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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Was it all worth it?

An interesting addition to the "what price freedom" question in the dead babies thread down below, this from the Strategy Page

Deaths in Iraq (Aug 14)
The Iraqi government now believes that at least 12,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed during the last 18 months. In the last ten months, about 800 Iraqi civilians and police have been killed each month. Adding a bit more to account for unreported deaths (especially in Sunni Arab areas where chaos, not the government, runs things) the death rate is running at the rate of about 45 dead per 100,000 population per year. This is far higher than the usual rate in Middle Eastern countries (under 10). Well, most of the time. During civil wars and insurrections, the rate has spiked to over a hundred per 100,000, sometimes for several years in a row. During Saddam’s long reign, the Iraqi death rate from democide (the government killing its own people) averaged over 100 per 100,000 a year. This does not include the several hundred thousand killed during the war with Iran in the 1980s. There are other parts of the world that are more violent than Iraq. Africa, for example, especially Congo, Sudan and South Africa. Only South Africa has a sufficiently effective government to actually keep track of the death rate, mostly from crime, but it’s over 50 per 100,000. It’s worse in places like Congo and Sudan, but the numbers there are only estimates by peacekeepers and relief workers. In southern Thailand, a terror campaign by Islamic radicals has caused a death rate of over 80 per 100,000.
So, the death rate from Saddam's time is half and falling. Add in the loss of his sons feeding people into shredders, mass torture (real torture, not taking photos), systemized rape and all the other features of Iraq in the happy kite-flying days. Is it still not worth it?

Posted by Chefen | 8/16/2005 05:17:00 pm


Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

This is the reason why some on the Left still prefer the ridiculously inflated statistical estimates of the Lancet report.

There is in fact a complex algebra to war (at least for voters in a democracy), and the numbers of dead are a major factor considered by voters when they weight up the supposed benefits of a given war against its costs.

So if the Left can convince voters the number of civilian casualties is very high then they win a big propaganda victory (reality be damned, of course).

That is also why the one-sided media distortion of events in Iraq is very dangerous. Most NZers I bet have no idea terrorists are responsible for most deaths in Iraq, and that foreign arabs comprise a large percentage of those terrorists, and that gun battles with other 'insurgents' cover a wide range of groups from criminal kidnapping gangs to ex-Ba'athists.

So the Left can win a further propaganda victory by obscuring the nature of those killing the civilians, thus unbalancing even further a voters assessment of the worth of a war.

8/16/2005 05:55:00 pm  
Blogger Ackers1 said...

The only person delusional here is you AL. Most NZ'ers have a far better grasp of what's at stake here and I can guarantee are not itching like yourself to become part of the coalition of the willing.


8/16/2005 08:33:00 pm  
Blogger Chefen said...

Brilliant Ackers. A dubious UN report with discredited numbers that sets out to show that life during and just after a war is terrible. Great. Completely missing the point again, or rather carefully walking past it with eyes squeezed shut and fingers in ears so as not to have to see the point. I think you should slink back to Public Address where they deal out the delusions you prefer.

8/16/2005 08:44:00 pm  
Blogger Chris said...

Not to be a nitpicker here but would you mind giving a link to the "feeding people into shredders" claim? Thanks.

8/16/2005 08:45:00 pm  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Ahh the fascist appeaser returns. Please don't sully our blog with links to Chomskyite propaganda. Didn't you get the memo? He's an academic fraud.

8/16/2005 08:46:00 pm  
Blogger Chefen said...

Oh for crying out loud. Sure, I'll go find a shredder link. But it is hardly the least of the barbarities perpetrated by Uday and Qusay, but if link you want...

Would you also care for a tour of a rape room, or perhaps a walk past a mass grave?

8/16/2005 08:53:00 pm  
Blogger Ackers1 said...

LOL. Chomsky an academic fraud. Talk about history completely passing you by....

8/16/2005 09:08:00 pm  
Blogger Chefen said...

From UPI

A group of American anti-war demonstrators who came to Iraq with Japanese human shield volunteers made it across the border today with 14 hours of uncensored video, all shot without Iraqi government minders present. Kenneth Joseph, a young American pastor with the Assyrian Church of the East, told UPI the trip "had shocked me back to reality." Some of the Iraqis he interviewed on camera "told me they would commit suicide if American bombing didn't start. They were willing to see their homes demolished to gain their freedom from Saddam's bloody tyranny. They convinced me that Saddam was a monster the likes of which the world had not seen since Stalin and Hitler. He and his sons are sick sadists. Their tales of slow torture and killing made me ill, such as people put in a huge shredder for plastic products, feet first so they could hear their screams as bodies got chewed up from foot to head."

Most reports cite Ann Clwyd, a British MP. There are a lot of sites saying it didn't happen, mostly based around no one finding a shredder. Anyway, Google "Iraq shredder" and you can read it all yourself. You also get to read about regular torture involving runofthemill electrodes, hooks, etc, Iraq's "Government Licensed Rapists", steam rolling people under asphalt, the list goes on and on.

8/16/2005 09:11:00 pm  
Blogger Chefen said...

Ackers, Chomsky is a fraud. Do you never wonder why his linguistics are not used anywhere, why they have never produced scientific, verifiable results or asked how that says anything about his politics one way or the other??? He is a favourite of intellectual midgets who need a book filled with references (generally circular and all by Mr Chomsky himself) to prop up their view of America the inheritor of Nazi Germany. He's a grade A loon, but unfortunately when such people write books many other people flock to them.

8/16/2005 09:14:00 pm  
Blogger Ackers1 said...

Chefen that is complete bullshit. Whatever you think of his politics and whether or not you agree with his linguistic theories, to call him a fraud is ludicrous. His work in linguistics and psychology has had a profound influence on 20th Century thought.

He is one of the most cited academics of modern times and it is ridiculous to dismiss him as a fraud because of your own idelogical strictures.

8/16/2005 09:32:00 pm  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Chefen, my personal dislike for Chomsky is when he attacked the chimp and Bonobo language researchers (you've probably seen these guys on TV) by trying to redefine what language meant. Apparently he didn't like Bonobos spontaneously joining simple words into more complicated words, so of course in his (unscientific) arrogance, he tried to move the goalposts.

He's a Class A academic fraud, sort of like the early anthro people who travelled to Polynesian islands and lied about what they found.

8/16/2005 09:34:00 pm  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

No Ackers, you are wrong. Chomsky's work was entirely theoretical (what reality-based scientists would call pulled out of his arse), and contradicted by much recent work with the more intelligent animals, if not by first-principles work on human languages.

Now didn't i read recently about one of his PhD students revealing Chomsky's strategy for stealing other peoples ideas and taking credit for them?

Nevermind, he's still a fraud living off a fraudulent career.

8/16/2005 09:39:00 pm  
Blogger Chefen said...

My ideology has nothing to do with it.

As a scientist I judge him a fraud because what he does is not science. His theories and work belong in the same category as Intelligent Design, untestable, deliberately obfuscated and now motivated by other agendas. At the time he proposed the ideas it wer innovative, modern linguistics has superseded it and shown it to be wrong. That is how science works.

As a person I judge him a fraud because what he writes is not truthful and twisted to suit his rather extreme Marxist ideology.

Number of citations mean nothing except when you are applying for a job as a professor.

8/16/2005 09:45:00 pm  
Blogger Chefen said...

How the hell did this become a discussion about Chomsky???

8/16/2005 09:47:00 pm  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

The link ackers posted is to Yet Another Friend of Chomsky leftist-propaganda-masquerading-as-news site.

News has to be fact-based, Ackers choice in links tends to always be opinion based. Funny that.

8/16/2005 09:55:00 pm  
Blogger Chris said...

"The horror of one of Saddam's execution methods made a powerful pro-war rallying cry - but the evidence suggests it never existed."


8/16/2005 10:19:00 pm  
Blogger Chris said...


8/16/2005 10:21:00 pm  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

The plastics shredder claim does indeed sound dubious. I don't recall reading about it in the HRW report.

8/16/2005 10:26:00 pm  
Blogger Chefen said...

OK, if you want to strike shredders as lacking then substitute torture chambers, rape rooms, mass graves, genocide, take your pick.

8/16/2005 10:28:00 pm  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

"There was a machine designed for shredding plastic," the Iraqi told the group. "Men were dropped into it, and we were made to watch. Sometimes they went in head first and died quickly. Sometimes they went in feet first and died screaming. It was horrible. I saw 30 people die like this. Their remains would be placed in plastic bags and we were told they would be used as fish food ... On one occasion, I saw (Quesay a son of Saddam's) personally supervise these murders."


8/16/2005 10:28:00 pm  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

What's the point anyway? Throw in a dubious claim about a method for execution, does not make the mass graves they have found disappear.

8/16/2005 10:34:00 pm  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Tim Blair has text from a Spectator article:

So at best the shredder story is unverified. Only one witness statement was taken before the invasion. Nothing found after the invasion.

8/16/2005 10:34:00 pm  
Blogger tincanman said...

To what point though? Are we trying to moralise Saddam, Uday and Qusay?

But I guess as soon as something good comes out of Iraq, somebody needs to sully it.

For crying out loud. Grip. Get one.

8/16/2005 10:55:00 pm  
Blogger Keith said...

"He is one of the most cited academics of modern times "

Bawaaaahahaha! By other lefty academics. Some endorsement, that.

8/16/2005 10:57:00 pm  
Blogger Keith said...

He once supported the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia, claiming the genocidal evacuation of Phnom Penh in 1976 was due to a failed rice crop and “may actually have saved many lives.”

Keith Windschuttle--"A disgraceful career"


8/16/2005 11:03:00 pm  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

We all make mistakes, but it seems Chomsky makes them continuously, throughout his life. Then tries to hide or excuse them.

8/16/2005 11:23:00 pm  
Blogger Keith said...

AL, the Windschuttle article on Chomsky is devastating. Beats me how anyone can still take the guy seriously.

8/16/2005 11:25:00 pm  
Blogger Chefen said...

He dresses it up with airs on intellectuality, makes loads of references usually to his own work and most of all, tells them what they want to hear. If you were a poor working German in 1930s Germany he'd be writing Mein Kampf for you.

8/16/2005 11:35:00 pm  
Blogger Sock Thief said...

Chomsky made a significant contribution to linguistics and our understanding of how the mind works in the 1950s. He hepled debunk behavioualism. Since then his scholarly work has been marginal and more recently he has retreated into the mystical belief that the mind is just too complicated to understand.

This latter view comes about not through science but becasue he views modern views on who the mind works to be antithetical to his anrcho-syndicaist politics. He chooses his extremist views in the face of facts. Part of the problem for Chomsky is the rise of evolutionary psychology - just goes to show that it is not conservative Christians who have the biggest problem with Darwin.

He never did support Pol Pot, he is too clever for that. He like many others on the Left prefer to argue that Pol Pot was the creation of the US and therefore the US is ultimately responsible. This bizzare argument is repeated with Melosevic, Saddam, bin Laden and every other psychopath out there. They are nerer truely reponsible for their own actions. It has to be the fault of the US, and Israel of course.

8/17/2005 11:31:00 am  
Blogger Chris said...

"Grip. Get one."

Facts. Check them.

8/17/2005 12:50:00 pm  
Blogger Ackers1 said...

Good to see you citing Windschuttle Keith. Now there's a credible academic for you.

8/17/2005 12:56:00 pm  
Blogger Ackers1 said...

Windschuttle has had quite a brilliant career actually.

8/17/2005 12:59:00 pm  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Sockthief, I think I've actually read Chomsky's attempt at blaming the US for Pol Pot. Had my eyes widened in bizaarement (new word!) the whole time.

8/17/2005 01:20:00 pm  
Blogger Keith said...

ackers, not ONE of the "historians" that Windschuttle has accused publicly of fabricating evidence has ever successfully defended themselves aginst the charges. Two have claimed that their fabrications were mistakes and the others have either ignored his evidence or attacked him on ideological grounds. (the last being a favourite technque of lefty academics, Chomsky included)
And sock thief--Chomsky did attempt to justify and excuse Pol Pot, on more than one occasion. I'll look for the reference if you like, but I'm sure you're capable of that simple exercise yourself.

8/17/2005 03:18:00 pm  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Reminds me of James Belich, the Auckland University history professor, who according to a book by a (non-academic) NZ military historian made up, omitted, and twisted many facts for his book and TV series "The New Zealand Wars".

8/17/2005 03:35:00 pm  
Blogger Keith said...

ackers, you crack me up--I'm still laughing. I checked out that link and WHOA!!! Windschuttle once wrote an article in a student magazine criticising plans to tighten legislation against the use of LSD!
That really speaks to his ability as a historian, eh?
AL, I tried to watch that series, a long time ago and ended up throwing stuff at the tv. Had the remote taken off me. *sigh*

8/17/2005 03:54:00 pm  
Blogger Ackers1 said...

That's garbage keith. Windschuttle has no credibility in Australia anywhere but in the Murdoch press who use him to push their agenda whenever they can.


He's been taken apart book by book, article by article on many occasions.

8/17/2005 04:02:00 pm  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Ackers, using the very search page you provided I found the following:

"Windschuttle raises significant doubts about several … massacres, and suggests that the historians who have related them have been careless with evidence and credulous in its interpretation. It is for those historians whom he criticises to respond.


And here is the defence from one of the academics Windschuttle attacked:

"2. Windschuttle naively assumes that the same level of care was taken in recording killings of Tasmanian Aboriginal people as those of colonists. This is nonsense. While Lieutenant Governor Arthur did set up a system of reporting incidents on the frontier in 1829, from which the historian can make a reasonable assessment of the number of colonists who were killed, Arthur also knew that not all incidents were reported, particularly not those incidents in which Aboriginal people were killed. The colonists, of course, did the vast majority of the reporting: Aborigines had very little input into the record in order to present their interpretation, which undoubtedly would have told an even more repressive story."

In which case where did the original figures on Aboriginal deaths come from? Out of this academics a*se I suggest.

8/17/2005 04:17:00 pm  
Blogger Ackers1 said...

AL this has been an ongoing controversy for a number of years here - broadly called the "History Wars" and focused on Windschuttle's attacks on Henry Reynolds.


There's a whole other debate to have here and I don't have the time right now.

I stand by my contention that Windschuttle does not have much credibility amongst serious historians and will be a mere footnote in academic history which Noam Chomsky most certainly won't be.

8/17/2005 05:08:00 pm  
Blogger Chefen said...

I stand by my contention that Windschuttle does not have much credibility amongst serious historians and will be a mere footnote in academic history which Noam Chomsky most certainly won't be.

And neither are Marx, Hitler, Stalin, Genghis Khan,... or for that matter Martin Luther King Jr, Jesus Christ, Frank Sinatra, Walt Disney,...

What's your point Ackers? Fame or infamy has exactly what bearing on how to judge a person?

8/17/2005 05:26:00 pm  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

It seems so Ackers.

I think its important to separate Windschuttles attacks into a thesis (that academic historians have intentionally misrepresented history) and separately consider his research (that major factual inaccuracies about 'White Australia' have been presented as truth by prominent Australian academics).

8/17/2005 05:26:00 pm  
Blogger Keith said...

This is fun....it'd be great to have it as the subject of a post.
My apologies for getting so far off topic.

8/17/2005 06:06:00 pm  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

By all means continue Keith, but note the recent comments relating to this post will fall off our front page in 3 more days.

8/17/2005 06:26:00 pm  
Blogger Keith said...

Thanks AL.

8/17/2005 06:40:00 pm  

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