Saturday, October 14, 2006

Haphazard Ramblings

According to a report published in Lancet, the war has claimed the lives of 655,000 Iraqis. At a 95% confidence interval, the range of deaths is between 426,369 and 793,663. Keep in mind that Iraq is a country 1/12th the size of the United States. Start extrapolating those figures, even the "low" one, and it boggles the mind. George Bush, a statistician by training who is a real whiz with batting averages, questioned the "methodology" of the research saying it "is pretty well discredited." The Iraqi government, naturally, criticized the study, too, but even they admit that more than 300,000 Iraqis have fled their homes to other parts of the country to escape violence since 2003. Meanwhile, 890,000 Iraqis have moved to Jordan, Iran and Syria since Saddam's fall. The UN estimates that 315,000 Iraqis have fled their homes in the last eight months and that between 1.2 and 1.5 million Iraqis are hanging out in neighboring states. Though the numbers are all over the place, the point is we have created a humanitarian disaster which worsens as a result of our presence despite what liars in the administration, on capitol hill, and in the press corps tell us.

As for the Lancet study, most of the organizations tracking civilian deaths rely exclusively on media reports--in other words, they ignore huge swaths of the country. Likewise, "There are two reasons for thinking the survey might be more accurate than has been portrayed, both of which were not mentioned much yesterday. First, the researchers were able to duplicate, with different households, the results of a survey they conducted two years ago (which was also widely disputed) that put the death toll then at 100,000. And secondly, the pre-invasion mortality rate of 5.5 per 1,000 people per year, found in both surveys, is similar to the estimate used by the CIA and the U.S. Census Bureau." On top of this, the military will not report any numbers, and the Iraqi government recently took steps to bar the central morgue in Baghdad and the Health Ministry from releasing information about civilian deaths. So who are you going to believe? John's Hopkins researchers or the guys who said these things?

It turns out that Bush and the GOP have delayed the Second Coming of Christ.

The "coalition" in Iraq will soon shrink. Tony Blair must be the only man on the British Isles that still supports the war. Chief of the General Staff Sir Richard Dannatt says the presence of British armed forces in Iraq "exacerbates the security problems" and they should "get out some time soon."

After our invasion of Iraq, many Christians have found a comfortable home in Syria. You might think this would concern American Evangelicals. You would be wrong.

You mean all along the administration has known things were bad in Iraq and hasn't told us? Really, did you need Bob Woodward to tell you that?

European lefties, or "progressives," are hopping out of the closet, wondering if Islam might be incompatible with "European values." "A lot of people, progressive ones — we are not talking about nationalists or the extreme right — are saying, 'Now we have this religion, it plays a role and it challenges our assumptions about what we learned in the 60’s and 70’s,'" said Joost Lagendik, a Dutch member of the European Parliament for the Green Left Party. The Dutch are taking up the challenge by giving prospective newcomers a primer on those values: a DVD briefly showing topless women and two men kissing. Secularism is a thin reed on which to build a civilization and I doubt very much that Europeans can succeed in stemming the Islamic flood if the primary concern is nothing more than a defense of radical individualism--as symbolized by kooky feminism and homophilia.

Paul Craig Roberts on the case for impeachment and the decline of American character: "Claes Ryn is correct when he says a change of mind has occurred. The Constitution and the political system based on it are on the ropes because the players no longer believe in it. They believe in executive power to act forcefully in behalf of 'American exceptionalism.'"

Hysterics over at Focus on the Family say the world will come to end if the GOP loses control of Congress. Albert Mohler says that Christians sin, yes, sin, if they don't vote. You don't know where to start with such nonsense, but I'm pretty sure my conscience would be clean sitting out a Hitler-Stalin slugfest. But the point is clear, Christian conservatives have very little clout in the GOP, whose leaders think they're "nuts." If conservatives really want to get the attention of the GOP, perhaps they should stay home and let them take a drubbing.

Justin Raimondo makes the case for a tactical alliance between libertarians and the Democratic Party.

One wonders about the moral compass of such men. Charles Krauthammer writes that because the North Koreans have nukes we have to invade Iran:

This policy [deterrence] has a hitch, however. It works only in a world where there is but a single rogue nuclear state. Once that club expands to two, the policy evaporates, because a nuclear terror attack would no longer have a single automatic return address.

Which is another reason why keeping Iran from going nuclear is so important. With North Korea there is no going back. But Iran is not there yet. One rogue country is tolerable because it can be held accountable. Two rogue countries guarantees undeterrable and therefore inevitable nuclear terrorism.

Picture jailbird Jack Abramoff sitting at an NCAA hoops game with Bush Svengali Karl Rove. Between hot dogs and Budweiser they're busily discussing policy toward Israel, of course, and how much Mr. Bush looovvves Ariel Sharon. Rove manages to convince Abramoff that all the tough talk directed at the Israelis (try not to snicker) is little more than window dressing to mollify the Arabs in preparation for the coming war in Iraq. But wait a second. This conversation took place in March, 2002! You mean the administration really didn't take every possible step diplomatically to prevent war before they dragged the country into complete disarray in Mesopotamia?


Blogger Lawrence said...

With the neocons vs democrats the slugfest is more like Lenin vs Trotsky.

5:16 PM  

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