Good morning, America

by Volker Weber

When you go out today to elect your new president, please take a minute to remember the small mistakes the old one made. Actually I only want you to remember one:

Onehundredthousand dead people in Iraq

You are mourning 1123 dead soldiers in Iraq and 3030 civilians in the 9/11 attacks. I remember reading that every US citizen knows somebody else whose family was affected by the attack on the WTC and the Pentagon in 2001. That is with 3030 casualties in a population of 295 million people. And you do hate the terrorists, don't you?

Can you imagine what 100,000 dead civilians mean to a population of 25 million? Imagine a WTC scale disaster every single day for one year.


At what point do we start calling this genocide?

Joe Litton, 2004-11-02

I don't get it. It was apparently okay for Saddam Hussein to slaughter his own people - but now that the US is involved, they're somehow more dead than they were before.

It must be wonderful to have us to blame for all the problems in the world.

Jon Johnston, 2004-11-02

Jon - It is not whether it was alright for Saddam Hussein to murder his own people. It is whether he murdered so many. Outrage is shown over Saddam's "mass graves" which account for several hundred to a thousand. We go in to "save the people" and 100,000 die. Does it occur to you that maybe they really, really wish we had left them alone. Saddam might have gone on killing 1,000 a year, but that means it would have taken 100 years to get to the number that have died. He would have been dead long before that anyway.

Saddam Hussein was a horrible, horrible leader, capable of atrocities we can hardly imagine, but he still couldn't manage the level of horror that a war conducted by well meaning people can manage. That is one of the reasons to try so very hard to avoid war, any war, and why we should not have rushed into this without much better reasons than we had.

Ben Langhinrichs, 2004-11-02

Well said, Ben. Well said.


Richard Schwartz, 2004-11-02

Couldn't we aggree, that going around and killing people is never a good idea?

And furthermore, that killing people - especially innocent people - because you think that this might save some other people from being killed or harmed isn't such a good idea either? Because - as history has shown many times - you could be mistaken and the people you killed are dead anyway! (this has - in my humble opinion - nothing to do with numbers. it would even be a bad idea to kill 10 innocents if this might save 1000 - because you might be mistaken. but this is just an opinion.)

Even if there have also been cases in history, where war was justified (i.e. the war against nazi germany), this ist not a general justification of war, especially a preemptive war. everyone who thinks different, might ponder a little while on the possibilty of its own country being declared a "bad guy" by an overpowering enemy.

This is actually one of the reasons why - at least in democratic states - the police isn't going around and killing the bad guys as long as there are other options available. Those people in a society, who kill other people without having been giving the mandate for this by some institution of this society, whose function it is to decide such issues, are given other names than "policemen"

Markus Breuer, 2004-11-02

@Markus: I think we all DO agree "that going around and killing people is never a good idea"...
I'd say Jon's point was basically to compare two bad (very bad) options and ask which one is less bad.
In my opinion it now basically comes to the point, where it simply matters what you consider to be part of the "options". I don't think it is just to simply count the casualties (or as I'd rather call them: victims, after all we're talking about humans who have lost their lives!). We also need to take into consideration the remaining factors of the picture. E.g. a people (hopefully, the sooner the better) being able to elect their leadership democratically.
Whether we have reached the goals that we wanted to? Hardly, not yet. Will we reach the goals? I don't know, I seriously doubt that for the next few years. Was there a better alternative to reach the goals than invading Iraq? Yes, I am absolutely convinced that there was, but certainly this alternative was not to let Saddam Hussein go on to kill 100,000 a year.

Just my two cents,


Ragnar Schierholz, 2004-11-02

I don't get it.

Let me try again: Soldiers, warships, tanks, aircrafts, explosives. Boom. Dead people.

Volker Weber, 2004-11-02

Jon - go in a cinema and look Fahrenheit 9/11 from Michael Moore. Hopefully you get it then.


Detlev Buschkamp, 2004-11-02

*lol* Detlev ... that's nothin but propaganda.
I agree with Jon that the war was the better choice. It was/is a wrong justification, because there's no relation to 9/11.
But for Iraq a brutal end is better than brutality without an end, as we would say in German. Saddam killed much more than 100,000 people.
BTW, it says "100,000 civilians _may_ have died in Iraq conflict". And in the article it is a BIG "may".
Therefore I'm pro Iraqwar and contra Iraqwar for 9/11.
They should have done this long before.

Martin Hiegl, 2004-11-02

I am all for elections, and I hope that Iraq is ready for them, but I think that unless things improve a heck of a lot in the near future, most Iraqis would vote to go back to what they had rather than the hell hole they have now. I could be wrong, but forcing a democracy down a country's throat, and doing it in the most incompetent way possible, is hardly a recipe for improving people's view of democracy. Doing it in the name of lies and more lies just makes it worse. Sure, there are plenty of countries that deserve better leaders and governments than they have, but many would fall into the same sort of chaos if we actually intervened. War is messy as all hell, and very seldom goes the way you intend. That's why I would choose to avoid it.

Ben Langhinrichs, 2004-11-02

Was it wrong to start a war? Depends on how bad you think Saddam Hussein was.

Was it wrong to start a war on false pretexts as part of a pre-emptive strategy? Depends on how much you'd like to be pre-emptively attacked by some foreign nation whenever they feel to do so.

Was it wrong to start a war based on faulty intelligence and with no exit strategy at all? Depends on whether you like a good gamble or not.

Is Iraq better off with or without Saddam? Depends on whether you prefer dictatorship or civil war.

Horst Prillinger, 2004-11-02

First I would like to remember that we have to mourn over far more deaths. This is the second war of the US against Iraq. Between those two wars the civilians of Iraq suffered from the effects of 10 years of illegal sanctions (according to international law) that caused the death of thousands of civilans. Plus there are not only killed troops but many injured and crippled US soldiers from this and from the last war.

Second I would like to remember that Saddam has been massively supported by the US since the eighties. When he was killing the Kurds in the north of Iraq with gas attacks, one of his worst atrocities, nobody complained, and especially US support continued!

Michael Moore's film can be critiqued for many things - even being anti-war propaganda if you like, Martin. But he connot be critiqued for getting the facts wrong.
We can safely assume that the statements he makes and the figures he reports are correct - he would be both in jail and bancrupt by now if any of the Republican lawyers could have found one single fact to be inaccurate.

Maybe you have not seen the film, and maybe you prefer not to whatch it.
The film hurts the feelings of every sentient human being.
Then maybe have a reading of Noam Chomsky instead and find out if this too is just propaganda:

Leonardo Burci, 2004-11-02

10 years of sanctions killed Iraqis while Saddam managed to barely survive in the palaces we've seen all over the country? He was so poor he couldn't feed the people, but kept on building more palaces.

With regards to US support in Iraq, be careful when you're throwing stones, otherwise someone might bring up the "Food for Oil" corruption that involved both France and Germany, amongst others.

Like I said, it's pretty convenient to blame the US for everything bad in the world.

If you expect your arguments to hold any credibility on US foreign policy, leave Michael Moore out of it - the guy is making millions off of producing entertainment.

Regardless of who gets elected today, we're going to have to live with the consequences of this election, and by that I do not mean the war in Iraq. Each side blames the other for the split in the US.

If John Kerry gets elected, will those who support him now be happy to see a right-wing "Michael Moore" create an anti-Kerry propaganda films about him? By condoning what Moore has done to Bush, you're justifying it happening to Kerry. That'll be the problem we face in the US.

At least the campaign ads will stop today.

jon johnston, 2004-11-02

I'd suggest that if you expect to be taken seriously with regards to US foreign policy that you leave Michael Moore out of it. His movies are entertainment - nothing more.

After 10 years of UN-approved sanctions, Saddam's people starved while he kept building palaces - further proof of what a butcher he was. And be careful when you bring up US support of Saddam, otherwise someone might bring up France, Germany, and Russia's involvement in the "Food for Oil" program that benefited those nations.

Like I said earlier, it's pretty easy to blame the US for everything wrong in the world.

It is justifiable if you want to blame Bush for invading Iraq for the wrong reasons. But to blame the US for many civilians deaths in Iraq is nothing more than a joke.

There are those who would not go to war under any circumstance. They will always be protected by someone else, and they will always be in position to point their fingers. How wonderfully convenient for them.

Jon Johnston, 2004-11-02

Oops wrong URL on that last post. Should be this one.

Jon Johnston, 2004-11-02

This stuff is funny. Extrapolating a body count based on surveying 4300 people?

Most of the violent deaths in their count are from Falluja, an active combat zone. Duh. It's a bit of a stretch to imply that the stats in Falluja can be applied to the rest of the country.

I'm no stats guy but doesn't "95% CI 8000-194000" mean that they're 95% sure that the actual count is somewhere between 8000 and 194,000? Isn't that an excessively large margin of error? What about changing the headline to "Maybe 100k, but at least we're pretty sure it's somewhere between 8k and 194k"

They should have spent more time to put together a more accurate survey...but then it wouldn't have been ready in time for the election which was probably the limiting factor for the report.

The Discussion section of the actual report actually goes into the flaws of the sampling a bit. There are some interesting parts that will probably go unreported and unread my most:

"Despite widespread Iraqi casualties, household interview data do not show evidence of widespread wrongdoing on the part of individual soldiers on the ground. To the contrary, only three of 61 incidents (5%) involved coalition soldiers (all reported to be American by the respondents) killing Iraqis with small arms fire. In one of the three cases, the 56-year-old man killed might have been a combatant. In a second case, a 72-year-old man was shot at a checkpoint. In the third,
an armed guard was mistaken for a combatant and shot during a skirmish. In the latter two cases, American soldiers apologised to the families of the decedents for the killings, indicating a clear understanding of the adverse consequences of their use of force."

"Many of the Iraqis reportedly killed by US forces could have been combatants. 28 of 61 killings (46%) attributed to US forces involved men age 15–60 years, 28 (46%) were children younger than 15 years, four (7%) were women, and one was an elderly man."

At least the article linked to the actual report.

Scott Gentzen, 2004-11-02

I was watching an episode of Start Trek Enterprise last anight and T'Pol was telling Archer that he shouldn't think the the human way is what is best for everyone.

I think the americans are doing just that: imposing their way to the others.

My 2 Canadian cents

Ben Dubuc, 2004-11-02

I must be in a good mood today. I'm thinking that invoking Chomsky and Moore to support your argument is silly instead of stupid today.

That's like a conservative invoking Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter to support their point of view.

Scott Gentzen, 2004-11-02

Oh, and I forgot: I am happy that Saddam is not the boss anymore. He did some attrocities that are not excusable and he had to go. So I don't blame the americans for everything. It's just the way it's done that I question a bit.

Ben Dubuc, 2004-11-02

I couldn't comment before ( you were working on the comments), so I posted something on my personal blog here...

Brian Benz, 2004-11-02

"100,000 Dead—or 8,000 How many Iraqi civilians have died as a result of the war?

Should have found this one earlier.

Scott Gentzen, 2004-11-10

There is no fight for democracy,there is no fight against terrorism,ther is no fight for the betterment of the Iraqy people.The poor soldiers believe and fight every day for all the goals above,helping poor destroyed people.My freinds son came back after his first tour and expressed the horror he saw committed on the poor people who did nothing to anyone except attempt to raise kids the same as us in the U.S. He went back a second time to help these people put something back together to survive.He was killed. He was an honerable man.Most soldiers are,politicians are not.They get our sons and daughters killed every day. They get civilians killed every day. They don't care.They care about money they make,but the truth of all of it is our economy will collapse.Over a half of TRILLION over the next 5 years.The government said it not I, we are in big trouble no matter whose side you ar on.

Tony Austin, 2005-10-08

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