153,303
North Vietnam - 600,000

Civilian Casualties
Between 2–4 million



Total Dead
New Iraqi Army/Police - 3,590
USA/Allies - 2,000/200
Insurgency/Old Iraqi Army/Terrorists - 51,470

US - 15,220

Civilian Casualties (of military actions and victims of terrorist/insurgency actions)
Between 25,000-100,000 (an extremely high estimate, unsupported by any mainstream sources)


Before the war in Iraq approaches the levels of carnage of Vietnam, let alone the Iran-Iraq war or previous historical conflicts, The US needs to lose about 50,000 more troops and have another 140,000 wounded, the Iraqi army needs to lose another 245,000 troops, another 1,500,000 enemy troops need to be killed, and another 1,900,000 to 3,900,000 civilians need to be killed. At current rates, this will happen sometime between the years 2065-2115. All this while the political and humanitarian successes in Iraq dwarf any comparable attempts in Vietnam.
posted by loquax at 2:16 PM on October 28, 2005

Wow, a lot more people were killed in an 11-year war than have been killed so far in a 2-1/2 year war. So far, we've lost more people during the beginning of the Iraq war than we did during the beginning of the Vietnam War:
The nearly 2,000 Americans killed in combat (1,998 on October 24, 2005) in Iraq since 2003 are more than were lost in Vietnam combat in the first four years of U.S. combat (1961-1965, when just over 1800 died). This total is more than were lost in the last two years of combat (1971-1972, when just over 1600 died).
US Deaths in Vietnam and Iraq by Month

Iraq 2004 Looks Like Vietnam 1966:
After factoring in medical, doctrinal, and technological improvements, infantry duty in Iraq circa 2004 comes out just as intense as infantry duty in Vietnam circa 1966--and in some cases more lethal.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:37 PM on October 28, 2005

The main difference being that the North Vietnamese/Viet Cong forces numbered in the hundreds of thousands if not millions, The US never controlled the entire country, the entire North was mobilized for total war, and the North was directly supplied by the Soviet Union, China, North Korea, Czechoslovakia and East Germany as part of sustained, direct military engagement against the South. Estimates of enemy fighters of all stripes in Iraq hover around 20,000 at any given time, with relatively negligible foreign support compared to the allied efforts. I'm not saying there isn't a danger of losing the country to these fighters and their tactics, however in terms of the nature of the conflict, and the potential for future human cost, the two wars are night and day. Unless there is a substantial change in the geopolitics of the world or civil war breaks out, the rate of allied/civilian deaths will not exceed their current rates. Whether even that is acceptable is obviously up for debate, but in perspective, the cost is certainly much lower than the vast majority of conflicts on this scale, and mitigated further when the political reconstruction and finacial aid and growth are figured into the equation, not to mention the huge net positive of removing the baathists in the first place.
posted by loquax at 9:47 PM on October 28, 2005

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