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ThirstyNerd

Does it matter to any of you that you don't even have a figure for the death rate? That you have no evidence? Or that in this invasion, we destroyed parts of Iraq's infrastructure that would allow lifting the sanctions to have an effect? So long as we're all guessing, I'd bet it doesn't matter yet that the sanctions are lifted because any effects that would have won't be visible for a while yet; and that the change in death rates (or these saved 10000 lives you speak of). It will in the future, certainly.
We need to clear up this idea that the "Left" is somehow Saddam's cheerleaders. Many on the left were for the first Gulf War, and figured Saddam should have been taken out then. This could have been done with the support of the international community and the UN, but it wasn't out of a need to score cheap domestic political points. It could have been done more efficiently, longer-term, and at less of a cost burden to the US, but it wasn't. We don't support Hussein. We object to the Bush approach.

bubba

Well, I have to give it to you, Nerd-boy, you certainly know a thing or two about cheap political points. And what about that pet propaganda tool of the left - the tens of thousands of Iraqis that died every year from UN sanctions? If the US had delayed their attack by even 3 months this would have resulted in 15,000 more deaths by malnutrition and disease. It is shocking - shocking! - to observe such a cavalier attitude toward the humanitarian price of leaving Hussein in power.

I musta plum forgot that the "international community" was attacked on 9/11. Here all this time I thought it was jes' little ol' us. But by all means, suck up to ChiraQ if it makes you feel like a Super Swell Guy. He certainly had NO political motives for his decisions. Er, well, other than the ones he openly stated - like dimishing American power in the world. But that's just fine with you anyway, isn't it Nerdy?

But I'll take the bait - what lefty (besides yourself, I'll be generous and take your claim at face value) cheered the 91 Gulf War, and endorsed the assasination of Saddam Hussein? Can you provide even one name we'd recognize? Sarandon? Sheen? Penn? Madonna? Garofalo? Zippy the Pinhead? Dumbo the Flying Elephant? Howard the Duck? Ralph the Swimming Pig? Skippy the Wonder Dog?

Maarten Schenk

Eddgra,

I already said I agree that there is a huge benefit in 'people not killed' due to the American invasion. I cheered it on, ferchrissake...

However, this does not 'unkill' the people already dead.

No matter how many lives are saved by something, this has no effect at all on the number already dead. A cure for cancer won't bring back anybody that died already, and I'm sure they won't start running the 'cancer-deaths' clock backwards when they finally find one.

I'm clearly making a distinction between number of deaths (can only go up) and death rate (goes up and down over time).

So yes, American intervention drastically cut down the death-rate in Iraq, that's why I supported it in the first place. But no, they didn't ressurect anybody (alas).

dbg

"And what about that pet propaganda tool of the left - the tens of thousands of Iraqis that died every year from UN sanctions? If the US had delayed their attack by even 3 months this would have resulted in 15,000 more deaths by malnutrition and disease. It is shocking - shocking! - to observe such a cavalier attitude toward the humanitarian price of leaving Hussein in power."

Or realizing that the sanctions were punishing the civilian population of Iraq they could have been lifted 5 years ago saving tens of thousands of lives and depriving Saddam of a propaganda weapon.

Wijnand

Eddgra,

The correlation between the sanctions and the increase in deaths is there, but not in the way you think.

After the insurrection of the Shia in 1991, Saddam used the food and medicine weapon as all ruthless dictators seem to do: against his own subjects.

So the increase in death rate was actually linked to the same phenomenon as the sanctions: to Saddam's tyrrannical rule.

Mark Buehner

Oh, boy. Begging for a Fisking.

"We need to clear up this idea that the "Left" is somehow Saddam's cheerleaders."
No need, its clear.

"Many on the left were for the first Gulf War,"
Many more weren't

"and figured Saddam should have been taken out then."
Provide some documentation. I cant recall a single figure on the left demanding the war be continued. Quite the opposite as I recall, considering the howls of anger that came after the 'Highway of Death' nonsense. This meme is utter nonsense revisionism.

"This could have been done with the support of the international community and the UN,"
No it couldnt. It was unanimously thought at the time that the coalition would not have survived a drive on Baghdad. There was no UN resolution authorizing such a move, nor would there have been considering Russia's opposition.

"but it wasn't out of a need to score cheap domestic political points."
What points did Bush score by fufilling the resolution passed by both Congress and the UN, but not going beyond them? So when Bush I obeys the will of the intl community you slam him, when Bush II defies them you slam him too? Ok.

"It could have been done more efficiently, longer-term, and at less of a cost burden to the US, but it wasn't."
Oh yeh, like what there Patton? Like the sanctions that people are still crying about (and that everybody else on the planet violated)? I see lots of lefties claiming that there where lots of ways to get rid of the guy, but nobody seems to want to actual mention them. Isolation? Yeh right, like Castro.

"We don't support Hussein. We object to the Bush approach."
Yeh, objecting to Hussein being removed while offering no realistic method for getting rid of him (that doesnt involve a time machine anyway) isnt de facto support.

Eddgra Fallin

Maarten,

Again, your analogies show that you are not grasping the concept here. No, curing cancer would not bring previous cancer victims back to life. But the process of finding a cure for cancer does not itself bring about further deaths, so it's a bad analogy to Iraq. If finding a cure for cancer directly caused the deaths of 10,000 people, then you would have a proper analogy.

The real question isn't how many people were killed during the war, nor is it what the "death rate" is. The real question is this: at X point in time sometime after the start of hostilities, are there more Iraqis dead than there would have been had we not invaded?

A proper analogy:

A ship is sinking and 500 sailors are trapped in the hold. The only way to get them out before the ship goes under is to blast a hole through a sealed door. You know that doing this will probably kill several of the sailors, but it is decided that there is no viable alternative. So you blast the door, and 50 sailors die. While you mourn these unfortunate deaths, you are nevertheless hailed as a hero for "saving" the lives of 450 sailors, rather than doing nothing and watching them all die. Yes, 50 sailors died, but the NET effect was that 450 were saved. To concentrate exclusively on the dead rather than the saved is asinine, yet that is what the left is doing with their "body count" figures. Honesty would dictate that they subtract the "saved" people so that the NET effect of the invasion on Iraqi deaths would be reflected.

Eddgra Fallin

"Or realizing that the sanctions were punishing the civilian population of Iraq they could have been lifted 5 years ago saving tens of thousands of lives and depriving Saddam of a propaganda weapon."

Um . . . yeah. This reminds me of the nutty lefty who once told me -- with a straight face, mind you -- that the way to get rid of Saddam was to remove all sanctions, normalize relations, and then flood the country with food, consumer products, and infrastructure construction. In this way, he explained, we would show the Iraqis how awesome we are and they would dump Saddam on their own. Okaaaay . . . but what if Saddam wouldn't play ball? Oh, well we would force him to go along with it. How? Wouldn't that require, I don't know, an ARMY or something? Flustered, he mumbled something about the U.N. or some such. But aren't they the ones who CREATED the sanctions to begin with? Yeah, whatever.

It is an interesting thought to calculate the iraqi body count, not as an absolute value but relative to sadam's regime had it been in place.
Sadly the iraqi body count would have been lower with Sadam in place, and it would also have increase less under sadam than what it does now. Therefore it would not go in reverse.
I don't have solid caluclations, but think about it. There is a continued lack of basic services under US occupation, as bad or worse than under Sadam. There was repression under Sadam, but this was a stable situation. Now there is almost a guerrilla war going on with military and civilians dying.
I could probably go on with reasons for and agains higher deathrates, but my fealing is that the US occupation has so far killed more iraqies than Sadam would have, but if you ask again in 10 years time the picure might be different.

Thirstynerd

Bubba: "If the US had delayed their attack by even 3 months this would have resulted in 15,000 more deaths by malnutrition and disease".
It still will. That the sanctions are removed now does not ensure that disease and malnutrition just vanish. I suspect that the problem of disease and malnutrition, now combined with a destroyed social infrastructure (health services, sanitation, food distribution, etc.) has actually increased the death rate in the short term. And lets not forget, that Bush himself said, that war is not the only way to accomplish regime change. So no, waiting three months would not have changed much at all, and a different approach could have been utilized.
To bubba and Fisky: I don't claim to keep tabs on everyone who cinsiders themselves left-wing, or who you consider left. You have very simplistic conceptions of Us and Them" which allow you to paint the left as a big uniform cult of same-minded drones. Of course, many of the left's stupider adherents do the same to the right. I never slammed Bush Sr for going to war with Iraq with the will of the international community, where do you come up with this?
it could have been done with the help of the UN, you asshole, if the US hadn't pitched horseshit and lies to everyone as their rationale for the war.
the points Bush scored were with those americans (and there are a lot of them) who have no grasp on the world around them or international affairs.
"Oh yeh, like what there Patton? Like the sanctions that people are still crying about (and that everybody else on the planet violated)? I see lots of lefties claiming that there where lots of ways to get rid of the guy, but nobody seems to want to actual mention them"
Bush mentionned there were other ways, too. And what I was refering to was that they could have earned the support of more allies, including the UN, which would have shouldered much more of the cost. it is ridiculous to think that you think the only approach was a US dictated plan, where the rest of the world would just obey your orders. If you seriously expected people to jump on board for that ride, you're more naive than I thought.

hell, I'm not even against going to war to take the guy out. I'm against the US approach, which set back multilateral relations 50 years, and discreditted diplomacy and maintaining good relations unecessarily. This was done for a few cheap percentage points on Bush's approval rating...so he could look tough. And he was wrong. And now he wants our help again. And you can't see that.

Mark Buehner

"Bush mentionned there were other ways, too. And what I was refering to was that they could have earned the support of more allies, including the UN, which would have shouldered much more of the cost. it is ridiculous to think that you think the only approach was a US dictated plan, where the rest of the world would just obey your orders. "

Despite all evidence to the contrary. What about the better part of a year trying to get people on board in the UNSC? What about France saying outright that they would veto any use of force under any circumstance? Diplomatic fans are always convinced they can get others to do what it is obvious they are not going to do.

"I'm against the US approach, which set back multilateral relations 50 years, and discreditted diplomacy and maintaining good relations unecessarily"

Thats not a bug, thats a feature. This whole multilateral fantasy has to end. Riddle me this, name me one circumstance where a nation went against its own interest in order to comply with the good of the whole? It never happens. _Every_ nation uses the UN when its useful, and ignores it when not. Look at Kosovo. Look at Somalia. Look at Tibet, North Korea, Iraq, Iran. The real question is, when has anyone ever _not_ defied the UN? All the pattycake and nicemaking is fine in peacetime, in war it is dangerous. The bottom line is, France et al were _never_ going to go along with removing Hussein, because it was in their interest not to. That is reality.

Eddgra Fallin

To the anonymous poster who won't even use a pen name:

If you would like to believe that the majority of Iraqis are worse off now than under Saddam or that more of them are dying now than under him, that's fine. By all means have another sip of the leftist Koolaid. The fact remains that most of the suffering that occurred under the sanctions happened because Saddam intentionally withheld food and medicine from his people. This has been shown conclusively since the liberation of the country. Meanwhile, the press keeps on harping about how "bad" things are over there, despite the fact that most of the actual violence is occurring in the "Sunni triangle" region where many of the people benefited from Saddam's rule through government jobs, etc.

As for your second post (I'm assuming it's yours), the blame for "setting back multilateral relations 50 years" can be placed squarely on the insipid shoulders of the French, Germans, etc. who were willing to issue toothless warnings and sit around and talk about the situation for the rest of eternity, but didn't have the guts to actually do anything about it. These are the same countries, you will recall, who shrugged at Libya being put in charge of the U.N. Human Rights Commission and sat on their hands while Kosovar Albanians were slaughtered by Milosivic. Your charges about Bush looking for "a few cheap percentage points on his approval rating" are nothing more than baseless rhetoric. It cheapens you and your arguments (such as they are) to frivolously toss out such pathetic invective.

Eddgra Fallin

"This whole multilateral fantasy has to end. All the pattycake and nicemaking is fine in peacetime, in war it is dangerous."

The U.S. has provided for Western Europe's defense since the end of WWII when we basically came to the conclusion that our geriatric Mother Countries were old kooks who could no longer be trusted with weapons. And who can blame us after having to save them from the Germans and Italians (not to mention the Vichy French) TWICE in a 30-year span? So the Euroweenies sat around for 50 years talking, and talking, and talking, blah, blah, blah -- and when no war happened, they deluded themselves into thinking that it was due to all their talking and not our Army and nukes sitting outside the gate keeping out the big, bad world. I say it's high time we let them defend their own damn selves. I give them ten years max before they implode. When you look at the militant Islamists they keep importing, they're already well on their way.

"Despite my initial opposition to the war, I am now convinced, whether
we find any weapons of mass destruction or prove Saddam sheltered and
financed terrorists, absolutely, we should have overthrown the Baathists,
indeed, we should have done it sooner.
What changed my mind?
When we left mid June, 57 mass graves had been found, one with the bodies
of 1200 children. There have been credible reports of murder, brutality
and torture of hundreds of thousands of ordinary Iraqi citizens."
Judge Don Walters, newly returned from helping build a judiciary in Iraq
http://globalspecops.com/view.html

dbg

"Okaaaay . . . but what if Saddam wouldn't play ball? Oh, well we would force him to go along with it. How? Wouldn't that require, I don't know, an ARMY or something?"

Wasn't the idea behind the sanctions that Saddam would "play ball?" If it wasn't, then it had to be known that it wouldn't be Saddam who would suffer, but the Iraqi people. So if your premise is that there was no way Saddam was going to "play ball" then I can trust (assuming that you were as concerned for the welfare of the Iraqi people then as you seem to be now) you were a major opponent of the sanctions for the last decade given its faulty premise and predictable consequences.

Mark Buehner

"Wasn't the idea behind the sanctions that Saddam would "play ball?"

No, the sanctions were not in place to force Saddam to 'play ball', they were in place to cripple the Iraqi income flow in order to prevent Hussein from menacing his neighbors and building WMD. That Hussein used this as an excuse to torture his people cannot be laid at the sanctions doorstep. If a cop gives a guy a ticket and he goes home and beats his kids, its not the cop that is to blame. Plus your making the (false) assumption that life without the sanctions under Saddam would be any better. Most of his biggest massacres of civilians took place before the first war. Giving Hussein more weapons (money=weapons) ultimately means more dead Iraqis. For all we know, the sanctions saved lives.

dbg

"they were in place to cripple the Iraqi income flow in order to prevent Hussein from menacing his neighbors and building WMD."

So were the sanctions effective? If so, what was all that talk about WMD and mushroom clouds? If not, why were they continued.

"Plus your making the (false) assumption that life without the sanctions under Saddam would be any better."

Well, isn't that what the UNICEF study shows, that there was a large increase in death rates under the sanctions as compared with data from the 1980's?

"Most of his biggest massacres of civilians took place before the first war."

So he was much more dangerous to the Iraqi people when we supported him? And what does this have to do with infant mortality post 1991?

John Tillinghast

The ethics of sanctions and of working with Saddam's regime have been very clear for years.
If you are going to place wide-ranging sanctions on a country and they are manipulated to kill people, you must be ready to USE FORCE IMMEDIATELY to GET RID OF THE MURDERERS and let the rest of the people return to normal life.
The UN Security Council, including the USA, locked those people up with a genocidal maniac for the last twelve years. And when America finally decided to break the door down, France and Russia still tried to stop them.

Mark Buehner

"So were the sanctions effective? If so, what was all that talk about WMD and mushroom clouds? If not, why were they continued."

Certainly Hussein was never able to reconstitute his army to pre Gulf war levels, and hence was not able to menace his neighbors conventionally. As far as WMD, the jury is still out. However it was very clear that many, many nations were violating the sanctions regime and allowing Hussein access to prohibited materials and the money to finance them. No-one has any question that the WMD program was in full swing in the 90s. Whether it was curtailed or disbanded unilaterally post 98 has yet to be determined.

"Well, isn't that what the UNICEF study shows, that there was a large increase in death rates under the sanctions as compared with data from the 1980's?"

First off, you are purposely leaving several post war conditions off the chart. Many of the deaths that came post GW1 were diliberatly inflicted by Saddam upon Shiites and Kurds that rebelled post war. There is _no_ evidence that this would not have been done had there been no sanctions. To think that the marsh Arabs would be living in peace without sanctions is the height of useful idiocy. Secondly, you have failed to address my point about Husseins ability to afflict atrocities being lessened by removing resources from him. Is there any doubt that had he had the military capabilities, Hussein would have taken the Kurds back under his boot? By depriving Hussein of cash, and hence weapons, we very likely saved many thousands of Kurds from another genocidal crackdown.

"Well, isn't that what the UNICEF study shows, that there was a large increase in death rates under the sanctions as compared with data from the 1980's?"

See my last point. UNICEF studies dont include the hundred thousand kurds slaughtered in the eightees.

"So he was much more dangerous to the Iraqi people when we supported him? And what does this have to do with infant mortality post 1991?"

Ah, when all else fails, remind the American people that everything is our fault in the first place. What does it have to do with infant mortality? Simply, you cant pick and choose your data. Hussein was by any account a brutal murderous tyrant with few peers in history. You are arguing that placating him by allowing him to have access to the full resources of Iraq is preferrable to trying to contain him. There is a fair argument to be made that when the sanctions induced Hussein into further atrocities, that he should have been removed then and there. The is no moral or pragmatic argument that the mans butchery should have been rewarded by returning to him full resources and hence giving his the ability to inflict an even greater scale of horrors with the full range of his murderous imagination. This is the exact equivalent of all the cops handing a mass murderer their machine guns so he will release a single hostage. You may save the hostage for a moment, but almost instantly everyone is a heck of a lot worse off.


Eddgra Fallin

Mark,

Such logic is only useful on those with brains and the willingness to use them. dbq is one of those crackpot lefties who would defend Hitler if he thought it would help him to further his arguments about how evil and corrupt the U.S. is.

"Wherever there is a jackboot stomping on a human face there will be a well-heeled Western liberal to explain that the face does, after all, enjoy free health care and 100 percent literacy." -John Derbyshire

"This guy -- who I am sure has a very high IQ -- is precisely the sort of person I think of when I use the phrase 'pugnaciously stupid.' It's the aggressive nature of his idiocy, the in-your-faceness of his Jackassery, that so offends me. Like Peter Singer, he has that uncanny ability to articulate so eloquently ideas so dumb most of us don't know how to respond to them. My contempt is boundless." -Jonah Goldberg

dbg

"First off, you are purposely leaving several post war conditions off the chart. Many of the deaths that came post GW1 were diliberatly inflicted by Saddam upon Shiites and Kurds that rebelled post war."

Yes many revenge killings took place. According to a study by Physicians for Social Responsibility, "...the number of Iraqis who died in 1991 from effects of the Gulf war or postwar turmoil approximates 205,500. There were relatively few deaths (approximately 56,000 to military personnel and 3,500 to civilians) from direct war effects. Postwar violence accounted for approximately 35,000 deaths. The largest component of deaths in this reconstruction derives from the 111,000 attributable to postwar adverse health effects." (http://www.ippnw.org/MGS/PSRQV3N2Daponte.html)

The UNICEF study doesn't include the deaths from revenge killings because that is a different question entirely from the humanitarian consequences of the sanctions, the topic under discussion here. The International Committee of the Red Cross stated in 1999:

" Now, after nine years of trade sanctions, imposed by the UN after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, the situation of the civilian population is increasingly desperate. Deteriorating living conditions, inflation, and low salaries make people's everyday lives a continuing struggle, while food shortages and the lack of medicines and clean drinking water threaten their very survival... As in war, it is civilians who are the prime victims of sanctions. Salaries are as low as US$2 a month; there is around 50% unemployment. People have had to sell their belongings in order to survive -- first their cars, then household appliances, even their books and furniture. Regular school attendance by children under 15 has fallen drastically since 1990 for "school does not give us money in order to live". And in the schools themselves, pupils often have to squat on the floor for want of chairs and desks. Water pipes have not been repaired, and there are huge pools of stagnating water in the school yard...For the first time in decades, diarrhoea has reappeared as the major killer of children. The highly specialized Iraqi doctors are now faced with third-world health problems -- malnutrition, diphtheria, cholera -- which they were not trained to handle...Iraq's 130 hospitals, many of them built by foreign companies in the 1960s-80s, have not received the necessary repairs or maintenance since the Gulf war, but above all since the imposition of sanctions. The buildings are in an advanced state of disrepair (cracked and leaking roofing, broken windows and doors, bulging floors), as are the hospital sewage works, the electricity and ventilation systems, the elevators. Expensive imported equipment, or even more basic items, are no longer being replaced...Equally worrying is the state of the primary health centres, which serve the widest sector of the population. Public health in Iraq rests on the existence of over a thousand basic dispensaries covering the entire country and 84 intermediary health centres, which are in charge of coordination. The centres can not function properly owing to the shortage of equipment and material. They often lack the most basic tools such as stethoscopes, sterilizers and writing paper. The negative impact on the treatment received by patients, and hence on their health, is immense...Standards of treatment are also falling as doctors can not keep their knowledge up to date. Hardly any medical literature has entered the country in the last ten years as the importation of scientific literature is prohibited under the embargo...Another major threat to the health of the population is the quality of the drinking water. The Gulf war severely damaged Iraq's infrastructure, interrupting the power supply and consequently the operation of pumping and treatment facilities. Since then, money and spare parts have not been available to repair sewage works and purification plants, which are often working at reduced capacity, or not at all. This has led to an overall deterioration in the quality and quantity of drinking water and the rapid spread of infectious diseases, such as cholera. A UNICEF/government of Iraq survey in 1997 on the availability of water and sewage systems reported that more than half of the rural population did not have adequate access to clean drinking water, while for sewage disposal some 30% of the total population, predominantly in rural areas, were without adequate services. Much of the waste is discharged directly into rivers and streams, so that much of the water supplied is contaminated or below acceptable standards.
The low availability of power, averaging 50% in rural areas, frequent cuts and unstable supply place an additional strain on the installed electrical equipment. This, added to the fact that the chemicals used to purify the water contain around 30 times more impurities than before the embargo, leads to premature deterioration of the equipment, which subsequently requires more maintenance." (http://www.icrc.org/Web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/iwpList74/4BBFCEC7FF4B7A3CC1256B66005E0FB6#a1)


Maybe you can blame all of the ill effects of the sanctions on Saddam's evil rule and his opportunism, but those of us against the sanctions wondered why the UN had to assist him in this exploitation.

Mark Buehner

"Maybe you can blame all of the ill effects of the sanctions on Saddam's evil rule and his opportunism, but those of us against the sanctions wondered why the UN had to assist him in this exploitation. "

I dont need to blame Saddam for the ill effects, it is perfectly self evident. I think you'll agree that it is impossible to seperate post war 'humanitarian' deaths from those deliberately abetted by Saddams policies, as Hussein deliberately used one to render the other. Our only point of contention is in how this should have been dealt with. I find it wildly reckless to advocate putting additional resources into the hands of the man carrying out these killings. You seem to have been willing to rely on the good will of the butcher, hoping that those resources would not have been put to work to murder at least as many and very likely more innocents as the sanctions ever took. The bottom line is, you only seem concerned with deaths the US could bear some complicity in. If Saddam had murdered twice as many, you wouldnt care so long as our 'hands were clean'. I find this to be an abomination, if not unusual for the antiwar/antisanctions crowd. Let me parse it for you this way, if you oppose removing Saddam by force, and advocate rewarding his deliberately starving his people by giving him additional resources, you are de facto advocating making the tyrant more secure and powerful, and hence when the tools you would have given him were turned on civilians again would have been every bit as guilty as you blame the UN and America of being, probably more.

dbg

"The bottom line is, you only seem concerned with deaths the US could bear some complicity in."

Concerned is the wrong word, I'm responsible for that which the US has some complicty in and and therefore it is right to concentrate on that which I have some say in.

Eddgra Fallin

dbq -- you truly are one gullible person, evidently willing to swallow whatever horse manure you are fed. "Physicians for Social Responsibility" -- now THAT'S an organization without a political agenda! Sheesh.

As for the ICRC, they have in recent years become more and more infected with the same sort of mamby-pamby soft-left bent that has almost completely swallowed Europe. Despite all their whining about how sanctions were responsible for whatever suffering the Iraqi people were experiencing, they simply can not explain how it was America's fault that Saddam continued building lavish palaces for himself, nor have they explained how it was our fault that Saddam was taking the food and medicine he was provided through the corrupt Food-for-Oil Program and stashing it all in warehouses UNDISTRIBUTED.

Whine all you want. You're full of it and you know it.

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