Dang. Thanks for the link.

Posted by Erin at March 22, 2006 11:38 AM

BTW...Can't wait to hear how Will and Pericles argue this one.

Posted by Erin at March 22, 2006 11:39 AM

I too would like to think that my country isn't interested in getting into wars it isn't sure it can win. Sadly, the reality seems to be somewhat different.

Posted by Pericles at March 22, 2006 01:31 PM

By the way, I thought that the LGF statistics about casualty rates were silly. I'm not one to harp on the casualty rate too much, because we'd be justified in staying in a war with a much higher casualty rate if the reasons for going to war in the first place were stronger. Still, this is just playing with numbers. The implication is that you're safer fighting in Iraq than here. The problem is that the numbers for the U.S. death rate includes people dying of old age. To make it meaningful, let's see the death rate for people in the prime of their life, as the troops are. Also, let's throw in not just death numbers, but also numbers for serious injuries. How about a statistic for the number of amputations in the U.S. versus the number for troops in Iraq? One of my conservative friends was scoffing at the civil war talk after the mosque bombing, saying that the number of people killed in sectarian violence after the bombing was not much more than a bad month in Detroit. Maybe he was right, but this was a week after the bombing, i.e., a week versus a month. I'm not saying that no liberal has ever played with numbers the same way, but if they did, LGF would be all over it.

Posted by Pericles at March 22, 2006 03:10 PM

Well, hell must have frozen over because Pericles and I agree on the statistics. I think the better comparison would be to past conflicts. Yes, each life is precious and an unbelievable heartache to families who love them. But as military equipment improves, casualties and deaths decrease. Those statistics would be more meaningful than a comparison to the public at large.

Posted by Oda Mae at March 22, 2006 08:06 PM

"But as military equipment improves, casualties and deaths decrease."

Unfortunately, as the enemy's military equipment improves, casualties and deaths can also increase.

Posted by Amritas at March 22, 2006 08:18 PM

Damn pericles, you hit the obvious before I even got a chance.

Posted by Will Somerset at March 22, 2006 11:54 PM

Posted by Oda Mae at March 23, 2006 07:18 AM

What do numbers prove, exactly? If the war is just and good, then endless sacrifices are justified. If the war is illegal and immoral, than just one death is a crime.

Posted by Will Somerset at March 23, 2006 09:37 AM


The numbers don't really prove anything, but you already knew that.

But I'm confused. Who determines the legality of war? What makes the war immoral? I'm so sick of hearing people use these words to describe the conflict in Iraq!

The immorality of this war isn't absolute just because people like you say it is.

I'm sure I can pretty much predict what you might respond with, but seriously. I want to know how you can justify calling this war illegal and immoral (try to do it in 100 words or less...I have a low attention span).

Posted by Erin at March 23, 2006 10:55 AM

Prove a controversial legal and moral position in 100 words: good luck with that, Will! :) I think the trick is to say that any time you are talking about shooting people and blowing them up, the initial assumption should be that this is illegal and immoral. It is up to to those who think that law and morality permit war in this particular case to prove otherwise. War is guilty until proven inncocent. One can argue that Saddam's failure to comply with the cease fire agreement is a legal justification for the war. Morally, it would be harder to justify. Traditional just war theory allows for preemptive but not preventive war; you can shoot first when you're about to be attacked, but not just because you speculate that years down the road a country might attack you. My own moral criticisms would center on the President's obligation to the troops not to put their lives at risk when no important objective justifies it. I'd also say that it was a moral failure to ignore the generals' advice about the number of troops. The Bushies ignored our moral obligation to be rsponsible for order in the country after we overthrew its government.

Posted by Pericles at March 23, 2006 01:17 PM


The initial cause for war was the imminent danger posed by Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. The American people and congress agreed to the war because we didn't want Saddam perpetuating his own 9/11 with a nuclear bomb.

This threat didn't turn out to be try. Moreover, it seems as if intelligence was skewed by the administration to create a cause for war rather than detect one. Colin Powell, a man who survived two tours in Vietnam morally intact, calls it a 'blot' on his record.

So what are we left with? Taking out Saddam was right just because he was a dictator? When this war started, human rights were only a very minor reason to enter Iraq. Human rights became more of an after-the-fact justification only when it turned out that there were no WMD or prewar links to international terrorism. The extreme measure of military invasion should be reserved for stopping ongoing or imminent mass slaughter, and that wasn't happening in Iraq in March 2003. Humanitarian intervention might have been justified to stop the Anfal genocide in 1988 against the Kurds, but there was nothing like that going on in 2003. Clearly, Saddam was an awful dictator, but there are many awful dictators in the world, and toppling an awful dictator, in my view, does not justify military intervention.

And even if you did want to justify this war based on the human rights issue, the fact is that Saddam is charged with killing 148 Shiites, illegal imprisonment and torture in a crackdown launched after an assassination attempt against Hussein in the Shiite village of Dujail in 1982. Killing 148? Shit, the green river killer almost has that topped. And how many civilians have been killed as a direct result of Operation Iraqi Freedom? 20 000? 30 000? How ten of thousands are maimed for life?

But let's remember that this is called Operation Iraqi FREEDOM! So then there's the freedom angle. Allright, fair enough. Let's see how it plays. I hope they are all free and democratic at the end of the day. But I'll say this: When Operation Iraqi Freedom is over, the Iraqi people better be the free-est people on the face of the planet. They better have so much freedom they can fucking fly.

And so I will end with a quote from Richard Hass, former aide to President George H.W. Bush, and president of the Council on Foreign Relations:

"The war has absorbed a tremendous amount of U.S. military capacity, the result being that the U.S. has far less spare or available capacity to use in the active sense or to exploit in the diplomatic sense. It has weakened our position against both North Korea and Iran. It has exacerbated U.S. fiscal problems. The war has also contributed to the world's alienation from the U.S. and made it more difficult to galvanize international support for U.S. policy toward other challenges. Iraq's legacy could also lead to renewed American public resistance to international involvement."

I'm going to go outside now and do a cart-wheel. A cart-wheel for freedom.

Posted by Will Somerset at March 23, 2006 07:57 PM

Will: No.

Posted by Pixy Misa at March 24, 2006 02:36 AM

No cart-wheel?

Posted by Will Somerset at March 24, 2006 08:44 PM