Saddam would have killed way more people if still in power.




 
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November 2nd, 2004  
Italian Guy
 
 

Topic: Saddam would have killed way more people if still in power.


Iraq Watch

April 2003


In Iraq, Civilian Deaths Have Fallen Since the Start of the War

by Stephen Cass

At church last Sunday, I watched as the priest, recently returned from Europe, unrolled a rainbow peace banner from the pulpit and explained that it was a surprise to be back in the US where "the vast majority" support the war. Glancing down at the "NO WAR" scrawled in marking pen on the pew in front of me, I wondered which country I was living in.

In San Francisco, my support for the disarmament of Saddam makes me a pariah among my peers. My sixteen years of study of Iraq, doctoral work on Saddam, and time spent in the Middle East make no difference. I am daily condemned by the mantra that the US is taking "hundreds of thousands" of civilian lives in Iraq-- and that my support makes me an accomplice to murder.

For my own part, I am embarrassed to watch the daily "Showdown with Iraq" news graphics that turn human suffering into a Steven Segal movie. I know that what is at stake are precious human lives. I know that many who oppose the war do so out of deep respect and concern for human life.

Let me say that there are those supporting the disarmament of Saddam who do so for the same reason.

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.
By contrast, taking at face value Iraq's Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf's recent claims of 500 Iraqi civilian deaths since the start of the campaign we are left with the tragedy of 38 civilian deaths daily since the start of the war.

In other words, even accepting the Iraqis own numbers and the highly-suspect assertion that all were caused by US weapons, and discounting the numbers of humanitarian organizations, the civilian death toll has, in fact, fallen since the start of the war. Indeed, it has fallen precipitously.

One civilian death is rightfully a tragedy-- not only for the Iraqis, but for Anglo-American efforts to disarm and remove Saddam with minimal loss of life. Yet it is more of a tragedy that a hundred thousand civilian deaths under Saddam are treated as a rounding error-- or worse, a politicized, uncomfortable, and therefore ignorable fact.

For those who would question my math, I point out that at least I have tried to apply math to the claims made for and against the war. I agree that lives cannot be treated as numbers in a balance, but it is the protestors who have moved the argument on to that playing field. For indeed, they accept that Saddam is evil, but believe that his disarmament is more evil because-- in the now familiar phrase-- it will kill hundreds of thousands of innocents.

When protestors say "Yes, Saddam is bad, but..." I wonder how many of them have really thought through their Plan B for ending the suffering, after 12 years of a "peace for oil" in which French and Russian companies got the lion's share of Iraqi contracts in exchange for arming Iraq during the 1980s, cheap oil, and making sure sanctions and inspections would be only a mild inconvenience, if not public relations bonanza, for Saddam? Meanwhile, Iraqis continued to die.

Where were the protestors when those verifiable "hundred of thousands" were being slaughtered during the past two decades?

Nor do I buy the argument that the use of these numbers to justify action against Saddam is a "cynical manipulation." Are the deaths real or not? If US policy to this point has been flawed for allegedly tolerating these deaths, what is cynical about changing that policy? One would have the wrong policy with the right intentions, rather than the right and moral one with suspect intentions?

Then there are those who claim that the war is not "really" about helping the Iraqi people. This sounds like someone who while watching his house burn down prevents the neighbors from using the garden hose to put out the fire because it is not "really" for fighting fires, but only watering plants. Do you think the dead and suffering care about Bush's "real" purpose?

The repeated assertion that the US is killing hundreds of thousands of civilians is a dangerous lie perhaps most offensive to the memory of innocent Iraqis who have indeed died in the hundreds of thousands while those for "peace"-- a peace of death-- stood by silently. It is also deeply offensive to the families of the 13 US soldiers killed while accepting the false surrender of Iraqi soldiers or coming to the aid of Iraqi taxi drivers.

If the US really cared as little about civilians as some say, those soldiers might still be alive. They are most certainly dead because we have gone to such lengths to spare non-combatants-- to save the hundreds of thousands that Saddam could care less about.

Stephen Cass received his Ph.D. in Iraqi history from Oxford University and is the author of a forthcoming book on Iraq. A former GBN consultant, Stephen co-authored the 1990 GBN Scenario Book "On the Plains of Babylon." He is the cofounder of AgentArts, a P2P analytics and entertainment CRM technology company.
November 2nd, 2004  
Snauhi
 
yeah but they wouldent die from the bombs that they made..
November 2nd, 2004  
Italian Guy
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snauhi
yeah but they wouldent die from the bombs that they made..
What ya mean?
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November 2nd, 2004  
Shadowalker
 
 
i doubt more iraqis were dying daily then they are now, but in the long run less iraqis will probably die then if saddam had stayed in power.
November 2nd, 2004  
godofthunder9010
 
 
I'm almost completely certain that there WERE more Iraqis dying under Saddam, but I doubt the press is going to mention that.
November 2nd, 2004  
Snauhi
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Italian Guy
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snauhi
yeah but they wouldent die from the bombs that they made..
What ya mean?
i mean that iraqis are getting killed by there own people
November 2nd, 2004  
Redneck
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snauhi
Quote:
Originally Posted by Italian Guy
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snauhi
yeah but they wouldent die from the bombs that they made..
What ya mean?
i mean that iraqis are getting killed by there own people

As opposed to when they were being killed by Sadda.... oh, wait, isn't Saddam an Iraqi?


Think. Type. Post.
November 2nd, 2004  
godofthunder9010
 
 
Actually, I'm told he's originally from Syria. I'll be happy to doublecheck that though.
November 2nd, 2004  
Shadowalker
 
 
i thought it was Tikrit? i suppose with his special police etc. jails, bad sanitation, un embargoes there would be a lot of iraqis dying daily.
November 2nd, 2004  
Redneck
 
 
He was born in Tikrit, and the men who followed his orders and took the lives of other Iraqis were also Iraqis.



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