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650,000 dead and counting

By shinshin in News
Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 07:57:24 AM EST
Tags: iraq, war, foreign policy (all tags)

A study published today says that between 400,000 and 900,000 people have died thus far as a result of the Iraq invasion of 2003. The median figure is 650,000. The study was performed by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and was published today by the British medical journal The Lancet, one of the oldest and most respected peer-reviewed medical journals in the world, and is available for download.

Taking the median figure of 650,000 death, it is approximately 2.5 percent of the Iraqi population, and means that on average in the 1,301 days since the beginning of the Iraq war, 500 people have died each day as a result of the conflict. To put that number in perspective, it is:


  • 249 times the number of people killed in the World Trade Center in the attacks of September 11th, 2006 (2,602)
  • 3.5 times the number of people killed in the 2004 Asian Tsunami (184,168).
  • 1.006 times the total number of American soldiers killed in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War combined (126,000, 407,300, 54,000, and 58,209 respectively)
President Bush today called the study's methodology "pretty well discredited" in a press conference, despite the fact that the methodology has long been the standard for estimating conflict deaths, and has been used without criticism or controversy in such places as East Timor, the Congo, Darfur, and Bosnia. Death tolls from these conflicts derived using the identical methodology are accepted as the standard and official figures by governments all around the world.

Despite their criticisms, no one in the US, British, or Iraq government offered any alternate death toll estimates. The stated policy since 2003 of General Tommy Franks, who directed the Iraq invasion, was phrased succinctly: "We don't do body counts".

Proponents of the Iraq War that have persisted in their support after the discreditation of the original rationales (alleged possession of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons and alleged connections to the Al Qaeda terrorist group) have always claimed that the invasion was nevertheless a just cause because of humanitarian reasons. The question they will be faced with now is: how many deaths will need to take place as a result of the invasion before it outweighs the suffering that Iraqi citizens faced under the previous regime.

Sources:

  • Mortality after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: a cross-sectional cluster sample survey, The Lancet, published October 11, 2006
  • End the politics of humiliation, the Guardian, Richard Horton, October 11, 2006
  • 655,000 Iraqis dead because of war, study finds, CNN, October 11, 2006
  • Iraq deaths put at 655,000, Reuters, October 11, 2006
  • Deaths In The Fog Of War, CBS, October 11, 2006
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    Poll
    Assuming the war is just based on humanitarian reasons, how many deaths is too many?
    o 1 35%
    o 1,000 8%
    o 10,000 7%
    o 100,000 7%
    o 1,000,000 0%
    o 10,000,000 5%
    o Unlimited 35%

    Votes: 56
    Results | Other Polls

    Related Links
    o download
    o 2,602
    o 184,168
    o 126,000
    o 407,300
    o 54,000
    o 58,209
    o "We don't do body counts"
    o Mortality after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: a cross-sectional cluster sample survey
    o End the politics of humiliation
    o 655,000 Iraqis dead because of war, study finds
    o Iraq deaths put at 655,000
    o Deaths In The Fog Of War
    o Also by shinshin


    Display: Sort:
    650,000 dead and counting | 369 comments (357 topical, 12 editorial, 0 hidden)
    this is a pretty glaring failure by US forces (2.21 / 14) (#3)
    by the spins on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 06:37:23 PM EST

    the iraqis are reproducing at a higher rate than that; we need to stay the course and keep up the good fight.

     _
    ( )
     X
    / \ SUPPORT THE DEL GRIFFITH MODBOMBING CAMPAIGN

    Not really (2.50 / 4) (#8)
    by shinshin on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 07:02:56 PM EST

    considering that the Iraqi population growth rate is only 2.66%.

    Nevertheless, that was a grotesque and monstrous thing for you to say.

    ____
    We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
    [ Parent ]

    cry me a river, hippie. (1.44 / 9) (#15)
    by the spins on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 08:01:38 PM EST


     _
    ( )
     X
    / \ SUPPORT THE DEL GRIFFITH MODBOMBING CAMPAIGN

    [ Parent ]

    AH HAHAHAHA oh man you idiot (1.81 / 11) (#16)
    by the spins on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 08:04:51 PM EST

    if you had bothered to calculate exactly how many people 2.2% is, you would note that the estimated births for this year alone are 589,234. Consider we started fighting this war in 2003 and consider further that they probably reproduced even more rapidly in peacetime and you come up with a figure that is easily twice as many as are alleged to have been killed in some manner via the occupation. Dumb fucking eurohippie.

     _
    ( )
     X
    / \ SUPPORT THE DEL GRIFFITH MODBOMBING CAMPAIGN

    [ Parent ]

    OK (2.00 / 3) (#19)
    by shinshin on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 08:09:16 PM EST

    You're right ... we're only killing 0.8% of the population per year. Sorry for the error.

    I'm off to cry that river now...

    ____
    We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
    [ Parent ]

    good, do it. (2.14 / 7) (#20)
    by the spins on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 08:19:33 PM EST

    and take a goddamn remedial math course while you're at it.

     _
    ( )
     X
    / \ SUPPORT THE DEL GRIFFITH MODBOMBING CAMPAIGN

    [ Parent ]

    people reproduce MORE in wartime (3.00 / 2) (#47)
    by boxed on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 05:50:35 AM EST

    much more in fact, just like during power blackouts..

    [ Parent ]
    really? (none / 0) (#321)
    by Pavel Vozenilek on Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 05:16:49 AM EST

    Do you have a source for such a sweeping statement?

    During WWI fertility rates dropped rapidly (and the widespread hunger didn't help either).

    [ Parent ]

    WIPO: As many as it takes (2.14 / 7) (#5)
    by MrHanky on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 06:41:51 PM EST

    War is a game of Last Man Standing.

    Unless, of course, we're playing capture the flag.


    "This was great, because it was a bunch of mature players who were able to express themselves and talk politics." Lettuce B-Free, on being a total fucking moron for Ron Paul.

    Actually, (2.88 / 9) (#9)
    by shinshin on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 07:05:18 PM EST

    War is a game of political domination of one nation state over another by means of military force. I think the word you are thinking of in your definition is "genocide".

    HTH.

    ____
    We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
    [ Parent ]

    typical bush admin stupidity (1.30 / 10) (#13)
    by circletimessquare on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 07:45:01 PM EST

    why are they being defensive about these numbers?

    they should trumpet them as loudly as possible

    they should INFLATE these numbers

    these numbers show the vile nature of what is being fought in the middle east


    The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

    Do you seriously believe (2.50 / 4) (#14)
    by shinshin on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 07:56:08 PM EST

    that these numbers validate your view that the Iraq invasion was a good idea?

    ____
    We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
    [ Parent ]
    yes (1.57 / 7) (#21)
    by circletimessquare on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 08:22:18 PM EST

    and we should invade north korea, asap

    you fight menace in the world

    that it is hard and difficult should not dissuade you

    as north korea adequately depicts, doing nothing just makes the menace worse

    who is killing the people in iraq? americans?

    no, the same religious bigots who did 9/11, madrid, london, bali, chechnya, etc.

    what would those guys be doing now if it weren't for invading iraq?

    they'd be killing the same amount of people, if not more, just elsewhere in the middle east or the world

    invading iraq served as a honeypot to them, they couldn't resist: the great demon america was in the arab homeland, and what the great demon america was trying to do: build a secular strong iraq, must not succeed

    so how do we fight the great demon america? we sow chaos and disorder by wantonly killing innocent iraqis, proving that what the americans want is worse than what they had under the despot saddam, or would have under religious theocracy. they want iraq to be somalia or afghanistan, which it is rapidly approaching, because out of such anarchy is bred evil like the taliban

    that they are succeeding is sad, but to believe that the possibility of not fighting them would be better, would result in less deaths, is even sadder

    do you understand the menace that exists in this world or do you not? i don't think you really do

    do you believe not invading iraq would mean the same number of people would not die? but just scattered around the globe instead of concentrated in iraq? what do you think the assholes in iraq would be doing if iraq was not invaded?

    do you blame the police for what hostage takers do? what exactly do you think is being fought in this world?

    say the usa invaded north korea, and north korea kills 500,000 in seoul: who is responsible for that? north korea? or the usa?

    who actually pulverized seoul? who right now is running around iraq shooting innocent iraqis and sowing sectarian strife? if a hostage taker shoots a hostage in the head because the police tried to shoot a hostage taker, who is ultimately to blame for the dead person: the police? or the hostage taker? you would blame those who fight menace for what menace does? why do you blame the guy who is trying to fix the situation, for the situation?

    and furthermore, if no one were to try to fix it, why do you believe it would get better all by itself? that less would die?

    say the usa never invaded north korea. what happens?

    north korea get more and more belligerent, acquires more and more nukes. such that all you trade is 500,000 deaths in seoul now for invading nk now, versus 1,500,000 deaths in seoul, tokyo, elsewhere, at a later date

    do you understand that or not?

    there is no choice when it comes to menace: you oppose it now, painfully, or oppose it later, more painfully. there is no such thing as not opposing it and feeling less pain somehow

    do you understand what kind of meance that exists in this world? you and a lot of people obviously don't understand exactly what kind of cruelty and vile hatred exists in this world

    the assholes running around iraq killing civilians: you confront them now, however much they kill, or you confront them later, or in another country, killing just as many people, or more

    dithering just makes them bigger, and means more deaths

    that's really the truth

    see you're not an evil person. you're not motivated to fight the usa, you're not motivated to help al qaeda in iraq. you're motivated to ease people suffering, to lessen suffering

    the problem is that you don't understand that your methodology for achieving that goal doesn't work. and perhaps you don't understand that i have the same goal as you, but a better mothodology because i understand the nature of what is being fought better than you

    the problem with good hearted but deluded and sheltered souls like yourself is that you are naive, you don't understand the nature of true menace

    you believe menace can be appeased. that doing nothing will mean it will just fade away

    tell me: how has that strategy worked with north korea so far?

    nk setting off a nuke just proved my point

    if it was up to me, nk would have been invaded in 1993. hundreds of thousands would have died in seoul in 1993 for that. naive souls like you would be screaming about blood on my hands for invading seoul just like you are screaming that those dead in iraq are the fault of americans right now

    except that the reality we live in today, nk with nukes, would have never come to pass. and tell me, now that it has nukes, is nk going to get more belligerent? or less? opposing nk now means more deaths or less than 1993?

    fast forward 10 years from now. what will be of nk and the people suffering under that regime that makes them eat leaves while the despot builds more nukes? do you oppose them 10 years form now then? how many will die now for opposing nk then?

    do you see the game now?

    you blame the usa for deaths in iraq

    you ignore the suffering that would have existed under saddam for decades, and you ignore that those killing people in iraq now would be doing the same killing elsewhere in the same time period

    you look at the deaths in a vacuum. you don't compare those deaths to the deaths that would result form the alternative choices. deaths that are only greater in number

    do you understand me now and where i come from?

    only one road exists for opposing menace like al qaeda, north korea: confrontation

    is it painful? absolutely. they make sure it is

    but if you wait, it just gets more painful later, it doesn't fade away

    get it now?

    The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

    [ Parent ]

    That's easy to say (2.60 / 5) (#23)
    by Beatific Deathsquad on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 08:46:52 PM EST

    Since neither you nor anyone you know is in any danger.

    "I was...gay." -- rusty
    [ Parent ]
    i am in danger (1.66 / 3) (#24)
    by circletimessquare on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 08:50:22 PM EST

    i left the wtc at 9 pm on 9/10/01, i wasn't safe then, i'm not safe now

    today is a global world. what happens in kandahar matters in manhattan. what happens in nairobi matters in moscow. what happens in shanghai matters in sao paulo

    nowhere is safe in the world we live in today

    i am in danger right now from this hatred. you are in danger right now from this hatred. you and everyone you know. me and everyone i know

    am i being an alarmist?

    or do you have a false sense of security?


    The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

    [ Parent ]

    You're being an alarmist. (2.83 / 6) (#25)
    by Beatific Deathsquad on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 08:57:45 PM EST



    "I was...gay." -- rusty
    [ Parent ]
    you have a false sense of security nt (none / 0) (#63)
    by circletimessquare on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 12:00:58 PM EST



    The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

    [ Parent ]
    Safety (2.66 / 3) (#42)
    by shinshin on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 01:29:47 AM EST

    Safety is a funny thing. You seem to think that you are safer because of our efforts in Iraq. However, as the recent National Intelligence Estimate shows, all 16 intelligence agencies in the US Intelligence Community concluded exactly the opposite: the threat of terrorism has increased as a result of that invasion that you have so energetically defended over the years.

    Look, CTS, I know you were spooked by the prospect of being one of the 2,602 people that died in the World Trade Center. However, even if you have no sympathy for the hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis, don't you even feel a shred of remorse for the 2,748 American soldiers that have died thus far? How many more deaths will it take for you to realize that violence is self-perpetuating?

    ____
    We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
    [ Parent ]

    you have it backwards (1.25 / 4) (#65)
    by circletimessquare on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 12:11:38 PM EST

    we are in iraq because we care about iraqis

    "However, even if you have no sympathy for the hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis,"

    it is because of sympathy for the iraqis we are there

    see: our motivations are the same: betterment for iraqis. i know you care about iraqis. you need to understand that i do to. do you honestly believe the us is in iraq because we just like to kill iraqis? who's actually killing the iraqis? you know the answer to both these questions, so why do you think it is important to frame it as we have no concern for the iraqis at all, or that you think americans are killing iraqis?

    who is killing them?

    here's a crazy wacky idea: maybe the people killing iraqis are responsible?

    i know, wacky leap of logic, right?

    here's our commonality: concern for the iraqis

    here's out difference:
    you: do nothing. iraq continues to suffer under saddam, al qaeda topples saddam anyways, suffering a la somalia/ afghanistan is norm

    me: do something, topple saddam. al qaeda comes and starts massacring iraqis. so keep fighting them

    what's the difference between you and i then?

    i understand al qaeda must be confronted to ease suffering

    you seem to believe, somehow, that not confronting al qaeda will lessen suffering

    how you can possibly blame the deaths in iraq on the usa, when it is al qaeda running around massacring people there, just blows my mind

    you honestly beleive not confronting these assholes means less suffering for iraqis. you honestly believe that?


    The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

    [ Parent ]

    Ah, yes... (3.00 / 4) (#211)
    by Znork on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 12:12:37 PM EST

    "it is because of sympathy for the iraqis we are there"

    Euthenasia on a country scale? They're suffering so lets put them out of their misery. Brilliant.

    "who is killing them?"

    The coalition are ultimately responsible, wether they are actually shooting them (50-100K), wether the coalition imposed government is killing them (death squads, sectarian killings, etc), or they're dying from the destroyed infrastructure (lack of hospitals, etc)

    "when it is al qaeda running around massacring"

    Man, you really need to put down that crackpipe and actually read something from reality some time. The levels of death related to aq pales in comparison with the rest.

    "you honestly beleive not confronting these assholes means less suffering for iraqis"

    You dont have to believe anything. The numbers are cold hard fact.

    If you wish to believe something else, then I suggest you dig up some damn good reasons why being dead or under constant threat of death is better than having access to education, water, electricity and medicine.

    Anyone who's still failed to grasp the futility of armed conflict in combatting radicalization is so far removed from reality that they merit anti-psychotic medication.

    Get help.

    [ Parent ]

    ummmm... (2.66 / 3) (#213)
    by DrToast on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 12:29:23 PM EST

    How about the strategy of taking on al qaeda in Afghanistan? You know that place where they really were? Wouldn't that make a little more sense than wreck a totally different country, making it a haven for terrorists so that you can fight the terrorists there?

    And now because of your little crusade into Iraq the al qaeda types are making a resurgence in Afghanistan and expanding into Somalia. Oh and now Iraq too. We went from having a problem with al qaeda in Afghanistan and Sudan to having a problem with al qaeda in Afghanistan, Sudan, Somalia, and Iraq. Yeah thats making us more secure.

    Rational people support "take the fight to the terrorists". But we just don't like the "take the fight to where the oil is" strategy so much.

    Now respond like an ADD-addled crack addict like you always do.

    [ Parent ]

    cts (2.90 / 11) (#26)
    by tetsuwan on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 08:57:59 PM EST

    this comment goes far beyond crazy. Do you seriously think starting wars that will kill hundreds of thousands of people with certainty is better than a hypothtically worse war started by the other part? The US doesn't and shouldn't attack North Korea because they think it is unlikely that North Korea would strike first. As long as they are putting off the war, they are saving people.

    Oh, and there's no need to confirm Godwin's law, I know perfectly well that there are times we have to go to war to save ourselves. But North Korea will collaps on itself within the next twenty years. The North Koreans will have to save themselves from their own tyrant.

    Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
    [ Parent ]

    NORTH KOREA? (1.80 / 5) (#43)
    by dongs on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 02:13:31 AM EST

    FUCK THOSE ASIANS, I HOPE THEIR NEXT NUKE TEST GOES HAYWIRE AND VAPORIZES THEM ALL

    [ Parent ]
    north korea will collapse (1.25 / 4) (#66)
    by circletimessquare on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 12:16:22 PM EST

    they said that in 1956

    they said that in 1966

    they said that in 1976

    they said that in 1986

    they said that in 1996

    they said that in 2006

    where are we now? oh yeah: same assholes, now with nuclear power

    go ahead, keep waiting, never confront them

    because they're going to collapse on their own, right?

    it's not like in 2016, or 2026 it's just north korea with even more nukes, right?

    and that WHOLE time, the people living in north korea: they're having a ball right?

    i see your concern for saving living now and lessening suffering

    pffft

    actually that's not fair:

    you do have concern for lessening suffering and saving lives

    and i have concern for saving lives now and lessening suffering

    but apparently i'm the only one between us who actually understand what it ttakes to actually do that

    The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

    [ Parent ]

    yeah - killing people (none / 1) (#89)
    by tetsuwan on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 02:37:19 PM EST

    intentionally. Do you think the North Koreans would great invaders with open arms? Hardly. They've been told that the foreign enemies will invade for fifty years. The military is the only part of NK society beside the political elite that gets reasonable resources. They will fight and a lot of people will die. Probably at least a million.

    A revolution from within is worth so much more. How many people were killed when East Germany ceased to exist?

    Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
    [ Parent ]

    "A revolution from within" (none / 0) (#94)
    by circletimessquare on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 02:53:58 PM EST

    that would be the best, i agree

    now you tell me how that is going to happen. as for reasons why it won't? read your post again. you just gave me the reasons in the paragraph before saying "A revolution from within is worth so much more"... why it will never happen

    work that contradiction out in your mind, and get back to me

    The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

    [ Parent ]

    Question (none / 0) (#103)
    by tetsuwan on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 03:26:56 PM EST

    Has democratic reform forced from the outside ever worked in countries lacking a democratic tradition? (hint: men got the right to vote 1925 in Japan)

    Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
    [ Parent ]

    your hint is rather specious (none / 0) (#105)
    by circletimessquare on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 03:34:46 PM EST

    are you describing wartime japan as a democracy?

    but let's ignore that red herring anways: for the sake of argument, let's say japan was the most democratic country on the earth at the moment

    japan's belligerence was the issue

    tell me: how would you describe north korea's level of belligerence right now? for the last 30 years?


    The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

    [ Parent ]

    So (none / 1) (#110)
    by tetsuwan on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 03:47:07 PM EST

    In their belligerence, how many countries have North Korea invaded since -53? Ok, thousands of people have died in the DMZ in these fifty years, but AFAIK most of them are North Koreans.

    Japan was progressing towards democracy in 1920s, they had political parties, civilian cabinets, a.s.o. The emperor did not meddle. But when the global economy crashed and a prominent prime minister was killed, noncivilian cabinets took over. I do not condone Japans aggressive colonial politics in the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th, I just state that had a modern democratic tradition prior to the aftermath of WWII.

    Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
    [ Parent ]

    and what of those living in north korea (none / 1) (#113)
    by circletimessquare on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 03:54:18 PM EST

    eating leaves while their "dear leader" builds nukes and fires rockets over japan and blusters in extremely belligerent language for decades?

    nothing is ever going to come of that, right?

    keep doing nothin gabout north korea, ok

    in 2056, what will the situation be like?

    more impoverished suffering people

    and more nukes hanging over the far east's head

    the only thing that is going to happen is this: china will modernize more and more and more

    it's contrast with its psychotic dirt poor belligerent neighbor will only grow

    and eventually, it will be CHINA that will invade north korea

    and this entire time, all of the suffering north koreans will suffer, and when china invades, they will suffer in seoul by the hundreds of thousands still

    and maybe something with a nuclear signature will result

    because all of this time, throughout the 1980s, 1990s, etc., people jus tlike you didn't have intelligence and willpower to realize where all of this was going, and what the end result would be

    you confront nk now: hundreds of thousands will suffer

    you confront them later: even more hundreds of thousands will suffer

    but not confronting them at all never was, is, or will be an option

    if we had this argument in 1994, 12 years before nk set off a demo nuke, it woul dbe the same

    if we had this argument in 1982: same argument

    if we have it in 2018: same argument

    the only that changes from year to year? the number that will suffer just keeps going up

    get it now?


    The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

    [ Parent ]

    East Germany had nukes (none / 1) (#118)
    by tetsuwan on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 04:10:12 PM EST

    now repeat your argument.

    My argument contains wishful thinking (the rise of a revolt against the corrupt regime), but so do yours (invasion now will make the situation better for those involved).

    The difference is that if neither of our wishes come true, the no war strategy is far better. Your scenario is not credible. You assume that nukes and artillery will be fired to the left and right if China invades. I doubt it. A Chinese invasion is perhaps the best solution for all parts, because the NKian elite might have something to lose by setting off all the worst weapons. That is, as former allies, they might be able to retire in peace even if they're removed from power. If the US invades, the elite is probably convinced that they will be summarily executed if they surrender.

    Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
    [ Parent ]

    if you're so gung-ho about invading countries (2.55 / 9) (#30)
    by hesk on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 09:35:29 PM EST

    why are you not in iraq?

    --
    Sticking to the rules doesn't improve your safety, relying on the rules is
    [
    Parent ]

    right, this old bullshit (1.00 / 2) (#71)
    by circletimessquare on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 01:05:23 PM EST

    as in, you can't debate me on the substance of my remarks, so you doubt me on my conviction in my remarks

    i've always found this avenue of argument to be the device of those who don't have any conviction themselves. so all you've really done by doubting my conviction, is convince me you don't have any conviction yourself

    because someone with conviction wouldn't doubt the passion in my words. they would take me at my word. but someone without any passion for any purpose in life would consider doubting my conviction would be a good mode of attack on my pov. because it works on them. because they're passionless

    i mean as far as i can tell, my whole rationale is to convince people to do something. because i believe in something. your rationale seems to be convince people to do nothing. because you don't believe in anything

    so how's that working for you so far? convincing people that nothing matters? why do you think your rationale has any power over me, or ever would?

    that's the funny thing about belief in a purpose versus no belief at all: belief spreads and grows, nonbelief always withers away. whether its militant muslim fanaticism like what i am fighting, or strident humanism like what i stand for, to both of us believers, what you represent is nothing. you have no power of persuasion or convincing over either of us. you simply don't matter. you're pointless, you're empty, you're a waste of time. your viewpoint certainly doesn't matter to either of us

    see i respect al qaeda. because they fight for what they believe in. but i hate al qaeda. because they what they believe in is religious bigotry

    but i don't hate you. but neither do i respect you. you don't matter. you won't do anything. who said so? you did

    so why do you think you still matter to me or that you have nay power of persuasion over me? as far as i can tell, you've said time and time again you won't do anything. you won't fight anything. you don't care. so i take you at your word: you don't care, and you won't do anything.

    so you don't matter to me. you have no power over me. your point of view so based on the belief that nothing is happening in this world worth fighting for or against

    and so i know why this whole "you have no conviction" argument is something you think will work on me. because it works on you. because you have no conviction, no belief. there is no struggle going on right now. i'm just a false alarmist, right?

    but then why you think therefore that what you say is supposed to matter to me, is beyond me though. so how's that working for you? convincing people who believe in something to believe in nothing?

    is that an approach that will work on al qaeda? on north korea?

    you go on with your bad self dude. you believe in nothing. you try to convince people to do nothing. you try not to matter to any struggle in this world

    enjoy your empty pointless life

    but you don't matter to me. and that seems to be exactly what you want, really. so you should have no problem with me, who believes, and who wants to matter in this world


    The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

    [ Parent ]

    what's the point debating you... (3.00 / 4) (#90)
    by hesk on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 02:43:41 PM EST

    when you keep constructing those incredible straw men only to rant against them?

    so i have no passion and no conviction.  i believe nothing matters or is worth fighting for.  i am empty and pointless.

    whatever dude, if you really believe those things, then you're right: i don't give a shit.  trying to persuade you is pointless, as you're convinced you know everything about everything and everyone that is happening/living in the world.

    i'm stunned by your capacity to just KNOW what's going on in somebody else's mind.  now, if you were less insulting and arrogant, you might actually use that incredible skill to effect the things you so passionately care about.  i'm not holding my breath though, i got better things to do.

    --
    Sticking to the rules doesn't improve your safety, relying on the rules is
    [
    Parent ]

    arrogant? strawmen? knowing what you think? (1.00 / 2) (#91)
    by circletimessquare on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 02:51:02 PM EST

    i do believe i was responding to post in which my conviction was doubted, no?


    The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

    [ Parent ]
    apperantly I touched a sore spot, didn't I? -nt (2.00 / 2) (#95)
    by hesk on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 02:54:11 PM EST


    --
    Sticking to the rules doesn't improve your safety, relying on the rules is
    [
    Parent ]

    if you doubt the conviction (1.00 / 2) (#96)
    by circletimessquare on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 02:57:43 PM EST

    of someone who is passionate about what they believe, you will always touch a sore spot

    so yes, you did

    and you were arrogant, and insulting, and using a strawman, and pretending to know what i think by doing that

    all of which you dislike yourself apparently, judging by your response before last, right?

    so you, just like me, are passionate about something, and don't like having their conviction doubted

    just like me

    imagine that

    so: now that we've done away with your obvious stupid line of reaosning: doubting someone's convictions, then maybe we can back to the topic at hand, shall we?

    or do you still doubt my convictions?


    The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

    [ Parent ]

    asdf (2.66 / 3) (#102)
    by hesk on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 03:24:12 PM EST

    and you were arrogant, and insulting

    i'm not proud of it, but i find it hard not to be arrogant and insulting towards you, when your posts are full of insults.

    using a strawman, and pretending to know what i think by doing that

    no, i was stating a truism: if you believe that stuff (that i have no convictions and passion and so on), then you apparently are convinced to know what's going on in my mind.

    so you, just like me, are passionate about something, and don't like having their conviction doubted

    just like me

    imagine that

    nice try, establishing some common ground between us.  however, given your personality here on k5, i'm not sure that i want to have something in common with you.

    (yes, the last sentence was an insult.)

    --
    Sticking to the rules doesn't improve your safety, relying on the rules is
    [
    Parent ]

    got it (1.00 / 2) (#106)
    by circletimessquare on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 03:36:56 PM EST

    it's ok for you to act just like me, but i'm the only one to be blamed for that behavior

    in such a light, your attitude on the wider topic at hand makes perfect sense

    (snicker)


    The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

    [ Parent ]

    boy, you are stupid (2.66 / 3) (#124)
    by hesk on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 04:53:17 PM EST

    feel free to blame me for whatever you like.  you're saying that you're the only one to be blamed for being insulting.  another straw man.  of course, you might also try to explain where mine was, and i might actually listen.

    but that's the thing with you, cts: you never give a meaningful answer to any question, you just rant, rant, rant...

    there really is no point debating you.

    --
    Sticking to the rules doesn't improve your safety, relying on the rules is
    [
    Parent ]

    muahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha (1.66 / 6) (#31)
    by V on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 09:45:01 PM EST

    My god, you are a fucking moron.

    Look! A brownie with slanted eyes that talks funny!!
    Go change your diapers and don't ever leave your bunker if you are so scared of the meany brown people.

    V.
    ---
    What my fans are saying:
    "That, and the fact that V is a total, utter scumbag." VZAMaZ.
    "well look up little troll" cts.
    "I think you're a worthless little cuntmonkey but you made me lol, so I sigged you." re
    "goodness gracious you're an idiot" mariahkillschickens
    [ Parent ]

    why do you think this has to do with racism? nt (none / 0) (#72)
    by circletimessquare on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 01:05:52 PM EST



    The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

    [ Parent ]
    Fight menace in the world? (2.50 / 4) (#34)
    by StephenThompson on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 11:13:05 PM EST

    The US is the menace.

    [ Parent ]
    well then fight the usa (none / 1) (#73)
    by circletimessquare on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 01:11:33 PM EST

    but don't try to convince me to stop fighting al qaeda

    usually people like you who are convinced the usa is the meance, who live in the west and enjoy the fruits of the same type of system of govt, same liberal values, etc., aren't really going to fight anything

    if you are a religious bigot, like al qaeda, then i expect you to fight the usa

    but if you are the usual spoiled pampered clueless western child, you will do nothing, either for or against al qaeda, either for or against the usa, you'll just whine and bitch and moan a lot, and think you matter somehow for that

    so the usa is the menace. ok. what are you going to do about it?

    exactly, nothing

    so who cares what you think? why do you think i am supposed to respect you? you who have loudly announced how much you won't do anything?

    you'll oppose doing something, sure. as if you are effective in that... seeing as your whole rationale is to do nothing

    simple pointless indolence, arguing for the irght ot continue to be indolent

    useless to me, my enemies, to anyone, including yourself

    enjoy your pointless life. but don't for amoment think you matter to me, or have any power of persuasion over me

    say you will do something, and meet me in the arena of ideology and action, or shut up, and enjoy your videogames, pampered western child


    The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

    [ Parent ]

    you mean... like you? (2.50 / 2) (#327)
    by Morally Inflexible on Sun Oct 22, 2006 at 10:25:54 AM EST

    "but if you are the usual spoiled pampered clueless western child, you will do nothing, either for or against al qaeda, either for or against the usa, you'll just whine and bitch and moan a lot, and think you matter somehow for that"

    Granted, it's not like I'm action-man here, I am as much of a spoiled western child as you are- I'm just pointing out that you are doing no more than I am. Well, you whine and bitch a whole lot more than I do, but I essentially agree with the implication of the quote- whining and bitching has zero (sometimes negative) value.

    [ Parent ]

    bad cts! no biscuit! (2.66 / 6) (#35)
    by John Mytton on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 11:34:09 PM EST

    You create a false dilemna by saying that if we don't fight them there, we fight them here. What about all of the anti-American sentiment our being in the Middle East, with all of our war atrocities coming to light, and the subsequent vilification of our country by Muslims worldwide?

    [ Parent ]
    why is the bad intent of others (none / 1) (#75)
    by circletimessquare on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 01:30:11 PM EST

    the usa's fault?

    who is killing iraqi civilians and sowing strife?

    why are the people in the middle east angry at the usa, and not the demons within al qaeda?

    the truth is, the average muslim, 99% of muslims are good rationale moderate people, just like the average westerner

    however, demagogues and religious fanatics insist that these rationale good muslims have more in common with their fanatic murderous beliefs than they do with your average westerner

    and they use the invasion of iraq as a pretext for driving this wedge issue further and further between the good westerns and good muslims of the world

    your average muslim doesn't support al qaeda. but al qaeda is working very hard to get them too

    and why you think this is the responsibility of the usa, is utterly beyond me

    when do you begin to start blaming al qaeda for killing the people they do, and inciting the hatred that they do?

    The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

    [ Parent ]

    Muslims (none / 0) (#234)
    by levesque on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 08:00:15 PM EST

    are angry with both side's tactics of manipulation, isolation and violence. I think there would be a much higher support for either side's analysis and tactics if they made sense.

    All this dying because of the West's and Al qaeda's belief in mythological evil?

    [ Parent ]

    except of course, not (2.33 / 3) (#48)
    by boxed on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 05:53:26 AM EST

    The US is the agressor, the party that kills directly and indirectly.

    [ Parent ]
    and al qaeda is what in your view? nt (none / 1) (#76)
    by circletimessquare on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 01:31:19 PM EST



    The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

    [ Parent ]
    not in Iraq (none / 0) (#276)
    by boxed on Mon Oct 16, 2006 at 11:09:32 AM EST

    well, NOW they are of course, since the US destabilized the region. How is the expression? The enemy of my enemy is my enemy? No, that doesn't make sense, yet that is the logic the US invaded Iraq on. Al Qaeda was the enemy of Saddam Hussein and vice versa.

    [ Parent ]
    might you not say (none / 1) (#57)
    by buford on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 07:55:30 AM EST

    that the reason people in Iraq are causing havoc is not because they are generally nasty people but because they are defending their country which has been invaded? I'm a fairly ordinary schmo, not evil AFAICT, but I would probably resort to killing if my country was invaded.

    zHHD's first law of grandiosity:
    if a man zeros you, he is a spastic with the scro
    [
    Parent ]
    if they are defending from the usa (none / 0) (#77)
    by circletimessquare on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 01:32:01 PM EST

    why are they killing each iraqis? how does that work?


    The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

    [ Parent ]
    Not perfect (none / 1) (#169)
    by Achromatic on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 12:51:51 AM EST

    Here's why, IMO.

    Say a civil war broke out in the US tomorrow. Along what lines do you think it would be fought? Almost certainly Democrat v Republican, to my mind.

    It's not a perfect comparison, and nor am I pretending it to be, but you have Shi'ite and Sunni Muslim factions.

    Why are they duking it out with each other, not the invader?

    1. mob mentality - once chaos reigns, it's a great cover for doing what you've held back on so long. Witness LA riots. Witness "anti-globalism" - I lived in Melbourne while we had our big summit here, and the number of people not outright rioting, but happy to throw rocks at a building who would not otherwise be caught dead near the stereotypical protesters was staggering.

    2. staking claims - they realise that one way or another, America is not going to be there forever, all "cut and run" remarks aside. Whether she retreats with tail between legs, washes her hands of the farce, or tries to, or even achieves, some modicum of order, there is going to be a power vacuum. And when you combine that with the desire to have your group in power, the "authorisation" of force that comes from having an armed invasion of your homeland, while you may find it completely illogical that they're not banding together against the invaders, it seems quite commonsensical that they may view their best course of action at the moment weakening their opposition, albeit in a quite deadly way.


    [ Parent ]
    Ahem (3.00 / 2) (#219)
    by A Bore on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 01:04:31 PM EST

    Most attacks are aimed at coalition forces.

    [ Parent ]
    You're not fighting anything (3.00 / 4) (#315)
    by Hugh Jass on Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 04:56:35 PM EST

    You're blabbing about other people fighting.

    Join the fucking army.

    As I read your disjointed diatribes, America is facing an existential threat.

    And you're making a "Low Budget HDV Filipino Horror Movie in NYC".

    That'll show 'em.

    "In war the moral is to the physical, as three to one." - Bonaparte
    [ Parent ]

    cts logic at its finest; repulsive, too (2.71 / 7) (#17)
    by hesk on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 08:04:54 PM EST

    The study tries to count the number of deaths that would not have happened if it weren't for the invasion.  Ie, no invasion -> between 400 and 900 thousand people who are now dead would be alive.

    Take a look at this graph from the NY Times, based on the study: linky.

    Note the pie graph in the bottom right corner: Responsibility for deaths from June 05 to June 06: 25% by coalition forces with only 60% of the death causes known.  (Ie, the actual death figure for which coalition forces were responsible is likely much higher.)

    Good night.

    --
    Sticking to the rules doesn't improve your safety, relying on the rules is
    [
    Parent ]

    and those killing innocent iraqis now (1.50 / 6) (#22)
    by circletimessquare on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 08:30:13 PM EST

    where would they be and what would they be doing?

    it is 100% true that less iraqis would be dead if the usa didn't invade

    it is also 100% true that those killing iraqis today would be killing the same number of people around the globe in greater numbers

    and saddam would also be around

    and it was a nirvana under him in iraq?

    the problem with people like you is you look at the suffering in iraq in a vacuum

    you don't look at the truth of the alternative choices. in those alternative choices, is just more suffering

    some people have a problem dealing with situations where all of your choices are depressing and painful, and what you have to do is pick the least painful one

    they believe some magical painless choice exists, that doesn't

    or they believe not making any choice at all, dithering and waiting, means the choices get easier, and no one suffers while you wait, because oyu don't have the backbone to do something necessary but difficult, to MINIMIZE suffering


    The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

    [ Parent ]

    more cts logic (2.85 / 7) (#28)
    by hesk on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 09:30:03 PM EST

    it is also 100% true that those killing iraqis today would be killing the same number of people around the globe in greater numbers

    That might be true if killing people was a zero sum game, fortunately it isn't.

    To repeat: The dead cited in this study are directly attributable to the invasion.  That puts a human costs on the invasion itself, which IMNSHO is WAY to high.  This is totally invariant as to how many people would have died from other causes if the US hasn't invaded.  Sure, another number of people would be dead in Iraq, but to speculate on the actual count is futile. And to suggest it would also be 600000 or so and further, that the people doing the killing right now (ie American/Iraqi forces and the so-called insurgents) is plainly moronic.  

    You're suggesting that people's lives were saved by the invasion and that the invasion was the only way to save them.  Ridiculous.

    --
    Sticking to the rules doesn't improve your safety, relying on the rules is
    [
    Parent ]

    you fail it (none / 1) (#62)
    by circletimessquare on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 11:58:57 AM EST

    "This is totally invariant as to how many people would have died from other causes if the US hasn't invaded."

    so the al qaeda assholes running around iraq right now, you're telling me:

    1. that is the usa's fault
    2. they would be pastoral farmers if the usa hadn't invaded

    "totally invariant"?

    more like directly linked


    The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

    [ Parent ]

    yeah, that's basically it (3.00 / 2) (#93)
    by hesk on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 02:51:55 PM EST

    By your logic:

    (a) Invading Iraq didn't cause any (additional) grievances that might make an Iraqi and/or foreigner take up arms against the US/other Iraqies.  They were already so pissed, that they would all be somewhere else, killing people.

    (b) The US/Iraqi forces that are also partly responsible for killing people (>25% of deaths by the study) would also be somewhere else, killing people.

    Of course, if you're cts, that totally makes sense!

    --
    Sticking to the rules doesn't improve your safety, relying on the rules is
    [
    Parent ]

    keep going (1.00 / 2) (#107)
    by circletimessquare on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 03:38:49 PM EST

    and al qaeda?

    you know, the guys slaughtering innocent iraqis

    tell us about them dude


    The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

    [ Parent ]

    It is not Al Qaeda slaughtering innocent Iraqis (3.00 / 4) (#121)
    by shinshin on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 04:33:56 PM EST

    and al qaeda? you know, the guys slaughtering innocent iraqis
    You keep saying that over and over. I wonder if you are aware that it is untrue.

    As you can read for yourself: "it is generally agreed that foreign fighters make up a very small percentage of the insurgency. Major General Joseph Taluto, head of the 42nd Infantry Division, said that "99.9 per cent" of captured insurgents are Iraqi. The estimate has been confirmed by the Pentagon's own figures; in one analysis of over 1000 insurgents captured in Fallujah, only 15 were non-Iraqi. According to the Daily Telegraph, information from military commanders engaging in battles around Ramadi exposed the fact that out of 1300 suspected insurgents arrested in five months of 2005, none were non-Iraqi".

    So once you've accepted that the vast majority of killing is being done by Iraqi natives, and once you acknowledge that killing on this scale would not be happening if not for the 2003 invasion, how can you continue to blithely proclaim that this level of bloodshed would be occuring anyway? It is false, and you know it.

    ____
    We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
    [ Parent ]

    Isn't it documented as alQ strategy to start a (none / 0) (#155)
    by BerntB on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 08:11:46 PM EST

    civil war?

    [ Parent ]
    We sure showed them! (3.00 / 6) (#222)
    by fn0rd on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 01:32:31 PM EST

    Totally beat them to it. Eat our dust, Al Qaeda!

    This fatwa brought to you by the Agnostic Jihad
    [ Parent ]

    also... (none / 1) (#99)
    by hesk on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 03:02:47 PM EST

    What I'm trying to say is that the human cost of the invasion cannot be evaluated by what would have happened if the US didn't invade.  Doing so is spurious, as we would never know.  However, it can be evaluated by the number of deaths that are directly attributed by the invasion.  And further, that in this instance, the human cost is appalling as is the indifference (and even justification) of a large number of people towards it.

    --
    Sticking to the rules doesn't improve your safety, relying on the rules is
    [
    Parent ]

    "Doing so is spurious, as we would never (none / 1) (#109)
    by circletimessquare on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 03:43:16 PM EST

     know."

    so why are you even arguing with me?

    according to you, all we can talk about is what actually happens, and never about what could have happened or might happen, right

    we can't use our higher faculties to think critically about anything, we can only crunch numbers, right?

    in which case, why are you arguing with me? doesn't that require on your part some ability to extrapolate and think critically from the information before us?

    you want us to say "look 650,000 are dead in iraq. totally the usa's fault, and nothing happening anywhere has any bearing"

    got it: stop thinking! consider less variables! if i find a piece of information that might challenge your point of view, i'm in error, because i'm not limiting my thinking as much as you are!

    (snicker)

    The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

    [ Parent ]

    my whole point is that... (2.33 / 3) (#122)
    by hesk on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 04:43:41 PM EST

    (some of) the people reported dead would be alive today, if the us had not invaded iraq (= something which did not happen).  

    thinking about something that could have happened (the us not invading iraq, a reality known as "didn't actually happen"), i come to the conclusion that i like that reality much more than the one i'm living in.

    you know, some of 600000 people who are dead today, might actually be alive.

    but then cts comes along and says: yeah, but this is bizzaro world, 'cause every reality in which the invasion didn't happen would be much more PAINFUL.

    don't you know about saddam?  

    and al quaeda?

    of course, i'm the one limiting my thinking by suggesting: wait, maybe there are some realities which are actually less painful than 600000 people dead (whatever painful means).  doing so would be spurious, because in cts logic, THERE'S NO SUCH THING

    riiiight

    --
    Sticking to the rules doesn't improve your safety, relying on the rules is
    [
    Parent ]

    Iraqis killing Iraqis (3.00 / 5) (#70)
    by cburke on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 01:04:09 PM EST

    "and those killing innocent iraqis now where would they be and what would they be doing?"

    What were they doing before we invaded Iraq?  What other country were they in where they were killing 10-100 civilians a day in car bombings?  What country lost approximately 2% of their population due to these exact same people?  It should be pretty simple -- point out the country where they were, where they were killing daily, and that country should have had a marked drop in deaths starting in 2003 that exactly matches the rise in Iraq.  

    it is 100% true that less iraqis would be dead if the usa didn't invade

    it is also 100% true that those killing iraqis today would be killing the same number of people around the globe in greater numbers

    A true statement followed by an utterly false one, for the simple reason that far less than 100% of the violent killers in Iraq today were violently killing prior to the war.  

    You seem to think that 100% of the insurgency in Iraq is foreign elements who were already active in terrorism and came into Iraq after the invasion.  This is simply untrue.  You must account for the fact that the invasion created insurgents where none existed before, and that the majority of those acting in Iraq are actually Iraqis.  

    So no, it is not a simple case of "dead Iraqis or the exact same number of dead people somewhere else".  That is simply non-factual.  The occupation in Iraq has resulted in a net increase in the number of violent terrorists in the world.  There is now more killing than there used to be.  You cannot address a study like this one without acknowledging this reality.

    some people have a problem dealing with situations where all of your choices are depressing and painful, and what you have to do is pick the least painful one

    they believe some magical painless choice exists, that doesn't

    And some people have a hard time dealing with the fact that, of all the depressing and painful choices, you have picked an extremely depressing and painful and ultimately stupid one.

    Pretending that the exact same amount of suffering would be going on elsewhere is exactly the kind of coping mechanism.  Pretending that there's no better choice, that because there isn't a "magical painless choice" that there also isn't a "smarter less painful choice".  

    Well the fact is that there is a lot of variance between all of the depressing and painful choices, and what we are doing is definately weighted highly towards more depressing, more painful, and more stupid.

    or they believe not making any choice at all, dithering and waiting, means the choices get easier, and no one suffers while you wait, because oyu don't have the backbone to do something necessary but difficult, to MINIMIZE suffering

    Speaking of not making a choice, why didn't the Secretary of Defense have a solid plan in place for the occupation to minimize the chaos and lawlessness and gave local militias the ability to gain de-facto control and legal authority in various parts of the country?  Why did they disband the army creating a glut of armed, unemployed, and pissed young men?

    It is completely disconnected from the reality of the situation to claim that the invasion of Iraq, especially if you look at the details of its implementation, was the choice that MINIMIZED suffering.

    [ Parent ]

    why is the bad intent of others (1.00 / 3) (#78)
    by circletimessquare on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 01:35:38 PM EST

    the usa's fault?

    who is killing iraqi civilians and sowing strife?

    why are the people in the middle east angry at the usa, and not the demons within al qaeda?

    the truth is, the average muslim, 99% of muslims are good rational moderate people, just like the average westerner

    however, demagogues and religious fanatics insist that these rational good muslims have more in common with their fanatic murderous beliefs than they do with your average westerner

    and they use the invasion of iraq as a pretext for driving this wedge issue further and further between the good westerns and good muslims of the world

    your average muslim doesn't support al qaeda. but al qaeda is working very hard to get them too

    and this is the issue that blows my mind: why do you think this bad intent is the responsibility of the usa? this connection you make in your brain is utterly beyond my comprehension

    when do you begin to start blaming al qaeda for

    1. killing the people they kill?
    2. inciting the hatred that they incite?

    when do you begin to do that?

    why is the usa in your mind responsible for what someone else does?


    The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

    [ Parent ]

    Cause and effect isn't 'blame' (3.00 / 6) (#86)
    by cburke on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 02:18:17 PM EST

    why is the bad intent of others the usa's fault?

    It's not.

    Neither is it my fault that a biker gang is composed of violent thugs.  But if I walked into the bar they frequent, walked up to the biggest one, and kicked him in the nuts, would the ensuing ass-beating I receive not in any way be my fault?  Was that not, regardless of who you want to blame, a really stupid thing to do?

    It's not the "fault" of the tank commander that there's a violent insurgent hidden on a rooftop, but when the tank commander decides to leave the turret cover open so the insurgent can lob a grenade inside the tank, was that not a pretty dumb thing to do?  Or would admitting that be like blaming the tank commander for throwing the grenade?

    It's called cause and effect.  We're not responsible for the evil intent of others, we are responsible for how we deal with that fact.  We are not responsible for every formerly non-violent Iraqi who decided to become an insurgent, but we are responsible for creating the environment in which that choice was made.

    Do you see how that works?  Actions have consequences.  Everyone makes choices, and if every insurgent had chosen to become a Buddhist monk in response to the US invasion instead, it would be nice and peaceful there.  However anyone could see a-priori that this choice was unlikely, and could see what the much more likely result would be.

    This is called "cause and effect", and all the blame-game stuff in the world won't change the rules.

    why are the people in the middle east angry at the usa, and not the demons within al qaeda?

    Why are you unable to conceive of them being angry at both?  Many people in Iraq -- many insurgents in Iraq -- hate al Qaeda.

    why is the usa in your mind responsible for what someone else does?

    Why in your mind is the US not responsible for the completely predictable consequences of its actions?

    Why in your mind can the US do anything it wants to no matter how stupid, and if someone gets pissed off, that's their fault and their bad intent has nothing to do with U.S. actions?

    You're essentially admitting that the US' actions were stupid and ill-conceived, but then saying that the natural consequence of that is not at all our fault.  Sorry, but they are.  I'm not laying the blame for terrorists actions at the feet of the US.  I'm laying the consequences of a disastrous policy at its feet.

    Blame is not zero sum.  The violent terrorists are 100% responsible for their actions.  The U.S. is somewhat responsible for provoking them, and for creating the environment in Iraq for new terrorists to arise.

    But I'm not really interested in blame.  I'm interested in facts.  Fact:  As a result of U.S. actions, there are now more terrorists world wide than there were prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and many new terrorists in Iraq where before there were basically none.  Fact:  Many of the negative consequences of the occupation were a direct consequence of it being poorly planned.

    Blame whoever you want for that; so long as you recognize that the US has been acting foolishly, that is what is important.  Cause and effect.  Stupid actions have bad consequences.  Cause and effect.

    [ Parent ]

    you're supporting my argument with those words (1.00 / 3) (#87)
    by circletimessquare on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 02:26:04 PM EST

    you've proven cause and effect

    ok. so why isn't everything you just said not also apply to the enemies of peace in the middle east?

    in other words, everything you have said above works both ways, for the usa, and against the usa

    such that it is a wash, and we are left with the only argument that matters:

    what is the INTENT of those who fight the usa, what is the INTENT of the usa

    and then you talk about all the carnage that is the result of those actions, those various causes, with everyone involved and all of their various intents, and say that only one actor in the conflict is resposible for all of the effects!

    put it another way, cause and effect: what is the effect of doing nothing

    in other words, yes, the effect of invading iraq is lots of carnage.

    as if the effect of doing nothing means less carnage!

    does the conflict disappear? no, it continues, with a different set of carnage

    and so cause and effect is wash: none of that argument matters in the end, because the real argument is over the intent of the players involved. they ALL share responsibility for the situation

    so if i kick that bike member in the nuts, and he kills me for it, i am wrong for kicking him in the nuts: true

    but how wrong is that bike member for killing me?!

    or just because someone is an evil asshole, we ignore them in the equation of blame and responsibility?

    really???????????

    The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

    [ Parent ]

    You still can't separate blame from cause/effect (3.00 / 6) (#92)
    by cburke on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 02:51:49 PM EST

    ok. so why isn't everything you just said not also apply to the enemies of peace in the middle east?

    It does!  What on earth made you think it didn't?!

    Perfect example:  9/11, and the invasion of Afghanistan.  The one followed quite naturally from the other, was eminently predictable, and thus the invasion of Afghanistan is a consequence of al Qaeda's actions.  When the Taliban fell and the warlords gained power, this was again a natural consequence of their actions.  

    such that it is a wash, and we are left with the only argument that matters:

    what is the INTENT of those who fight the usa, what is the INTENT of the usa

    HAHAHA!

    No.

    The only argument that matters are:
    what are the ACTIONS of those who fight the usa, and what are the ACTIONS of the usa, and what will the CONSEQUENCES of those actions be?

    Your belief is that if our INTENT is good, then the CONSEQUENCES of our actions are irrelevent.  Reality will prove time and time again that this is untrue.

    It is exactly that line of thinking that had us going into Iraq with a very bad plan for the invasion, no plan for the occupation, and huge mistake after predictable huge mistake in the aftermath of those initially poor choices.  Because to question the ACTIONS was to question the INTENT.  No, the question was:  Why are your actions so obviously not going to result in what you say you intend?

    If your INTENT was really so great, then you would be imminently concerned with CAUSE AND EFFECT, and would readily take action to fix what your previous actions have broken.  Instead you say that INTENT trumps CAUSE AND EFFECT.

    Well it doesn't.  Never has, never will.

    or just because someone is an evil asshole, we ignore them in the equation of blame and responsibility?

    There is no "equation" of blame and responsibility, because blame is not a zero-sum.  

    But that's not the point, because blame is not relevent.

    Actions are.  Consequences are.

    The USA's actions were stupid, ill-conceived and poorly thought out.  The consequence has been a lawless Iraq that is spiraling closer to all-out civil war.

    Heap blame on whatever parties you want.  There are many that deserve it.  This will not change the previous paragraph.

    But placing blame is irrelevent.  Taking corrective action to mend mistakes is.  Admitting you have made a mistake is step one.  Once you get there, once you can accept the consequences of our actions without getting bogged down in blame issues, this conversation may be productive to continue.

    [ Parent ]

    wait, what? (1.00 / 3) (#97)
    by circletimessquare on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 03:01:25 PM EST

    blame doesn't matter...

    ...but the usa is to blame

    uh, rephrase, you're getting incoherent

    "Heap blame on whatever parties you want.  There are many that deserve it.  This will not change the previous paragraph.

    But placing blame is irrelevent.  Taking corrective action to mend mistakes is.  Admitting you have made a mistake is step one.  Once you get there, once you can accept the consequences of our actions without getting bogged down in blame issues, this conversation may be productive to continue."

    no one has blame for iraq, or the blame is irrelevant...

    but the middle east is the responsibility of the usa, and that is relevant...

    uhhhh... dude, work out the contradictions, and get back to me


    The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

    [ Parent ]

    Is blame all you care about? (2.83 / 6) (#108)
    by cburke on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 03:41:46 PM EST

    So much so that cause, effect, and responsibility are all the same as blame to you?

    You only see a contradiction because everything implies blame to you, and blame is all that matters.  You don't care about corrective action.

    no one has blame for iraq, or the blame is irrelevant...

    but the middle east is the responsibility of the usa, and that is relevant...

    The middle east became the responsibility of the usa when we invaded it with the intent of fundamentally changing it.  I sure hope to god that you feel the USA is "responsible" for the fate of Iraq.

    But responsibility does not mean that everything bad that happens is your fault.  Responsibility is not blame like you seem to assume it is.  But you seem to assume everything is blame.  Acknowledging a mistake is blame, so you refuse to acknowledge mistakes.

    That is incredibly foolish.

    Acknowledging a mistake is acknowledging cause and effect.  Cause and effect isn't blame, blame is the human concept of pointing fingers and making excuses and basically saying "it's not my fault so I don't have to do anything about it".

    Well that's not true.  The effect remains even if you don't feel you are to blame.

    So back to the facts:  The U.S. invasion/occupation was ill conceived and poorly planned and rife with gigantic mistakes that were obviously mistakes even when the choices were being made.  That's the cause.  In concert of course with many other causes by other parties, the effect is the situation we have in Iraq today.

    You'll obviously try to turn this into some kind of "so you're saying the USA is to blame?", as a way to avoid the issue of what mistakes were made and what action must be taken now to recover from their effect.  

    Who cares about blame?

    What action are you going to take to get the effect that you allegedly want?  We must take action, because we are not getting the effect we want.  That is fact.  That is reality.  Blame is not reality.  Facts are reality.  Reality is diverging from what we wanted it to be.  The only thing that can possibly change this is cause and effect, not blame.

    [ Parent ]

    keep going (1.00 / 2) (#112)
    by circletimessquare on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 03:48:15 PM EST

    if the middle east is completely repsonsible for the middle eas,t then the usa should be MORE involved in the middle east, send MORE troops, right?

    you need to follow through on your own line of reasoning: the usa is totally responsible... therefore what?

    the usa should get less involved?

    how does that work?

    accountability breeds what? it breeds involvement

    do understand that or not?

    my pov takes into account many players, all of whom are capable of responsibility and blame

    your pov has only one player, the usa, and only one actor that can be responsible and accountable: the usa

    and yet, your pov also says, the usa should mind its own business

    work out that contradiction

    the usa is responsible: therefore the usa is involved. they are more responsible? they are 100% responsible? then you are asking for MORE american involvement

    work it out man, keep those gears turning, follow through on your own points

    The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

    [ Parent ]

    Keep dodging responsibility (3.00 / 6) (#119)
    by cburke on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 04:23:36 PM EST

    if the middle east is completely repsonsible for the middle eas,t then the usa should be MORE involved in the middle east, send MORE troops, right?

    Your thinking is very narrow (but typically hawkish) if you think involvement == troops.  Yes, we probably need more troops in Iraq in the short term.  However we need to start working on a new strategy that takes responsibility for the situation as it is now.  More troops is just more of the same stuff that hasn't worked since the start of the occupation.

    my pov takes into account many players, all of whom are capable of responsibility and blame

    But apparently not of the introspection to identify their mistakes and take corrective action.

    Your pov is that if a player's intent is noble, as long as they cannot be blamed, then the result will be good.  By your own account, your pov does not involve actions, and consequences intended or otherwise.

    My pov is that if your intent is to turn Iraq into a beautiful land of peace and freedom, but your actions are such that it turns into a violent hell hole on the brink of civil war, well guess what, actions win.

    One of these povs is representative of reality.  Reality doesn't give a shit what you intended.

    your pov has only one player, the usa, and only one actor that can be responsible and accountable: the usa

    and yet, your pov also says, the usa should mind its own business

    These are both hallucinations on your part.  Sorry, I'm not sticking around to watch you burn strawmen.

    Lots of groups can be and are responsible, and I have stated such and given examples of such in my posts.  

    My pov takes into account reality, and the actual situation, such as the fact that the insurgency is composed of many groups not all of whom associate with al Qaeda or any international terrorists, a fact you seem to have missed in your desire to escape the real-world consequences of the invasion by pretending everyone would be off killing somewhere else if we hadn't invaded there.

    the usa is responsible: therefore the usa is involved. they are more responsible? they are 100% responsible? then you are asking for MORE american involvement

    More American involvement could be a very good thing.  However it is not automatically a good thing just because we wish to do well.  If we do not understand the mistakes that we have made, then any future involvement will similarly end in disaster.  That would be bad.  Acknowledging mistakes and accounting for them, and taking care in future action not to repeat them, would be good.   So there is both the potential for more American involvement to be good, and potential for it to be bad. Can you understand this concept?

    I love how you think you could trip me up by saying "That would mean MORE american involvement, is that what you want?!" under the stupid assumption that it isn't.  

    The reason you think this is quite fundamental:  A complete inability to separate the concepts of: Doing Something, Doing Something Smart, and Doing Something Stupid.  They're all the same to you.

    Sadly our civilian leadership suffers from the same problem, and thus their endeavors which you support are going badly.

    If they would wake up and realize that refusing to acknowledge mistakes is not the same thing as not having made a mistake, then maybe we would start getting somewhere.

    That's where you should be if you are following my points through.

    [ Parent ]

    One death is a tragedy... (2.50 / 2) (#228)
    by shinshin on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 05:16:43 PM EST

    There's little doubt that America is an effective killing machine that will inflict more casualties than it takes. The perspective should ask if this war by America is atypical in terms of casualties. It is not.
    Why? You seem to be under the impression that so long as we don't slaughter a population at a higher rate than in other wars, then everything is normal and OK. I find this "one death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic" sort of rationalizing positively repellant.
    Also, the average age of dictators tends to far exceed the general population. Look at Fidel Castro, Kim Song Il, Idi Amin. I don't think it an unfair inference to suggest that the next 20 years of Iraq would have similar problems to the last 20 years.
    In response to your examples: Fidel Castro (age 80) is only slightly above the average life expectancy of Cuba (77). I don't know who "Kim Song Il" is, but if you are referring to Kim Jong-il, his current age (65) is below the average life expectancy in North Korea (71). Idi Amin did life to the ripe old age of 79, but he was, after all, living in luxury in his exiled home of Saudi Arabia. In any case, do you really believe that Saddam Hussein would still be around at age 90 ruling over his non-existent weapons programs being made in his non-existent mobile biological weapons labs and continuing to nurture his non-existent ties with Al-Qaeda while advancing his non-existent nuclear program? Or do you think he would have assembled his shattered and pathetic army (which was wiped out in a matter of days by our invading forces) and moved on Saudi Arabia?
    Meanwhile, I'm not so concerned about Bush's reasons for going to war.
    That is convenient, since his stated reasons turned out to be fraudulent.
    Also, people talk about the increased risk of terrorism and yet in spite of this increased risk there have been fewer instances on American soil. According to Sep/Oct FP magazine, between 1998-2001, America experienced 62 attacks with 2991 casualties. Between 2002-2005, the number of attacks is down to 51 and the number of casualties is 3. While it has increased in other parts of the world, notably the Middle East and South Asia, the number of attacks decreased in Europe and Africa. (Europe went from 1638 attacks to 1237, Africa from 215 to 136). The vast increase of terrorist attacks is in the Middle East which went from 1376 attacks to 5517 with 5408 of those attacks in Iraq alone, so I think it's difficult to say that the attacks will necessarily come to America as we should associate it with the war in Iraq.
    I'm not sure what kind of crack the authors of this alleged Foreign Policy article are on, but can you find out so I can get some? Maybe then I'll be more receptive to the bizarre statement that 113 terrorist attacks have occurred on American soil since 1998.

    While you're searching around for more details about this supposed FP article, I'll refer you to the Washington Post: "The number of serious international terrorist incidents more than tripled last year".

    I'm just not seeing the increased risk for terror that everyone keeps talking about--the facts just don't bear this out. It can only be speculation which is necessarily subjective.
    Of course it is speculation: any comparison of what is happening vs. what might have happened is necessarily speculation. However, this speculation is in the NIE, which represents the consensus of all 16 US intelligence agencies.
    Also, it's not as though Iran wasn't already a powerful influence in the region. Really, the big shift is in the balance between Sunni and Shi'a and it's a shift that should take place considering the imbalance between those who were in power and the populations involved.
    True. I'm just talking about the law of unintended consequences. A Shi'a-dominated Iraq is only going to strengthen the Iranian regime, which is more of a threat to the United States than Iraq ever was (which isn't to say that I think it is as much of a threat as the administration is currently making it out to be).

    ____
    We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
    [ Parent ]
    You hit the wrong reply button (nt) (none / 1) (#229)
    by cburke on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 06:21:08 PM EST



    [ Parent ]
    Oops$ (none / 1) (#237)
    by shinshin on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 08:43:54 PM EST



    ____
    We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
    [ Parent ]
    Hardly (2.50 / 2) (#170)
    by Achromatic on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 12:54:40 AM EST

    it is 100% true that less iraqis would be dead if the usa didn't invade

    Evidence? It is nothing more than a simplified opinion of yours.

    it is also 100% true that those killing iraqis today would be killing the same number of people around the globe in greater numbers

    No it's not. Evidence, again? What, are these people with such ingrained sociopathy that they fail to function unless they perform one execution per day?

    [ Parent ]

    Something's not right (1.77 / 9) (#27)
    by trhurler on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 09:20:24 PM EST

    You hippie fuckers told us we were killing over a million Iraqi children a year with our sanctions before the war. How is it possible, then, that having seen only 650,000 die in the last several years, this is an increase?

    Oh, yes. I get it. You were "lying." And probably are now too.

    --
    'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

    You can't have it both ways (2.88 / 9) (#29)
    by livus on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 09:31:28 PM EST

    if they included data on death as result of other factors (sanctions) rather than just data from death as result of war you would object to that too.

    Besides which, it's in the Lancet - so unless the drinking water children thing was in the Lancet too you're comparing apples and oranges.

    I'm also puzzled by the last part - saying a journal of that duration and standing is "lying" is like, a mega conspiracy theory, and you're not a conspiracy theory nut.

     

    ---
    HIREZ substitute.
    be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
    I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
    I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
    I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

    [ Parent ]

    Not a conspiracy theory nut? (3.00 / 9) (#38)
    by shinshin on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 12:00:34 AM EST

    [...] saying a journal of that duration and standing is "lying" is like, a mega conspiracy theory, and you're not a conspiracy theory nut.
    You clearly haven't read some of trhurler's more, shall we say, "fringe" theories. My favorite one is: "The government's story about the OKC bombing is so full of holes that if one thing is certain, it is that Clinton's government knowingly lied about the plot behind it, who was involved, and so on."

    Such paranoid delusion is the sort of thing that leads him to label one of the oldest and most respected peer-reviewed medical journals in the world a bunch of "hippie fuckers", simply because he doesn't like what they have to say. I'm sure he thinks there's a massive left-wing conspiracy to make the world believe that the Iraq War is not the bloodless lark that he seems to think it is. The "greeted with flowers" contingent is so far gone, it is futile to try to reason with them.

    ____
    We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
    [ Parent ]

    "oldest and most respected" (none / 0) (#61)
    by LilDebbie on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 10:30:53 AM EST

    became fuckall when Dan Rather tried to pass off a cheap forgery as hard-hitting.

    My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
    - hugin -

    [ Parent ]
    So Dan Rather (2.66 / 3) (#79)
    by shinshin on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 01:44:07 PM EST

    is now part of this vast conspiracy to trick the world into believing that people are dying in Iraq? Interesting. Is George Soros in there somewhere too? Maybe throw in Michael Moore and Mao Zedong while you are at it ... it'll make for a good Oliver Stone film.

    ____
    We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
    [ Parent ]
    The implication here being (none / 1) (#81)
    by LilDebbie on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 01:53:31 PM EST

    that since there isn't a central committee pulling the strings they aren't capable of distorting the truth of their own volition?

    A two-year old can lie to fit his agenda without encouragement. So can the Lancet. Therefore, we fall back to the old saw, "extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof."

    My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
    - hugin -

    [ Parent ]

    I doubt the Lancet is involved, (none / 1) (#83)
    by BerntB on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 02:10:33 PM EST

    but as I wrote someplace else -- this is a factor ten in size from any other death number, so someone is probably creating propaganda.

    I have no idea if it is the US side, people on the MIT team or just the Iraqi survey teams. It should be very easy to check burial numbers for number of dead.

    [ Parent ]

    Extraordinary claims (2.50 / 2) (#84)
    by shinshin on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 02:13:44 PM EST

    A two-year old can lie to fit his agenda without encouragement. So can the Lancet. Therefore, we fall back to the old saw, "extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof."
    Or, say, an independent scientific study in a respected peer-reviewed journal?

    Is there anything that would make you even consider the possibility that the survey is not a fraud? A demonstration of the validity of the methodology? Or acknowledgement of the study from more news sources than the 1,070 different sources that have already given enough credence to the study to report it?

    ____
    We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
    [ Parent ]

    I see no extraordinary claims (none / 1) (#275)
    by brain in a jar on Mon Oct 16, 2006 at 09:02:13 AM EST

    Long running war causes large number of deaths, news at 11..

    see what I mean, despite the horrifying toll, this is hardly an extraordinary claim.


    Life is too important, to be taken entirely seriously.
    [ Parent ]

    it seems a mite unfair (none / 1) (#136)
    by aphrael on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 06:37:37 PM EST

    to hold an unrelated agency responsible for dan rather's, or cbs', screw-ups.

    [ Parent ]
    Bullshit (none / 1) (#177)
    by trhurler on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 03:41:10 AM EST

    Journalists are professionally responsible for what they say - Dan Rather would tell you this himself, and did after the fact when explaining and apologizing for his actions. Besides, he wasn't just reading a story someone else wrote; his eagerness and involvement was apparent. He didn't do any fact checking, not because he had no professional obligation to do so, but because he sympathized with the cause behind the political kneecapping he was delivering.

    --
    'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

    [ Parent ]
    uh (2.75 / 4) (#214)
    by aphrael on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 12:39:16 PM EST

    of course Dan Rather is responsible for what he said. You lost the plot.

    LilDebbie was saying that Dan Rather's fuckup means that Lancet's claim to being well respected is meaningless.

    I'm saying it's unfair of LilDebbie to hold Lancet responsible for something Dan Rather did.


    [ Parent ]

    not much of a conspiracy theory (3.00 / 4) (#44)
    by Delirium on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 03:26:20 AM EST

    Saying that articles published in well-respected peer-reviewed journals can be wrong or even maliciously fabricated is not much of a conspiracy theory; rather it's pretty much conventional wisdom among scientists.

    That doesn't mean this particular article is wrong or lying, but being published in The Lancet is not an airtight guarantee of honesty.

    [ Parent ]

    true. (2.75 / 4) (#135)
    by aphrael on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 06:37:04 PM EST

    but it does mean that, absent evidence, it is entitled to a presumption of honesty.

    and the point being made that it is unfair to compare statistics published in lancet to statistics posted in the weekly world news, or whatever, is valid.

    [ Parent ]

    presumption varies by the subject (none / 1) (#176)
    by Delirium on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 03:35:51 AM EST

    As with any area of science, more politically volatile areas require larger buckets of salt when reading the literature. I don't even really presume that strictly technical computer science literature published in prestigious journals is correct or unbiased when it hits on a contentious subject and is written by someone I know to be a partisan in the debate. Multiply that by about a million when we're talking about things that are actually politically contentious in the real sense.

    On these sorts of issues, I tend to discount anything but consensus results. With global warming, for example, I consider almost all papers coming out to be useless to the nonspecialist, since you need to be familiar with the debate to know what role they fit, what perspective the person publishing comes from, and so on. So as a nonspecialist, I read consensus summaries, like those that the UN produces, that distill what hundreds of scientists agree on and leave out the parts that only one or two guys think. I'd like something like that for the Iraq war, really.

    [ Parent ]

    and the more i look, the fishier it looks (none / 0) (#247)
    by Delirium on Sat Oct 14, 2006 at 11:58:57 AM EST

    The same authors previously published a paper in 2004, also in the Lancet, with a headline so misleading as to be bordering on flagrantly dishonest: They claimed that their methodology showed "nearly 100,000 deaths". In fact, it did nothing of the sort, as reading their paper confirms: They found, with 95% confidence, that the invasion had resulted in the deaths of at least 8,000 civilians. They also found that, again with 95% confidence, it resulted in the death of no more than 194,000 civilians, and so chose "nearly 100,000" as the midpoint of the huge confidence interval. This gives the misleading impression that their data supports an estimate of 100,000, which it does not, unless you're willing to use very low confidence values; rather, their data supports a death toll of at least 8,000, and no stronger claim than that.

    The current study is not quite as badly flawed, although the top-level figure is still misleading. What their study actually establishes is that, with 95% confidence and assuming their methodology is sound, there were at least 393,000 deaths attributable to the Iraq invasion; it does not establish 655,000 with any reasonable confidence.

    This is odd, since in the medical field it's well understood that the low end of confidence intervals is what is important for scientifically establishing effects---if you show that a particular medicine has, with 95% confidence, between -0.5 and 3.0 effect (on some arbitrary scale), you have not shown that it has an effect of 1.25, but rather you've failed to show that it has a positive effect at all.

    The study is littered with other buried misuses of statistics. For example, their own significance tests report that some of the increases are not statistically significant (the reported increase in nonviolent deaths, for example), but they bury this analysis and report an increase as the "headline" figure anyway.

    Honestly I'm flabbergasted that something so shoddy could be published in a mainstream journal, at least without requiring them to tone down the claims unsupported by their data, and more accurately report them. Perhaps the fact that the Lancet's editor frequently appears at anti-war rallies makes the journal somewhat biased on the matter?

    [ Parent ]

    Something stinks, but it's not the fish (2.80 / 5) (#250)
    by shinshin on Sat Oct 14, 2006 at 03:32:26 PM EST

    The current study is not quite as badly flawed, although the top-level figure is still misleading. What their study actually establishes is that, with 95% confidence and assuming their methodology is sound, there were at least 393,000 deaths attributable to the Iraq invasion; it does not establish 655,000 with any reasonable confidence.
    The study itself is actually pretty good at always clarifying this, using phrases like: "We estimate that between March 18, 2003, and June, 2006, an additional 654,965 (392,979-942,636) Iraqis have died above what would have been expected on the basis of the pre-invasion crude mortality rate as a consequence of the coalition invasion." There are some places where they just mention the mid-range, but not anywhere in the title or abstract, and not anywhere before they specify the range and the CI.
    The study is littered with other buried misuses of statistics. For example, their own significance tests report that some of the increases are not statistically significant (the reported increase in nonviolent deaths, for example), but they bury this analysis and report an increase as the "headline" figure anyway.
    You apear to be confused. The survey said that the increase in nonviolent deaths was not statistically significant, not the overall increase in deaths. That actually validates the methodology, since it shows that deaths not directly related to the war remained mostly stable, while the deaths that resulted from violence skyrocketed.
    Perhaps the fact that the Lancet's editor frequently appears at anti-war rallies makes the journal somewhat biased on the matter?
    Ahh ... now we get to the real meat of your objection, right? Tell me, even if Richard Horton himself were willing to distort science to promote his political agenda, how would he have gotten it past the board? How would he have subverted the Johns Hopkins researchers and the MIT backers? Are you aware of just how rigorous the peer-review process is for a journal of The Lancet's caliber? The conspiracy theory you posit is so massive that it rivals suggestions that the moon-landing was a fabrication.

    Besides, if this is all part of some vast left-wing plot to distort science, why wouldn't they just summarize the story as "Up to 942,636 People Dead as a Result of the Iraq Invasion"? That would actually be more precise than the mid-point estimate that you take such issue with, and yet I bet you'd scream bloody murder even louder if that appeared in the summary of the report.

    ____
    We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
    [ Parent ]

    oh I'm aware of how peer-review works (2.50 / 2) (#252)
    by Delirium on Sat Oct 14, 2006 at 04:17:00 PM EST

    Are you familiar with the details of how peer-review works? Ever since getting into academia, I've started taking academic articles with increasingly large packets of salt, because it really is not nearly as good as advertised.

    In biology and chemistry, for example, the authors usually choose their own reviewers. Journals are not required to use these "suggested" reviewers, but in practice they usually do, or use them plus one other reviewer at most. Many reviews are also written by graduate students, and only briefly skimmed by the supposed reviewer (I've written a dozen or so myself).

    It's not a conspiracy theory so much as a recognition that everyone in the scientific publishing industry is strapped for time. The review process is also not intended, as many people outside the field seem to suspect, to make sure published articles are correct. Rather, it's merely supposed to check that they aren't obviously wrong: The bar is not "correct", but "worth adding to the discussion". If there are methodological issues, but it still presents a useful addition to the discussion, it will typically still get published, and the journal may then publish a rebuttal article by someone else later. Things are only prevented from publication entirely if they're deemed "uninteresting" (the vast majority of rejections) or so thoroughly shoddy as to not even be a useful contribution to an ongoing discussion.

    That said, in areas I review I wouldn't let reporting midpoints as established values through. The usual wording is either, for small ranges "we found Foo was approximately 1.45 (95% CI: 1.43-1.47)", or for large ranges, "we found Foo was somewhere in the range 5 to 9,303". If you're claiming new results that contradict conventional wisdom, generally you report conservative figures: For example, if you claim a drug works, you show that the low end of the confidence range for its efficacy is higher than the accepted efficacies of the current standard treatment. If you are accusing someone of having caused at [x] civilian deaths, you report the highest figure you can establish with confidence, in this case 393,000.

    [ Parent ]

    and as for journal bias (none / 1) (#254)
    by Delirium on Sat Oct 14, 2006 at 05:08:22 PM EST

    I don't think think it's a particularly controversial claim among scientists that some journals are generally biased for or against some positions. This doesn't mean they publish outright crap that supports their viewpoints, or reject outright anything that opposes them, but it does mean you're more likely to get a favorable hearing if you're in line with the journal's general views. For example, the American Journal of Psychiatry and the American Journal of Psychology have fairly obvious differences in what sort of work they like, and what sort of work they're most likely to take issue with. That's why people shop around and submit to journals that are "appropriate" for their work.

    [ Parent ]
    Reviews (3.00 / 4) (#255)
    by shinshin on Sat Oct 14, 2006 at 05:44:14 PM EST

    authors usually choose their own reviewers
    Peer review at The Lancet, and at most serious medical journals, is anonymous.

    Furthermore, The Lancet employs an editorial ombudsman.

    That said, in areas I review I wouldn't let reporting midpoints as established values through.
    While is not what was done in the paper. Did you read it? Each of the mentions of the exact mid-point also mention the range was as follows:
    • "there have been 654,965 (392,979-942,636) excess Iraqi deaths as a consequence of the war"
    • "Excess deaths 654,965 (95% CI 392,979-942,636)"
    • "an additional 654,965 (392,979-942,636) Iraqis have died"
    Granted, they do also mention an estimate of the mid-point (e.g., "We estimate that almost 655,000 people"), but this is only in a summary, and is after they made it clear what the actual range was.
    If there are methodological issues, but it still presents a useful addition to the discussion, it will typically still get published
    Nonsense. Of course it wouldn't get published if they used a clearly bogus methodology.

    Of all the serious criticisms of the paper that are out there, none question the methodology, even among the shrieking chous of Op/Ed writers with a new-found expertise in epidemiological statistics. None.

    However, I'd be interested in hearing if you have any challenges to the methodology. Thus far, I've only heard you carp on about the mention of the mid-point in a summary to be sloppy.

    If you are accusing someone of having caused at [x] civilian deaths, you report the highest figure you can establish with confidence, in this case 393,000.
    Don't you think that even the lowest number, 393,000 deaths, is still horrifyingly high?

    ____
    We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
    [ Parent ]
    yes (2.50 / 2) (#256)
    by Delirium on Sat Oct 14, 2006 at 06:09:56 PM EST

    I didn't claim that 393,000 is just fine. I do think it's irresponsible to make serious accusations (like accusing someone of killing civilians) that are exaggerated beyond what you can prove. What they can prove is that the Iraq war is responsible for at least 393,000 civilian casualties; any figure beyond that is speculation and guess work, so should not be claimed.

    The summary is precisely what I have issue with, because that's the "headline" text that is picked up by laypeople. I don't think it's an accident that they chose the wording there that they did. Even later on, in fields I'm familiar with you would never say something like "an additional x (y-z) have died", especially if the range is big. Instead, you would say "somewhere between y and z have died". The parenthetical is only used if it really is a minor point (small range), and even then you add the word "about" or "approximately", like "efficacy was around 0.17 (0.168-0.172)".

    I didn't say it would get published if it used a "clearly bogus" methodology; what I said was that published papers may still have methodological issues. There is a large range between "clearly bogus" and "nearly everyone in the field would agree there are no problems whatsoever". That's why you frequently see rebuttal papers in major journals questioning other papers' methodologies. If journals really did have an editorial goal to only publish articles with flawless methodologies, the frequency of such rebuttal papers would indicate an astonishingly high rate of failure on the part of the editors. But that isn't their goal.

    As for this particular paper, I don't have any expertise in mortality estimation, so I will await comment from other people in the field.

    [ Parent ]

    well, you have a point (3.00 / 2) (#139)
    by livus on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 06:58:35 PM EST

    of course they can be. Especially in this age of publish or perish. However malicious lies are still the exception rather than the rule.

    Simply assuming the whole pack of them are lying, without first looking into it, strikes me as a conspiracy theory.

    ---
    HIREZ substitute.
    be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
    I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
    I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
    I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

    [ Parent ]

    Nope (2.50 / 2) (#174)
    by trhurler on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 03:33:30 AM EST

    Given that the authors are almost certainly "principled" antiwar leftists, where "principled" means "unyielding to reason and facts," they COULD be telling the truth - or lying, or exaggerating, or whatever else. Political interference of this sort is USUALLY how such studies get to be bogus.

    --
    'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

    [ Parent ]
    So you're accusing (3.00 / 3) (#179)
    by livus on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 03:51:52 AM EST

    the people at Johns Hopkins (Burnham and co) who wrote up the data of lying about it?

    Or is it that you are accusing the interviewers who collected the data of falsifying it? And are you accusing the people who funded the study (namely the Massachusets institute of technology) of leaning on the people who did it to get a certain result?

    And of course you're accusing The Lancet of not diligently investigating the science behind the study (which one would imagine they would do with something so inflammatory).

    In any case it sounds like a conspiracy theory to me - it couldn't happen without some sort of conspiracy.

    ---
    HIREZ substitute.
    be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
    I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
    I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
    I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

    [ Parent ]

    they are basically lying about it (none / 1) (#248)
    by Delirium on Sat Oct 14, 2006 at 12:03:10 PM EST

    If you read the paper, their buried statistical analysis contradicts their own headline claims on nearly every point. They report an increase in nonviolent (i.e. disease, etc.) deaths, for example, but their own analysis (much less prominently featured in the paper) shows the "increase" to not be statistically significant. They report a death toll of 655,000, but their own analysis shows that, with 95% confidence, they can only establish a death toll of "at least 393,000". And so on.

    [ Parent ]
    Lying? (3.00 / 5) (#251)
    by shinshin on Sat Oct 14, 2006 at 04:00:36 PM EST

    As I mentioned elsewhere, you misunderstand what the statistical insignificance of the increase in nonviolent deaths means.

    Also, you claim that reporting the mid-point death toll of 655,000 is "lying", but saying that the death toll is "at least 393,000" isn't. By that same token, if the results had been summarized as the death toll being "up to 950,000", would have have said they were "lying"? I bet you would...

    ____
    We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
    [ Parent ]

    that's certainly be misleading (2.66 / 3) (#253)
    by Delirium on Sat Oct 14, 2006 at 04:30:30 PM EST

    A study with zero data points shows that there are "up to infinite" casualties in Iraq. So that's a pretty meaningless figure, since the less data you have, the higher it goes.

    That's why scientists generally report what they can actually establish, not what they can wildly speculate. Which end of the confidence interval is useful for that depends on what you're trying to show.

    Say that you have a criterion, "safe concentrations of a carcinogen are those that cause no more than 0.01% increase in cancer ratse". Then if you want to show a particular concentration is safe, you need to show that the upper end of your interval is below 0.01%. Nobody cares what its midpoint or low end is: It would be highly misleading to say that you've shown that it causes "as little as a 0.0% increase", when your range was, say, [0.0-5.0].

    If, on the other hand, you're trying to establish a link, for example making the claim "this concentration of toxin [x] causes cancer", then you need to use the low end of the confidence interval, since that's the highest value you can confidently establish. Given the same [0.0-5.0] range, it would again be highly misleading to say it causes "up to a 5% increase".

    In both cases, you've established neither that the toxin causes an increase in cancer rates, nor that it doesn't. If you had an interval of, say, [2.0-5.0], on the other hand, you would have established that it causes at least a 2.0% increase in cancer rates. And if you had an interval of [0.0001-0.0005], then you would have established that it doesn't cause an increase beyond the imaginary 0.01% safety threshold.

    In this case, they're attempting to establish that the Iraq war caused an increase in civilian deaths. Therefore, the appropriate figure to use is the low end of the interval. If, on the other hand, Bush was trying to cite a study showing that the Iraq war didn't cause any increase in civilian deaths, he would need an interval where the high end of the range was below 0 to make that claim.

    [ Parent ]

    No (none / 1) (#175)
    by trhurler on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 03:34:19 AM EST

    The journal itself probably isn't "lying." The authors of this particular piece probably are.

    --
    'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

    [ Parent ]
    then the journal is heavily implicated (3.00 / 4) (#178)
    by livus on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 03:44:10 AM EST

    because it is peer review.

    ---
    HIREZ substitute.
    be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
    I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
    I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
    I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

    [ Parent ]
    You misread the paper. (none / 0) (#324)
    by RobRoy on Sun Oct 22, 2006 at 04:38:45 AM EST

    This is 655 000 deaths over and above the rate at which they were dying before the invasion.

    [ Parent ]
    Whose Sanctions? (none / 0) (#331)
    by localman on Mon Oct 23, 2006 at 12:23:47 AM EST

    If they're our sanctions and our war, you can't really claim the war was a relief.  That's like me beating your ass, then switching to beating your face and expecting you to be thankful.

    The real question is how many people were dying per year before the sanctions or the war.  I know you don't have the numbers on hand, and neither do I.  But I'll bet you $5 that fewer people were dying before the sanctions or the war.  So what are we trying to accomplish again?

    Cheers.

    [ Parent ]

    look at death certificates (2.71 / 7) (#32)
    by khallow on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 11:10:07 PM EST

    An interesting outcome of this study is that if it correct, then you can get a pretty good estimate of deaths just from counting the death certificates. Death certificates could be provided in 92% of the cases where they actually asked for them. I consider this important because the survey needs to be verified. An obvious solution is to count death certificates. Someone has to be signing them and keeping some sort of record. Another aspect is that birthrates seem consistent (roughly 30 births per 1000).

    President Bush today called the study's methodology "pretty well discredited" in a press conference, despite the fact that the methodology has long been the standard for estimating conflict deaths, and has been used without criticism or controversy in such places as East Timor, the Congo, Darfur, and Bosnia. Death tolls from these conflicts derived using the identical methodology are accepted as the standard and official figures by governments all around the world.

    That doesn't imply that those other surveys were accurate merely that no one cared enough to contest the numbers. But as I note above, we have a paper trail that we can use to verify the estimates.

    My main concern here is that there seems a decent likelihood that the survey was compromised by one of the many groups with a vested interest in exaggerating death tolls in Iraq or undercutting efforts to get reliable figures. For example, there are several intelligence agencies including the US, of course, willing and capable of throwing off a study like this.

    The paper also demonstrates an occasional lack of professionalism, eg:

    The circumstances of a number of deaths from gunshots suggest assassinations or executions. Coalition forces have been reported as targeting all men of military age.[27][28]
    The cited references are two newspaper stories that describe allegations (here and here) by four US soldiers under court martial for murder that they were ordered to kill all "military-age males" that they encountered. While it may be true, it's still hearsay and has no place in a scientific article.

    If the survey is correct it is claiming two things. First, that the currently death rate is more than double comparable countries (like Iran) in the region and other estimate methods are grossly inaccurate.

    Stating the obvious since 1969.

    Interesting (3.00 / 10) (#40)
    by shinshin on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 12:33:00 AM EST

    you can get a pretty good estimate of deaths just from counting the death certificates
    Assuming that the hospitals in Iraq keep copies of the death certificates, that is a very good idea. Unfortunately, since neither the US military nor the Iraqi government seems be have any interest in getting an accurate picture of the death toll, and since such an effort would certainly require governmental authorization, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for a large-scale and transparent effort to gather and publish all the death certificates.
    That doesn't imply that those other surveys were accurate
    True, it just means that the methodology isn't some made-up crackpot mechanism to inflate deaths. In the end, the only way to truly validate any methodology for estimating death tolls is to actually go dig up all the bodies and count them, which is an impossible task in practice. Epidemiologic studies like this are also used to identify a broad range of public health concerns as well. It is a valid and accepted methodology.
    For example, there are several intelligence agencies including the US, of course, willing and capable of throwing off a study like this.
    Do you mean by sending agents to follow the study's surveyors around and pretend to be a grief-stricken Iraqi family with fabricated death certificates? That doesn't strike me as very plausible.
    [the implications of the survey are that] other estimate methods are grossly inaccurate.
    What "other methods" are you talking about? As I pointed out above, the US military does not "do body counts". The only other serious attempt that I know of to get an idea of the number of people killed in the conflict is the Iraq Body Count project (which gives a current range of 43,850 - 48,693), but even they admit that their numbers are below even the lowest possible total numbers. Their's is not a scientific method, but instead is just a form of passive surveillance of press accounts.

    If you know of other attempts to calculate the human cost of the war, I would be very interested in hearing about them.

    ____
    We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
    [ Parent ]

    bias (none / 1) (#58)
    by minerboy on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 08:12:54 AM EST

    "since neither the US military nor the Iraqi government seems be have any interest in getting an accurate picture of the death toll" - The US military I'm sure is interested in getting an accurate death Toll, they may not be interested in sharing that estimate though. Besides, whatever they would say would be met with great skepticism

    Epidemiologic studies like this are also used to identify a broad range of public health concerns as well. It is a valid and accepted methodology. - Whether it works for finding eColi outbraks is irrelevant. It's a problem of context, these types of studies rely on the assumption that people you survey don't lie, and that deaths are random throughout the population. This methodology is not suited for a war zone, particularly one where propaganda is a major weapon in the conflict.

    Last, why is the body count so important ? One way or the other, Innocent people have died. I'm curious about the impact of the study on the death count. Perhaps someone should do a study of the impact of different types of propaganda on the death count.



    [ Parent ]
    Bias? (2.50 / 2) (#82)
    by shinshin on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 02:02:45 PM EST

    Besides, whatever [the US military] would say would be met with great skepticism
    I'll grant you that.
    It's a problem of context, these types of studies rely on the assumption that people you survey don't lie,
    FWIW, the survey group did obtain death certificiates in 92% of the cases.
    and that deaths are random throughout the population.
    Well, this is the underpinning notion to all statistical analysis of any population-wide phenomena, so it's not exactly a flaw. If you read the report, they describe in great detail how they chose the houses, how they excluded data, etc.
    Last, why is the body count so important ? One way or the other, Innocent people have died.
    Because those people who continue to support the war for humanitarian reasons (e.g., CTS, Lode Runner, to name a could K5-ers) will naturally have a threshhold of deaths beyond which they will be forced to acknowledge that the war was a bad idea. If only 1 person died in the war to overthrow Saddam Hussein, then I personally would have accepted that the war wound up saving lives. Similiarly, if the entire population of Iraq is killed in the war, their position that the war is a humanitarian victory will be ridiculous. So the actual number of deaths is, actually, important. There is a middle threshhold number in there, hence the poll question.

    ____
    We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
    [ Parent ]
    on fraud (none / 0) (#143)
    by khallow on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 07:14:34 PM EST

    Do you mean by sending agents to follow the study's surveyors around and pretend to be a grief-stricken Iraqi family with fabricated death certificates? That doesn't strike me as very plausible.

    All you need is an inside person. Someone decides what houses to visit (as they state in the paper). If that decision-maker were compromised, then you could easily follow the groups around and do exactly that. Perhaps some coded markings would be used to clue the insider as to what homes to select. You don't even need to plant people. Just find a selection of existing residents that had someone die in the family.

    What "other methods" are you talking about? As I pointed out above, the US military does not "do body counts". The only other serious attempt that I know of to get an idea of the number of people killed in the conflict is the Iraq Body Count project (which gives a current range of 43,850 - 48,693), but even they admit that their numbers are below even the lowest possible total numbers. Their's is not a scientific method, but instead is just a form of passive surveillance of press accounts.

    There are other attempts both at regional and national levels. For example, I gather several counts have been performed at Baghdad morgues (and perhaps elsewhere). The research paper mentions these and probably is pretty complete in discussing this.

    I quibble with your claim that the Iraq Body Count is not scientific. Their results are reproducible (assuming for each entry they record the media sources used, which I gather they do) and fairly unsubjective. Namely, anyone can search through the same sources using the same criteria and get very similar numbers. Just because the observation method is heavily flawed doesn't mean that it isn't scientific.

    Stating the obvious since 1969.
    [ Parent ]

    Fraud vs. distortion (none / 1) (#149)
    by shinshin on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 07:36:24 PM EST

    All you need is an inside person. Someone decides what houses to visit [...]
    That's different: that would just mean that the study was fraudulent. I was responding to the allegation that the study might have been thrown off by external forces ("there are several intelligence agencies including the US, of course, willing and capable of throwing off a study like this").

    Of course it is possible that the study is a fraud. But that in an allegation that one ought not make lightly.

    There are other attempts both at regional and national levels.
    People keep making reference to these, but I have yet to see any concrete numbers (adjusted for population size and duration of the conflict), and how they stack up to this report. Such a chart would make an interesting discussion point.
    I quibble with your claim that the Iraq Body Count is not scientific.
    You're right. I should have said "flawed and willfully inaccurate".

    ____
    We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
    [ Parent ]
    On fraud, part 2 (none / 1) (#151)
    by khallow on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 07:51:32 PM EST

    That's different: that would just mean that the study was fraudulent. I was responding to the allegation that the study might have been thrown off by external forces ("there are several intelligence agencies including the US, of course, willing and capable of throwing off a study like this").

    I see you didn't get it. Bribe the decision maker to chose houses with a little black "x" near the door. Meanwhile, your team scouted out the area a day before and found a bunch of appropriate families. It's not that hard.

    Of course it is possible that the study is a fraud. But that in an allegation that one ought not make lightly.

    I'm not making it lightly. I'm merely pointing out that the stakes for this study are far greater than academic reputation.

    You're right. I should have said "flawed and willfully inaccurate".

    "flawed" is a reasonable criticism, but "willfully inaccurate" is bull. Given their efforts, I'd say they measure the reporting of Iraqi deaths quite well and aren't deliberately being inaccurate. Further, they make it clear that that is what they measure.

    Stating the obvious since 1969.
    [ Parent ]

    Fraud vs. distortion, part 2 (none / 1) (#159)
    by shinshin on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 08:32:31 PM EST

    I see you didn't get it. Bribe the decision maker [...]
    It is you, in fact, who doesn't get it. I wasn't denying that it would be easy and plausible for there to be fraud inside the survey. I were merely saying that it was not plausible that an external third party was somehow able to undermine the survey by forging death certificates, etc.
    "willfully inaccurate" is bull
    I disagree. Go to http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and look at the front page: in enormous letters in the front page, it says: Min 43,850 Max: 48,693. It appears to the casual observer that these are actually the minimum and maximum number of people were were killed, without clarifying that it is actually the absolute lowest possible bound.

    ____
    We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
    [ Parent ]
    more information (none / 0) (#262)
    by khallow on Sun Oct 15, 2006 at 01:50:27 PM EST

    It is you, in fact, who doesn't get it. I wasn't denying that it would be easy and plausible for there to be fraud inside the survey. I were merely saying that it was not plausible that an external third party was somehow able to undermine the survey by forging death certificates, etc.

    But I always considered subversion of the survey from the inside as the most likely route anyway.

    In addition, I see reported in the blogs several new problems with the current study. First, it was released shortly before a crucial US election apparently just as its predecessor was. Together with a few political comments that I note in the current article, this seems to indicate political bias on the part of the authors. Second, several numbers seem inconsistent with other available information. For example, car bombings seem extraordinarily high. I get crudely somewhere around 70,000 deaths from car bombings. Unlike shootings and other forms of death, these are likely well reported by the media.

    This is inconsistent with the Iraq Body Count page which lists only in the neighborhood of 50k media reported violent deaths, of which car bombings form less than half.

    Second, the predecessor survey was contracted by a UN study with similar methodology and larger sample size, which reported only a quarter the deaths over the first year or so of the post-invasion period (ie, 24,000 as opposed to 98,000).

    I disagree. Go to http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and look at the front page: in enormous letters in the front page, it says: Min 43,850 Max: 48,693.

    It also says prominently in that box right above those figures, "Civilians reported killed by military intervention in Iraq". Let us add that they do thoroughly explain their methods and list each incident that goes into that number. "willfully inaccurate" is bull.

    Stating the obvious since 1969.
    [ Parent ]

    And only English language press accounts. (none / 0) (#326)
    by RobRoy on Sun Oct 22, 2006 at 04:49:04 AM EST

    Their's is not a scientific method, but instead is just a form of passive surveillance of press accounts.

    And being English language press accounts yields very little penetration into Iraq.
    Media Lens.

    [ Parent ]
    death certificates are worthless estimates (2.80 / 5) (#50)
    by boxed on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 05:56:52 AM EST

    Just count death certificates during the WWII holocaust... the nazis didn't count because they didn't care. In Iraq the US doesn't "do bodycounts" as a US military spokesperson so eloquently put it. So basically they don't count either, and doctors are probably more busy trying to save people who have been shot, or trying to save themselves, and thus won't have time to go out into mass graves and write up death certificates.

    [ Parent ]
    that's incorrect (none / 1) (#140)
    by khallow on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 07:02:40 PM EST

    The study indicates that most of the deaths did have death certificates. So someone does have the time to write those things up. So your assertions appear incorrect to me.

    Stating the obvious since 1969.
    [ Parent ]

    There are death certificates... (none / 1) (#212)
    by thejeff on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 12:12:40 PM EST

    The hospitals, morgues etc still write them up and hand them out, so the families can often produce them to prove the deaths.

    The government infrastructure to collect and report statistics broke down totally after the invasion, because there essentially was no government. It still hasn't really recovered. The new government might have more essential things to focus on?

    So death certificates may exist, but there's no easy way to aggregate the data.

    [ Parent ]

    that makes sense (none / 0) (#215)
    by khallow on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 12:48:42 PM EST

    I would have thought that the hospitals and morgues might keep their own records of this, but that very well might not be the case.

    Stating the obvious since 1969.
    [ Parent ]

    be fair (1.33 / 6) (#33)
    by minerboy on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 11:11:37 PM EST

    The study itself says - "Furthermore, families might have misclassified information about the circumstances of death. Deaths could have been over or under-attributed to coalition forces on a consistent basis. The numbers of non-violent deaths were low, thus, estimation of trends with confidence was difficult. -note the non-violent death rate was strangely low. also, it says "Although interviewers used a robust process for identifying clusters, the potential exists for interviewers to be drawn to especially effected houses through conscious or unconscious processes. With such a dispairity from other estimates it seems likely there was significant problems with this study

    Last, one must consider how much the lack of support for this venture from europe has raised the death toll. Had the coalition been supported in the media, and had the propaganda war not swung so far in favor of the insurgents might we have a pacified Iraq now ? Could the european press, by suggesting that coalition troops were having a difficult time, be fueling an unreasonable hopefulness amongst Insurgents and Jihadist that has added to the carnage, when in fact, these groups are getting slaughtered, and their continued futile resistance only adds to this slaughter.



    being fair (and balanced) (2.85 / 7) (#39)
    by shinshin on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 12:07:55 AM EST

    Had the coalition been supported in the media, and had the propaganda war not swung so far in favor of the insurgents might we have a pacified Iraq now
    The hundreds of thousands of deaths in Iraq are the media's fault? I like it. It'll play well in the mid-west. Run with it.

    ____
    We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
    [ Parent ]
    No, what really harmed the War Effort (3.00 / 2) (#292)
    by vivelame on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 10:33:12 AM EST

    of the Civilized White People against the Barbarians In Iraq is Israel's cowardly reluctance to send the IDF in Baghdad. Really, now.

    --
    Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
    [ Parent ]
    -1: WMD argument (1.42 / 7) (#36)
    by GhostOfTiber on Wed Oct 11, 2006 at 11:34:14 PM EST

    Seriously now, you going to tell me none of those Kurds died from NBC weapons?

    [Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne

    It almost sounds like you are saying (2.71 / 7) (#41)
    by shinshin on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 12:45:44 AM EST

    that the claims that Iraq possessed chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons at the time of our invasion were true. Do tell: what is your theory for where they are right now?

    ____
    We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
    [ Parent ]
    He'll say Syria, maybe Iran (2.50 / 2) (#46)
    by A Bore on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 05:33:19 AM EST



    [ Parent ]
    Or Iran or North Korea or Venezuela (3.00 / 3) (#64)
    by svampa on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 12:03:39 PM EST



    [ Parent ]
    in the hands of our soldiers, of course (none / 0) (#55)
    by GhostOfTiber on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 07:51:54 AM EST

    These pesky things keep turning up.

    [Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
    [ Parent ]

    YFI as a propagandist (2.75 / 4) (#80)
    by shinshin on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 01:49:58 PM EST

    If you expect anyone here to believe that a few expired shells left over from the Iran-Iraq war 2 decades ago qualifies as the "massive stockpiles" of weapons that we were told were an imminent and existential threat to the United States, then you clearly don't realize there is a vast difference in credulity held by the average K5 viewer and the average Fox News viewer.

    ____
    We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
    [ Parent ]
    that's good since I speak the truth (none / 1) (#101)
    by GhostOfTiber on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 03:19:17 PM EST

    I mean seriously, who knew two airplanes could do so much damage?

    Saying chemical weapons are "expired" is foolhardy.  Would you like to go into a room filled with "expired" vx gas?  Would you be willing to have your house bombed by an "expired" nuclear weapon?  How about you ask some Japanese members about riding the subway with sarin?

    Alright, so you clearly have no idea how a chemical weapon works or is built.  The weapons found in Iraq are interesting for three reasons:

    1.  You can "clone" sarin, but you shorten it's shelf-life every time you do it and reduce it's terminal effects (since sarin can be diluted in water and the agents which compose it are by themselves toxic, it's not required to have "pure" sarin - existing stockpiles can be diluted into batches of agents which kill by acting biological systems individually while a much lower dose of sarin does the dirty work)
    2.  You can make sarin into a binary agent, but this requires careful storage of the shells so the sarin doesn't mix
    3.  sarin only lasts about a year in it's "kill you" format, after that it causes nasty burns and deformities but it doesn't promise terminal effects.

    What we know from Iraq is that:
    1.  People were cloning reasonably fresh sarin (there's no point in using sarin as a factioning agent if it's already decayed)
    2.  sarin was not being reconstituted from shells as the individual chemicals themselves are quite nasty and corrosive.
    3.  the sarin was less then a year old.

    We can, at very least, figure out that the old shells were being fitted with new sarin.  I know you only have (at best) a highschool chemistry education but please do realize that a substance which is both volitile and lethal in milligram doses means that 500 shells of it is a fucking factories worth of nerve agent.

    [Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
    [ Parent ]

    Shells full of sarin.. (none / 1) (#218)
    by A Bore on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 12:59:11 PM EST

    a clear and present danger to the United States because....?



    [ Parent ]
    That first link is awesome (3.00 / 4) (#98)
    by cburke on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 03:02:19 PM EST

    Boylan said the suspected lab was new, dating from some time after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. The Bush administration cited evidence that Saddam Hussein's government was manufacturing weapons of mass destruction as the main justification for the invasion. No such weapons or factories were found.

    So we still haven't found any stockpiles of the weapons we were looking for (only old degraded ones from prior to Gulf War I), but now after the invasion there are new chemical weapons labs.

    Outstanding!  It seems that the only time that Iraq wasn't producing chemical weapons was when we decided to invade them on the pretext that they were!

    [ Parent ]

    oh, hardly (none / 0) (#100)
    by GhostOfTiber on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 03:04:20 PM EST

    If you know how this stuff is made (and it's not complicated), the reaction is a reduction which can be primed using some of the original agent.  The lab makes perfect sense if you've got an idea how the chemistry works.

    [Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
    [ Parent ]

    Hardly what? (3.00 / 2) (#111)
    by cburke on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 03:47:24 PM EST

    I wasn't saying that the lab didn't make sense...

    The point is that we haven't found any such lab that was active in the years prior to GWII.  We have chem weapons that date prior to GWI, and now we've found a lab that was apparently created after GWII.

    The reason that this is awesome is because we invaded Iraq in part because of WMD and terrorists.  Well, we found both, but only as a consequence of the invasion itself!  Mmm... irony.

    [ Parent ]

    so you're saying (none / 1) (#133)
    by GhostOfTiber on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 06:15:37 PM EST

    that the lab was either part of the vast jewish conspiracy or a fabrication of the US or it was part of the insurgency?

    [Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
    [ Parent ]

    I'm not saying the lab isn't real. (2.66 / 3) (#138)
    by cburke on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 06:53:07 PM EST

    I'm guessing it was started by the insurgency, but that could mean the former Baathist part of the insurgency.  Whatever.  The article you linked says that the lab "was new, dating from some time after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003".

    So whatever it is, it wasn't part of Saddam's regime prior to the invasion.

    Which is all my point is -- we still have found zero evidence of a chemical weapons program having existed at the time that we accused Saddam of having one.

    Finding a new chemical weapons lab that post-dates our invasion to get rid of the chemical weapons that didn't exist just adds delicious irony to the whole thing.

    Let me know if you're still confused.

    [ Parent ]

    it was (none / 0) (#144)
    by GhostOfTiber on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 07:15:56 PM EST

    So whatever it is, it wasn't part of Saddam's regime prior to the invasion.

    Sure it was.  You can't just pull this stuff out of your ass, certainly not 1500 gallons of precursor agents.

    Investigators still were trying to determine who had assembled the alleged lab and whether the expertise came from foreign insurgents or former members of Hussein's security apparatus, the military said.

    The lab isn't a military facility, but the equipment and materials and people are from the old regime.

    [Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
    [ Parent ]

    Precursors (3.00 / 5) (#172)
    by Achromatic on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 01:36:05 AM EST

    Hydrofluoric acid - used in the production of butene in the oil industry - can't imagine why the Iraqis might possibly have that.

    Isopropyl alcohol - so many innocuous uses it ain't funny.

    The only one I scratch my head at is methylphosphonic dichloride.

    Sorry, I can easily see people being able to pull 1500 gallons of this out of their asses.

    [ Parent ]

    Shame on you! (1.88 / 9) (#37)
    by United Fools on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 12:00:31 AM EST

    How can you advocate counting people dying?

    We are united, we are fools, and we are America!
    Compare and contrast (2.77 / 9) (#49)
    by A Bore on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 05:53:36 AM EST

    Iraq Body Count claim 43,850-48,693. This is the problem now with the Iraq body count survey, and the same thing reared its ugly head when the last Lancet survey estimating 100,000 excess deaths occurred.

    The IBC people came under criticism since, from its laudable initial aims, it has become a favourite way for hawks to minimise the loss of life; in fact even George Bush has quoted it and I know Blair has.

    There was, behind the scenes, a huge kerfluffle between IBC and medialens 1, 2 on this issue that surfaced briefly on British Newsnight, since medialens attacked IBC for not emphasising the problems in their data collection methods (using reports in newspapers to collate death statistics).

    Their argument was (partly) that the counter, and indeed the name of the website, gave the impression that the count was of Iraqi deaths. In fact it is 'CIVILIAN iraqi deaths reported at least twice in one of their surveyed sources'. I won't belabour the obvious problems in ascertaining the real count from this sort of survey.

    There was even the bizarre spectacle of John Sloboda (head of IBC) publically squabbling (and demanding retractions from) Les Roberts, lead author of both Lancet papers when Les Roberts said, of his surveyed households, only 5% of the casualties he recorded had appeared as a report in a newspaper that IBC could count, thus their count was, by his estimation about 20 times too low at least. (This claim wasn't peer reviewed or anything, it was just an offhand email in a related discussion). Note for fun that 48,000 * 20 = 860,000, at the high end of likely real figures.

    IBC wrote a huge monster of a reply on their website in pdf format after a lot of this squabbling. It was pretty much self serving avoidance of the initial question and a few attacks on Les Roberts figures. I briefly considered queuing an article on it way back when it was going on, but other commitments intervened.

    Funny how things change (3.00 / 10) (#88)
    by cburke on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 02:30:57 PM EST

    The IBC people came under criticism since, from its laudable initial aims, it has become a favourite way for hawks to minimise the loss of life; in fact even George Bush has quoted it and I know Blair has.

    Which is funny, because when it was started with those luadable aims, it was highly criticized by the hawks and they tried to imply that it was a gross overestimation.

    Now that more thorough research shows that IBC is at best a very low minimum bound, they're happy to use its numbers.

    IBC wrote a huge monster of a reply on their website in pdf format after a lot of this squabbling. It was pretty much self serving avoidance of the initial question and a few attacks on Les Roberts figures. I briefly considered queuing an article on it way back when it was going on, but other commitments intervened.

    Too bad, the defense to me seems pretty simple:  IBC is what it is, the simplest (and earliest) method of trying to calculate what the toll of the Iraq war is.  Anyone who thinks about it can see that it would represent a lower bound, and if you understand that I don't see anything wrong with it.  All the 'better' sources require access to the Iraqi government or pounding dirt in Iraq itself.  For what it is, IBC is fine.

    Their attempts to justify IBC being an underestimate, but not a 'gross' one, seems ill conceived.

    [ Parent ]

    This MUST be easy to check! (1.66 / 3) (#51)
    by BerntB on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 06:50:24 AM EST

    The previous study from the same team claimed 100,000 dead up to September 2004. Counting number of dead/month since Sept 2004 in mortality should be around 20,000/month.

    My suggestion for a reality check:
    Bagdad should get an extra share of the mortalities per capita because it is the most "happening place". The dead must have been buried. What are the statistics from Bagdad's funeral places, burial grounds, etc?

    Since we talk triple(!) expected death values, it must be easy to verify -- just subtract all the dead above 65 and you should be able to tell if this report is b.llsh.t. (-: Short version of test -- does the funeral directors have new cars? :-)

    I read that the UN checked the morgues for mortality -- and couldn't verify that kind of numbers? I guess most(!?) bodies might not go through there, but...

    Propaganda of some sort must be involved when we get a factor ten(!!) of different values. True Believers of all stripes are able to lie shamelessly.

    Either this is a cover-up by the occupation forces -- or this study is US' election propaganda. A third possibility is disinformation from the Iraqi survey teams towards the MIT people? (I.e. Hollywood or Pallywood.)

    Baghdad has the most reporters (2.75 / 4) (#52)
    by A Bore on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 07:26:46 AM EST

    So casualties in Baghdad are generally reported. Places like Fallujah, where there has been a huge amount of deaths, are too dangerous even now, and were too dangerous then, to collate statistics from.

    The Baghdad morgue figures are around, if you look.

    I'm not sure your estimation would have any scientific validity.

    [ Parent ]
    Use satellite photos of burial places n/t (none / 0) (#53)
    by BerntB on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 07:29:44 AM EST



    [ Parent ]
    you can't pick a burial place from sat' (none / 1) (#291)
    by vivelame on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 10:27:49 AM EST

    especially, fron any commercial one.
    Good luck with the NRO to gain access to their KH11.

    --
    Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
    [ Parent ]
    I saw this on (1.50 / 4) (#54)
    by Ward57 on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 07:33:17 AM EST

    the news last night. They quoted the pre-2003 death figures as 5.5 persons per 1000 people per year. That's not just unrealistic, that's damned impossible. Britain's death figures are about 10 persons per 1000 people per year, and that's in peace time with $150billion of health care available for free.

    Damned impossible? (3.00 / 7) (#120)
    by shinshin on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 04:25:25 PM EST

    You seem to think the average death rate is correlated to how advanced and peaceful a civilization is. It's not. As the CIA points out, the death rate, while only a rough indicator of the mortality situation in a country, accurately indicates the current mortality impact on population growth. This indicator is significantly affected by age distribution, and most countries will eventually show a rise in the overall death rate, in spite of continued decline in mortality at all ages, as declining fertility results in an aging population.

    Take a look at the world ranking of death rates. I'm sure you'll be surprised to see that Libya is 3.48 DPT and Algeria is 4.61 DPT, while the EU average is 10.10 DPT and the United States is 8.26 DPT.

    ____
    We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
    [ Parent ]

    and Counting? (2.60 / 5) (#59)
    by stupidpuppy on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 09:06:07 AM EST

    Nobody has counted 650,000 deaths.  "650,000 deaths and continuuing to estimate upwards" would be more accurate.

    Also, why use an "estimation" when you can get actual numbers from morgues?

    Because there are no bodies in most cases (2.40 / 5) (#67)
    by Hung Three on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 12:16:57 PM EST

    they liquify their dead to feed the living.

    --
    Behead those who insult Marx.
    [ Parent ]
    I brew beer (none / 1) (#68)
    by GhostOfTiber on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 12:52:09 PM EST

    with the blood of my enemies.

    You can just imagine the size of the blender in my kitchen for pureeing arabs.

    [Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne
    [ Parent ]

    I crucify moslem children along via appia (none / 1) (#69)
    by Hung Three on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 01:04:02 PM EST

    the queen said whoever has the highest score by 2015 gets to be the next granddragon of garter. which is, incidentally, when the real fun will begin.

    --
    Behead those who insult Marx.
    [ Parent ]
    number of deaths matters less (2.25 / 4) (#74)
    by minerboy on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 01:19:57 PM EST

    Than who is doing the dying. I reread the paper, and realized they said nothing about how they characterize someone as a civilian. in fact, their data does not characterize deaths in terms of civilian or combatant. They do not characterize them in terms of Sunni, Kurd or Shiite, or foriegner. There is nothing in the study that says anything about how the nationality of the interviewee was determined. These demographics could easily show that the deaths are attributable to the Sunni/al queda insurgency, or to other foriegn intervention, and not the presence of the U.S.



    I would assume (none / 1) (#148)
    by thejeff on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 07:29:46 PM EST

    based on the methodology, that it's Iraqi deaths.
    They questioned households about deaths in the family and then extrapolated from the sample.

    They give an estimate for how many were directly attributable to US action. The rest of the violent deaths are likely due to insurgency/sectarian violence/criminal activity.

    However since the claim is that these deaths are over and above what would have occurred had the US not invaded. We destabilized the country, allowing it to descend into chaos and civil war. As the occupying power, we are responsible.

    [ Parent ]

    That attitude is condescending (none / 1) (#202)
    by minerboy on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 07:54:12 AM EST

    It assumes that Iraqis have to be "stabilized" from the outside inorder to behave civily towards one another. I has the sound of -"the US should have managed the Iraqi herds of sheep better"



    [ Parent ]
    Not condescension (2.80 / 5) (#204)
    by thejeff on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:03:57 AM EST

    When you invade a country, remove it's government and military, destabilize the police and social systems, etc it becomes your responsibility.

    We have done that incredibly poorly since the beginning. Starting with not preparing for looting during the invasion itself.

    All countries have to be stabilized in one way or another. This is usually handled internally by the local government, police, courts etc. The existing Iraq system under Saddam was brutal and repressive. We destroyed it, released ethnic tensions that had been simmering for years, and haven't replaced it with anything effective.

    As long as we are occupying Iraq, it is our responsibility. The is not because of the "White Man's Burden" or because Iraqi's are sheep or any such nonsense, but because we invaded and took the responsibility.
    It could be argued that since there is now a new Iraqi government, it is their responsibility not ours, but we handed them an impossible situation and are still propping them up with our military force.

    [ Parent ]

    it matters a great deal (none / 0) (#346)
    by jcarnelian on Tue Oct 24, 2006 at 11:30:01 AM EST

    "These demographics could easily show that the deaths are attributable to the Sunni/al queda insurgency, or to other foriegn intervention, and not the presence of the U.S."

    They aren't asking about legal guilt or responsibility, they are asking about causality.

    The implicit (and reasonable) assumption is that, without US military action, the violent death rates today wouldn't be much different from what they were before the US military action.

    The US military knew beforehand that US military in Iraq would result in the destruction of vital infrastructure, would result in the creation of an insurgency, and hence would inevitably cause hundreds of thousands of deaths, many of them civilian.  Furthermore, most other nations chose not to participate in the war exactly for this reason.

    Perhaps a vague analogy is the proverbial "calling 'fire' in a crowded theater".  The person doing the calling isn't directly causing the death and injuries to patrons--those are caused by irrational actions of other patrons--nevertheless, the consequences are predictable, and we recognize not only moral responsibility, but also legal accountability in this case.

    [ Parent ]

    other comparisons (2.00 / 3) (#85)
    by SocratesGhost on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 02:18:01 PM EST

    It's 1/8th the loss suffered by Germany during WWII.

    It's 1/3rd the loss suffered by Japan during WWII.

    It's 1/43rd (that's a 43) the loss suffered by the Soviet Union during WWII.

    War sucks, no doubt about it.

    -Soc
    I drank what?


    Hum (3.00 / 3) (#131)
    by levesque on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 05:44:36 PM EST

    It's 20,000% the loss suffered by the United States during the war on terror.

    [ Parent ]
    the difficulty in this line of reasoning (2.00 / 2) (#152)
    by SocratesGhost on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 07:53:36 PM EST

    is that it isn't about balancing the number of our casualities to theirs. Much of American superiority is material--we have more effective weapons, transports, etc, so we should expect American casualties to be fewer. That it's so lopsided says more about how effective the U.S. fighting machine is in comparison to the Iraq insurgents, but other than that, it's a worthless comparison.

    Instead, we should ask whether this is an inordinate toll experienced by similar campaigns. Germany lost 7% of its population over the course of its war. Japan lost 3%. China, while occupied by Japan, lost about 8%.

    By comparison, Iraq has lost 3.5%. It's tragic, yes, but it's a number that is well within the norm of such occupations.

    -Soc
    I drank what?


    [ Parent ]
    the REAL point is (none / 1) (#154)
    by trane on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 08:10:06 PM EST

    how can we improve things and avoid repeating the mistakes of the past? right?

    [ Parent ]
    absolutely (2.33 / 3) (#158)
    by SocratesGhost on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 08:31:02 PM EST

    but I guess my point is this: this article isn't telling us anything we shouldn't have already expected.

    In trying to exagerrate through comparisons to make a particular point, the outraged author intentionally misleads. The war in Iraq is pressenting a rather typical war stat. Tragic though it is, I don't think anyone expected this to be bloodless.

    It's ghoulish to reason this way: Germany killed 0 Americans. Should the U.S. not have gotten in the war in Europe? Fewer people died in Pearl Harbor than in 9/11. Should the U.S. have avoided the war as a result? Obviously, there was a lot more going on, and that's where our attention should be paid. Not this whole attitude of "I'm shocked, shocked! that people are killed during war." Be upset over Abu Ghraib. Be upset over the changing justifications.

    Be saddened by the loss of life but don't act surprised. It just marks the author as reasoning either selectively or naively.

    -Soc
    I drank what?


    [ Parent ]
    The "outraged author" responds (2.66 / 3) (#162)
    by shinshin on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 08:46:04 PM EST

    The parallel you draw seems to suggest you think our involvement in WWII was based on the same motivations as those that led us to invade Iraq. You know as well as I do that that is not true.

    And forgive me if I don't share your apparent opinion that the death of 2.5% of the Iraqi population isn't really all that bad, since Japan managed to butcher 8% of the Chinese population, and golly, at least we aren't that bad. However, if you really want to tread down this road of grim moral calculus, I will note that Japan occupied China for 8 years, and so averaged 1% population reduction per year: the current rate of 0.8% per year in Iraq isn't all that far off.

    The whole point of my story, SocratesGhost, is that those who continue to defend our Iraq policy on humanitarian grounds can not continue to do so if it turns out that we have turned Iraq into more of a humanitarian nightmare than it was before. Do you agree with that assertion or not? And if you do, why would you object to my wanting to start a discussion about the actual number of people who have been killed in the conflict thus far?

    ____
    We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
    [ Parent ]

    it's a typical war (none / 1) (#167)
    by SocratesGhost on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 09:23:11 PM EST

    It may have humanitarian elements, but that alone doesn't reduce the body count. I don't think anyone ever said that it would.

    I think you missed my point. I was trying to show the futility of analyzing wars based on body counts and trying to justify or discredit a war based on comparisons to non-equivalent situations. This is what you did. You may as well have noted how few people Brazil lost in WWII and ask why we couldn't be more like the Brazilians.

    I still see this as being a largely humanitarian endeavor. The question isn't just whether the loss of life is an appropriate cost but we must also calculate in whether there is a cost savings for the future.

    I'm going to create a strange analogy but I compare such decisions to the difference between caeasarean section versus natural child birth. In C-section, the woman suffers a wound that will reduce pain in the short term but for the rest of her life, she's always going to have the unsightly scar. In natural child birth, there's an enormous pain that leaves no permanent mark. The choice then is this: small discomfort for the rest of your life or a big discomfort once.

    I see the Iraq war in these terms. Against how many different neighbors had Saddam gone to war? For how long were we (as a global community) going to allow Saddam to fund suicide bombings in the Middle East? Politically or materially, was Saddam a stable force or a disruptive force for the world? Ever since assuming the helm in 1980, he had been in constant conflict with his neighbors, his own people, and the world in general. By extension, Iraq was an ongoing problem for twenty years and I still think that whether we toppled Saddam or if we had lifted sanctions, the world would still have paid a tremendous cost. We have NO reason to think otherwise.

    And so, I chose the more painful natural child birth over the long drawn out C-section of letting him remain in power.

    Now, I'd prefer if that was the discussion. It's not. Your comparison section plays down the relative normalcy of the situtation by selective use of facts and that's why it seems more like naive outrage than a call for discussion.

    Otherwise, you would accept that the Iraq war is basically a typical war statistically. Admit to that, and I'd be more likely to think you reasonable.

    -Soc
    I drank what?


    [ Parent ]
    Typicals wars (2.66 / 3) (#168)
    by shinshin on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 11:19:08 PM EST

    I was trying to show the futility of analyzing wars based on body counts
    That's not what I was doing. I was merely trying to "put that number in perspective", as I stated. My point isn't that the numbers are worse than this or that war, my point was that the sheer number of dead people is so horrifyingly high that people sometimes need a yardstick by which to measure it.
    By extension, Iraq was an ongoing problem for twenty years and I still think that whether we toppled Saddam or if we had lifted sanctions, the world would still have paid a tremendous cost. We have NO reason to think otherwise.
    Considering that Saddam (age 65) was right around the average male life expentency in Iraq (67) at the time of invasion, we wouldn't have had to put up with him much longer anyway.
    And so, I chose the more painful natural child birth over the long drawn out C-section of letting him remain in power. Now, I'd prefer if that was the discussion.
    We can discuss that. You seem to believe that Saddam was going to be a threat in perpetuity had the status quo remained in place, which you believe justifies a war based on fabrications and outright lies that has made the United States more at risk to terrorism than before (according to the recent NIE), has sparked a civil war, vastly increased the influence of Iran in the region, and has wiped out 2.5% of the Iraqi population. That will make for an interesting discussion.

    ____
    We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
    [ Parent ]
    but your perspective is flawed (none / 0) (#207)
    by SocratesGhost on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:47:05 AM EST

    There's little doubt that America is an effective killing machine that will inflict more casualties than it takes. The perspective should ask if this war by America is atypical in terms of casualties. It is not.

    Also, the average age of dictators tends to far exceed the general population. Look at Fidel Castro, Kim Song Il, Idi Amin. I don't think it an unfair inference to suggest that the next 20 years of Iraq would have similar problems to the last 20 years.

    Meanwhile, I'm not so concerned about Bush's reasons for going to war. Look at it this way, some people don't like capital punishment because of religious reasons, others because of procedural reasons and others because they may be the one so punished. Whatever the cause, they can agree that capital punishment is undesireable. It's not as though they must all agree about capital punishment on the same exact terms.

    I have my reasons and I'd have you note that it said nothing about the war on terror or weapons of mass destruction. If you're going to talk me down about the war, debate my reasons, not someone elses.

    Also, people talk about the increased risk of terrorism and yet in spite of this increased risk there have been fewer instances on American soil. According to Sep/Oct FP magazine, between 1998-2001, America experienced 62 attacks with 2991 casualties. Between 2002-2005, the number of attacks is down to 51 and the number of casualties is 3. While it has increased in other parts of the world, notably the Middle East and South Asia, the number of attacks decreased in Europe and Africa. (Europe went from 1638 attacks to 1237, Africa from 215 to 136). The vast increase of terrorist attacks is in the Middle East which went from 1376 attacks to 5517 with 5408 of those attacks in Iraq alone, so I think it's difficult to say that the attacks will necessarily come to America as we should associate it with the war in Iraq. I'm just not seeing the increased risk for terror that everyone keeps talking about--the facts just don't bear this out. It can only be speculation which is necessarily subjective.

    Also, it's not as though Iran wasn't already a powerful influence in the region. Really, the big shift is in the balance between Sunni and Shi'a and it's a shift that should take place considering the imbalance between those who were in power and the populations involved.

    -Soc
    I drank what?


    [ Parent ]
    Life expectancy, Cuba: 77.04 yrs (3.00 / 3) (#216)
    by A Bore on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 12:51:39 PM EST

    Age of Castro - 80yrs. Far exceed?? You're forgetting Cuba's legendary, much exported and entirely free health service.

    [ Parent ]
    80 years and counting... (none / 0) (#233)
    by SocratesGhost on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 07:56:10 PM EST


    -Soc
    I drank what?


    [ Parent ]
    One death is a tragedy... (2.75 / 4) (#238)
    by shinshin on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 08:47:16 PM EST

    (this response was originally mis-posted here)
    There's little doubt that America is an effective killing machine that will inflict more casualties than it takes. The perspective should ask if this war by America is atypical in terms of casualties. It is not.
    Why? You seem to be under the impression that so long as we don't slaughter a population at a higher rate than in other wars, then everything is normal and OK. I find this "one death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic" sort of rationalizing positively repellant.
    Also, the average age of dictators tends to far exceed the general population. Look at Fidel Castro, Kim Song Il, Idi Amin. I don't think it an unfair inference to suggest that the next 20 years of Iraq would have similar problems to the last 20 years.
    In response to your examples: Fidel Castro (age 80) is only slightly above the average life expectancy of Cuba (77). I don't know who "Kim Song Il" is, but if you are referring to Kim Jong-il, his current age (65) is below the average life expectancy in North Korea (71). Idi Amin did life to the ripe old age of 79, but he was, after all, living in luxury in his exiled home of Saudi Arabia. In any case, do you really believe that Saddam Hussein would still be around at age 90 ruling over his non-existent weapons programs being made in his non-existent mobile biological weapons labs and continuing to nurture his non-existent ties with Al-Qaeda while advancing his non-existent nuclear program? Or do you think he would have assembled his shattered and pathetic army (which was wiped out in a matter of days by our invading forces) and moved on Saudi Arabia?
    Meanwhile, I'm not so concerned about Bush's reasons for going to war.
    That is convenient, since his stated reasons turned out to be fraudulent.
    Also, people talk about the increased risk of terrorism and yet in spite of this increased risk there have been fewer instances on American soil. According to Sep/Oct FP magazine, between 1998-2001, America experienced 62 attacks with 2991 casualties. Between 2002-2005, the number of attacks is down to 51 and the number of casualties is 3. While it has increased in other parts of the world, notably the Middle East and South Asia, the number of attacks decreased in Europe and Africa. (Europe went from 1638 attacks to 1237, Africa from 215 to 136). The vast increase of terrorist attacks is in the Middle East which went from 1376 attacks to 5517 with 5408 of those attacks in Iraq alone, so I think it's difficult to say that the attacks will necessarily come to America as we should associate it with the war in Iraq.
    I'm not sure what kind of crack the authors of this alleged Foreign Policy article are on, but can you find out so I can get some? Maybe then I'll be more receptive to the bizarre statement that 113 terrorist attacks have occurred on American soil since 1998.

    While you're searching around for more details about this supposed FP article, I'll refer you to the Washington Post: "The number of serious international terrorist incidents more than tripled last year".

    I'm just not seeing the increased risk for terror that everyone keeps talking about--the facts just don't bear this out. It can only be speculation which is necessarily subjective.
    Of course it is speculation: any comparison of what is happening vs. what might have happened is necessarily speculation. However, this speculation is in the NIE, which represents the consensus of all 16 US intelligence agencies.
    Also, it's not as though Iran wasn't already a powerful influence in the region. Really, the big shift is in the balance between Sunni and Shi'a and it's a shift that should take place considering the imbalance between those who were in power and the populations involved.
    True. I'm just talking about the law of unintended consequences. A Shi'a-dominated Iraq is only going to strengthen the Iranian regime, which is more of a threat to the United States than Iraq ever was (which isn't to say that I think it is as much of a threat as the administration is currently making it out to be).

    ____
    We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
    [ Parent ]
    get over it (none / 1) (#239)
    by SocratesGhost on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:48:52 PM EST

    As a matter of fact, yes, I do think that one of the metrics of success is whether this war causes greater damage to populations than other wars.

    The part where I think we disagree is that you're against the war so any loss of life is too many. Me, I'm supportive of the war and therefore knowing this I was ready for the consequences. So, for you, you should be recording either every death because, you know, otherwise you're just dealing in statistics or you should be pointing out to the supporters of the war that it has gotten out of hand. But, as far as wars go, the casualty list doesn't really indicate that it has gotten out of hand. In other words, it's a typical war so that line of argument doesn't really convince. So, Americans who wanted a war are getting pretty much what they expected... statistically that is. Strategically, that's a different issue and completely irrelevant to what you're article is talking about.

    Meanwhile, Saddam was disruptive without needing WMD. Really, how big of a role did WMD play in any of his previous escapades. Again, those are other people's reasons and not mine, just so you know why I don't find that line of argument convincing.

    Also, I meant Kim Il Song, Kim Jong Il's father who lived a nice ripe 82 years. I'm not sure if you're noticing a trend here, but if Saddam's a typical dictator, he still has at least another 11 years (or, more to the point, 14 years from the start of the war) to go. That's not exactly soon... He was able to conduct an near decade long war with Iran and invade Kuwait in under 12, all the while lobbing scuds into Tel Aviv or funding suicide bombing in the West Bank.

    FP Magazine, btw, is a highly reputable resource, being a publication from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Most of their articles agree with your position that the U.S. has increased the risk for terror, but I find it interesting that even their own statistics don't bear it out. Call them crack smokers, but I trust them more than you. You can check out the site for their methodology. Yes, terrorism has increased worldwide, in South America which is rather isolated to the American interests of terrorism, and in India which has its own issues, but of course, the most dramatically are in the Middle East, with the overwhelming amount occuring in Iraq. Maybe that would be transported to the U.S. and Europe but the fact is that it hasn't in spite of that speculation. Do you have anything other than speculation to show otherwise, because I prefer to deal in facts than just opinions.

    Also, did you even read the NIE report? It makes three bullet points: the number of jihadists are increasing; IF this trend continues, this will lead to more attacks; greater pluralism (that is, democracy) would alleviate some of the grievances of jihadists and over time could erode the support of jihadists. That hardly sounds like an absolute endorsement that America is more at risk. America might be more at risk in the future if certain things don't happen. But I guess you think we should pull out and prevent that last mitigating factor?

    -Soc
    I drank what?


    [ Parent ]
    Am I to take it that your response to the poll (2.33 / 3) (#241)
    by shinshin on Sat Oct 14, 2006 at 02:48:17 AM EST

    was "Unlimited"?

    ____
    We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
    [ Parent ]
    No (none / 1) (#249)
    by SocratesGhost on Sat Oct 14, 2006 at 12:50:47 PM EST

    But I do think that if you're going to engage in a war, that it not exact an excessive toll. Compared to other wars in which an country is occupied, this is not excessive.

    -Soc
    I drank what?


    [ Parent ]
    there are other ways (3.00 / 2) (#163)
    by trane on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 08:46:32 PM EST

    For example, Mark Kurlansky provides documentation for successful uses of non-violence in defeating powerful governments such as the UK and the Soviet Union.

    War is indeed hell. Which is why our nation shouldn't practice it. There are better ways; it is only the limitations of our leaders that prevent us from taking advantage of them.

    [ Parent ]

    Who can say? (none / 1) (#265)
    by NoMoreNicksLeft on Sun Oct 15, 2006 at 02:54:31 PM EST

    Fewer people died in Pearl Harbor than in 9/11. Should the U.S. have avoided the war as a result?

    Perhaps, perhaps not. But we sure as hell shouldn't have declared war on Thailand, and claimed that they had undeniable connections to the Japanese war machine.

    And just in general, all of this arguing is sick. Who cares if the number is right or not? If in reality it's just 1/20th the total claimed by this report, isn't that absurd, sinister, and downright unconscionable?

    --
    Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.
    [ Parent ]

    Only if you don't live in the real world (none / 1) (#272)
    by SocratesGhost on Mon Oct 16, 2006 at 01:28:36 AM EST

    The rest of us evaluate the consequences and even the degree of those consequences of a particular course of action.

    I'm not arguing over the correctness of the number, but whether that number is especially meaningful. Right now, it's meaning is that this is a typical war, casualty-wise. I'm not sure what is unconscionable, that there are so many dead or that people are willing to engage in decisions in which so many die?

    Me, it saddens me greatly that there is so much blood shed but the Middle East is in desperate need of transformation. In 1988, 300,000 Kurds were massacred by Saddam Hussein. Countless Jews, Palestinians, Syrians, Lebanese, and Egyptians have added their own dead to the graveyard of the Middle East and this is only during the 20th century and I haven't even brought up the issues with refugees. What shall the next hundred years bring? If we could somehow transform the Middle East for a hundred years at the cost of 650,000 lives, I think that cheap.

    Apparently, I must be absurd and sinister and have no conscience in order to hope so.

    -Soc
    I drank what?


    [ Parent ]
    Absurd and sinister and have no conscience (none / 1) (#277)
    by shinshin on Mon Oct 16, 2006 at 12:10:31 PM EST

    If we could somehow transform the Middle East for a hundred years at the cost of 650,000 lives, I think that cheap. Apparently, I must be absurd and sinister and have no conscience in order to hope so.
    The hope of transforming that broken region of the world into something better is very laudible.

    It is the belief that their violence can be "cured" only with overwhelming violence of our own that is absured.

    It is the credulity to believe that this transformation was our original aim that is so willfully ignorant of historical fact as to instill a suspicion of a more sinister attempt to air-brush history.

    And it is the casual dismissal of the hundreds of thousands of dead as war-business-as-usual that suggests a lack of any human conscience.

    ____
    We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
    [ Parent ]

    thats his (none / 0) (#309)
    by army of phred on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 07:43:59 PM EST

    "philosophy".

    I hope you enjoyed it.

    "Republicans are evil." lildebbie
    "I have no fucking clue what I'm talking about." motormachinemercenary
    "my wife is getting a blowjob" ghostoft1ber
    [ Parent ]

    re: lack of conscience (none / 1) (#339)
    by SocratesGhost on Mon Oct 23, 2006 at 06:04:48 PM EST

    do you cry every time you get in your car, knowing that this enterprise costs the lives of many people every year? No, you treat your responsibility soberly and unemotionally.

    The same calculus applies toward war. If a country engages in it, lives will be lost. It's not a casual dismissal to state this, it's the reality of the situation.

    Ignore it if you want or treat it only emotionally, but some of us will treat it rationally.

    Also, the U.S. isn't just overcoming Iraq through overwhelming force. The primary strategy is winning Iraq through democracy, the military is there simply to provide enough security for it to take root. As long as the U.S. works to put this into place, we belong there.

    -Soc
    I drank what?


    [ Parent ]
    yah (none / 1) (#180)
    by an expression of excitement and enthusiasm on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 04:15:09 AM EST

    wake me when iraqi casualties exceed those of a country ten times larger that was attacked by a genocidal dictatorship during a world war.

    [ Parent ]
    Dont include military deaths. (none / 0) (#210)
    by SnowBlind on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 12:06:32 PM EST

    This is supposedly military deaths.
    Japan's CIVILIAN deaths, despite carpet bombing of civilian targets, firestorms and 2 atomic weapons was 600,000 despite being the target of about 2 million US armed forces.

    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_casualties

    So, our military is so much more effective, that using precision bombing, no firestorm bombing, no nukes, we have killed as many as we did in WWII Japan with a mere 200000 armed forces members?

    Please, it does not even pass the stink test. Socrates would be turning in his grave, simple logic tells you this is bad science. The Lancet journal article is TERRIBLE science, even for statistical analysis.


    There is but One Kernel, and root is His Prophet.
    [ Parent ]
    why not? (3.00 / 4) (#227)
    by SocratesGhost on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 05:14:03 PM EST

    The lancet report is including military/insurgent deaths.

    -Soc
    I drank what?


    [ Parent ]
    but but... (2.00 / 2) (#290)
    by vivelame on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 10:21:12 AM EST

    i thought the insurgent were TERRORISTS, you know, not military, and hence, not covered by the Geneva Convention?
    Sooo, which will it be?

    --
    Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
    [ Parent ]
    Also, Lancet disagrees with your preconceptions. # (none / 0) (#302)
    by ksandstr on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 03:18:20 PM EST



    [ Parent ]
    the lancet also thinks (none / 0) (#325)
    by Delirium on Sun Oct 22, 2006 at 04:39:11 AM EST

    that MMR vaccine causes autism

    [ Parent ]
    i wish more americans would die (2.00 / 7) (#104)
    by bear trap on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 03:28:05 PM EST



    hey at least you're honest (1.33 / 3) (#114)
    by circletimessquare on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 04:00:39 PM EST

    i hate you, but i can respect your opinion, you've chosen sides. you stand with al qaeda

    i don't hate, but i also don't respect, all of the thundering herds of western dunderheads who think that doing nothing means less will suffer in this world

    at least you have malicious intent

    all of the retards in this thread and who wrote this story actually believe doing nothing about menace means it just disappears like a fart in the wind

    they don't believe that their malicious intent in this world, or they don't believe no one will suffer for it, or, even most amazing of all: they believe those who fight malicious intent are to blame for what the malicious do

    so you support planes flying into buildings killing thousand of americans

    hey, at least you've chosen sides

    so see you on the battlefield asshole

    we can sidestep the arguing cottonheads here, who think they don't have to take sides, and get right to what matters


    The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

    [ Parent ]

    i'm a monster (2.00 / 3) (#115)
    by bear trap on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 04:02:51 PM EST

    of righteousness

    [ Parent ]
    yeah, you hope people die (1.33 / 3) (#116)
    by circletimessquare on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 04:03:56 PM EST

    you're friggin awesome


    The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

    [ Parent ]
    the road to hell is paved with good intentions (2.00 / 3) (#117)
    by bear trap on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 04:06:03 PM EST



    [ Parent ]
    we're already there, moron (none / 1) (#157)
    by circletimessquare on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 08:27:33 PM EST

    i mean you're here, right?


    The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

    [ Parent ]
    Re: (none / 0) (#128)
    by levesque on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 05:30:32 PM EST

    western dunderheads think that doing nothing means less will suffer in this world ... believe doing nothing about menace means it just disappears like a fart in the wind ...

    ?

    (American representatives can make mistakes. -What is the analysis. What is the plan.)

    [ Parent ]

    Wow, hypocrisy? (3.00 / 5) (#173)
    by Achromatic on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 01:43:32 AM EST

    so see you on the battlefield asshole

    Let's see, scrolling upwards, what do I see, but CTS saying this in response to someone saying that's exactly what he should do:

    why are you not in iraq?

    right, this old bullshit as in, you can't debate me on the substance of my remarks, so you doubt me on my conviction in my remarks

    i've always found this avenue of argument to be the device of those who don't have any conviction themselves. so all you've really done by doubting my conviction, is convince me you don't have any conviction yourself

    [ Parent ]

    who said anything about Al Qaeda? (none / 1) (#289)
    by vivelame on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 10:19:24 AM EST

    I second his wish for more american deaths. Because, you know, that's the only language you dumbfucks understand: VIOLENCE. Maybe, when there's a massive carbomb Beirouth Style in the Green Zone, and a few hundreds (one could wish thousands, but hey..) you'll pack up and stop ratfucking the world.

    --
    Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
    [ Parent ]
    well at least you're honest (none / 1) (#323)
    by Delirium on Sun Oct 22, 2006 at 04:38:25 AM EST

    I'm threeing this comment so people can see what sort of scum we're up against.

    [ Parent ]
    you mean it's not the same as (none / 1) (#343)
    by vivelame on Tue Oct 24, 2006 at 06:26:08 AM EST

    "bomb the shit out of civilians over there so we don't have to bother having a half-decent foreign policy which would cost us, you know, 10$ per US citizen per year in lost 'business opportunities'"?

    --
    Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
    [ Parent ]
    It's money (none / 1) (#328)
    by Morally Inflexible on Sun Oct 22, 2006 at 11:03:44 AM EST

    really, more than poor people dying that will end the war; that is, unless a fair draft is instated and middle-class people that don't want to go start dying.

    [ Parent ]
    Thinking further... I don't believe the report (1.16 / 6) (#123)
    by BerntB on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 04:46:37 PM EST

    What does the Lancet report say about deaths in Iraq?

    They are ten times as many(!!) as other valuations and most of the dead are males, older than children but before retirement. Dead by violence.

    Where do men die from violence in Iraq?

    The Kurdish areas are calm. A few bombings by Sunnis, but not that much trouble. Also, the Shia areas in the south are quite calm, if far from perfect. Except for Bagdad, that should be the majority of the country's population.

    Who die?

    There are three major kinds of violence:

    1. Fighting with US troops (generally in Bagdad and the Sunni triangle)
    2. Sectarian murders (where Sunni/Shia are mixed. Most of the population living in mixed areas are in Bagdad, or?)
    3. Criminals, clan warfare, etc, etc. (hard to gauge, but probably lesser than 1 and 2.)

    Most "extra" dead males should be concentrated where less than half the Iraqi population lives (Bagdad and the Sunni triangle).

    Most dead from type 1 and half of type 2 are Sunni (say, 25%-75%). Assume 250,000 extra dead Sunnis, which should be conservative since they are getting more "attention" than even Muqtada Al-Sadr's followers did during their short uprising.

    Is this possible?

    The Sunni population is about 8 millions. Ca 60% of the males are in relevant ages... for 2.4 million male Sunnis in "relevant" ages.

    That means that one in ten of Sunni males are dead since the invasion!! That would be very obvious... Just consider the number of widows, fatherless children on the streets and unmarried Sunni women!

    To me it seems that 650,000++ dead, mostly men from violence, isn't realistic -- it would be too obvious, if it really has happened.

    (Also, my last argument was that just checking number of new graves in Bagdad for men 15 to 65 years of age should confirm if there really is a factor ten under-reporting. A factor of 2-4 might be debatable, but this must be obvious.)

    This was a trivial reality check which makes assumptions. They seem reasonable, but of course, all the media of the west and the Arab world might be wrong and the dead are from type 3 -- criminal/gang/clan shootouts!

    It is less than 8 millions, 5 or so (none / 0) (#125)
    by BerntB on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 05:04:52 PM EST

    All Sunnis in Iraq are 32%-37% of the population of 27 millions.

    The Kurds shouldn't be counted among the insurgency -- even if they are Sunnis.

    Ah well, it only makes my argument stronger.

    [ Parent ]

    Why restrain yourself to men (nt) (none / 0) (#126)
    by levesque on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 05:15:17 PM EST



    [ Parent ]
    Report claims -- most dead are men (none / 0) (#127)
    by BerntB on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 05:24:28 PM EST

    Check e.g. the BBC discussion, it says:
    Of the "excess" deaths, 601,027 were attributed to the violence (mainly from gunfire and mainly among men aged 15-59), the rest coming largely from increased illness and disease.


    [ Parent ]
    Adjectives (none / 0) (#129)
    by levesque on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 05:38:59 PM EST

    I wouldn't extrapolate from there, errors add up.

    Can we say there has been enough deaths to safely conclude the strategy needs a serious overhaul and that many people who should have been listened to where not.

    [ Parent ]

    That is another Story -- write it yourself n/t (none / 1) (#130)
    by BerntB on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 05:44:24 PM EST

    (I just discussed the Lancet report. I'd like to see if my argument holds water, so plz take irrelevant discussions to a Diary or Story. Otherwise, that the Iraq war is mismanaged was obvious already when the museums were looted. :-( )

    [ Parent ]
    What makes you think it isn't obvious? (2.85 / 7) (#132)
    by cburke on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 06:11:46 PM EST

    That means that one in ten of Sunni males are dead since the invasion!! That would be very obvious... Just consider the number of widows, fatherless children on the streets and unmarried Sunni women!

    To me it seems that 650,000++ dead, mostly men from violence, isn't realistic -- it would be too obvious, if it really has happened.

    What, that's your argument -- that it would be too obvious?  Too obvious for what?  Too obvious to have happened? I didn't realize than obviousness prevented things from happening.  Too obvious for U.S. authorities to not have noticed?  Who says they didn't!  They "don't do body counts"* which means they aren't worried about this aspect of the consequences of their actions; they blithely ignore this kind of thing.  Too obvious for reporters not to have mentioned it?  I frankly think they have!  As much as reporters get out to the Sunni Triangle these days.  

    How many women have you seen on TV screaming about their dead husband or son, while children walk listlessly in the street?  Extrapolate from a few news stories to the wider trend, it doesn't seem impossible to me.

    I guess I just don't know what you mean, by "too obvious".

    Anyway, this is all based off your calculations which make a number of assumptions, such as percentage of dead who are male, where those deaths took place, etc.

    Now I haven't read this study yet, but I did read the earlier Lancet study.  It contradicted a few of your points, first that the south was peaceful (it was relatively so, but certainly not without violence), and the Anbhar province had a death rate roughly 3 times larger than the average for the other provinces.  Which did not add up to nearly half the deaths overall.

    I do not find your analysis in any way convincing to discredit the study.

    [ Parent ]

    Too obvious to be denied, of course (none / 1) (#134)
    by BerntB on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 06:27:03 PM EST

    I do not find your analysis in any way convincing to discredit the study.
    The different versions are a factor ten from each others. It doesn't take much data to decide which of the values are closest to the truth.

    My argument was, in short, that the expected number of dead Sunni would be obvious in a population of 5 millions, since it should be a large fraction of all young men. (Just go to any school and see if ten percent of all children has become fatherless the last three years. Etc, etc.)

    What is your exact problem with that argument?

    [assumption of] percentage of dead who are male
    Read my answer to levesque. The subject is "Report claims -- most dead are men".,,
    I did read the earlier Lancet study. It contradicted a few of your points, first that the south was peaceful (it was relatively so, but certainly not without violence)
    I wrote "the Shia areas in the south are quite calm, if far from perfect." My argument needs that a minority of the "extra" deaths are there -- and you seem to support that yourself.

    [ Parent ]
    Nothing is too obvious to be denied. (3.00 / 3) (#142)
    by cburke on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 07:13:33 PM EST

    Have you actually seen this administration in action?  

    The different versions are a factor ten from each others. It doesn't take much data to decide which of the values are closest to the truth.

    What other versions are a factor of ten?  Are they over the same time period?  Are they of the same nature (e.g. IBC vs Lancet study)?  Justify this statement.

    People were saying the last Lancet study was 10x previous estimates, where "previous estimates" were IBC.

    My argument was, in short, that the expected number of dead Sunni would be obvious in a population of 5 millions, since it should be a large fraction of all young men. (Just go to any school and see if ten percent of all children has become fatherless the last three years. Etc, etc.)

    What is your exact problem with that argument?

    The connection between it being very obvious that the population has taken a hit, and it therefore being impossible that it is true.  That's extremely tenuous logic.  Again, what makes you think it isn't obvious to people living in the affected areas?  What makes you think that it couldn't be denied?  

    Read my answer to levesque. The subject is "Report claims -- most dead are men".,,

    And you translated "most" into what percentage?  The number you ended up with was 250,000 dead Sunni males, out of 650,000 total extra deaths.

    My argument needs that a minority of the "extra" deaths are there -- and you seem to support that yourself.

    But it doesn't support that half of the extra deaths are from the Sunni Triangle/Baghdad. So...  

    Anyway, the argument about your assumptions is a different and minor one next to the fundamental problem:  Your reasoning that if the result were obvious that it could not be true.

    [ Parent ]

    Sigh (none / 0) (#146)
    by BerntB on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 07:24:24 PM EST

    What other versions are a factor of ten?
    I believe the UN keeps a count too. It doesn't agree with the Lancet version.

    The number you ended up with was 250,000 dead Sunni males, out of 650,000 total extra deaths.
    Well, assume 150,000 -- the Sunnis are fighting everyone else... That makes one man in ten. For the rest, I answered shinshin, hopefully understandably this time. See if you understand better after reading that argument.
    Anyway, the argument about your assumptions is a different and minor one next to the fundamental problem: Your reasoning that if the result were obvious that it could not be true.
    Sigh, this is the second time I write that my argument was that such a large fraction of dead young men would be too visible to deny, so it would be quite obvious.

    (Now I do think this explanation was obvious, if you still don't understand I'll have to think you're trolling.)

    [ Parent ]

    No, I understand you fine. (3.00 / 4) (#150)
    by cburke on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 07:40:41 PM EST

    I believe the UN keeps a count too. It doesn't agree with the Lancet version.

    And they get their count from...?

    Sigh, this is the second time I write that my argument was that such a large fraction of dead young men would be too visible to deny, so it would be quite obvious.

    And once again, I write "why do think it could not be denied?"  Specifically, why could it not be denied to the people to whom the denial is targeted?  

    Sunnis of course would be able to see it quite easily if their population is decimated, and having read interviews with some many have claimed that such a thing has happened.  Of course they have an agenda and hate the U.S. so are lying, and the U.S. denial can be trusted... but anyway they are not the target of the denial.

    Other Iraqis?  If they live in mixed neighborhoods, but there killing has struck both sects quite heavily.  They still probably have a some idea of how severely the population has been hit, but again, they too have been saying things that have been denied by the administration repeatedly, and thus they aren't going to buy our PR to begin with, so they aren't the target...

    The real targets of U.S. official denials are the people of the U.S., whose only source of information on Iraq is news media, who have shown themselves willing to accept almost anything as long as it's "official", and to whom the administration haven't shown any reticence to deny anything.

    Seriously, this is extremely tenuous logic.  The admin will deny anything.  That it doesn't hold up is irrelevent, and its inability to hold up over time doesn't prove it can't be true.

    [ Parent ]

    IHBT (none / 1) (#153)
    by BerntB on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 08:08:18 PM EST

    The UN count is based on morgues, I think. Google for UN+morgues+bagdhad.
    And once again, I write "why do think it could not be denied?" Specifically, why could it not be denied to the people to whom the denial is targeted?
    I am not saying that they would be too moral. I am saying it wouldn't work to deny. Just a few examples, picked at random.

    First, it would be obvious to journalists with any form of contacts if one tenth of all the contacts died.

    Second, Sunni behavior would be very different if you had decimated the men over three years -- and they have reason to think it would continue. That is more or less what Saddam Hussein did to the Shia after the first Gulf War. Atrocities like that stops insurgency and people sues for peace.

    Third, Al Jazeera etc would have discussed what happens to the Sunnis for a long time, since they have access to the Sunni areas. Other Arab states would have had to try to stop that.

    But if new graves in Bagdhad supported five times higher loss values, I'll believe it.

    Otherwise, IHBT. I don't really believe you think they could put something like this beneath the carpet.

    [ Parent ]

    They haven't. (2.80 / 5) (#208)
    by cburke on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 11:48:53 AM EST

    Sorry, they haven't put it under the carpet.  If you've payed any attention to Iraqi sources, they've been saying for years that they were being killed, that villages had been destroyed, and so on and so forth.

    Nobody is surprised but those of us in the U.S. who were previously told that Iraq Body Count was riduclous propaganda designed to smear the coalition, but which is now the admin's preferred source for death tolls because it looks better than the more realistic alternatives.

    Guess what, fellow American?  In wars, lots of people die!  That's right, it isn't all laser guided bombs and precision strikes, it's death death death and you're finally figuring out what everyone else already knew.

    Of course you're only really so shocked because of your 1/10 number, which has no basis outside of completely arbitrary guesswork on your part.  The survey is an estimate, but at least it has a sound methodology.

    [ Parent ]

    Uh... (none / 1) (#231)
    by BerntB on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 07:01:33 PM EST

    You didn't touch my points re what should have been visible.
    If you've payed any attention to Iraqi sources, they've been saying for years that they were being killed, that villages had been destroyed
    Are you claiming that USA has done Song My massacres?!

    I generally don't trust sources from the Mid East at all, since everyone use propaganda even worse than "normal". Especially about civilians deaths.

    I just pointed out that the report made claims that should be visible in other data. And that the Iraqi survey personell seems an obvious possible error source.

    When I presented it, some idiots trolled me with dozens of comments from new user accounts, etc. I really despise True Believers that take it as an attack on their personality to question opinions they might have.

    Everything to bury it -- without discussing them.

    (-: Are you an American and spell "payed"?! I'm not an American, I have some damn culture, even if you at long last learned to make beer and at least some drinkable coffee these days! :-)

    [ Parent ]

    Exactly (2.80 / 5) (#232)
    by cburke on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 07:48:04 PM EST

    Are you claiming that USA has done Song My massacres?!

    Not exactly...  Now there were bombings of weddings (disclaimed by official U.S. sources, despite photographs of blown up kids in wedding attire), door-to-door slayings (disclaimed by officials, then later found to be true).  Both major assaults on Falluja were spoken of in similar terms, and while people fleeing Falluja said that it was a massacre, official U.S. sources said they didn't think any civilians were killed (in the bombing of a city!).  So not My Lai exactly, but yes, pretty much large scale killing under the auspicies of fighting the insurgency.

    However this does bring up a big point in why your assumption that Sunni must necessarily dominate the death counts is flawed -- as sectarian violence has increased in the last couple of years, the deaths are no longer just U.S. forces vs insurgents.  

    For example, the study says that of men 15-59, 9% were killed by air strike, while 10% were killed by car bombs.  The U.S. doesn't use car bombs, now do they?  

    I haven't had the chance to read the study in depth, just puruse the charts and graphs which by themselves don't say everything.  I do regret that unlike the 2004 Lancet study, this one does not provide a detailed breakout of deaths by province.  That would make it much easier to estimate the ratio of Sunni/Shia deaths based on the relative populations in each province.

    I generally don't trust sources from the Mid East at all, since everyone use propaganda even worse than "normal". Especially about civilians deaths.

    So... what you're saying is that these sources have been crying "genocide!" for years, just like you said they should be, but you don't listen to them because they're propaganda.  But did you not say that if the results were real, Al Jazeera and the like should have been trumpeting "genocide"?  Well they have!  You just apparently weren't watching.

    The rest of the things you expect to have happened and haven't seen are things that you haven't necessarily looked for.  Increasing burial sites?  They would have had to do that regardless to absorb the war dead; what were you expecting, CNN headline story "Iraqis allocate land for burials"?  In case you didn't know, any ground that can be penetrated by a shovel is a potential burial site.

    As far as the Sunni's being "pacified" by the death toll, that's probably just a bad expectation on your part.  Saddam's massacre of Shia quelled their revolt for basically two reasons:  1) Saddam was much more brutal, and would kill and torture family members of Shia rebels and 2) Saddam actually had control of the country, and a very good intelligence network.  The U.S. is not so brutal, and more importantly does not have control of the country.  The Sunni response to the death toll that I would expect is exactly what you have seen:  Sunni resistance.  

    I just pointed out that the report made claims that should be visible in other data.

    Again, who says it isn't?  You haven't really looked into it, and are just assuming these things aren't evident.  So far I haven't heard a single thing that is at odds with this study as far as other data goes.

    You're making an extremely shakey connection between other visible factors that you haven't demonstrated any serious attempt to investigate, so your "we should have seen these things but haven't" claim is just as easily attributable to ignorance.

    That's not meant as an insult, btw, but it's true.  You have no idea how many new gravesites have been created, so you have no idea if the number of new gravesites is large or small.

    I've seen nothing in the media that doesn't suggest massive amounts of deaths.  Those sources are not able and do not try to quantify the total number of deaths, which is what this survey does.  When bombings in Baghdad that kill 20-50 are occuring with regularity, I'm not surprised at all that the total country-wide is in the hundreds of thousands.  I'm surprised that you're surprised, honestly.

    Are you an American and spell "payed"?! I'm not an American, I have some damn culture, even if you at long last learned to make beer and at least some drinkable coffee these days! :-)

    Yeah I'm an American and made a typo.  Surprised? :)  

    Our only really good beers are micro-brew, so you'd never see them.  We have some decent larger breweries, but I don't know if any of them get out of the States.


    [ Parent ]

    Sorry, but (none / 1) (#244)
    by BerntB on Sat Oct 14, 2006 at 04:52:36 AM EST

    Now there were bombings of weddings
    Are you seriously suggesting that wasn't a mistake? Then give a reason for them doing so. Especially considering US Air force's bad reputation for friendly fire.

    They have conscription in Iraq. Most every man should know not to fire weapons in the air with potentially hostile airplanes around.

    door-to-door slayings [etc]
    Yeah, but they do send them to prison. Some of the cases were dragged into the open by the military (raping of a girl and murdering her family).

    You will get behaviour like that from soldiers in any army. I doubt the US Army is in the world's top of behaviour, but I am 100% certain they are much, much better than any of the local armies.

    This arguing is total stupidity. If you have a war you will get civilian casualties, that is legal by war laws -- as long as you try to avoid civilian casualities enough. This is especially bad since they fight people hiding among civilians (like Fallujah).

    However this does bring up a big point in why your assumption that Sunni must necessarily dominate the death counts is flawed [sectarian violence]
    Just not relevant, since sectarian violence hit Sunnis about as much (1/3 - 2/3?) as it hits Shia.

    My argument was that both USA and Shia (mostly) fight a group of ca 5 million people. The Sunni should take at least a 1/3 of the losses.

    Also check the report, a picture on page 6 shows where there has been extra mortality. Mainly Sunni areas.

    Al Jazeera and the like should have been trumpeting "genocide"? Well they have! You just apparently weren't watching.
    I browse Al J, of course. I haven't seen that. Where is HRW and Amnesty?
    Increasing burial sites? They would have had to do that regardless to absorb the war dead; what were you expecting
    The whole point of the Lancet article is that the total number of dead are 2-3 times the expected Iraqi rates. My point was that since a large fraction hits Sunni, it should have very visible effects -- it is 20% of the Iraqi population.

    You comment here seems to be a non sequitur. I can't understand your point, if any.

    Saddam's massacre of Shia quelled their revolt for basically two reasons
    Hmm.. good argument. Pure amount of blood might not be enough. Yet.
    Again, who says it isn't [visible]? [..]
    You have no idea how many new gravesites have been created, so you have no idea if the number of new gravesites is large or small.
    We are talking something like a tenth of all Sunni men over three years!

    There were enough order in the system that death certificates were issued. Obviously, the statistics doesn't seem to have been reported upwards from the local hospitals? Strange.

    Aerial photographs should be easy to get for journalists, hopefully they are looking at them right now @ NY Times.

    If this report is true, something needs to be done before it becomes a genocide.

    Our only really good beers are micro-brew, so you'd never see them.
    It was a cultural slam. :-) I am just happy it is worth traveling over there for vacation sometime.

    [ Parent ]
    You can't count graves from orbit (3.00 / 3) (#263)
    by cburke on Sun Oct 15, 2006 at 02:40:25 PM EST

    Are you seriously suggesting that wasn't a mistake? Then give a reason for them doing so. Especially considering US Air force's bad reputation for friendly fire.

    Doesn't really matter, now does it, since it is not an isolated incident of a large number of Iraqis, including innocents, being killed by a U.S. bomb.  The U.S. deliberately dropped a bromb, saying it was an insurgent meeting not a wedding.  There probably were insurgents at that wedding, Godfather style, but either way it's irrelevent because the topic is deaths, and those people died.

    This arguing is total stupidity. If you have a war you will get civilian casualties, that is legal by war laws -- as long as you try to avoid civilian casualities enough. This is especially bad since they fight people hiding among civilians (like Fallujah).

    What now we're talking about legality?  I thought we were talking about death counts.  Legal or not, the U.S. occupation has killed a lot of Iraqis.  The chaos and violence that has ensued has killed a lot of Iraqis.  Drop a lot of bombs on Falluja, a lot of civilians will be killed.  The fact that the U.S. doesn't desire to kill lots of civilians doesn't make the explosions any bit less lethal, so this is a completely irrelevent rat hole you've gone down.

    Just not relevant, since sectarian violence hit Sunnis about as much (1/3 - 2/3?) as it hits Shia.

    This on the other hand is relevent -- you factor in this source of death with sources of death that affect Sunnis more, and you get a lesser ratio of Sunni:Shia than you would get otherwise.  It's called math, a very relevent thing.  And you're wrong about the sectarian violence hitting them as much.  Most of the violence has been targeted at Shia, who have not retaliated en masse, in part because that is clearly the desired reaction, and in part because they stand to gain the most if the U.S. plan goes through.  Certainly Sunni have been killed in sectarian violence; violence which will probably escalate.  At this point, though, there haven't been any major anti-Sunni attacks like the ones on Shia pilgrimages etc.

    Also check the report, a picture on page 6 shows where there has been extra mortality. Mainly Sunni areas.

    The 2004 report featured a chart showing exact death rates for each province, broken down by cause etc, more like table 4.

    And the picture shows that there has been extra mortality across Iraq.  You have to integrate the rates along with populations to determine overal contributions to deaths in the country.  If Sunni are 20% of the population, and killed at twice the rate, then they're 29% of the total deaths.  

    I browse Al J, of course. I haven't seen that. Where is HRW and Amnesty?

    Obviously not enough.  Where do you expect HRW and Amnesty to be?  They've both been publishing report after report on massacres and bombings and violence in Iraq.  So they haven't put it all together and previously stated "10% of Sunni men dead". For one, contrary to your belief, that is actually a tough thing to say from secondary indicatiors, and for two, you'd be criticizing that statement for not having any backing in statistics.

    The whole point of the Lancet article is that the total number of dead are 2-3 times the expected Iraqi rates. My point was that since a large fraction hits Sunni, it should have very visible effects -- it is 20% of the Iraqi population.

    You comment here seems to be a non sequitur. I can't understand your point, if any.

    2-3 times more than who?  It was 10x before.  

    My point is:  It's a fucking war.  Of course it has had a very visible effect!  The whole of Iraq is full of visible effects!  In the midst of the on-going chaos, violence, bombs from the air and bombs from the ground killing people by the dozens of people at one go multilpe times a day.  In that situation, you think people can get better than a subjective sense for how many people have died?

    You really think that someone who wasn't doing an actual investigation could tell the difference between 1/20 being killed and 1/10, especially when those are averages across entire ethnic groups?  You're dreaming.  This is exactly why the Lancet study needed to be done.

    This exactly why nobody is surprised but you.  Because this is just putting a number on a feeling they already had.  You seem to think that if the conclusions of the study were true, then the study would have never been done.  Yet even someone as willing as you to use "most" in place of an actual estimate would have to find fault with extrapolating "seems like a lot of orphans around" to "decimation of population" without some rigor.  Now you've got it, and you reject it because it wasn't already concluded.
    Hmm.. good argument. Pure amount of blood might not be enough. Yet.

    You mean "Pure amount of blood is demonstrably not enough, yet."  It won't be until it really becomes genocide.  That's really the only way for a foreign power to stop an entrenched insurgency militarily.  All other cases involve local rulers with extensive intel networks crushing local rebellions, or an insurgency composed of an easily identifiable ethnic minority.

    Unless we're going to go the genocide route, then we had better start admitting that we have little chance of ending the insurgency through killing.

    We are talking something like a tenth of all Sunni men over three years!

    "Something like" that, yes.  Lot of error in that statement, isn't there.

    Aerial photographs should be easy to get for journalists, hopefully they are looking at them right now @ NY Times.

    To look for graves?  That's retarded, you know.  Like I said, any ground that can be penetrated by a shovel is a potential gravesite.  You really think that you're going to be able to tell every pile of overturned dirt from a grave then count the number of bodies in the grave, across the entire country of Iraq, from satellite photos?

    I think this explains a lot.  I don't know what kind of clean, crisp view of war you have.  But apparently it involves a population that lost 10%  of its adult males and which has practically no political stability, re-zoning new land for graveyards and lining them all up nice and easy for us to count.  Sorry, this is war.  Things don't work that nice.  Remember how we've been finding bodies hidden in basements, buried in ditches in fields?  It just isn't that simple!  You can't just look around you and think that you have the whole picture, than counting missing dads on your block means you know the fate of your people!

    But it can give you an idea.

    Which is why nobody with that picture is surprised at these results.  

    If this report is true, something needs to be done before it becomes a genocide.

    I would like to end this post on a note of complete and total agreement.

    [ Parent ]

    Sunni graves look like latrines from air photos?? (none / 1) (#269)
    by BerntB on Sun Oct 15, 2006 at 05:02:24 PM EST

    The U.S. deliberately dropped a bromb, saying it was an insurgent meeting not a wedding.
    The case I read about in Iraq close to the Syrian border was when they shot with rifles in the air and got bombed minutes later because an airplane thought it was under fire?

    Anyway, my point is that you will get this kind of errors. Has the US hit civilians more than is legal by war laws? I don't know -- and if you can show good sources, I'd like to read them.

    That the US totally f.cked up the occupation and mismanaged the peace? Sure.

    And you're wrong about the sectarian violence hitting [Sunnis] as much. Most of the violence has been targeted at Shia, who have not retaliated en masse
    Can you give recent and serious (i.e. non-extremist websites) references to this claim? The Shia was calmer in the beginning.
    And the picture shows that there has been extra mortality across Iraq. [..] If Sunni are 20% of the population, and killed at twice the rate, then they're 29% of the total deaths.
    Strange! All I can see is that Sunni area provinces seem marked "> 10 violent deaths/1000". I can't find any more specific information in the report -- where do you get that? You didn't just count with "== 10", did you?
    2-3 times more than who? It was 10x before.
    As answer to: "The whole point of the Lancet article is that the total number of dead are 2-3 times the expected Iraqi rates.". Which means that the Lancet report claimed 2-3 times more deaths/capita for all of Iraq.

    (I continued with: "My point was that since a large fraction hits Sunni, it should have very visible effects -- it is 20% of the Iraqi population.")

    In the midst of the on-going chaos, violence, bombs from the air and bombs from the ground killing people by the dozens of people at one go multilpe times a day. In that situation, you think people can get better than a subjective sense for how many people have died?
    Yes. The report claimed that 92% of deaths had death certificates! There must be some mechanism for reporting such statistics to county/state level, which obviously hasn't been working.

    It should have been easy for journalists to just call around the hospitals/doctor stations and ask about statistics. But even if so, it should be easy to check now, when a report with claims is published.

    To look for graves? That's retarded, [...] any ground that can be penetrated by a shovel is a potential gravesite
    You really argue that the relatives collected the bodies and got death certificates in 92% of the cases -- but didn't bother to bury their dead?!

    I thought the muslims did like the Xians with graveyards, etc? (-: Are you claiming that there is no the difference from an airial photo between a flower bed, a latrine and a grave?! :-)

    [ Parent ]

    Lots of things look like mounds of dirt, duh? (3.00 / 3) (#278)
    by cburke on Mon Oct 16, 2006 at 04:16:09 PM EST

    Anyway, my point is that you will get this kind of errors. Has the US hit civilians more than is legal by war laws? I don't know -- and if you can show good sources, I'd like to read them.

    And my point is that who gives a crap whether it's legal, a lot of civilians have been killed.  

    Can you give recent and serious (i.e. non-extremist websites) references to this claim? The Shia was calmer in the beginning.

    Actually the major Shia uprisings happened before a lot of the sectarian violence began.  And in case you weren't paying attention, I was talking about the sectarian violence, not U.S. military killing.  I.e. Sunni killed a lot more Shia than vice versa.  Though this is starting to change; just yesterday I read about 30-odd Sunni being killed in retaliation for the death of 14 Shia.  This is a new trend (though not unexpected), and wouldn't be accounted for in the study.

    Strange! All I can see is that Sunni area provinces seem marked "> 10 violent deaths/1000". I can't find any more specific information in the report -- where do you get that? You didn't just count with "== 10", did you?

    Please pay attention.  I said that there wasn't any specific information like there was in the 2004 report, and your claim that most of the killings were in Shia areas neglected to take into account the populations of each region.  This was followed by as statement that if Sunni were killed at twice the rate, this would result in them representing 28% of the total death count, to point out that the death rate would have to be very highly biased towards Sunni to have the effect you want.  I leave the mathematical evaluation to you, the person who is trying to make a point about numbers yet consistantly fails to actually produce any.

    As answer to: "The whole point of the Lancet article is that the total number of dead are 2-3 times the expected Iraqi rates.". Which means that the Lancet report claimed 2-3 times more deaths/capita for all of Iraq.

    Yes, those were your words, and I'm saying "Claimed 2-3 times more deaths/capita than who?"  Before you were saying the Lancet study claimed 10x the deaths than any other count, which I also challenged you to tell me who exactly you were talking about, but instead you decided to change the multiplier.

    "2-3 times" is useless.  Tell me 2-3 times what or I'll assume you're just pulling numbers from your behind, which would be completely typical of your argument so far.

    Yes. The report claimed that 92% of deaths had death certificates! There must be some mechanism for reporting such statistics to county/state level, which obviously hasn't been working.

    Must be?  Why?  Are you sure the state itself wouldn't have had to go town-to-town to survey the morgues and hospitals to determine death rates?

    You really argue that the relatives collected the bodies and got death certificates in 92% of the cases -- but didn't bother to bury their dead?!

    Dude, seriously pay attention!  I said "any ground that can be penetrated by a shovel is a potential gravesite", which clearly implies that they would bury their dead, but maybe somewhere that you aren't expecting!  I know for a fact that some Iraqis have used courtyards in their homes to bury family members when they couldn't afford a plot.

    I thought the muslims did like the Xians with graveyards, etc? (-: Are you claiming that there is no the difference from an airial photo between a flower bed, a latrine and a grave?! :-)

    A lot of Christians have family plots on private land.  

    And as far as those three things, no, they wouldn't necessarily look much different from an airial photo.  And there's a thousand other things a rectangularish mound of dirt could be, and you must be deliberately avoiding thinking about this fact to have even made that statement.  Unfortunately anyone actually trying to do what you propose wouldn't have this luxury.  They'd have to think about all the things a pile of dirt might be, and the fact that some of these graves would be years old and thus covered in grass, and so on and so forth.  This is hard shit, and you obviously just don't know anything about the difficulty of identifying objects on the ground faced frequently by intelligent agencies if you think this is a realistic method of counting deaths.  

    Oh, and please don't continue to forget about the bodies that didn't get buried, the mass graves, and so on.  As I keep trying to point out to no effect:  Things Ain't That Easy.

    Seriously.  You want to count the number of people who died in a particular time frame by counting graves from the air in a war-torn area the size of California.  This is ludicrously stupid and I have an increasingly hard time believing that your objections that it would really be easy are either serious or intelligent enough to be worth replying to.

    [ Parent ]

    If I put it like this... (none / 0) (#246)
    by BerntB on Sat Oct 14, 2006 at 07:01:01 AM EST

    Increasing burial sites? They would have had to do that regardless to absorb the war dead; what were you expecting
    I have argued that (according to the report) with those death rates in Sunni areas -- there must be a very big business in burying Sunnis!

    They should have a boom time with lots of hirings, since the report implies that they also got a tenth of their male work force killed!

    So yes, there are lots of dead even according to the UN and the Body Count reports. Assuming you can count graves from the air, it should be easy to see those kind of loss figures.

    [ Parent ]

    ... it certainly doesn't sound better. (3.00 / 4) (#264)
    by cburke on Sun Oct 15, 2006 at 02:54:21 PM EST

    I have argued that (according to the report) with those death rates in Sunni areas -- there must be a very big business in burying Sunnis!

    Of course since being bombed out of house and home doesn't leave one with a lot of finances, a lot of people probably opted for "Do-It-Yourself Funeral Plots Inc.".

    They should have a boom time with lots of hirings, since the report implies that they also got a tenth of their male work force killed!

    Your unstated assumption being that this is a normal functioning society that would have had a moderately low unemployment rate if no one had been killed either.  But that assumption is wrong.  Unemployment is a huge problem, and the unemployment rate is well above 10%.  Remember, for instance, that when we disbanded the army we created 300,000 unemployed men of the age in question -- that's almost half the total death count in unemployed workers through just one action.  Since one of the main jobs, especially for Sunnis, is Insurgent, it's not likely that those deaths actually opened up jobs (that are counted).

    Assuming you can count graves from the air, it should be easy to see those kind of loss figures.

    Yep, another bad assumption, though at least this one is stated.  One, graves aren't going to necessarily be in well-defined funeral plots.  Second, with all the death and poverty created, graves will be even more scattered.  Third, the idea of detecting them from the air to begin with is pretty foolish.  Even a fresh grave would just look like a spot of dirt.  Throw some sod on it and it would be indistinguishable.  Identifying military equipment from the air is not a simple job; identifying what spots of dirt have a human under them (and how many) is extremely difficult if not impossible.

    So yes, you've made a few very bad assumptions that betray a disconnection with the reality of war in Iraq, and as a result have taken issue with the findings of a survey team on the ground.

    [ Parent ]

    Sigh (none / 1) (#270)
    by BerntB on Sun Oct 15, 2006 at 05:10:54 PM EST

    Of course since being bombed out of house and home doesn't leave one with a lot of finances, a lot of people probably opted for "Do-It-Yourself Funeral Plots Inc.".
    They still have lots of family ties in Iraq, so even if 10-20% are unemployed, they should be able to collect money for burials. (Bombed houses? How many are we talking about outside regular battles?)

    Second, I thought the Sunnis did as most others -- they had reserved graveyards? Not necessarily that expensive if you are poor. Do you have a reference?

    Third, I think your arguments aren't that bad -- they could easily hide a factor 2-3 or "normal" death statistics. But for the Sunnis, it should be much more.

    [ Parent ]

    Stop sighing, start researching or shut up. (3.00 / 4) (#279)
    by cburke on Mon Oct 16, 2006 at 04:18:12 PM EST

    They still have lots of family ties in Iraq, so even if 10-20% are unemployed, they should be able to collect money for burials. (Bombed houses? How many are we talking about outside regular battles?)

    Families in war time have more important things to spend money on, like fuel, water, and food.  When the life of the living is in question, concern for the dead is the first thing to go.

    Second, I thought the Sunnis did as most others -- they had reserved graveyards? Not necessarily that expensive if you are poor. Do you have a reference?

    Depending on the nature of this graveyard, then you'd still have trouble determining it's occupancy.  Also people without a lot of money don't necessarily start buying funeral plots for 20 year olds.  But regardless...

    Do I have a reference?!

    You're sitting here making an argument based on incredulity, saying "If this many people died, we should have seen X and Y and Z and I haven't seen it", and you have done NOTHING to determine whether X, Y, or Z has actually occured, and whether the rate of their occurance is commensurate with the estimated range or grossly at odds with it.

    So you know what?  You come up with a reference.

    You want to argue that this study is probably fradulent because of second-order factors?  Then you had better start producing numbers for those second-order factors.  You do your own research, and when it's complete, come here and post it and then we can look at your numbers and methodology and see if they match up.  The common sense argument is that it is difficult to go from the second-order to the first-order and nobody has tried to do so; this study represents the best attempt to quantify the actual death count.  If you think those second-order effects will disprove the estimate of the first order, then you'd better get some numbers to back that up.

    Until then, not only do you lack numbers, you lack an argument based on anything but whimsy, fantasy, assumption, and a grossly idealised and unrealistic view of war.  Don't bother replying to this or my other post until you get back with some numbers, because otherwise you're just making shit up to denigrate this study because you don't want to believe it.

    [ Parent ]

    The "DIY" funerals (none / 0) (#286)
    by vivelame on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 10:08:52 AM EST

    is actually part of the culture over there. The deads should be buried before the end of theday. It complicates a lot the whole bodycount business, because more often than not, iraqis don't bother to bring their dead relatives to the morgue.

    --
    Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
    [ Parent ]
    Thanks, I know that (none / 0) (#288)
    by BerntB on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 10:16:39 AM EST

    they should be buried inside a day.

    Your argument would have been better if not the report had claimed that 92% of the cases they found had death certificates.

    [ Parent ]

    Death certificates (none / 1) (#293)
    by vivelame on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 10:52:14 AM EST

    just like, you know, birth certificates, can and will be delivered outside a morgue, go figure!
    Actually, it's the same thing in the US! When your mom is found dead in her bed, the death certificate is delivered by, tadaaaam... The DOCTOR! Horror! Shock! Consternation! Your whole "argument" goes down the drain!
    Suck it.

    --
    Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
    [ Parent ]
    Yeah, but it is registered when (1.20 / 5) (#299)
    by BerntB on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 02:48:59 PM EST

    someone is born or dies -- and the paperwork is done.

    In all countries I've heard of, that information is also sent to some statistics departments. The Lancet report seems to claim that statistical work isn't done, which is understandable. But it should be easy for a journalist to call local hospitals/doctor stations and get a count in hours for quite a large area.

    [ Parent ]

    Iraq Body Count agrees with me (2.00 / 2) (#334)
    by BerntB on Mon Oct 23, 2006 at 04:03:12 AM EST

    Since the usual cowards voted down my answer so it is invisible, I'll add another comment. (Feels more serious than lowering myself to extremist standards and create vote-users, etc.)

    Iraq Body Count's reality check discuss your argument here -- and agrees with me.

    [ Parent ]

    good news! (none / 0) (#342)
    by vivelame on Tue Oct 24, 2006 at 06:23:07 AM EST

    there's no genocide going on in Sudan!

    --
    Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
    [ Parent ]
    Non sequitur, of course (none / 1) (#347)
    by BerntB on Tue Oct 24, 2006 at 02:59:04 PM EST

    If you had arguments you wouldn't be such a lousy troll, since you obviously care about the subject matter.

    Come back when you've grown a brain.

    [ Parent ]

    they used the exact same method (none / 1) (#348)
    by vivelame on Wed Oct 25, 2006 at 04:28:12 PM EST

    of sampling and extrapolation.
    One can only wonder: "what if the 'victims' are just lying? To make the legitimate sudanese gub'mint look bad?". Besides, little death certificates were issued.

    --
    Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
    [ Parent ]
    Problem is that here there are lots of other (none / 0) (#349)
    by BerntB on Wed Oct 25, 2006 at 11:31:48 PM EST

    indicators which contradict the Lancet report. See the Iraq Body Count criticism for a better (and more knowledgeable) description than I have.

    As the Iraq Body Count noted (but I didn't think of), statistics show that there must be at least an equal number of people seriously wounded as dead. (Yes, it is possible Iraq is very different with few wounded and many dead -- but, again, there are lots of other indicators that also had to be hidden. Too big a coincidence.)

    You generally don't get wounded with a supersonic bullet without going to a hospital(!) and being operated on. At least half a million people under the knife in three years -- how many can Iraqi hospitals handle?! Where is the big business in importing prosthetic limbs? Etc, etc.

    I don't know about the work in Sudan, the examination of Iraq used really few test groups in the less populated provinces -- which were those heavy hit (except Bagdhad)! Just get one (1) neighbour group of houses "wrong" and the result becomes really strange... (Some Diary was posted with a reference to hard criticism of the sampling size, but which acknowledged the method.)

    And not all data were published... Why?!

    I am only repeating myself. I and others have written this, multiple times. If I see you repeat your argument, I'll just post a link to this comment.

    [ Parent ]

    you forget to take into account a major factor: (none / 0) (#351)
    by vivelame on Fri Oct 27, 2006 at 06:34:24 AM EST

    the US military tendency to use overwhelming force against minor targets.
    The usual response to rifle fire from insurgents isn't rifle fire, it's "call air support, artillery strikes, and use tank shells". That gave way to a new US mil' slang, "pink misting". Check this out.
    And before you go telling me that the effects of this policy haven't been quantified, let me remind you that every single one of your 'buts' hasn't been quantified either.

    --
    Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
    [ Parent ]
    So WHY do you believe in the Lancet report? (none / 1) (#352)
    by BerntB on Fri Oct 27, 2006 at 07:41:51 AM EST

    To call in air support when troops taking enemy fire is unique for Americans? :-)
    And before you go telling me that the effects of this policy haven't been quantified, let me remind you that every single one of your 'buts' hasn't been quantified either.
    Again, there should have been very visible effects if the Lancet report is correct, as the Iraq Body Count noted. Can you show that at least half of those effects can be explained?

    No, you can't. But you still believe that source.

    Most non-fanatics with a brain think in possibilities. There are good reason to consider the Lancet report improbable. (Where are all the wounded? All the graves? Etc, etc.)

    You think that it should be true -- probably because it fits with your political beliefs, which you obviously hold with a fervor that would shame a bishop...

    [ Parent ]

    well, there *are* very visible effects. (none / 0) (#353)
    by vivelame on Fri Oct 27, 2006 at 08:14:31 AM EST

    (btw, the f*xxored link in parent should really be this one)
    Just because you don't see them from the US doesn't mean they don't exist.

    --
    Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
    [ Parent ]
    Then give refs to answer the criticism.. n/t (none / 0) (#354)
    by BerntB on Fri Oct 27, 2006 at 09:42:18 AM EST

    (And I'm not in the US.)

    [ Parent ]
    we already went through that. (none / 0) (#361)
    by vivelame on Tue Nov 07, 2006 at 10:10:56 AM EST

    you ARE from the US.
    If you weren't from the US, IT WOULD BE VISIBLE! And i can't see it. So there.

    --
    Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
    [ Parent ]
    So you just have an opinion without basis. (none / 0) (#362)
    by BerntB on Wed Nov 08, 2006 at 02:09:51 PM EST

    You have no references when I've asked for criticism of the IBC analysis of the Lancet report -- and use a subject like "we already went through that to claim I'm American.

    Probably to make it look like you have answered a serious point, for someone that just browses the discussion... You're really, really pathetic.

    People with integrity can be wrong and can lack arguments -- without acting like some sort of dishonest politician.

    [ Parent ]

    well, i'm using your exact point (none / 0) (#367)
    by vivelame on Fri Nov 10, 2006 at 05:57:56 AM EST

    (ie, "if it was accurate, i should SEE IT"!) to prove MY point.
    And it's funny, but when the shoe is on the other foot, "it's really pathetic". By YOUR metric, your whole "debating" of the Lancet study is "really, really pathetic". Which is what lots of people said in this thread.


    --
    Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
    [ Parent ]
    STILL no references to your big claims? n/t (none / 0) (#360)
    by BerntB on Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 03:11:01 AM EST



    [ Parent ]
    go home and cry to yo momma (3.00 / 3) (#236)
    by adventure games import export on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 08:04:47 PM EST

    and revel in your self-inflicted ignorance.
    When I presented it, some idiots trolled me with dozens of comments from new user accounts, etc. I really despise True Believers that take it as an attack on their personality to question opinions they might have.
    Your non-arguments and childish accusations and insults have all been answered in these posts. You're the only one refusing to discuss it further.

    So are you going to reply, or are you going to tuck your tail between your legs and fuck off back to whatever scandinavian hellhole that spawned you?

    [ Parent ]

    Don't be such a coward, use regular account n/t (none / 1) (#243)
    by BerntB on Sat Oct 14, 2006 at 04:20:44 AM EST



    [ Parent ]
    Spoken like a "True Believer" (2.50 / 4) (#245)
    by adventure games import export on Sat Oct 14, 2006 at 05:21:03 AM EST

    everything to avoid addressing the argument and having to admit you're wrong, eh?

    BTW, I assume that it's a new English phrase for you since you seem to be (mis)using it quite often. I don't think it means what you think it means.

    [ Parent ]

    Not that easy... (3.00 / 3) (#145)
    by thejeff on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 07:23:51 PM EST

    This isn't happening in a functioning society. Do you really think most children are just going to school as if nothing has happened?
    There are massive internal displacements. Families who have lost a husband/father are probably more likely to either flee the area or withdraw, thus skewing your simple survey.

    This really is the standard method for estimating deaths in conflict regions. It's drawing criticism now only because the results are so at odds with the official version. And because the US is so heavily invested in the official version.

    It would be interesting to the numbers found by this method in previous conflicts where it was used and compare them to the numbers the governments were putting out at the time.

    [ Parent ]

    Yes.. (none / 0) (#147)
    by BerntB on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 07:29:42 PM EST

    I don't deny your points. I just note that a factor ten just can't be hidden by those random factors, especially in Bagdad.

    (Another argument I gave was that you should just be able to look at how fast burial places are used.)

    A factor ten is just too large. One side or the other almost have to do dishonest propaganda. (Assume, for instance, that the selection of people by the Iraqi teams on the ground wasn't random?)

    [ Parent ]

    I would agree (none / 1) (#161)
    by thejeff on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 08:42:43 PM EST

    One side or the other would have to do dishonest propaganda. Now, which side might have more motivation?

    [ Parent ]
    Well, (none / 0) (#164)
    by BerntB on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 08:48:42 PM EST

    I assume both sides would be fully willing to do it.

    What speaks for the US side is the insanity they have shown in their handling of Iraq. They must know that the real data must come out, if the number of dead are that astronomical.

    What speaks for the Iraqi side... consider Pallywood, the death figures from Fallujah...

    When there are no westerners around to see, there seems to be very large mortality from Israeli/US weapons. Seems to be very dangerous to be a civilian, then...

    [ Parent ]

    I'd like to see if my argument holds .. (3.00 / 5) (#137)
    by shinshin on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 06:50:50 PM EST

    I'm not going to pretend that I understand your argument. You seem to follow a somewhat convoluted pipeline of assumption and extrapolation and end up with the conclusion that "one in ten of Sunni males are dead since the invasion!!", which you then dismiss as not being "realistic", and so conclude that the study is in some way fraudulent. I'm not sure what I could say that would dissuade you from believing that you have been victorious in debunking the report.

    Your response does, however, bring to mind Daniel Davies' observation: When the previous study was published, a horrendous chorus of hacks sprung up and suddenly discovered a new-found expertise in epidemiological statistics.

    It sounds like that is what is happening again.

    ____
    We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
    [ Parent ]

    If I put it like this, then? (none / 0) (#141)
    by BerntB on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 07:05:09 PM EST

    The Sunni population are in the forefront of the fighting, both against USA and against the Shia.

    The report claimed 600,000 dead from violence where most were men 15-59. A large fraction of those should be Sunnis. (Especially since the North and South are relatively calm, compared to the Triangle.)

    In a total population of 5 millions Sunni, there are ca 1.5 million men in relevant ages. (See previous post for reference.)

    A large fraction of 600,000 would be very, very visible among 1.5 million...

    With a decimation like that, it would be impossible to ignore or deny. At least one child in ten would have become fatherless, etc, etc.

    (Of course, most deaths might be criminality or clan warfare?)

    I am sorry if the first post wasn't understandable. I tried to answer the counter arguments directly, but the result just got too confused. :-)

    [ Parent ]

    Sunnis (3.00 / 6) (#156)
    by shinshin on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 08:19:48 PM EST

    In a total population of 5 millions Sunni, there are ca 1.5 million men in relevant ages. (See previous post for reference.)
    I don't think that is correct. Using the statistics from the CIA, 32%-37% of Iraq's estimated population of 26,783,383 is Sunni. Assuming age and gender distribution among Sunnis is the same as the age and gender distribution for the nation as a whole, there are between 2,488,402 and 2,877,215 Sunni males of "fighting age" in Iraq, not 1.5 million as you assert. Note that I think it much matters.
    With a decimation like that, it would be impossible to ignore or deny. At least one child in ten would have become fatherless, etc, etc.
    Your assertion that "At least one child in ten would have become fatherless" implies that every dead Sunni had children. First off, the more bold and suicidal of the fighters will be childless men. Second, you assume that children themselves are not also victims of violence, which flies in the face of all the reports of entire families being massacred.

    I agree with cburke that you seem to be making quite a leap by saying that it is untrue simply because it would be obvious. By that logic, you would have argued in early 1945 that the Holocaust could not be occurring simply because too large a segment of a population group would have died for the rest of the world to be able to avoid noticing. And yet it did happen.

    Also, cburke raises a good point: what makes you think that the massive number of deaths is not obvious to the citizens of Iraq?

    ____
    We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
    [ Parent ]

    Uhm, no (none / 1) (#160)
    by BerntB on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 08:38:33 PM EST

    Using the statistics from the CIA, 32%-37% of Iraq's estimated population of 26,783,383 is Sunni.
    I did that mistake myself and changed in a comment to my first post. The Kurds are counted among those, it seems. (I have also seen the figure 20% for the non-Kurd Sunnis a hundred times the last few years in the press.)

    Your comment re childless being more aggressive, sure. Trivial factors back and forth for a small example. Don't you have serious counter arguments?!

    Second, you assume that children themselves are not also victims of violence, which flies in the face of all the reports of entire families being massacred.
    I was quoting the 600,000 that had died from violence, most of whom where men 15-59 (according to the BBC reference I gave to levesque).
    you seem to be making quite a leap by saying that it is untrue simply because it would be obvious.
    A factor ten must be obvious!

    Just count graves in Baghdad and look at satellite photos of burial grounds over the last three years.

    Or?

    By that logic, you would have argued in early 1945 that the Holocaust could not be occurring simply because too large a segment of a population group would have died for the rest of the world to be able to avoid noticing. And yet it did happen.
    To start with, there wasn't satellite tv teams roaming around in Germany 1944... (Al J was even in Fallujah, IIRC.)

    [ Parent ]
    Uhm, yes (3.00 / 3) (#165)
    by shinshin on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 08:59:22 PM EST

    Trivial factors back and forth for a small example. Don't you have serious counter arguments?!
    If you are going to assail the survey with a morass of conjecture and speculation, you are not allowed to criticize me for responding with conjecture of my own.
    A factor ten must be obvious!
    I heard you the first dozen times you said this. You have yet to respond to the question: "why must it be obvious?" Also: "how do you know that it isn't obvious to the local population". What specific consequences of it being obvious do you think would have to exist and that do not presently exist?
    Al J was even in Fallujah, IIRC
    Yes, they were. And guess what? I bet Al-Jazeera will agree with the report.

    ____
    We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
    [ Parent ]
    So answer me then (none / 0) (#166)
    by BerntB on Thu Oct 12, 2006 at 09:14:48 PM EST

    you are not allowed to criticize me for responding with conjecture of my own.
    That was conjecture about one of many possible visible effects. Waste of electrons.
    I bet Al-Jazeera will agree with the report.
    My point re your Germany was that they haven't been sending that for years! They should have known about such large loss figures among the Sunni, since they could move around with them.
    how do you know that it isn't obvious to the local population
    I argue that it must be. So answer me, then -- why haven't they talked with AlJ? Top news for them!

    Note that there has been a diaspora for Iraqi's since decades, mostly Kurds but still... it would get out.

    HRW and Amnesty, etc would be like flies on sugar.

    Kill off at least a tenth of the possible fighters of a group -- and give them reason to think it'll continue. They would have changed behaviour. Even wave a white flag.

    I can, barely, believe that you could have 650' dead spread evenly over the full population of Iraq without it being obvious.

    But a large fraction of those dead over just 5 million people? Well... no.

    [ Parent ]

    You don't know what the fuck you're talking about. (2.20 / 5) (#171)
    by Beatific Deathsquad on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 01:28:36 AM EST

    You're so damn sure you know just what it would be like if 650,000 people died in Iraq, but who the fuck are you?  You're a nerdy prick with a fat mouth.  You don't know a goddamn thing about anything even remotely relevant to this discussion, but you have to butt in and pontificate anyway.

    Fuck off.  I think I'll pay attention to the actual researchers.

    "I was...gay." -- rusty
    [ Parent ]

    Your 47th post -- just insults n/t (1.00 / 2) (#181)
    by BerntB on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 04:18:33 AM EST



    [ Parent ]
    well you probably deserve it. (none / 1) (#182)
    by an expression of excitement and enthusiasm on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 04:34:48 AM EST

    i think it's interesting that being insulted on an internet forums disturbs you more than reports of possibly more than 500,000 dead people.

    [ Parent ]
    2nd comment here. Also sad troll. Yawn. n/t (1.00 / 2) (#184)
    by BerntB on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 05:17:54 AM EST

    (I am not disturbed, I just find it funny when idiots can't answer my arguments but really want to, so they do really stupid and bad trolls.)

    [ Parent ]
    well done, berntb (none / 1) (#185)
    by an expression of excitement and enthusiasm on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 05:33:04 AM EST

    i don't think your insults and ad hominems qualify as "arguments".

    [ Parent ]
    You're "A Bore"? Serious as always. n/t (1.00 / 3) (#186)
    by BerntB on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 05:41:14 AM EST



    [ Parent ]
    you know what you are, berntb? (1.00 / 2) (#189)
    by an expression of excitement and enthusiasm on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 05:46:47 AM EST

    yet another isolated scandinavian who has it too good and who has no business commenting on world politics.

    [ Parent ]
    I'm not a bad troll, at least.. n/t (1.50 / 2) (#190)
    by BerntB on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 05:49:33 AM EST



    [ Parent ]
    yeah. (none / 1) (#193)
    by an expression of excitement and enthusiasm on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 05:56:16 AM EST

    everyone who doesn't agree with you is evil or morally corrupt. that attitude will get you far in life.

    [ Parent ]
    because you have NO argument what-so-ever. (nt) (none / 1) (#285)
    by vivelame on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 10:03:21 AM EST



    --
    Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
    [ Parent ]
    Discuss that with Iraq Body Count... (none / 0) (#359)
    by BerntB on Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 03:10:00 AM EST

    Iraq Body Count posted a press release where they have most of my arguments (and some more).

    You can make your unsupported claims about them, too, I guess...

    (I missed answering because you posted days afterwards.)

    [ Parent ]

    well seriously (none / 1) (#266)
    by kromagg on Sun Oct 15, 2006 at 04:17:47 PM EST

    A factor ten must be obvious!

    Just count graves in Baghdad and look at satellite photos of burial grounds over the last three years.

    Just go and look at the bloody satellite photos and prove your point then. Seriously, I dare you. To make a claim, you need to be able to back that claim up with actual evidence, instead of leap-frog assumptions and hot air.



    [ Parent ]
    Journalists gets paid for such... n/t (none / 1) (#267)
    by BerntB on Sun Oct 15, 2006 at 04:23:43 PM EST

    (To make a claim, you need to be able to back that claim up with actual evidence -- I didn't make a claim, I noted that if the Lancet report is correct, the effects should be very visible -- and at least easily testable. I am sorry if I stamped on your personal beliefs.)

    [ Parent ]
    My personal beliefs? (none / 1) (#268)
    by kromagg on Sun Oct 15, 2006 at 04:31:41 PM EST

    Like those about falsification?

    Anyway you stated here that you don't think the numbers are realistic. That sounds to me as a claim, but hey what do I know. Congrats on the excellent trolling there.

    [ Parent ]

    Your 42nd comment, just more insults (none / 1) (#273)
    by BerntB on Mon Oct 16, 2006 at 07:02:34 AM EST

    you stated here that you don't think the numbers are realistic.
    I made the claim that the reported results looks strange because the Sunnis should take a large part of all the losses and that should be very visible (they are only ca five millions).

    You started with that I shouldn't complain about strange results without getting funding and verifying myself? Should the physicists questioning the recent Chinese tokamak results replicate the experiment for a few billion $ before complaining?

    I might be wrong -- my argument is based on a simple reality check of what the reported death numbers should have for results.

    But you don't add anything but insults. I am sorry if I don't find that impressive, since it has been so common around here, lately. I have received a large amount of low-quality trolling from numerous newly created accounts like yours.

    You might not be one, since you sound positively mild with just "troll" and "hot air" and you didn't add irrelevant counter "arguments" that looks good for people just browsing and to generate a lot of shit so none has the energy to read what is written.

    I wish people either would argue seriously -- or high quality trolling. These stupid insults and irrelevant complaints are boring.

    I guess it is a compliment that the pathetic idiots of K5 can't argue and instead just do bad trolling to make me irritated and bury my arguments. Since they are obviously just a few individuals, I guess the idiots get tired in the end. I can easily take a few months of this shit.

    A pity about the average K5 quality.

    [ Parent ]

    Well, why don't YOU go in Iraq (none / 0) (#284)
    by vivelame on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 10:01:53 AM EST

    and check it for yourself, if you're so sure it's a lie? :-)

    made the claim that the reported results looks strange because the Sunnis should take a large part of all the losses and that should be very visible

    The results ARE visible, just not when your starring at Fox News from Richmond, Virginia.

    --
    Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
    [ Parent ]

    Get insults right, at least. I'm not from USA n/t (none / 0) (#287)
    by BerntB on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 10:13:45 AM EST



    [ Parent ]
    Yes you are from good ole' US of A! (3.00 / 2) (#294)
    by vivelame on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 10:53:48 AM EST

    It's obvious to everyone here.
    If you weren't, IT WOULD BE VISIBLE! And it isn't. So there.

    --
    Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
    [ Parent ]
    Woody Allen, rms, Knuth, the South Park guys, etc (none / 0) (#300)
    by BerntB on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 02:57:01 PM EST

    Lots of my intellectual idols are from the US.

    Also, lots of religious idiots to argue with. It is frustrating to just have a bunch of leftwing idiots here. It would be so nice with Xians and rightwingers, too! The disadvantage is, of course, that with the weapon laws those idiots are armed.

    You might have a point, I might enjoy it over there.

    (An interesting job which paid a lot would also get me to move there.)

    [ Parent ]

    Just because (none / 0) (#283)
    by vivelame on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 09:59:54 AM EST

    nobody is checking, doesn't mean it's not true.

    --
    Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
    [ Parent ]
    US Army: (none / 0) (#282)
    by vivelame on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 09:59:08 AM EST

    "We Don't Do Bodycounts!"

    Here you go for the "Why is it that i didn't notice??????!!!11"

    --
    Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
    [ Parent ]

    A rewrite of the argument (1.14 / 7) (#183)
    by BerntB on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 05:11:17 AM EST

    According to the Lancet report, 655,000 has died. This is a factor ten more than other reports. 600,000++ of them died from violence, mostly men 15-57.

    I can (barely) believe that 600,000 dead from violence could happen in Iraq without it being totally obvious to all present journalists.

    Quite a few has died in criminality and clans/gang wars. Hard to say how many. Most of the remaining 600,000 died while fighting US troops or Sunnis/Shia murdering each others. (The North and South are relatively calm.)

    The Shia uprisings (Al Sadr) wasn't that long, so most dead from fighting USA are Sunni. Around half of the dead (guess 25%-75%) from murder patrols should also be Sunni.

    If the Lancet report is correct, hundreds of thousands of those 600,000 dead by violence should be Sunni.

    There are only about 5 million non-Kurd Sunni in Iraq, ca 1.5 million of them are men aged 15-57. Those kind of losses in a population of 1.5 millions should be very, very visible since 3-10% of all Sunni men should have died from violence in 3 years!

    Here are a few very obvious things that should have happened -- but doesn't seem to have happened:

    - Around 1/10 of the children would be fatherless, (And every tenth woman would be a widow.)

    - The Sunni burial places would have to be extended, since around 5% of the population has died.

    - Al Jazeera can move around the Sunni areas quite freely (they were even in Fallujah). They would have realized how large the number of dead were -- and trumpet out that a genocide seemed to be in progress since years ago.

    - Other journalists should have seen what happened, just from extensions to Bagdhad's Sunni cemetaries (which is the "frontline" for Shia/Sunni murders).

    - Amnesty and HRW should have been alerted (there is a big Iraqi diaspora in the west, which should have learned of what happens) and come in to do studies like a ton of brick.

    - The Sunni behavior would be very different if you had decimated the men over three years -- and they have reason to think it would continue. That is more or less what Saddam Hussein did to the Shia after the first Gulf War. Number of dead like that is a traditional way to stop insurgencies.

    In sum, I have a hard time believing the Lancet report since it should have very obvious effects. You can't shoot 5% of a population (that has both phones and relatives all over the world) without it getting known!

    This analysis is based on the assumption that criminality didn't kill most of those 600,000 dead by violence. That might be possible, of course.

    interesting. (none / 0) (#187)
    by an expression of excitement and enthusiasm on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 05:43:48 AM EST

    This analysis is based on the assumption that criminality didn't kill most of those 600,000 dead by violence. That might be possible, of course.
    in that case there'd still be growing numbers of orphans and widows - which you deny. so what makes "criminality" a more likely cause than civil war/occupation?

    [ Parent ]
    Criminality deaths wouldn't be so much Sunnis n/t (none / 0) (#188)
    by BerntB on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 05:45:24 AM EST



    [ Parent ]
    and what do you base that assumption on? (none / 0) (#191)
    by an expression of excitement and enthusiasm on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 05:54:06 AM EST

    where has order broken down the most? where would you expect to see more crimes being committed? do you really think it would be in the relatively quiet kurdish north?

    [ Parent ]
    If I am wrong, my argument is stronger :-) n/t (none / 0) (#192)
    by BerntB on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 05:56:11 AM EST

    (Statistics, criminals doesn't care who they attack. Sunnis are fewer -- combine with Monte Carlo.)

    [ Parent ]
    your "argument" ? (none / 0) (#194)
    by an expression of excitement and enthusiasm on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 05:59:47 AM EST

    you mean that it's okay for 600,000 people to die as long as they're the right ethnicity and you don't kill them directly; instead they die because you failed to secure the country and restore order?

    [ Parent ]
    I discussed the correctness of the report, troll $ (1.33 / 3) (#195)
    by BerntB on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 06:01:20 AM EST



    [ Parent ]
    you didn't discuss anything. (3.00 / 4) (#196)
    by an expression of excitement and enthusiasm on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 06:08:54 AM EST

    you made wild assumptions that there were no growing numbers of orphans, no growing numbers of widows, cemeteries aren't being extended, etc. how do you know this?

    then you said that maybe those 600,00 people really did die, but it was mostly crime (whatever happened to the widows and orphans?). so which is it?

    [ Parent ]

    Hey, rusty! Average quality of K5 is going down! (1.14 / 7) (#199)
    by BerntB on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 07:21:02 AM EST

    How The Fuck did MrHanky vote up that lame troll? Sigh, I guess I have to answer.
    you made wild assumptions that there were no growing numbers of orphans, no growing numbers of widows, cemeteries aren't being extended, etc. how do you know this?
    I wrote that if 600,000+ had died of violence, a large fraction of them should be among Sunnis (if the violence wasn't mostly from criminals). The Sunnis are quite few, so the effects of that kind of losses would be very visible (number of orphans, Al J should have reacted, etc, etc).

    But you know all that. You just can't handle being wrong, so you troll. Now, you can lie about the next thing I wrote so you can troll that.

    At least be entertaining in trying to bury counter arguments you can't answer, fanatic.

    Just a pity that the average quality of K5 is reamed by your pathetic anthics, "A Bore".

    [ Parent ]

    HAY PARANOID TARD (1.50 / 2) (#200)
    by adventure games import export on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 07:39:41 AM EST

    PEOPLE DID REACT THAT'S HOW WE GOT THE LANCET REPORT

    [ Parent ]
    Another first post troll... pathetic n/t (1.25 / 4) (#205)
    by BerntB on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:27:51 AM EST



    [ Parent ]
    HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU (none / 1) (#206)
    by adventure games import export on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 10:43:45 AM EST

    TO COME UP WITH THAT WITTY REPLY?

    [ Parent ]
    I gave him a 3 because he's right (3.00 / 7) (#209)
    by MrHanky on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 12:05:00 PM EST

    Your argument is just a circumlocutory way of saying: "This can't be true, because if it were, I should already know this." In other words, you trust your own limited knowledge, which you have attained from the media, more than than that of people who have actually been there and done some research.


    "This was great, because it was a bunch of mature players who were able to express themselves and talk politics." Lettuce B-Free, on being a total fucking moron for Ron Paul.
    [ Parent ]
    You *described* my argument -- but didn't answer (1.20 / 5) (#217)
    by BerntB on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 12:52:22 PM EST

    It is nice to get flamed by someone that can think a bit and not some pathetic kid that creates multiple new users to troll because they don't have the cohones to admit they might be wrong. :-)
    Your argument is just a circumlocutory way of saying: "This can't be true, because if it were, I should already know this." [...] you trust your own limited knowledge, which you have attained from the media,
    This describe my argument, but doesn't answer it. Another description might be "if people make extraordinary claims that goes a factor of ten above previous estimates, then they better present ..."

    So please tell me what is wrong with my argument.

    I argue that if the Lancet article was true, a large part of the losses should be in a 5 million large group (the non-Kurd Sunnis). As I've argued, that should give very visible effects -- which HRW, Al Jazeera, etc etc would have been aware of.

    I have given the details for the above three or four times. For specifics, go there. I don't know if my argument is correct, but it should be easily testable by checking satellite photographs of Sunni burial places.

    more than than that of people who have actually been there and done some research.
    You mean, like Behe on evolution? :-)

    I am very, very careful before I trust extreme claims about e.g. dead civilians from the Mid East, since it is full lying propaganda -- from all sides.

    This looks very strange, so I want confirmation before I believe it. The obvious suspects here seems to be the groups on the ground.

    [ Parent ]

    WELL HELLO THERE (2.66 / 3) (#220)
    by adventure games import export on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 01:06:03 PM EST

    It is nice to get flamed by someone that can think a bit and not some pathetic kid that creates multiple new users to troll because they don't have the cohones to admit they might be wrong.
    1. You're quite obviously projecting.

    2. It's spelled co_j_ones, my ignorant nordic friend.

    I argue that if the Lancet article was true, a large part of the losses should be in a 5 million large group (the non-Kurd Sunnis). As I've argued, that should give very visible effects -- which HRW, Al Jazeera, etc etc would have been aware of.
    If you want to know where most violent deaths occur you can look that up in the report. You don't have to resort to making assumptions.
    This looks very strange, so I want confirmation before I believe it. The obvious suspects here seems to be the groups on the ground.
    Funny, that's the same thing the last paragraph in the report says. Did you even read it? You can also blame the US for not doing bodycounts.

    [ Parent ]
    Use regular account -- and present an argument (1.20 / 5) (#221)
    by BerntB on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 01:22:38 PM EST

    Almost a serious post! Do you (shudder!) dare to use your regular account, too? Are you too ashamed for trolling badly?

    Maybe you could even present an argument why my position is wrong, if you think so?

    Oh, you don't have an argument... you just wish I won't contradict your beliefs. It is OK. There is a place for True Believers, too, I guess. Just don't ask me what.

    If you want to know where most violent deaths occur you can look that up in the report. You don't have to resort to making assumptions.
    Thanks. they were in Sunni areas... supporting my argument.
    Funny, that's the same thing the last paragraph in the report says.
    No, they call for more surveys. I said that a probable error source would be the local survey people. (But I have also called for other surveys in some other post.)

    [ Parent ]
    Attack the argument, not the person. (3.00 / 2) (#223)
    by adventure games import export on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 01:49:59 PM EST

    I change accounts every day or so because it amuses me. The only accounts I've used in this thread are this one and "an expression of excitement and enthusiasm". I haven't been commenting on politics articles on K5 for a long. So there is no reason for you to indulge in your paranoid delusions that I'm "A Bore" or some other kurotard. I also hope that in the future you will no longer try to distract and evade by hurling insults and ad hominems.

    I have to say it's amusing how you can be so adamant I'm wrong when you don't even know my position on the report, the number of Iraqi deaths or the war itself. Or that I'm a True Believer when it is you who fanatically invades diaries and stories about Israel and the Middle East and shits all over the place with your monomaniacally partisan bullshit.

    To address your so-called argument: What makes you think that the deaths of, what, ~250,000 Sunni adult males among a population of 5 million warrant some extraordinary kind of media attention other than the one Iraqi deaths are already getting? How much attention do you think have the exterminations of male populations received during previous wars, compared to portraying women and children as victims? Hint: Extermination of the male population happens all the time in wars, and nobody gives a shit.

    [ Parent ]

    You are easily shown a liar. Goodbye, troll (1.33 / 3) (#257)
    by BerntB on Sat Oct 14, 2006 at 09:20:04 PM EST

    I also hope that in the future you will no longer try to distract and evade by hurling insults and ad hominems.
    You are a liar, since you posted lots of personal attacks, like this and this, to pick two early. Then you claim I hurl personal attacks when I name you troll?! You're not a serious debater, just a sad asshole that can't argue and try to destroy a discussion with trolling. (Suspiciously like "A Bore" when he can't argue.)
    I have to say it's amusing how you can be so adamant I'm wrong
    But you troll without arguments. My position is that if ca 5-10% of the Sunni males have died, there should be lots of societal effects -- which would be visible and easily testable for journalists. Your only "point" here was "How much attention do you think have the exterminations of male populations received during previous wars" -- which might not be totally wrong, but isn't relevant to the fact that if 10% of the workforce disappears, it is easily seen now, even if all journos didn't look before!

    In sum, you are lying and without arguments. The sad part is that I expected better from MrHanky.

    [ Parent ]

    hey, you finally got around to replying (2.50 / 2) (#258)
    by nuked get repack on Sun Oct 15, 2006 at 05:30:48 AM EST

    You are a liar, since you posted lots of personal attacks
    Um, no, little boy. I never claimed I didn't attack you, did I? So how does that make me a liar outside your little fantasy word? Do you want me to post more definitions of English words for you?

    In fact, unlike yours (such as constantly calling people "idiots", "assholes", "true believers" and "trolls"), my attacks have always been justified. It's obvious that the deaths of half a million people in another part of the world don't bother you in the safety of your isolated wasteland.

    (Suspiciously like "A Bore" when he can't argue.)
    So you're still stuck in that particular delusion, are you? Yet another sign of true believer syndrome: If you experience resistance and you fail, it's obviously because of a conspiracy against you by your wholly corrupt and sinister opponents.
    I have to say it's amusing how you can be so adamant I'm wrong
    But you troll without arguments
    Dude, if I had no arguments, then I would by definition(!) not be wrong. But I do have arguments, and you can look them up for yourself in this thread.
    that if 10% of the workforce disappears, it is easily seen now, even if all journos didn't look before!
    Is that another one of your assumptions, like "I'm just going to discount everything it says in the report, I don't even have to read it because the authors are all filthy libruls, I just know it!" ?

    Because, wow, Iraq must be a paradise of full employment these days on the order of your average Scandinavian commie heaven. See those guys, they're all productive members of society and "the workforce" as opposed to crazy unemployed losers aged 15-25, ie. excess population nobody gives a shit about and who don't get their speshul attention in daily reports of Iraqi deaths.

    In sum, you are lying and without arguments. The sad part is that I expected better from MrHanky.
    And again with the unjustified personal attacks and insults, except this time against random third parties.

    You are a sad little eurotrash, BerntB. So how's it working out for you, I mean acting out your fantasy of being a vile caricature of an American or Israeli on the internet?

    [ Parent ]

    If you had arguments, you wouldn't troll (1.00 / 2) (#259)
    by BerntB on Sun Oct 15, 2006 at 06:16:39 AM EST

    Dude, if I had no arguments, then I would by definition(!) not be wrong.
    You claimed to have arguments -- anything you have presented have been irrelevant. If you could argue seriously, you would.

    [ Parent ]
    BerntBrokenrecord again. (2.00 / 2) (#260)
    by nuked get repack on Sun Oct 15, 2006 at 06:25:44 AM EST

    Remember: If you ignore it, it doesn't exist!

    [ Parent ]
    oh, i forgot (none / 1) (#225)
    by adventure games import export on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 02:19:51 PM EST

    This looks very strange, so I want confirmation before I believe it. The obvious suspects here seems to be the groups on the ground.
    Funny, that's the same thing the last paragraph in the report says.

    No, they call for more surveys. I said that a probable error source would be the local survey people. (But I have also called for other surveys in some other post.)

    Allow me to quote the last paragraph (emphasis mine):
    At the conclusion of our 2004 study we urged that an independent body assess the excess mortality we saw in Iraq. This has not happened. We continue to believe that an independent international body to monitor compliance with the Geneva Conventions and other humanitarian standards in conflict is urgently needed. With reliable data, those voices that speak out for civilians trapped in conflict might be able to lessen the tragic humans cost of future wars.
    And of course they call for more surveys, because how else would you determine the number of deaths, or anyting else?

    Here's a definition of survey, since English isn't your first language:

    A particular view; an examination, especially an official examination, of all the parts or particulars of a thing, with a design to ascertain the condition, quantity, or quality; as, a survey of the stores of a ship; a survey of roads and bridges; a survey of buildings.


    [ Parent ]
    and something else i just remembered (none / 1) (#226)
    by adventure games import export on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 02:36:39 PM EST

    If you want to know where most violent deaths occur you can look that up in the report. You don't have to resort to making assumptions.
    Thanks. they were in Sunni areas... supporting my argument.
    So you really didn't read the report at all before you decided to spout off on the interwebs, did you?

    [ Parent ]
    I'm not going to answer (3.00 / 3) (#224)
    by MrHanky on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 02:08:34 PM EST

    The reason is of course the you make a lot of assumptions that I can't verify, and that you haven't verified. The Lancet report, OTOH, should be detailed enough to at least be scientifically reproducible. I expect more research later, and perhaps we'll find that the Lancet report overestimates the number of deaths. At least, the Lancet report has a published methodology and a collection of data, you only have a hypothetical methodology and no data. Lack of data proves nothing.

    No matter what, I'm not surprised that they find several times the number of deaths that Iraqbodycount.org has come up with, since the latter derive their number from press reports. That's hardly the most precise form of measurement.


    "This was great, because it was a bunch of mature players who were able to express themselves and talk politics." Lettuce B-Free, on being a total fucking moron for Ron Paul.
    [ Parent ]

    I just noted that the results seem strange... (none / 0) (#230)
    by BerntB on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 06:47:05 PM EST

    The reason is of course the you make a lot of assumptions that I can't verify, and that you haven't verified. The Lancet report, OTOH, should be detailed enough to at least be scientifically reproducible.
    I just noted that their results seems to contradict other known data.

    And that Iraqi survey teams was an obvious weak link (would you lie if you thought it might stop an invasion of your home country? Would you lie if someone threatened your family?).

    You consider that kind of complaints non-serious -- and won't hear anything without me collecting data on the ground and publishing it?

    I am sorry, but that is funny.

    A hypotethical question -- if some report publishes data you don't like, would you be more likely to believe people pointing out that it seems to contradict other data-- and that there is a possible error source?

    No matter what, I'm not surprised that they find several times the number of deaths that Iraqbodycount.org has come up with
    True, of course. But a factor 10?! IIRC, UN watches the morgues in Baghdad and can't confirm the Lancet study either.

    Let's hope that there will be more studies, because if this is true it has to be stopped. It could escalate to a genocide on the Sunnis. If they stop the insurgency attacks, then USA will probably stop attacking -- but the Shia?

    [ Parent ]

    It doesn't contradict other data (3.00 / 4) (#235)
    by MrHanky on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 08:01:13 PM EST

    The other data is incomplete, and collected in a way that makes it impossible to extrapolate a likely grand total from it. This data is also incomplete, but collected methodologically. I'd like to remind you that most of the deaths were confirmed with death certificates:
    Survey teams asked for death certificates in 545 (87%) reported deaths and these were present in 501 cases. The pattern of deaths in households without death certificates was no different from those with certificates.
    Unfortunately, the report says nothing about religious adherence. BTW, it wouldn't be genocide, it would be religious persecution.


    "This was great, because it was a bunch of mature players who were able to express themselves and talk politics." Lettuce B-Free, on being a total fucking moron for Ron Paul.
    [ Parent ]
    Irrelevant and arguing MY side! (none / 0) (#242)
    by BerntB on Sat Oct 14, 2006 at 04:19:48 AM EST

    Unfortunately, the report says nothing about religious adherence.
    Page 6 of the report has a picture showing death statistics for different provinces. The Sunni areas was the hardest hit.
    This data is also incomplete, but collected methodologically.
    I did not question the methodology! The study seems very well done. I wrote repeatedly:
    Iraqi survey teams was an obvious weak link (would you lie if you thought it might stop an invasion of your home country? Would you lie if someone threatened your family?).
    most of the deaths were confirmed with death certificates:
    This is data against the Lancet report!

    So local authorities had it together enough to collect data and issue death certificates -- but not enough to report that upwards? Or answer the phone about how many deaths had been confirmed the last 6 months.

    My whole point is that since the Sunni areas should get such an extra load of deaths, it is not "just" a factor of two or three of extra mortality there.

    No journalist has called/written doctors/authorities in the Sunni areas for three years?! Very odd.

    I don't really trust Al Jazeera etc like NY Times, but they are not complete idiots. And they had access on the ground.

    I'd really want this report confirmed before I believe it.

    BTW, it wouldn't be genocide, it would be religious persecution.
    Not really relevant to what I wrote:
    It could escalate to a genocide on the Sunnis. If they stop the insurgency attacks, then USA will probably stop attacking -- but the Shia?

    [ Parent ]
    Well (2.75 / 4) (#197)
    by tetsuwan on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 06:33:09 AM EST

    There are certainly a growing number of orphans and widows, it's just not very interesting for the western press to publish statistics of this, regardless if it is at all possible or not.

    Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
    [ Parent ]

    Not really relevant (none / 1) (#198)
    by BerntB on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 06:51:29 AM EST

    There are certainly a growing number of orphans and widows, it's just not very interesting for the western press to publish statistics of this, regardless if it is at all possible or not.
    That would be true also if the Lancelet report is wrong.

    My point was that it would be hard not to notice such a large number of losses in such a small portion of the total population. (As an isolated fact, it might be possible/probable that it was missed -- but there would be other effects, like the Sunni graveyards expanding.)

    As I wrote, HRW, Al J etc etc would have reacted. (There are lots of Iraqis living abroad who gets news from home.)

    The point, if you misunderstood, is that it might be possible that the 600,000 dead-by-violence can be spread among the total population of Iraq, but a large fraction of those dead (1/3 - 2/3?) should be among a group consisting of 20% of the population -- the international community should have noticed.

    [ Parent ]

    Secterian violence (none / 1) (#201)
    by tetsuwan on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 07:46:17 AM EST

    A lot of the secterian violence, as I've heard it reported, are initiated and sustained by Sunni groups agains Shia. The Shiites have started to retaliate, but AFAIK not escalated by killing more Sunnites than Shiites killed. Also, the Iraqi military forces and the police are probably some 90% Shia, and they have been regularly targeted by terrorists and resistance fighters. So I would say that 1/3 is probably an upper bound.

    Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
    [ Parent ]

    Maybe that is a point (none / 0) (#203)
    by BerntB on Fri Oct 13, 2006 at 08:06:49 AM EST

    Quite a lot of Iraq's population are (relatively!) untouched by violence in the North and South. Those areas are also relatively transparent.

    In sum, the North/South can hardly have contributed "their share" to a factor of ten more dead than other reports -- which leaves more of the presumed dead for the Sunni/Shia in the middle of Iraq.

    Sure, the Sunni started murdering Shia (or didn't stop alQ from starting it?). On the other hand, the Sunni do scream (literally) bloody murder about the Shia police. They seem very, very nervous about the murder patrols.

    I bet the Sunni will complain despite that they started the troubles, if/when Iraq is split into three and they lose all oil money. The poor bastards will have to work for a living.

    I hope someone will make a second report, less dependent on local teams.

    [ Parent ]

    The main difference (2.50 / 2) (#271)
    by it certainly is on Sun Oct 15, 2006 at 08:59:53 PM EST

    is that the media and this study are using completely different sources and methods.

    Journalists in Iraq are too busy with the day-to-day killings to research the wider picture. The same goes for the Iraqi government and the occupying forces. If you use confirmed deaths from this source, you get about 45000.

    What these researchers did was interview 1849 households located in 47 randomly-placed clusters in Iraq, according to where the main population centers were. In total, they interviewed 12801 people.

    These 12801 people only reported the deaths of 629 people, of which 300 were post-invasion violent deaths, 298 more than pre-invasion.

    From these 298 extra people killed, they have extrapolated - if they asked every household in Iraq, which would be roughly 27 million people, the mortality rate would show that 600000 people died. This is the interesting part. 298 people dead in sample = 600000 dead in population.

    I can't see any problem in their statistical analysis, but then I only did a couple of university statistics courses. The usual problem in epidemiology is the sample size is far too small to be extrapolated, or it's not sampled randomly enough - in this case, the survey size is large and random enough to be valid. I just don't feel confident of scaling the deaths from 298 actual to 600000 extrapolated.

    kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

    Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
    [ Parent ]

    A serious comment and no low quality trolling! (none / 1) (#274)
    by BerntB on Mon Oct 16, 2006 at 07:33:38 AM EST

    It was nice to not be insulted/downvoted from newly created accounts and instead get a reasoned response. (Rusty, the IP addresses of those accounts would be interesting? At a minimum, you might want to block some proxies.)
    I can't see any problem in their statistical analysis
    The report seems to be well written.

    But if the report is true, there should be very visible effects, since the Sunnis would take a large part of the losses and they are only 5 millions.

    5-10% of all Sunni (non-Kurd) men should have died. Consider the effects on the graveyards alone -- or even on unemployment in Sunni areas!

    Sure, you have a point in that journalists aren't looking for data like that -- but e.g. Al J has good access to the ground in Sunni areas and should have blown the horn a long time ago.

    I just don't feel confident of scaling the deaths from 298 actual to 600000 extrapolated.
    The map on page 6 of the report shows that the Sunni areas are highly hit by losses, but doesn't give any numbers for expected percentage/absolute number of dead by province that I can find? Also, there were few clusters there since the Sunnis are quite few.

    That means that most heavy hit areas (except Bagdhad) had little examination!

    More specific data of expected absolute number of dead in Sunni areas would be interesting, not only to test my theory.

    Otherwise, the methodology do seem quite sound. If they got good data.

    If there is an error source, I guess it is the teams doing the surveys and their choices of households. (Would you lie if you thought it might end an occupation of your country? Would you lie if your family was threatened?)

    Lying propaganda is the default in all wars -- and the Mid East seems even worse than average (Pallywood, etc). Getting extra high death values from civilians should be worth as much to the insurgents as 1000 dead American soldiers.

    If it is true, it is a catastrophe that might develop into a genocide. This needs to be verified.

    [ Parent ]

    The problem (3.00 / 7) (#280)
    by cburke on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 12:56:17 AM EST

    The problem with your argument is that you have by necessity used approximations, using quantifiers like "most", "1/3 to 2/3", and other wide ranges and rough guestimates.  You conclude 3-10%, maybe 5%, with nary a hope of supporting one significant digit of precision.

    Then you inquire why there hasn't been articles in news papers saying "10% of Sunni men killed".

    Well, within the same accuracy as all your caveats and observations, there has.

    At least, from my persective.  I'm really wondering why you don't think media coverage that includes al Jazeera and other non-approved* media sources hasn't portrayed a picture consistent with the findings of the study.  Again, within the rather large range of error given by your argument.  And taking into account the admitted problems with other measurements of casualties.

    That's the logical problem I have with your argument.  I'm wondering what news you are watching, and reports you are reading.  You said you find some news sources to be propaganda and don't trust them...

    The tone of my argument has largely been because of your repeated mention of how -- in the midst of an argument about how the results are impossible or we'd know it already and so the study is biased -- if the results are true, we should take preventitive action before genocide occurs.

    I'm kind of wondering why, within all your admitted approximations and guesses, you suspect this study enough to not be concerned about doing something about the mounting death count now whatever it is, versus after we've verified the death count to within a ten-thousandth, so you can decide whether or not it constitutes genocide?  Do me a favor: Pick whatever source for number of deaths due to this war, link to it, tell me what it is, defend it however you want, and then tell me why that is or is not close enough to genocide for corrective action to be taken.

    It's kind of frustrating.  You realize why this is in a medical journal, don't you?   Measure it however you want, tens of thousands are dying.  That's a problem, what makes you think it isn't bad enough that it doesn't need fixing?  

    * In my opinion, any news source that during the run up to the invasion of Iraq is decried by both George W. Bush and Saddam Hussein as a source of propaganda for the other side is doing something right.


    [ Parent ]

    Why the strange personal attacks? (1.50 / 2) (#281)
    by BerntB on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 07:05:28 AM EST

    The problem with your argument is that you have by necessity used approximations, using quantifiers like "most", "1/3 to 2/3", and other wide ranges and rough guestimates. You conclude 3-10%, maybe 5%, with nary a hope of supporting one significant digit of precision.
    Well, if the Lancet report released full data... Do you have a reference?

    Also, as I wrote to "it certainly is", the examination seemed (naturally) clustered with the population density. Since most hard hit areas are Sunni with low population (except Bagdhad) there is very little information anyway.

    As I wrote before, I skim Al Jazeera -- I haven't seen any large series of reports the last few years about the size of Sunni losses. References?

    [I do strange arguments?]
    Huh? I am sorry if I have sounded short and irritated, but there has been lots of newly created accounts by some idiot that wrote really boring trolls. My main motivation with discussing was just to see if this argument works.
    Measure it however you want, tens of thousands are dying. That's a problem, what makes you think it isn't bad enough that it doesn't need fixing?
    There is a guerilla/civil war going on. These are the dirtiest, most disgusting things humanity knows -- much worse than even country music. If you know how to stop it fast and make everyone live in peace, please tell me. Better yet, tell the world.

    To flame me for liking the situation is beyond ridiculous. By now, most everyone on the planet, including GW Bush, would rather get peace and democracy there.

    As far as I can think, only Al Q and some internal groups in Iraq likes it, because it furthers their different agendas. Some Arab dictators might also prefer a civil war to a working democracy since that might spread.

    If you attack my personal opinions again, please quote my comments in full. And don't assign me so obviously baroque opinions, you sound like a troll.

    (I'll answer you other comment when I have a little more time later today.)

    [ Parent ]

    You're the one who needs quotes and refernces (3.00 / 4) (#295)
    by cburke on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 11:29:25 AM EST

    Well, if the Lancet report released full data... Do you have a reference?

    Which is only the beginning of your approximations, guesses, and outright assumptions, none of them with a single reference.  You haven't even bothered to figure out the roughest of ranges using the picture in the study, but want me to think you have something that can discredit an actual work of research.

    You get a reference.  You desperately need one.  All you've got now are numbers pulled directly from your posterior.  

    As I wrote before, I skim Al Jazeera -- I haven't seen any large series of reports the last few years about the size of Sunni losses. References?

    Okay, now we can add "skim" to your list of approximation adjectives.  So you "skim" al Jazeera, even though you "generally don't trust sources from the Mid East at all", and haven't seen any articles about the size of Sunni losses?  

    What exactly are you expecting?  "10% of Sunni dead!"  Well no!  They, like you, don't have any solid numbers.  Unlike you, that means they don't put a number on the nation-wide death toll of Sunnis or Shia or anyone.  Remember all the approximations and guesses you've had to make?  Well, you can't expect any news source to support the conclusion of your guesswork with better accuracy than your own guess.  So instead of an article titled "10% of Sunni dead!" you get hundreds and hundreds of articles about dead Sunnis, fatherless children, destroyed schools, bombed and abandoned villages, etc etc etc.  

    Sorry, dude.  I actually read news sources, and everything I've read about Sunni deaths is completely consistent with the results of this study.  Where's your reference to al Jazeera et. al. being shocked by the number of dead?

       [I do strange arguments?]

    Huh? I am sorry if I have sounded short and irritated, but there has been lots of newly created accounts by some idiot that wrote really boring trolls. My main motivation with discussing was just to see if this argument works.

    What the hell?  What is that in brackets there?  I didn't say that, it doesn't look like a paraphrase of anything I said, and it isn't even grammatical.  What the hell are you talking about?  Try using a quote next time.

    Oh, but your argument doesn't work.  Just thought I'd clue you in.

    There is a guerilla/civil war going on. These are the dirtiest, most disgusting things humanity knows -- much worse than even country music. If you know how to stop it fast and make everyone live in peace, please tell me. Better yet, tell the world.

    To flame me for liking the situation is beyond ridiculous. By now, most everyone on the planet, including GW Bush, would rather get peace and democracy there.

    "If this report is true, something needs to be done before it becomes a genocide."

    That's you.  Those are your words, and you've repeated them in other places in this thread.

    So apparently the numbers in the Lancet study constitute the beginnings of genocide and "something needs to be done".  If you would read, all I asked was something very simple:  Pick your own source for body counts, any one you want, and defend it.  Then tell me why the Lancet study number means genocide is occuring and must be stopped, while your number does not.

    That's it.  You keep saying something should be done if Lancet is true, I'm wondering if there's any sincerity behind that, or is that just another throwaway "Oh my god it's too big to be true!" argument?  

    "Flaming you for liking the situation" is nothing like what I said; you're the one who keeps saying it needs to change.  Your paraphrasing abilities are as poor as your numerical approximation abilities.

    (I'll answer you other comment when I have a little more time later today.)

    Any answer that doesn't come with references that could even begin to make some kind of well-back statement against the Lancet study (i.e. actual numbers) will basically be "You're right, I don't have a single number or other substantiated fact to back my argument up, which is basically composed of guesswork and what is at this point obviously deliberate ignorance."

    Which means you probably shouldn't bother, because I'll just call you on it immediately.  Unless you're going to do some actual research instead of insulated (as in non-educated) guesswork.


    [ Parent ]

    That was a well written list of insults, at least (none / 1) (#298)
    by BerntB on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 01:44:29 PM EST

    I guess in this thread, a well written list of insults is a step up!

    I wrote that the Lancet article, if correct, ought to have very visible effects and be easy to test.

    E.g. since death certificates had been given out in most cases, a local journalist should be able to verify the results for a large area by phone -- in hours. An explanation of why that kind of data hadn't been reported upwards in the health hierarchy for years would also be needed.

    I gave a short reality check. To test it, you'd need the full Lancet data and/or do local research. I'm not going to do either.

    As I wrote from the beginning, depending on either how the violence is placed geographically or if the effects are hidden, my theory might be wrong. (I haven't seen any single factors that should be able to hide something so big, but a multiple number of smaller factors might be able to.)

    Flame away that you insist on a full peer reviewed paper. I'm sorry if it is emotionally upsetting for you and others, considering all the new users which was created to troll me. I am mostly interested in the argument.

    You insinuations that I should approve of genocide or something were quite fun. I didn't really understand your point, but I couldn't care enough to read that particular baroque personal attack. If they weren't so well written and fun I might have gotten angry, so don't see it as a failure in your flaming.

    [ Parent ]

    Deliberate misunderstanding and ignorance annoys (3.00 / 3) (#304)
    by cburke on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 04:47:34 PM EST


    I guess in this thread, a well written list of insults is a step up!

    Facts and logic have no effect on you, because you think not having any facts, instead only random guesses, and not seeing things you haven't looked for, constitutes an argument.  What can be done in the face of that?

    I wrote that the Lancet article, if correct, ought to have very visible effects and be easy to test.

    Yep, and there has been endless explanations of how 1) there are visible effects and 2) they aren't necessarily easy to count.  You have failed utterly to actually respond to any of them.  You just keep re-stating your argument.  This is rather annoying.

    I gave a short reality check. To test it, you'd need the full Lancet data and/or do local research. I'm not going to do either.

    No, you did not give a reality check.  A reality check has a real connection to reality, not a bunch of half-arsed guesses with zero research behind them. A reality check is what you received in response to your "we should have known it already" and "we could count graves from the air" arguments.

    But yes, clearly you aren't going to do any research, read any papers, do any calculations based on real numbers, or do anything that might make your argument worth considering.  Oh but this factless line of falacious reasoning is a 'reality check'.  Okay.  

    No.  The Lancet Study is a reality check for people like you.  You just don't want to accept it, but you can't possibly muster any facts with which to reject it, so you use this tortured factless "argument" instead.

    As I wrote from the beginning, depending on either how the violence is placed geographically or if the effects are hidden, my theory might be wrong. (I haven't seen any single factors that should be able to hide something so big, but a multiple number of smaller factors might be able to.)

    Yes, and as I've been telling you from the beginning, "I haven't seen" is a ludicrous argument when you have demonstrably not tried to see, and as you state above have no intention of actually looking into any of the things that you "haven't seen".

    "I see no fire, so the building can't be burning" says the man with his hands over his eyes.  Not very compelling.

    You insinuations that I should approve of genocide or something were quite fun. I didn't really understand your point, but I couldn't care enough to read that particular baroque personal attack. If they weren't so well written and fun I might have gotten angry, so don't see it as a failure in your flaming.

    If you read what I wrote, and you got "insinuations that you should approve of genocide", then you are brain damaged.  Oh, but you just said you didn't actually read it, so no surprise you got a completely inaccurate impression.  Just like you "skim" al Jazeera, and have an inaccurate impression of the reporting of Sunni deaths.

    You said that if the Lancet was true, it means something should be done before it becomes genocide.  You said this.  I am effectively asking: "Why aren't you saying something should be done now?"   How many deaths do you actually think occured, what is your source for that, and why isn't that enough for you to say something needs to be done?  How many deaths does it take in your mind?

    It's your qualification on taking action based on the Lancet study's truth that I'm asking about.  You don't answer, you just babble about "baroque personal attacks".  It isn't an attack, it's a question.  You won't answer this question, which one could take to mean that you think it is your answer that would invite the personal attacks.  But that's up to you.  Just answer the question.  I'm sure you have a reasonable answer.

    Or if you aren't going to answer, if it's just another "personal attack" to ask you to explain your own words, then just don't reply.  You deliberately misunderstand, you deliberately avoid real numbers and math, you deliberately avoid facts.  It's annoying, as is your passive aggressive flaming.  Answer a direct question, get some real facts of any kind, or just shut up, because right now you have nothing.

    [ Parent ]

    Sorry, but this is boring (1.33 / 3) (#306)
    by BerntB on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 05:13:21 PM EST

    But yes, clearly you aren't going to do any research, read any papers, do any calculations based on real numbers, or do anything that might make your argument worth considering. Oh but this factless line of falacious reasoning is a 'reality check'. Okay.
    If this was easily found, it would have been in NY Times since a long time ago. I am not going to traverse the primary literature in a subject I'm not familiar with to extract data that the present researchers seems to fail to find.

    I presented this argument precisely to see if anyone could shoot it down. Your insults for lack of references aren't exactly enlightening.

    No. The Lancet Study is a reality check for people like you.
    As I have written, I have no real opinion in any side. It is like two ice hockey teams playing where I've never heard of the cities they are from. You obviously do have an axe to grind here. At least you insult better than the idiots creating new accounts.
    You said that if the Lancet was true, it means something should be done before it becomes genocide. You said this. I am effectively asking: "Why aren't you saying something should be done now?"
    You missed when I wrote, what should be done? There is a guerilla war ongoing which is turning into a civil war. If you have some answer on how to stop that, don't tell me -- tell the world.
    it's just another "personal attack" to ask you to explain your own words
    You are attacking me for a statement which is irrelevant to the argument I tried to see if people could shoot down. Sorry if I'm not interested enough to go through all your frothing insults to answer.

    [ Parent ]
    Yes, deliberate ignorance is boring, so I'm done. (3.00 / 5) (#307)
    by cburke on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 05:58:02 PM EST

    If this was easily found, it would have been in NY Times since a long time ago.

    Heh, but isn't your whole argument that it is so easy to find that it should have been in the NY Times since a long time ago?

    But I accept your acknowledgement that this is of course not true, and it isn't easy to find.  That's why we need the Lancet study.

    I am not going to traverse the primary literature in a subject I'm not familiar with to extract data that the present researchers seems to fail to find.

    I presented this argument precisely to see if anyone could shoot it down. Your insults for lack of references aren't exactly enlightening.

    Your argument has been shot down, you just don't realize it, so we just keep firing ammunition into the smoldering wreckage on the ground to see if you'll finally admit it.  You're like the Black Knight here.  You have no arms and legs, but you keep squirming, trying to avoid the obvious.

    Please read and understand this:  Within the margin of error that you yourself are able to commit to, news coverage has shown exactly the effects you said hadn't been seen.  The statistics that you think should be oh-so-easy to count are not, the effects you think shoud be seen have been seen, Lancet is not out of line with other estimates when you take into account all the known limitations.  Nothing is inconsistent.

    I'm sure you'll find a way to interpret the above paragraph as an insult and thus continue to avoid addressing the substance.

    As I have written, I have no real opinion in any side. It is like two ice hockey teams playing where I've never heard of the cities they are from. You obviously do have an axe to grind here. At least you insult better than the idiots creating new accounts.

    So... you have no facts, no opinion, it's like you've never even heard of the cities where this is going on.  Yeah, that's pretty much what I've been saying too.  Apparently we agree that you know basically nothing about the situation.  Why then do you insist on saying you have an actual argument then?  Would you make arguments about the capability of the goalie of the hockey team you'd never heard of?  No, because you'd sound like a fool talking about something you know nothing about.  Why not now?

    Also, I like how you call it "insults" for not having references...  when it's really a statement of fact.  You have no references.  You have no facts.  You are unwilling to get any.  You are unwilling to do any real math based on what facts are readily available in the study.  You are unwilling to accept any criticism of your methodology despite it not being a methodology in any rigorous sense of the word.

    These are facts.  If these facts insult you, it is because of what the facts imply:  That you are being deliberately stupid and ignorant, and your "argument" is uninformed BS.  I'm sorry that insults you, but instead of complaining about the insult, why don't you do something about the facts?

    You might be insulted if I told you that you smell like shit after falling in a cesspool, but wouldn't the more rational response be to bathe?

    My axe to grind is with people who think ignorance is a solid foundation for making arguments.  Your repeated and deliberate refusal to either find any facts or accept any facts is why you are facing such ire, and why nobody believes you have no axe to grind.  Maybe it isn't the obvious pro-war axe, maybe it's just the Ivory Tower ignoramous ego strokers axe, but either way you have contributed nothing to the understanding of the study other than baseless speculation.

    You missed when I wrote, what should be done? There is a guerilla war ongoing which is turning into a civil war. If you have some answer on how to stop that, don't tell me -- tell the world.

    So, do you agree that something should be done or not?  The first step in solving a problem is deciding that there is a problem that needs to be solved.  We can chat solutions once we've reached that point.  But so far you've only said that we should take corrective action if the Lancet study somehow proves to be true.

    You are attacking me for a statement which is irrelevant to the argument I tried to see if people could shoot down. Sorry if I'm not interested enough to go through all your frothing insults to answer.

    "Frothing insults" is how you characterize the question: "Do you think that the actual death count is high enough that we must take immediate corrective action (like you said we should if the Lancet study was correct), and why?"  You are insulted that I would ask you to clarify your own words. If it's so irrelevent, why did you keep saying it?

    It's just a question.  Why are you so afraid of answering?  It's not an insult.  Do you have a reasonable answer?  Then no worries.  I'm just asking for clarification.  

    Facts:  You have no facts.  You have no informed opinions.  You know very little about the situation.  You feel that if the situation were so bad, you would already know about it.  You admit to not looking very much, though.  You refuse to find more facts.  You characterize questions as insults.

    Opinion:  Your characterization of every argument and question put against you as an insult is a defense mechanism to cover up what you already know:  You have no logical or factual basis for your argument, you have been proven to be deeply ignorant on the subject, and you're afraid to admit it so you're just being deliberately stubborn.  If you reply, you will continue to ignore the substance and will instead whine about being insulted.  Well guess what, deliberate ignorance may keep you from having to admit that you were wrong, but it doesn't make you right.  

    It makes you not worth talking to.  Bye.

    [ Parent ]

    Sorry if I stepped on your partisan toes (1.33 / 3) (#310)
    by BerntB on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 09:07:38 PM EST

    Your argument has been shot down, you just don't realize it, so we just keep firing ammunition into the smoldering wreckage on the ground to see if you'll finally admit it. You're like the Black Knight here. You have no arms and legs, but you keep squirming, trying to avoid the obvious.
    Well written and funny! I am sorry if presenting doubts that attack your personal beliefs feel so bad for you that you need to be such an asshole.

    The good part is that you later claimed to not be an insulting asshole half a dozen times!!

    From the beginning, I wrote that my problems with the Lancet report was that if it was correct, there ought to be visible effects. And that I might be wrong if (a) the violence was more spread out (e.g. most was criminal activity) or (b) death statistics were hidden.

    I agree with you in that quite good counter points has been raised for both (a) and (b).

    And, no, I don't have to give any data or references to point out that a report is incomplete and more data from it should be published.

    On the other hand, I wasn't aware from the beginning that 92% of all the deaths in the Lancet report had death certificates -- which means they should have been in already collected death statistics. Those death statistics might still be out in the local hospitals/doctor stations, but that should have been easily checked. (The occupying army might of course just censor those data points.)

    Also, the lack of real data in the Lancet report and the lack of data points from the Sunni areas (except Bagdhad) makes opinions uncertain.

    I can't see that those problems with the Lancet report has been answered at all -- and they are enough to make the Lancet report uncertain as it stands.

    That is my exact position and you are a total asshole -- repeating the same insulting complaints time after time. You don't have to know anything about the subject area to complain about failed aspects of a paper.

    So... you have no facts, no opinion, it's like you've never even heard of the cities where this is going on. Yeah, that's pretty much what I've been saying too.
    Really neat, rewriting a stated lack of political interest -- to not knowing the name of Bagdhad! Do you have training in some political youth organization? Please, tell me more about how a serious debater you are!
    You missed when I wrote, what should be done? There is a guerilla war ongoing which is turning into a civil war. If you have some answer on how to stop that, don't tell me -- tell the world.
    So, do you agree that something should be done or not?
    I am sorry if I step on your toes here, but I think what you quoted is really clear.

    But what the hell, tell me how to stop the violence, end the US occupation -- and preferably a democratic Iraq. Without risking a civil war. If you can present a sure fire plan, you'll get the next peace price. I'll buy you a sushi dinner when you pass by Scandinavia. (Note that Kurdistan can't be split off, because Turkey would probably start a war, EU membership be damned. That makes it hard to just split up Iraq.)

    [ Parent ]

    Sorry your argument failed (3.00 / 3) (#313)
    by cburke on Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 10:44:13 AM EST

    It's true, I'm an asshole.  There were only brief paragraphs where I was not being an insulting asshole, I even mentioned which ones.  Like I said, it was pretty frustrating having you play dumb and make passive-aggressive insults instead of responding to arguments.  

    Asshole yeah, but I meant it that I wasn't insinuating anything by asking you about the body count and when you think something should be done -- that quip about taking action to prevent genocide just needed to be answered in the context of your own assumptions, not just the Lancet's.  Why'd you say it if you were going to get so upset when asked to explain it?

    On another note, I like how you quote and reply to the insult instead of the argument that followed it.  It's due to the fact that you won't respond to the arguments that the insults keep showing up. And you're a pretty insulting asshole yourself, just so you know.

    From the beginning, I wrote that my problems with the Lancet report was that if it was correct, there ought to be visible effects. And that I might be wrong if (a) the violence was more spread out (e.g. most was criminal activity) or (b) death statistics were hidden.

    I agree with you in that quite good counter points has been raised for both (a) and (b).

    Thank heavens, you aren't playing dumb any more.  "The argument" is dead as it should have been many posts ago.  At least you finally admit it, and if that had anything to do with insulting your intelligence and sincerity for pretending you still had an argument, then I can't say I regret it.  That relieves alot of my frustration.

    And, no, I don't have to give any data or references to point out that a report is incomplete and more data from it should be published.

    A true statement, and yes, I've brought that up myself.  That is a definite flaw, and the report is the reference for this flaw (so you actually have one this time).  Incomplete data is a however a far cry from incorrect data like you were claiming before.  I'm happy to let you change the argument.

    On the other hand, I wasn't aware from the beginning that 92% of all the deaths in the Lancet report had death certificates -- which means they should have been in already collected death statistics.

    Not necessarily, for reasons that have been already stated.  

    Also, the lack of real data in the Lancet report and the lack of data points from the Sunni areas (except Bagdhad) makes opinions uncertain.

    I can't see that those problems with the Lancet report has been answered at all -- and they are enough to make the Lancet report uncertain as it stands.

    You do realize that the Lancet report is uncertain, don't you?  That's why the results have such a large range!  That's the uncertainty!  They know they have a somewhat small amount of data, they know how to both extrapolate that data and to calculate the amount of error in that data.  These are all admitted problems, more thoroughly discussed in the paper than by you.

    That's a far cry from saying it is wrong, and no you don't have enough to say that.

    That is my exact position and you are a total asshole -- repeating the same insulting complaints time after time. You don't have to know anything about the subject area to complain about failed aspects of a paper.

    Well why don't you restrict yourself to that then, instead of trying to prove the paper wrong through your own "analysis" of Sunni death rates?  And by "insulting complaints", you surely mean "devastating arguments", and "insults at your refusal to respond to the arguments at acknowledge your own failures".  Of course the arguments part gets forgotten by you, because arguments require facts and logic to respond to, while insults require only indignation to respond to!

    Really neat, rewriting a stated lack of political interest -- to not knowing the name of Bagdhad! Do you have training in some political youth organization? Please, tell me more about how a serious debater you are!

    I used the word "like", as in analogy, as in the exact analogy you used to describe the situation yourself.  So don't give me that crap.  Do I need to quote you?  Okay, here I go quoting you again:  "It is like two ice hockey teams playing where I've never heard of the cities they are from."

    Does that mean you don't know the name of Baghdad?  No, it's an analogy, just like you used.  You sure love to get offended, act like your opponent is just some partisan slandering you instead of, you know, actually rebutting the arguments.  Oh but you're such a serious debater.

    So, do you agree that something should be done or not?

    I am sorry if I step on your toes here, but I think what you quoted is really clear.

    Yeah, well, with you I feel like I have to go based on your exact wording to have any hope of forcing you to acknwoledge a point.  You still haven't said "Yes", and you certainly danced around the question enough acting all offended instead of just saying "Yes".  What was the point of that bullshit?  Why did you even say "If Lancet is true, we have to do something!" in the first place?  Can you explain that?

    But what the hell, tell me how to stop the violence, end the US occupation -- and preferably a democratic Iraq. Without risking a civil war. If you can present a sure fire plan, you'll get the next peace price. I'll buy you a sushi dinner when you pass by Scandinavia.

    Dude, if I had a sure-fire plan, I'd run for President.  Neither of the last two guys to run for the office could do it.  I can give some rough outlines, but they're nothing that hasn't been said before and thus no basis for a Peace Prize.  Basically we have to start doing the things we said we would, rebuilding and such, but to do that we're going to need at least pockets of stability which means more troops which means U.N./NATO which means humility, the same thing we'll need to win back the trust of the Iraqis.  We're going to have to start admitting to lots of mistakes.  Which is very unlikely with who is in power.  Sorry, no magic solution, but if we all get on board that something does need to change, then maybe we can find a solution that is good enough.

    But just to summarize, you've gone from "Lancet must be false because of some half-arsed analysis", to "Lancet didn't publish enough data from the survey, and they didn't collect enough data originally to give a highly accurate death count".  Both of which are true, and stated plainly in the study itself.  Congrats.

    [ Parent ]

    I find it really funny (none / 1) (#316)
    by BerntB on Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 01:02:08 AM EST

    [..] 92% of all the deaths in the Lancet report had death certificates -- which means they should have been in already collected death statistics.
    Not necessarily, for reasons that have been already stated.
    What reasons? Have I missed something in your large text masses of insults? The only thing I've seen is " yadda yadda chaos make reporting bad yadda yadda". Which might be true, of course. Just another big effect that would have to be hidden by a random accident.

    Also, any local reporter which know Arabic could have checked the local statistics with a phone and a few hours. (I guess that it is just another random thing that it hasn't been done.)

    I wasn't insinuating anything by asking you about the body count and when you think something should be done
    That irrelevant crap? It seemed to obviously be a nonserious trick to get up the volume of your nonserious insults.
    On another note, I like how you quote and reply to the insult instead of the argument that followed it.
    Whatever I write, asshole, you write about as many pages of insults, with the same repeated point -- you disallow criticism from anyone that hasn't been to Iraq and counted dead.

    I find it really funny when you repeatedly claim to post serious arguments and not insults -- and then write long, long swathes full of insults.

    A winning combination when you call others nonserious. But you seem to just argue for people browsing

    Almost as funny as when you deny that a paper can be criticised without a relevant Ph D... You implicitly agree with here:

    You do realize that the Lancet report is uncertain, don't you?
    First, note that isn't exactly how the Story presented it -- or almost all media reports it. Second, really, really strange that the critical data to evaluate the Lancet report isn't published, then.
    Thank heavens, you aren't playing dumb any more. "The argument" is dead as it should have been many posts ago.
    If I was certain I would have sent a letter to the Lancet instead, or something.

    Sure, as I wrote from the beginning and which has been repeated ad nauseum, there are factors that can hide that kind of large loss numbers that must be prevalent in the Sunni areas, according to the Lancet report. (A pity the Lancet report doesn't publish exactly how high number of dead they expect there.)

    For instance, as you argued, if the population has started to use graveyards in much less percentage of the cases -- a factor of 2-3 could easily be hidden. But note that even the Lancet papers incomplete data shows the Sunni areas as hardest hit -- which means they should be much higher than 2-3. (But I forgot your insults, sorry about that asshole.)

    Other effects (unemployment, etc) could also be hidden in the chaos, especially now when the order deteriorates. It is, of course, possible that these indicators are all hidden.

    [ Parent ]

    So it is clear -- last sentence was irony (none / 1) (#317)
    by BerntB on Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 01:23:46 AM EST

    That last sentence was irony.

    So many dead Sunni men should have effect on food sales, cigarette sales, number of children with dead fathers, etc. that would have to be hidden. One, two? Sure, even likely. Multiple effects hidden? Gets a bit unlikely.

    (Yes, the exact number of extra dead the Lancet report gives in Sunni areas are hard to gauge without the data published. Would be really interesting to see those.)

    And here is the Iraq body count take, which agrees with me! :-)

    [ Parent ]

    Can you recommend a book on non-serious debate? (1.00 / 3) (#311)
    by BerntB on Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 01:40:58 AM EST

    I realized why you took some totally irrelevant and incoherent garbage and shouted about that repeatedly (arguing as if I'd approve of civil wars).

    You just wanted to keep the volume of insults up, so it looked right for people skimming the discussion!

    Interesting... so a non-serious debater have to think about how it looks for people skimming a large volume of text and how to get it to look the way you want it!

    Since you have shown an amazing grasp of the principles, can you recommend a book about non-serious debate methods? If you leftwingers hang around K5, it seems I'll have to read up on the subject.

    Are those crazy US rightwingers as dishonest debaters as you leftwingers? It seems I haven't seen much of anything except insults for discussing if data you liked could be wrong. Pathetic, the lot of you.

    [ Parent ]

    You've already read it (3.00 / 2) (#314)
    by cburke on Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 11:03:55 AM EST

    It's the same book where you learned your techniques for numeric approximation using adjectives like "most".

    It's the same book where you learned how to keep up on current events through skimming news sources you don't trust.

    It's the same book where you learned that when someone discredits your argument, you call them a partisan.

    It's the same book where you read about target identification from airial photos and the subtle differences between various mounds of dirt.

    It's the same book where you learned that when someone says "Look you douche, I've already said fifty times why that argument is flawed because ..."  you can stop listening because you might hear something that proves you wrong.  Instead, say they insulted you and that you "didn't see anything but insults".  Selective reading is your friend!

    It's the same book where you learn that if you make a post with an argument, and every reply thoroughly debunks your argument, you re-post the same argument with slighly different (but still completely made up) numbers in order to "reset the count" for anyone skimming the discussion.

    It's the same book where you learned that passive-aggression isn't as obvious as aggression, so anyone skimming the text might not realize that you're being just as big of an insulting asshole.

    Hint:  You are.  

    Interesting... so a non-serious debater have to think about how it looks for people skimming a large volume of text and how to get it to look the way you want it!

    This is worth quoting, just because "skimming" has been your modus operandi this whole "debate".  You skim, pick out the things you think you can respond to (anything that doesn't involve facts, since you have none yourself), and ignore everything else.

    A "serious debater" would have some facts and logic on their side, and would stick to those things they can support with facts and logic.  You haven't been a serious debater from your first post.  Obviously you've studied this supposed book well.

    It seems I haven't seen much of anything except insults for discussing if data you liked could be wrong.

    Just like every over time you use that phrase in this discussion, "I haven't seen" means "I haven't looked".  That you've seen nothing but insults is proof that once again this is the case.

    You haven't seen the arguments because you'd rather reply to insults.  The arguments prove you wrong; the insults just fill you with righteous indignation, and you can say you're being insulted by partisans!  That's nice, but the arguments are still there, and they prove you wrong whether you read them or not.

    Selective reading does not make what you do not read go away.

    Anyway, since based on your other post it seems that you have admitted that the only flaws with the paper that you can support with actual reason and facts instead of made-up bullshit are flaws actually admitted by the report itself, I'm satisfied.  Pretending that your made-up BS was worthy debate material was half the reason you were insulted in the first place, you know.  Nobody likes somebody who makes some crap up and says "Now prove me wrong, you partisans who are afraid of the truth!"  But that's all been blown away, so it's all good.

    Take it easy.

    [ Parent ]

    Straw man attack on complaints about bad argument! (none / 1) (#319)
    by BerntB on Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 01:46:11 AM EST

    First, let me here also note that Iraq body count thinks like me... You can now write many kB about what idiots they are.

    I don't have the energy, so I'll just take a couple of simple ones in the beginning:

    It's the same book where you read about target identification from airial photos and the subtle differences between various mounds of dirt.
    You are aware that this is a straw man -- I have only discussed graveyards and nothing else. (You have even argued against my position that a large factor might be burials outside graveyards.)

    So you do a straw man attack in an answer to complaints that you are a nonserious debater!!

    I have argued that graves in a graveyard should be easy to count on aerial photos. I might be wrong for Iraqi Sunni burial grounds (your argument that many bodies are digged down in courtyards, etc needs that the frequency of non-graveyard burials has to have changed a lot to hide the Lancet death statistics, since Lancet's death numbers are multiple the value of pre-2003).

    Sure, it is possible that my argument (and Iraq Body Counts arguments) are wrong. I lack information.

    It's the same book where you learned how to keep up on current events through skimming news sources you don't trust.
    I don't trust any source, of course. But I tend to think things in NY Times as likely and has seen some seriously slanted things in Al Jazeera. This is also a nonserious take on my position

    You skim, pick out the things you think you can respond to (anything that doesn't involve facts, since you have none yourself), and ignore everything else.
    Well, I won't read the rest of this post since you have answered criticism that you argue nonseriously with obvious misrepresentations of what I wrote. You write very well and that makes it quite fun, but I have better things to do in life than to argue with nonserious assholes that flame like hell.

    [ Parent ]
    LOL, you are such an idiot! (none / 0) (#363)
    by A Bore on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 10:28:57 AM EST



    [ Parent ]
    Trying to hide that IBC agrees with me? (none / 0) (#366)
    by BerntB on Fri Nov 10, 2006 at 05:12:07 AM EST

    Let me see what the score is... I repeatedly find errors in your references (not only your arguments) in seconds -- while the IraqBody Count comes out a week after I write that something looks very strange and agrees with me that the Lancet report would have very, very large effects which should be visible -- but aren't... 'cburke' doesn't post anything else in the discussion.

    And you call me an idiot! :-)

    I chalk this up as a big win, despite trolling from a bunch of extremist idiots like you.

    [ Parent ]

    Your perl skills are weak (none / 0) (#364)
    by A Bore on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 10:54:03 AM EST

    And you are truly an ignoramous.

    [ Parent ]
    I obviously touched a nerve when I wrote (none / 0) (#365)
    by BerntB on Thu Nov 09, 2006 at 02:59:41 PM EST

    the program to find comment-bombing old discussions because you can't argue...

    As for my Perl, could you be specific...? Oh, don't understand enough to complain? A screen scraper is quite trivial anyway.

    [ Parent ]

    it's not wishes, it's results that count (none / 0) (#345)
    by jcarnelian on Tue Oct 24, 2006 at 11:16:28 AM EST

    "By now, most everyone on the planet, including GW Bush, would rather get peace and democracy there."

    Bush always claimed he wanted peace and democracy there, and he claimed he could deliver it.  

    But Bush's actions have cost US tax payers hundreds of billions of dollars, resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, and increased the risk and threat to the US from terrorism.  The Bush administration has failed completely on Iraq.

    The only issue to debate now is whether Bush was incompetent or simply greedy.  On the one hand,  many people (including myself) predicted exactly this outcome, so it is hard to understand how the Bush administration could not have foreseen it.  On the other hand, Bush and his administration really may be this stupid and incompetent.

    [ Parent ]

    Um (2.00 / 5) (#240)
    by Marvaud on Sat Oct 14, 2006 at 01:34:58 AM EST

    War is fucked

    There can be a solution. (1.12 / 8) (#261)
    by k24anson on Sun Oct 15, 2006 at 09:55:08 AM EST

    How do we bring Islamic leaders to realize emulating the West is the best. <--click the QuickTime link tetra.mov inside this link.-->

    To the good people at Kuro5hin.org/ I say: this Sunday morning, go put the damn beer away (for awhile,) turn off the stupid tv, and get up off that stank butt of yours and DO SOMETHING!

    All this brain power I see at Kuro5hin.org/ and to realize it is all, day after day, going to turn into another day of drunken cackle postings, and another day is going to be wasted ...! Hey butthole mouth, find and start posting to the Islamic goofballs that the West is the Best!

    Do it ...! NOW!

    Good! Day!!
    KLH
    NYC

    Stay focused. Go slow. Keep it simple.

    Margin of error: (1.50 / 2) (#296)
    by Aurochs on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 12:45:46 PM EST

    392,979 - 942,636 Yeah. I think I'll take the Lancet figures with a massive fucking grain of salt, thank you.
    --
    you're a worthless cocknozzle no matter who or what you post about or pay attention to. shut the fuck up.
    --
    392 thousand is still quite a bit (none / 0) (#301)
    by ksandstr on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 03:13:57 PM EST

    More than you can imagine, I'd wager. And the higher figure indicates genocide.

    Fin.
    [ Parent ]
    Not the point (none / 1) (#303)
    by Aurochs on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 03:30:38 PM EST

    If I did a survey and came up with a margin of error that high, I would consider the numbers suspect. I don't think I can trust that the actual value is even in that range, let alone close to the median.
    --
    you're a worthless cocknozzle no matter who or what you post about or pay attention to. shut the fuck up.
    --Parent ]
    That's because you don't understand it. (3.00 / 10) (#305)
    by cburke on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 05:00:08 PM EST

    It's actually extremely likely that the actual value is in that range.  Neither the numbers nor the error range come from nowhere.  There's a sound methodology to computing error bars.  They're large, yes, but their size doesn't actually increase the chances that the real answer isn't within that range.  The error range is large exactly for the reason that it is the range in which they have a high certainty the true value lies.

    [ Parent ]
    So you'd do a survey in a fucking war zone (3.00 / 2) (#312)
    by A Bore on Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 06:58:10 AM EST

    and act all surprised that there's a large degree of imprecision? Good luck with that.

    [ Parent ]
    facts (3.00 / 2) (#344)
    by jcarnelian on Tue Oct 24, 2006 at 11:08:45 AM EST

    "If I did a survey and came up with a margin of error that high, I would consider the numbers suspect."

    Well, that's because you are an amateur, these people are professionals.  They aren't doing "surveys", they are estimating death tolls using established statistical measures.  And because they are doing it responsibly, instead of trying to push a political agenda, they are giving you a well-founded margin of error.

    The policy implication of that is clear: even under a set of unlikely assumptions, at least several hundred thousands deaths are a consequence of US action; if the US hadn't invaded, those people would be alive.  Furthermore, this consequence was predictable for the Bush administration, so the Bush administration took military action that they knew would kill hundreds of thousands of people.  My own guess for the number of deaths was about 100000-200000, but the invasion apparently went worse than I thought.

    Now, if you want to make arguments justifying these actions and deaths, feel free to try.  But trying to argue that they didn't occur or weren't predictable is futile, since they did and they were.

    [ Parent ]

    So, now what? (2.00 / 2) (#297)
    by paxman on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 01:02:15 PM EST

    US out? What would you do?

    Punish those responsible (none / 0) (#308)
    by shinshin on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 06:04:51 PM EST

    and thereby reduce the chance of this atrocity happening again in the near future.

    ____
    We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
    [ Parent ]
    Is that possible? (none / 0) (#320)
    by BerntB on Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 04:04:33 AM EST

    Punish those responsible and thereby reduce the chance of this atrocity happening again in the near future.
    You don't need the Lancet report to see what a catastrophe the Bush administration created in Iraq. (The Kurds might disagree.)

    I seriously doubt you can prove that the Bush admin planned this. To prove gross incompetence might be somewhere between possible and likely, I guess. (And, yes, it is a very hard job to take over and democratize a country -- which makes it important to do well, since the failure modes are so horrible.)

    Which brings me to my point:
    More than a decade ago, the local Social Democrats lost the election for the city I lived in. There were even discussion about prosecuting the city leadership for their incompetent handling of the city's economy. It seemed (from reading the local press) that if the politicians had run a company that badly, they would have been sued. Because the politicians were democratically elected and representatives of the voters, they were not possible to sue for doing stupid stuff. The only thing to be done was already done -- vote the idiots out.

    Is it really possible to sue a sitting, democratically elected, government in e.g. USA for fscking up so badly that it costs tens of billions of dollars and lots of lives? Seems unlikely; I'd guess you can only vote.

    [ Parent ]

    disband the United Kingdom? (n/t) (none / 1) (#322)
    by Delirium on Sun Oct 22, 2006 at 04:31:53 AM EST



    [ Parent ]
    Heh (none / 0) (#332)
    by shinshin on Mon Oct 23, 2006 at 02:10:18 AM EST

    Yeah, well, we can only punish people who are currently alive and in power. The UK's creation in the Middle East was an abomination, but there's no one left alive to punish over it.

    Teach the current bastards a lesson, humiliate them in their own time before their own peers, and maybe it will serve as a lesson to future scumbags who might think they can gain a little temporary political advantage through the unnecessary suffering of an entire nation on the other side of the world.

    ____
    We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
    [ Parent ]

    but the fundamental problem is quite different (2.50 / 4) (#333)
    by Delirium on Mon Oct 23, 2006 at 02:35:33 AM EST

    The fundamental problem is post-colonial ethnic conflict. Saddam is a classic strongman enforcing peace in a multiethnic country, with tensions waiting to boil over upon his departure. Tito's death had similar effects in the former Yugoslavia, as intertwined ethnic communities started trying to disentangle and grab land in the process. Saddam's situation was actually even more problematic because he led a dominant ethnic minority that engendered extreme anger amidst the ethnic majority, similar to the position of the dominant Tutsis in Rwanda versus the majority but subjugated Hutus.

    Bush should certainly have expected this and done much more to keep the peace among the various ethnic groups, but he hardly invented the ethnic conflict. If the US hadn't invaded, there would not be this many Iraqis dying this year, sure, because Saddam would continue to successfully keep the Shia subjugated. But the same thing (or even worse) would be quite likely to happen when he eventually was deposed, unless you're in favor of "solving" the problem through perpetual rule by strongmen.

    What would have been different would be that the world would ignore Iraqis dying, except maybe for some telethons and occasional hand-wringing that "something" should be done. While now people pay attention because they care about Bush, if Saddam fell without Bush's involvement and the same civil war was starting in Iraq, the same sanctimonious people who are coming out of the woodwork now would probably be paying it about as much attention as they paid Rwanda and are currently paying Darfur.

    [ Parent ]

    Insightful (2.50 / 2) (#335)
    by shinshin on Mon Oct 23, 2006 at 12:45:01 PM EST

    I wish more defenders of the Iraq war would discuss this issue, since I think it is central to the moral question of the war. I'm pleased to see you've taken the time to formulate this response and taken a break from distorting the science behind the study, smearing the Lancet based on past inaccurate studies, and calling opponents of the Iraq war "scum".
    If the US hadn't invaded [...] the same thing (or even worse) would be quite likely to happen when he eventually was deposed
    Well, maybe. It's a little fatalistic to assert that it was destined to happen no matter what, but of course it was a possibility. Which merely reaffirms the tragic lesson that we've already learned: nation building is not a trivial task to to be lightly taken. However, I'm sure that you will acknowledge that it is conceivable that the nation could have transitioned from a dictatorship to a more liberal government and society once Saddam finally expired in a less violent manner. And I think you need to admit that when you overthrow a government and immediately disband the military and willfully leave the cities in chaos and anarchy after you've smashed it's infrastructure, you thereby increase the chances that the smoldering embers of resentment will be stoked to the point where a cycle of violence begins.
    Tito's death had similar effects in the former Yugoslavia [...]
    For every Tito you list, I can show you a Franco. Just because one dictator's country collapsed after he left power does not mean that inciting horrific violence gives us the right to shrug our shoulders and basically say: "Oh well. The animals would have just started killing each other anyway".
    While now people pay attention because they care about Bush, [...]
    Some do, some don't. For what it's worth, I would have been as vehemently opposed to the war has it been started by Clinton, Bush Sr., Reagan, or Carter.
    [...] the same sanctimonious people who are coming out of the woodwork now would probably be paying it about as much attention as they paid Rwanda and are currently paying Darfur.
    I care about Darfur, notwithstanding your none-too-subtle accusation of hypocrisy. I write about it frequently. I write more about Iraq because the Iraq tragedy was initiated by my own country, where I have a voice and the right to use it to criticize my government. Also, people discuss controversial issues on this site: and Sudan is not controversial. Everyone condemns the violence.

    I bet if I had posted an article critical of the Janjaweed militia and highlighted the number of deaths they had caused, you would not even have deigned to post a response.

    ____
    We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
    [ Parent ]

    post-colonial ethnic confliicts (2.50 / 2) (#336)
    by Delirium on Mon Oct 23, 2006 at 01:20:44 PM EST

    First, I didn't call "opponents of the Iraq war" scum. I called one specific person who openly wished for as many American deaths as possible "scum". I think that's so obvious as to not be necessary to defend.

    I don't think Franco is a particularly good example, because Spain was not a post-colonial country, and it doesn't have nearly the ethnic divisions and acrimony of a place like Iraq (a subset of Basques being the only real exception).

    The fundamental problem is groupings of people who form what might be called different nationalities or at least sub-nationalities (groupings of culture/religion/politics/etc.), being very densely interwoven in one area, and not particularly willing to share power peacefully. Europe sorted that out quite violently during the 19th and 20th centuries, mostly by moving around massive numbers of people to create mono-ethnic countries—the German and Polish populations used to be extensively intermixed, for example.

    Since colonial empires are pretty much by definition shoving together a bunch of people into one state, post-colonial states are an extremely common source of such conflicts. The fall of the Ottoman Empire also saw ethnic disentanglement in the 1910s and 20s, with the Armenian Genocide and several "exchanges of population". I don't see why it's surprising that post-British Iraq also sees such problems.

    These conflicts sometimes happen immediately after the fall of the colonial ruler (as in Greece/Turkey after the fall of the Ottoman Empire), or they can be delayed if a strongman forces an uneasy peace (as in Yugoslavia, Iraq, and many parts of the former Soviet Union like Azerbaijan/Armenia). In this case we have the latter.

    I suppose I don't really see what the argument is. Are people seriously in favor of maintaining strongman rule in order to enforce an uneasy peace? Do you think it would have been preferable to keep a successor to Tito and a successor to the USSR in power to prevent ethnic conflict in places like Yugoslavia and Armenia? Certainly I agree that if anything can be done to mitigate civilian suffering, it should be done, but trading civilian suffering for more decades of repression doesn't sound like a particularly good bargain. That's certainly Kissinger-style realpolitik, but it doesn't sound like any liberal foreign policy I've ever heard of. What happened to the left that favored fighting totalitarianism and repression everywhere and anywhere? Anyway this Dissent article argues that point eloquently so I'll leave it at that, but I think the left has sadly abandoned its commitment to freedom and antifascism as a reflexive attempt to oppose anything Bush is for. The same left I identified with even 6-7 years ago now opposes those same things I used to support them for.

    And the response of the rest of the world to Iraq has been even worse. Where are the demands to involve the UN in its administration? Where are the requests that the US step aside and cede control of rebuilding to a more credible and likely-to-succeed international effort? Where is any willingness to even engage with or pay attention to the elected Iraqi government? I suspect nobody wants to be involved, because they want it to fail as badly as possible, with as many Iraqi civilian deaths as possible, so they can say "see, I told you invading Iraq was a bad idea". Is it really worth another 500,000 or 1,000,000 Iraqis dying just to spite Bush?

    [ Parent ]

    Yes, yes (none / 1) (#337)
    by shinshin on Mon Oct 23, 2006 at 03:39:25 PM EST

    I don't think Franco is a particularly good example, because Spain was not a post-colonial country, and it doesn't have nearly the ethnic divisions and acrimony of a place like Iraq (a subset of Basques being the only real exception).
    How about Brazil (white 53.7%, mulatto (mixed white and black) 38.5%, black 6.2%)? How about the Philippines (Tagalog 28.1%, Cebuano 13.1%, Ilocano 9%, Bisaya/Binisaya 7.6%, Hiligaynon Ilonggo 7.5%, Bikol 6%, Waray 3.4%, other 25.3%)? Even Iran (Persian 51%, Azeri 24%, Gilaki and Mazandarani 8%, Kurd 7%, Arab 3%, Lur 2%, Baloch 2%, Turkmen 2%, other 1%) had a relatively peaceful transition from our own pet strongman to a more representative government.
    I don't see why it's surprising that post-British Iraq also sees such problems.
    As I said before, I agree that it is not surprising (although it seems to have taken the supposedly history-savvy Neoconservatives in the Bush administration by complete surprise). However, I still disagree that it is a foregone conclusion that all post-colonial countries are destined to go through a bloody civil war on their way to a kinder and gentler form of governance.

    Your argument does not sound like an honest defense to me. It sounds like an excuse: "Sure, the policies I backed results in this atrocity, but I bet even worse things would have happened had we not fabricated evidence to trick the nation into supporting an elective war and subsequent incompetent occupation! And I have the anecdotal parallels and the speculative extrapolation to prove it!"

    What happened to the left that favored fighting totalitarianism and repression everywhere and anywhere?
    I don't think the left ever favored lying the nation into a war against a country that was never a threat, and that was, by your own admission, destined to result in the horrific conflict that now exists. The left was against it in Vietnam, and they are against it in Iraq. You and Christopher Hitchens are probably the last remaining lefty defenders of the Iraq War who maintain this ridiculous assertion that their intellectual compatriots have all betrayed their internationalist beliefs in opposing the war.
    Anyway this Dissent article argues that point eloquently so I'll leave it at that, but I think the left has sadly abandoned its commitment to freedom and antifascism as a reflexive attempt to oppose anything Bush is for.
    Your article telling the story of a drunken debate between pretentious children is just silly. This sort of Socratic dialogue crap is fun to use to caricaturize and ridicule your opponents, but it is hardy a compelling argument. And it is hardly "eloquent".
    The same left I identified with even 6-7 years ago now opposes those same things I used to support them for.
    The left in America is still for liberal interventionism. It if is more convenient for you to believe that their disagreement with you over the Iraq War is because it is they, not you, who have betrayed their ideals purely out of spite, then there's probably not much I can do to dissuade you. I will, however, point out that the left (myself included) was broadly supportive of the intervention on Liberia. They supported the Afghan campaign. You seem to conveniently ignore these facts.
    And the response of the rest of the world to Iraq has been even worse. Where are the demands to involve the UN in its administration?
    You might recall that the UN did establish a significant presence there, until it became brutally apparent that we weren't serious about providing them protection (recall the Canal Hotel Bombing). Perhaps they would be more interested in providing assistance in Iraq had be been more interested in getting the approval of the United Nations before we underwent this ill-conceived adventure.
    Where are the requests that the US step aside and cede control of rebuilding to a more credible and likely-to-succeed international effort?
    I, for one, would be thrilled to see such a thing happen. The constant scorn our government heaps upon anyone who suggests such a thing tends to dampen people's interest in suggesting broad ways to address the problem.
    Where is any willingness to even engage with or pay attention to the elected Iraqi government?
    What do you mean? We are engaging them. They just happen to be ineffectual.
    I suspect nobody wants to be involved, because they want it to fail as badly as possible, with as many Iraqi civilian deaths as possible, so they can say "see, I told you invading Iraq was a bad idea". Is it really worth another 500,000 or 1,000,000 Iraqis dying just to spite Bush?
    Ahh, yes: we get to the crux of it. You share the belief that I see espoused on Fox News every night: the left, and media, the rest of the world all are rooting for the terrorists and the barbarians simply because they hate Bush. Even Andrew Sullivan has disavowed this reprehensible "fifth column" line of attack. It is a shame to see you resorting to it, because I thought you were actually interested in an honest debate.

    ____
    We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
    [ Parent ]
    I call it as I see it (none / 0) (#338)
    by Delirium on Mon Oct 23, 2006 at 04:16:53 PM EST

    I'm not defending the way Bush went around the invasion; I'm saying that in principle overthrowing Saddam was the right thing to do. I don't see why it's suddenly a strange position for a liberal to have that we should overthrow fascist dictatorships that mass-murder those from other ethnic groups (and yes, I think Reagan supporting Saddam in the 1980s was even more immoral than the left not supporting his overthrow in the 1990s).

    I supported Kerry in 2004 precisely because it seemed reasonably credible that he would improve the situation in Iraq. He proposed some ideas, and seemed like he was going to surround himself with reasonably competent people (or at least more competent than Bush's). Perhaps more importantly, getting rid of Bush would provide a "soft out" for some of the anti-American sentiment in Iraq, since at least some subset of insurgents could stop opposing the new Iraqis government on the theory that they were opposed to Bush, and now that Bush is gone they won so can stop fighting.

    I don't see anything like that now. Nobody on the left is saying: Bush is fucking this up, and here's how we'd fix it if you kicked him out and put us in charge. Instead, the main sentiment on the left is, "Iraq is fucked, let's get out and leave them to fend for themselves". I don't see how that's a liberal foreign policy in any respect, especially since the elected Iraqi government explicitly opposes a U.S. pullout and say they'd see it as a betrayal.

    [ Parent ]

    Liberal foreign policy (none / 0) (#340)
    by shinshin on Mon Oct 23, 2006 at 06:11:23 PM EST

    Nobody on the left is saying: Bush is fucking this up, and here's how we'd fix it if you kicked him out and put us in charge. Instead, the main sentiment on the left is, "Iraq is fucked, let's get out and leave them to fend for themselves".
    Bullshit. You're again reciting the caricature of the opposition that the bully pulpit is so effective in getting covered in the media. You might as well just start shouting "Cut-and-Run Defeatocrats!"

    Alternate plans do exist. They are disucssed by various Democratic politicians every day, and they are publicized every weekend on the national radio address and on the national political interview shows. And they are serious discussion.

    As it happens, I am of the belief that our presence in Iraq is the catalyst for much of the violence, so the best thing we can do is withdraw ground troops from the country and try to prop up the government with as much help from the outside as possible. Is that anti-liberal of me? Maybe, but no more anti-liberal than any of the other solutions (unless you think that permanent bases and a generational occupation is somehow the "liberal" thing to do).

    The liberal thing would be to never have invaded and occupied in the first place.

    The liberal thing to do is to ensure that this horror never happens again.

    ____
    We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
    [ Parent ]

    I strongly disagree with that (none / 1) (#341)
    by Delirium on Mon Oct 23, 2006 at 06:29:29 PM EST

    You're again reciting the caricature of the opposition that the bully pulpit is so effective in getting covered in the media. You might as well just start shouting "Cut-and-Run Defeatocrats!"

    I spend a lot of the time I'm not posting on kuro5hin posting on DailyKos (since I mostly consider myself a liberal, and agree with a reasonable subset of the people there). This is increasingly the sentiment I'm seeing there, and it's being echoed by a number of politicians as well. Here is a recent representative post and discussion—the discussion isn't "how do we help the Iraqis?", but "how do we get out of Iraq?"

    The liberal thing would be to never have invaded and occupied in the first place.

    I don't see how you can even consider this position defensible. The liberal thing is to refuse to help people overthrow a repressive dictator? Is "liberal" in today's terms now equal to classic conservative isolationism, where each country runs its own affairs, no matter how grotesquely? George H.W. Bush, for reasons of realpolitik, refusing to support the Shia uprising in 1991 (despite tacit assurances that he would) because his UN mandate was only to repel the invasion of Kuwait—was that the liberal thing to do? I certainly don't think so. And does the fact that we failed them then mean we should continue failing them for eternity? The liberal thing to do, when it comes to fascism, is to fight it, and especially to assist those who are already fighting it.

    The liberal thing to do is to ensure that this horror never happens again.

    So the liberal thing to do is to acquiesce in horrific dictatorships as they commit genocide?

    [ Parent ]

    The liberal thing (none / 0) (#350)
    by shinshin on Thu Oct 26, 2006 at 04:59:59 PM EST

    I don't see how you can even consider this position defensible. The liberal thing is to refuse to help people overthrow a repressive dictator?
    I know it is entertaining for you to ascribe positions to your opponents that you know perfectly well they do not hold, and pretend that all opponents of the Iraq War are Saddam-loving fascists. I'm done playing that game with you. Debate honestly, or STFU.

    For the record, there are numerous ways in which we could have gotten rid of Saddam given the time, energy, and political will, and even if we didn't, he would have been gone eventually anyway. Trying to pretend that lying the country into an elective war and then so incompetently ignoring the post-invasion situation as to help ignite a civil war is somehow the humanitarian thing to do is the most pathetic and clumsy attempt at rhetorical jujutsu that I've ever seen in my life.

    ____
    We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
    [ Parent ]

    I note that you don't list any... (none / 0) (#355)
    by BerntB on Sun Oct 29, 2006 at 10:15:08 PM EST

    For the record, there are numerous ways in which we could have gotten rid of Saddam given the time, energy, and political will, and even if we didn't, he would have been gone eventually anyway.
    For the record, I note that you don't list any of these ways which would have influenced Saddam when sanctions for a decade didn't... :-)

    As Delirium wrote, Saddam committed genocide and might have continued to do so -- and then we had the next generation... None knows if that horrifying sh.t would have kept on for five of 50 years.

    I know it is entertaining for you to ascribe positions to your opponents that you know perfectly well they do not hold, and pretend that all opponents of the Iraq War are Saddam-loving fascists. I'm done playing that game with you. Debate honestly, or STFU.
    So give alternatives, then... Don't just claim they exist!!

    Delirium doesn't seem to have any axes to grind and I haven't really seen him troll, ever. I am not really ready to describe you in the same way.

    Do you have any comments re the IBC Reality Check, by the way?

    [ Parent ]

    Saddam's genocide is 300k dead in 23 years. (none / 0) (#369)
    by vivelame on Mon Nov 13, 2006 at 04:16:00 AM EST

    The US one is 650k in 3. there's something to be said about US efficiency.

    --
    Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
    [ Parent ]
    It's a nice thought... (none / 0) (#358)
    by redeye on Thu Nov 02, 2006 at 01:54:05 PM EST

    ...but a completely false argument.

    The Bush administration did not invade Iraq out of the goodness of their hearts, to impose "democracy" sooner rather than later.

    There is a 3 letter reason they are there: Oil.

    Simple as that. Rwanda and Darfur are brushed under the carpet because, quite simply, there is no economic or commercial motivation to invade and sort the mess out.

    The US Govt are pathological liars. They've been telling us for so long that oil is going to run out soon, that they are starting to believe it themselves and in a blind panic are waging war on those nations who have it.

    [ Parent ]

    Iraq body count does a reality check (2.66 / 3) (#318)
    by BerntB on Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 01:25:01 AM EST

    I posted an argument with similar content. this is of course much better than my reality check.

    And (none / 0) (#368)
    by vivelame on Mon Nov 13, 2006 at 04:14:00 AM EST

    this, this and this is even better.
    Debunking the bogus debunking! o/

    --
    Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
    [ Parent ]
    You say Toh-may-toh, I say toh-mah-toh (2.00 / 2) (#329)
    by Fredrick Doulton on Sun Oct 22, 2006 at 01:14:41 PM EST

    Don't you mean 650,000 liberated and counting?

    Bush/Cheney 2004! - "Because we've still got more people to kill"

    Whatever, Bush is leaving in a year anyway (none / 1) (#330)
    by Captain Crabs on Sun Oct 22, 2006 at 03:24:05 PM EST

    So stfu and quit your whining u liberal pussies.

    Khmer Rouge said we only need 1 million citizens (none / 0) (#356)
    by newb4b0 on Mon Oct 30, 2006 at 11:06:09 PM EST

    to keep the revolution going. Cambodia had 8 million at the time. lol. And that was there own country

    http://www.netmoneychat.com| NetMoneyChat Forums. No Registration necessary. Ya'll.

    ...probability of ??? approaches one. (none / 0) (#357)
    by slaida1 on Tue Oct 31, 2006 at 08:01:48 AM EST

    That number is getting uncomfortably large. Why are we seeing this large death toll in this day and age again? Who are those who support these atrocities?

    Again, I'd like to divide people into two groups:

    Those who trust in the good in man. They believe that concensus is always in right, in the end. Mass media/popular opinion tells them what is right and why it is right. They are the kind of people that for example China would like to have as its citizens.

    That kind of type will favor war if it is presented favorably. They will favor peace with same terms.

    Then there are those who believe in the weakness in man. They believe that there's no such thing as pure altruism, everyone has an (hidden) agenda and that with certain background and circumstances, anyone will break down and do bad things. They are the kind of people who couldn't form or sustain a functioning state by themselves.

    That kind of type will doubt both war and peace alike. They aren't content either way.

    Yes, I pulled all this out of my butt and some of it might come from forgotten sources. Praise, flame or disregard.

    650,000 dead and counting | 369 comments (357 topical, 12 editorial, 0 hidden)
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