Apologies for the pause since my last few articles. Other demands on my time have distracted me, I'm afraid. I'll return with something more subtantial shortly, but in the meantime here's an extract from a debate I've been involved in on the Guardian's newsblog recently.
The original topic was the so-called "flypaper theory". "Invading and occupying Iraq might turn the country into a magnet for anti-US terrorists, the argument went, but it was better to slug it out in a distant and foreign land instead of closer to home." However, during the string of comments that followed, one pro-war contributer sought to discredit the now famous Lancet study that indicated a death toll of 100,000 in Iraq. The little joust I had with him was quite instructive in terms of the extent to which some are prepared to lie and distort in order to maintain a comprehensively discredited political position.
Debates on the Guardian's newsblog can be pretty middlebrow (which is a shame as there's no reason why it shouldn't be like the far superior Nation blog, to which I also contribute from time to time). But using these forums does get the arguments out to a broader audience, so I think its worth making the odd intervention. Plus, a bit of sparring is always good for one's fitness.
Here's the relevant extracts from the debate. Again, apologies for the hiatus. Something more substatial to follow shortly.
"...100 000+ people who lost family members, innocent mothers, brothers, sisters, children, parents, grandparents..."
Still quoting that bogus Lancet study, eh Sickening - the one that has been completely and thoroughly debunked.
The study only covered 1/3 of Iraq (not the 2/3 of the country in the north and south which are quiet and peaceful).
According to the UN (and you believe the UN, don't you?), only 24,000 civilians have been killed:
"THE invasion of Iraq and its aftermath caused the deaths of 24,000 Iraqis, including many children, according to the most detailed survey yet of postwar life in the country."
Your lies are truly sickening, Sickening.
Posted by Dicky on June 23, 2005 09:19 PM.
To return briefly to the 100,000 death toll - an accurate and thoughtful analysis of the Lancet survey, its methodology and the failed attempts to debunk it can be found here.
http://www.zmag.org/content/print_article.cfm?itemID=6565 This is one of the essential documents of the last couple of years re.Iraq and is well worth a read.
In respect of Dicky's criticisms, I'll simply point out that the Lancet survey included Sulaymaniya governorate in the Kurdish north and excluded the al Anbar governorate, which includes both Falluja and Ramadi and has been the centre the guerrilla war. Also, (quoting from the above article) "Najaf, scene of fierce fighting and massive US bombing in April and August 2004 was also not sampled. Further, while the Baghdad slum known as Sadr City, a stronghold of Moqtada al-Sadr -- and site of furious fighting and US bombing for months -- was included in the sample, the area sampled there "by random chance was in an unscathed neighborhood with no reported deaths from the months of recent clashes""
In other words, the sample excluded all the areas where post invasion warfare and unrest was concentrated. So the Lancet estimate was in all probability a conservative one.
Contrast this with Dicky's assertion that "The study only covered 1/3 of Iraq (not the 2/3 of the country in the north and south which are quiet and peaceful)."
I realise this is off the original subject, but it seems to me that (apparently) deliberate attempts to distort investigations into the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent people are just beyond the pale and should not be allowed to stand. To return to the topic: one can hardly expect to slaughter thousands of innocents, as the US has done in Iraq, and not suffer some pretty hideous consequences (which is to explain, not to justify such consequences; as we must if we're to prevent them). You don't need to be the CIA to point out that launching wars of aggression on the Arab world is a perfect way to play into the hands of bin Laden and that, in doing so, Bush's White House has been al-Qaeda's greatest recruiting officer since 9/11.
Now Iraq is a basket case, the US is all but defeated by the resistance, and the threat of islamist terrorism is greater than ever. Can there be any more defeated, disgraced and utterly humiliated political position in recent history than support for the invasion of Iraq?
Posted by diarist on June 23, 2005 11:00 PM.
diarist, you're wrong on so many counts, including the spelling of your nom de plum, which surely should be "direst"...
Get the Lancet and its discredited methodology out of here. The Lancet has lost all credibility, as have Amnesty International and the U.N.
I guarantee you this: America will NOT lose the War on Terror. If we have to eradicate the entire Muslim world to ensure our safety, then count on us doing it. And who's going to stop us? The Chinese don't like Muslims anymore than we do. Hell, they may even help us.
Posted by Bushwick Bill on June 23, 2005 11:24 PM.
diarist, the zNet article you cite proves nothing.
It is a perfect example of agenda journalism.
The author, Stephen Soldz, is a hard-core leftist. He's not interested in the truth.
He wants to promote a left-wing, socialist, anti-American agenda. He admits that on his web site.
Posted by Dicky on June 24, 2005 12:12 AM.
"To return to the topic: one can hardly expect to slaughter thousands of innocents, as the US has done in Iraq..."
Diarist, it is the dead-ender Baathist and wahabbist terrorists who are killing Iraqis, not the U.S. we try to AVOID killing Iraqi civilians.
The terrorists want to kill as many as possible.
You shouldn't distort the facts like you do.
Posted by Dicky on June 24, 2005 12:18 AM.
The Lancet survey only sampled 12 of the 18 provinces of Iraq.
Of the five provinces in northern Iraq only Ninawa and Sulaymaniya were surveyed.
Iraq's three most southern-most (and very calm) provinces were omitted from the study.Fallujah was way over-sampled.
The Lancet study was released in the run-up to the November 2004 presidential election.
The design of the study was faulty.
The study was politically motivated.
Posted by Dicky on June 24, 2005 12:27 AM.
further to an earlier comment I made about US defeat in Iraq, this from Juan Cole's indispensable blog
"a 2nd Lt and West Point grad who has just come back from Iraq....says flat out that the war is lost, that "we" only control territory when the troops are there in massive numbers and that "they" take over as soon as the troops leave, that the army is over-extended and morale is terrible -- drug use is escalating -- that there still isn't enough armor, that the Iraqi army and police are worse than useless, and that senior officers are convinced that it is Vietnam redux"
The latest in a string of such reports to come out over the past fortnight.
The notion of some flypaper "strategy" always struck me as a pretty feeble attempt to explain away the US failure in Iraq. Was being defeated by the insurgents part of the plan as well?
p.s. Dicky - you claim the Lancet study that estimated a post-invasion death toll of 100,000 was skewed because it over-sampled Fallujah. As you're well aware, being an expert, the Lancet study not only excluded Fallujah entirely, it also excluded the entire al-Anbar province including Ramadi and all the other main centres of the insurgency war. The problem with consistently lying, Dicky, is that you'll get caught out. And the problem with lying about dead civilians is that its a sure sign of moral bankruptcy. Again, for anyone interested in the true cost of the war, this is highly recommended reading
Posted by diarist on June 24, 2005 10:31 AM.