January 10, 2008

Liberal Math

I don't often go after individual bloggers, but statements made yesterday by "dday" at Hullabaloo warrant direct comment.

Discussing a new report that places the number of Iraqi's killed since the start of the war until June of 2006 at roughly 151,000, "dday" wrote:

NPR was trying to spin this as somehow a LOW number of Iraqi civilian casualties in the last three and a half years, because it comes in lower than the Lancet study. But it remains 150,000 human lives, dead, senselessly, for an unnecessary war of choice. And that only goes up to June 2006, and the authors of the study admitted they were unable to reach certain areas that were "too violent."

Not to mention the 3,900-plus soldiers, including 9 in the last two days. And the numbers of wounded are incalculable.

All to remove a dictator who wasn't nearly as efficient at killing Iraqis.

Saddam Hussein "wasn't nearly as efficient at killing Iraqis"? Only in his community-based reality.

Between 70-125 Iraqi civilians were killed per day during Saddam Hussein's reign.

Along with other human rights organizations, The Documental Centre for Human Rights in Iraq has compiled documentation on over 600,000 civilian executions in Iraq. Human Rights Watch reports that in one operation alone, the Anfal, Saddam killed 100,000 Kurdish Iraqis. Another 500,000 are estimated to have died in Saddam's needless war with Iran. Coldly taken as a daily average for the 24 years of Saddam's reign, these numbers give us a horrifying picture of between 70 and 125 civilian deaths per day for every one of Saddam's 8,000-odd days in power.

That gives us a range of 600,000-1,000,000 civilians killed during Saddam's stewardship, with a median average of 97.5 Iraqi civilians killed per day during his reign, or 780,000. Over 24 years, that is a median average of 32,500 Iraqi civilians per year...

But this isn't a true "apples to apples" comparison, is it?

This does not include military deaths that occurred during Saddam's "unnecessary war of choice" with Iran from 1980-88, which which accounts for roughly one million more lives on both sides, nor casualties sustained as a result of his other "unnecessary war of choice" that resulted from his invasion of Kuwait, where an estimated 100,000+ died during the first Gulf War in 1990-91.

Combining the number of civilians killed by Saddam and number of soldiers killed on all sides during his two "unnecessary wars of choice," and we find a median estimate of 1.88 million killed during his 24-year reign, or 235 people a day.

The Iraq War started on March 20, 2003, and this study ran through June of 2006. In that time, 151,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed, or 126.04 per day.

Add in 10,000 estimated terrorist/insurgent/militia dead and roughly 2762 through that time period Coalition military deaths, and you arrive at a rough total of 163762 total violent deaths, or 136.7 total violent deaths per day through June 2006.

235 violent deaths per day over Saddam's reign including his wars.

137 violent deaths per day in Iraq over the first three years of the present war.

You do the math, and try to paint Saddam's continued reign as a preferable state of affairs.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at January 10, 2008 10:04 AM

Can't fault your math but I think there is one very important point which you left out. However many Iraqis have died in the present war, the vast majority of them have been killed by the enemy, not by our forces. It is the enemy who have waged a relentless campaign of barbaric murders of unarmed civilians.

Posted by: Michael at January 10, 2008 11:14 AM

So I guess the 98 people per day that are still alive because Saddam isn't are really happy.

But you know the left, have to spin everything they don't agree with to look bad.

Posted by: Quality Weenie at January 10, 2008 12:19 PM

Ask the 98 people per day that are still alive because Saddam isn't if they are happy or not that Saddam was disposed.

I bet that answer isn't something the left will want to hear.

Posted by: Quality Weenie at January 10, 2008 12:20 PM

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 01/10/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the check back often.

Posted by: David M at January 10, 2008 01:44 PM

The Hate-America left won't be happy until we take responsibilty for everything bad that happens and all the evil in the world.

Posted by: Banjo at January 10, 2008 03:44 PM

So how many of that number were confirmed kills of bad guys?

Posted by: Purple Avenger at January 10, 2008 04:06 PM

I have no idea what the "real" numbers are on either side, pre- and post- invasion. And I will preface this with the statement - I have no doubt Saddam was vermin.

But ... I was curious and googled "Documental Centre for Human Rights in Iraq" complete with the quotes. About the only thing that comes are links to news stories and blog links to those news stories. They don't seem to even have a website in English, and at least as late as 2003, were based in Iran. Which means they operated there with the blessing, if not the funding of the Iranian regime. A lot of information gotten from Iraqi ex-pat groups based in Europe turned out to be wildly exaggerated; imagine the level of reliability of data gotten from Iraqi ex-pat groups operating in Iran.

I also wonder why the US government doesn't seem to make an effort to keep track of civilian dead.

Posted by: cactus at January 10, 2008 04:27 PM

I've been through this discussion of Iraqi deaths under Hussein and at times relied on this same link from the Global Business Network (btw, a progressive business org with Stewart Brand of the Whole Earth Catalog as a co-founder). However, I hit the same wall as Cactus in drilling down into the Documental Centre for Human Rights.

I don't think there are reliable numbers for Iraqi deaths under Saddam Hussein. We can be sure they were substantial and must be considered when discussing the costs and benefits of the Iraq War.

When polled the clear majority of Iraqi people have consistently said that the war was worth it even considering the suffering during and after. Here's one link.

Posted by: huxley at January 10, 2008 05:04 PM

That 650,000 number comes from hard left propaganda. No surprise here, they won't reveal how they arrived at that figure, so they're not allowing any scientific scrutiny or for others to verify their results.

Posted by: Cao at January 10, 2008 05:18 PM

To the propaganda driven community, some deaths are more equal that others.

Posted by: George Bruce at January 10, 2008 06:42 PM

I don't think there's ever been a dictator that the lefties didn't love and fawn over.

Posted by: C-C-G at January 10, 2008 09:49 PM

Someone might want to look up the history on the numbers of French civilians killed during the pre-D-Day bombardment, or the number of German or Italian civilians who died during the immediate post-reconstruction era (say, the bitter winter of '45 to '48 or so)... and apply the typical lefty logic of asking if it was worth it.

Of course, to the Left it probably wasn't.

Posted by: DaveP. at January 10, 2008 10:42 PM

Comments like dday's are not reasoned statements, but professions of faith, a recitation of the progressive, nihilist credo. But this particular faith, like another causing great troubles worldwide, does not recognize nor have any diplomatic relations with reason. Not even back channels. Very pointed queries sometimes penetrate: "If civilian deaths obligate the withdrawl of soldiers from Iraq, is Al Queda similarly obligated? " Anger in reply is "A hit! A very palpable hit!"

Posted by: Broadsword at January 11, 2008 06:11 AM

Adding another perspective. The nihilist progressives do have not a moral viewpoint, carefully reasoned out. They practice moralism, where intentions are the sine qua non, and results are secondary or, most often, irrelvant. George Weigel's writings elaborate this very clearly. See, Moral Clarity in a Time of War, Thank you.

Posted by: Broadsword at January 11, 2008 06:18 AM

The numbers for Saddam are minimalist, which was the route I went, back in 2006. The worrying part is that there are at least two confirmed 'clearings' of Abu Ghraib by Saddam where the overcrowding had him 'clear' the facility of upwards of 40,000 individuals. These folks never came *back*. This also does not count in the 'extra-judicial' killings by his thugs, Republican Guard and high ranking military and secret police organizations. The number of 'disappeared' never to show up in any prison, court or jail is uncounted, but the rampant nature of these organizations points to thousands if not tens of thousands per year. And as the multiple (upwards of 14 counting his sons personal operations) 'secret police' units operated independently and without much cross-awareness, there is no way to compile such a list, either. Simply put: every Iraqi family lost at least one family member to Saddam's regime. A gross estimate of 5 people per family into 20 million people yields 4 million dead, disappeared, liquidated or just plain killed by Saddam Hussein's regime. That is a 'rough estimate' at best, but gives the scope and scale of the regime's influence.

This doesn't even begin to address the alarmist left for what was expected going in... with various organizations looking at tens of thousands dead in 6 months, millions of refugees flooding the Middle East, mass starvation of millions in Iraq... really, its as if they all ignored Afghanistan, which also had truly awful predictions about it that never did show up, just like the dread 'Afghan Winter'. They do have bad winters there, just like the US... not all places, all the time, all at once, for all the winter.

Now if you want to look at a *real* 'civil war' look at the US... if the Iraqis can't meet up to those levels *with* a higher population base *and* automatic weapons, then its not much of a war, really.

Posted by: ajacksonian at January 11, 2008 07:03 AM

If the current war is an unnecessary war of choice, let's remember that the choice was Saddam's. Pres. Bush gave at least three major speeches to the world before the invasion but after we had massed our troops on Iraq's borders saying in effect, "the choice is in Saddam's hands". He made is clear that if Saddam honored his promise to allow "unfettered inspections" (remember that phrase?) and/or demonstrate that he had really destroyed the wmd that everyone agrees he had, the invasion wouldn't be necessary.

Posted by: mb at January 11, 2008 09:27 AM

To sharpen your point, currently for every Iraqi civiilian killed inadvertently by our troops in combat, 600 Iraqi civilians are killed on purpose by the insurgents and jihadis.

Posted by: Tantor at January 11, 2008 10:04 AM

Plus, the people experienced deep psychological trauma from living in a police state for 30 years...

But whatever the costs in Iraq. The demonstration value alone was worth it, because we got Khadaffy to give up his very advanced weapons program as a direct result of taking out Saddam.

When all the birdbrains on the reactionary left are dead and gone, historians will mark Iraq as a turning point in the war against radical Islam. And the credit will go to one man: George W. Bush.

Posted by: FA at January 11, 2008 12:04 PM

But Saddam was just about to stop killing internal enemies and become an anti-globalist, I'm sure. Just before we invaded, he was beginning to see that it was unrestrained capitalism that is the root of the world's problems. If only we could have sent more Deeply Sensitive progressives to explain it to him...

If only.

Posted by: Assistant Village Idiot at January 11, 2008 03:09 PM

That makes Saddam a WMD, doesn't it.

Posted by: ZZMike at January 11, 2008 07:30 PM

Leftists love it when colored people kill other colored people. Dozens of examples abound.

Please do NOT call them 'liberals'. You are doing half of their job for them if you give them ownership of such a positive word.

Posted by: Tood at January 11, 2008 08:45 PM

The Saud's produced all the terror in Iraq; that got delivered through the sunni tribes. Because? They had "their man" Bush, in the White House.

Finally, having had "enough" ... the American military went after ONE TRIBAL SUNNI CHIEF, who was killing off sunni tribal leaders who took part in the surge.

As to Iraq, itself, it's the EDSEL in George Bush's showroom. It didn't sell to the American people!

Is there a difference with Saddam gone? YES! Maliki works with IRAN! He lived in Iran for 10 years. He also lived in Damascus for 10 years. In other words? For 20 years he couldn't set foot into Saddam's Iraq.

Lots of opportunists have flown into Iraq with America's CIA, and other nefrarious ex-pats. Thinking this was gonna be one huge pie!

In August 2001, BEFORE 9/11 ... the Saud's received a 3-page3-handwritten letter from the EDIOT IN THE WHITE HOUSE, promising the saud's a "new mideast."

Everything, however, has been weakened. Maliki, who hates Bush's guts, is working with Iran. And, putin CAME BACK TO THE TABLE!

Some day, someone will end the silence; and the truth about Bush's behaviors will spill out.

Meanwhile? The republicans aren't making a dent on the public. And, what if Hillary wins? What if most American voters want to go back to the world when Bill Clinton was president? And, we were on a successful roll?

No one can make predictions. The arabs are a bunch of thieves. And, can't run any government, well.

What the Saud's wanted, however, was to sweep in as "king pins." And, now? They don't even have gaza.

Well? What about the other arab leaders? Like Mubarak, who stands on his last leg. Or Musharraf. What did he learn about being friendly with Americans?

What about Olmert?

Bush is an idiot, even worse than Jimmy Carter. But the "message" that gets combined in voting booths, doesn't come out until the day after November 4, 2008.

Posted by: Carol Herman at January 12, 2008 02:38 PM

Someone left the door of the loony bin open.

Posted by: C-C-G at January 12, 2008 05:37 PM

Turns out uber leftist/terrorist apologist/ conficted crook George Soros funded the lancet "study".

Posted by: grrr at January 13, 2008 09:53 AM