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October 24, 2010

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At least my feeling intestinally ill today, and semi-sleepless, and not up to going out on errands, and generally feeling sick, enabled me to get this out.

Hey, you can't make an omelette without breaking some eggs.

And the omelette will be arriving.... any day now. Imminently. I'm sure.

I just think it's an embarrassment to the mainstream media that WikiLeaks is now our best source of information on what happened in Iraq. How pathetic.

Impressive work, Gary.

According to the data listed at the Guardian, "Close Air Support" killed 5 civilians, but 776 insurgents. Huh?

But didn't the Lancet report 600,000 war-related deaths through 2006? Now we're hearing that it was 109,000 through 2009 - are you saying that the Lancet made up their numbers?

"Now we're hearing that it was 109,000 through 2009 - are you saying that the Lancet made up their numbers?"

That's a very irritating passive aggressive way to make your point. Obviously you think the numbers in these leaked government documents are evidence against the Lancet figures, so why don't you just say so? It's a fair question, one I raised at another blog. The question is whether one would expect the US government to have tried to determine as accurately as possible how many civilians were being murdered--if so, then yes, the fact that they "only" counted 109,000 would be an argument against the Lancet number. It wouldn't necessarily show that they "made up" their numbers--it might demonstrate that it's very difficult to determine total death tolls in a situation where the government responsible for keeping the mortality statistics is also running death squads.

Incidentally, what the wikileaks documents do demonstrate is that US documents cannot be relied upon to produce accurate counts of civilians killed by American forces, as pointed out in the Guardian article regarding what happened at Fallujah and in the NYT article regarding Haditha.

But didn't the Lancet report 600,000 war-related deaths through 2006? Now we're hearing that it was 109,000 through 2009 - are you saying that the Lancet made up their numbers?
a) Do feel free to dig up my past blog posts on the Lancet estimate to confront me with any and all contradictions you feel exist.

I would be delighted to discuss any of my own past opinions.

If you're not asking me about my own opinions, but someone else's, whose opinions am I supposed to be responsible for, precisely?

Now we're hearing that it was 109,000 through 2009
Apparently you also haven't bothered to read this post, either.

But I'll be here when you get back to me with my quotes about the Lancet that you have in mind. I greatly look forward to seeing your citations on my contradictions.

I realize it's a long post, but I already quoted right near the top:

But, of course, this data is still minimal, new as much of it is. [...] Iraq war logs reveal 15,000 previously unlisted civilian deaths:

[...] Iraq Body Count, a London-based group that monitors civilian casualties, told the Guardian: "These logs contain a huge amount of entirely new information regarding casualties. Our analysis so far indicates that they will add 15,000 or more previously unrecorded deaths to the current IBC total. This data should never have been withheld from the public."

[...]

The data cannot be relied upon as a complete record of Iraqi deaths. IBC, for example, had previously calculated that up to 91,469 civilians were killed from various causes during the period covered by the leaked database. While detailing the 15,000 previously unknown deaths, it also omits many otherwise well-attested civilian fatalities caused by US troops themselves. Nor does the Pentagon data cover any of the initial invasion fighting throughout 2003; IBC has identified 12,080 purely civilian deaths in that year.

The US figure is far lower than another widely quoted estimate of more than 650,000 "excess deaths" extrapolated on a different basis and published in a 2006 study in the Lancet.

A key example of the failure by US forces to record civilian casualties they have inflicted comes in the two major urban battles against insurgents fought in 2004 in Falluja. Numerous buildings were reduced to rubble by air strikes, tank shells and howitzers, and there were well-attested deaths of hundreds of civilians. IBC has identified between 1,226 and 1,362 such deaths during April and November. But the leaked US internal field reports record no civilian casualties at all.

One of the most publicised allegations was that a clinic in central Falluja was shelled on 9 November. Doctors claimed to international media that two strikes on the roof had killed scores of patients and staff. The IBC puts the total number of civilian deaths at 59.

The US military maintained these claims were "unsubstantiated", and the leaked database does not record any civilian deaths in the logs of these incidents.

But the logs do reveal corroborating evidence, furnished at the time by US troops involved in the fighting, that the clinic was a target for shelling. [....]

Heavy fighting is then detailed. And:

[...] At other times the troops record Iraqi deaths but invariably classify all the corpses as "enemy". When a helicopter gunship killed two Reuters journalists with a group of other men in a Baghdad street, in one notorious 2007 incident, all were listed as "enemy killed in action".

Etc. I kinda thought I covered the relevant point here, but, then, again, it's a long post, even if you don't click any of the links.

"then yes, the fact that they "only" counted 109,000 would be an argument against the Lancet number. "

Correcting myself--the 109,000 includes non-civilians.

Fuzzy Face, the Lancet report was about 'excess' deaths caused by the war. It includes the children who died because of bombed sanitation and hospitals, the dialysis patients ditto, the deaths in childbirth etc. These are caused by the war but are not the same as actual deaths from being shot. Two different things.

Nice to see you again in these parts, Donald.

The invasion of Iraq (staying in Afghanistan is a close second) was the single worst event in US history. It will prove to be the downfall of the country. The economy cannot continue to sustain unlimited expenditures for both wars not to mention over 700 military installations worldwide.
The US, we, killed thousands upon thousands of innocent people for absolutely nothing.
Was Lancet right? Was the DoD right? Seriously? You want to quibble over how many we killed for nothing?
It was an illegal war under any reading of the international law. Hell even the pope (not this one) said it was illegal. He was bound to be right about something.

Thanks Gary. And I've been very happy to see you blogging here. It's long overdue, IMO.

DaveC-- Why did the Marines claim that 15 civilians were killed by an insurgent bomb when in fact they were killed by the Marines? Why not just say that they followed the rules of engagement and as a result they shot 15 civilians?

Let's, in fact, put in the record:

[...] On April 17, 2007, the Marine Corps dropped all charges against Sgt. Sanick P. De la Cruz in exchange for his testimony. Seven other Marines involved in the incident have also been granted immunity.[48]

On August 9, 2007, all charges against Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt and Capt. Randy Stone were dropped.[35] On October 19, Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt's commanding officer decided the charges should be lowered to involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and aggravated assault.[10]

On September 18, 2007, all charges against Captain Lucas McConnell were dropped in exchange for immunity and his cooperation with the investigation.[49]

On March 28, 2008, all charges against LCpl. Stephen Tatum were dropped.[50]

On June 17, 2008, all charges against Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani were dismissed by the military judge citing unlawful command influence.[12] The Marine Corps appealed that ruling in 2008.[51] On March 17, 2009, a military appeals court upheld the dismissal of the war crimes charges against Chessani.[52] Facing an administrative Board of Inquiry,[53] it also found no misconduct and recommended that Chessani be allowed to retire without loss of rank.

Frank Wuterich is the only person involved who remains in legal jeopardy.

His attorney says:

[...] His attorney predicted that the public will be “shocked” by what is revealed in the courtroom.

“The truth coming out will have a devastating impact on the Marine Corps, its image and upon the prosecution team that made the decisions it did,” said Neal Puckett, a Virginia-based civilian lawyer.

I don't know why a patriotic Marine would want to have a devastating impact upon the Marine Corps and its image, but I hope that doesn't occur.

The old website that detailed the events of that day,

http://www.justinsharratt.com/

is now defunct, advertisements for shoes. The web is not real good for retaining things. Most of the info I originally saw about this on Sharratt's site was from North County Times, which is also gone. Wikipedia does have a reference to this page, but that's about all I have. You would have to dig for the details, which I can't do with my free time.

"The old website that detailed the events of that day...."

I would have assumed that this means that it detailed Justin Sharratt's version of the events of the the day, not that of God Almighty, or any omniscient observer.

Not being either, I've never known what happened on that day in that town, and I always pointed that out in the face of, ah, claims otherwise.

That makes at least one of us who has never made a claim about the guilt or innocence of anyone involved, and who does not know the truth of anyone's guilt or innocence, as regards the events in Haditha.

However, I don't have to assume anything about Lance Corporal Justin Sharrat's site, since it's">http://www.justinsharratt.com/">it's right here.

I just see the shoes when I click on anything.

This is the main page for the entire DEFEND OUR MARINES site, which is entirely focused on defending the Haditha defendents, along with a little branching out into a Fallujah case.

Look, after many, many posts by Charles here, and you at your place, I would have liked to have seen at least something, anything, supporting our Marines' story about that day. Wouldn't that be fair? And retract the (various bloggers) will have to apologize to John Murtha statements. That is all. I don't want to re-live this mess.

"I don't want to re-live this mess."

No, that would mean I'd have to bother looking up your exact quotes lying about Hilzoy and myself and others and what we'd written, and you'd have to again be asked to substantiate your claims about our traitorous nature, and then we'd have to drag out your explanations from TIO on exactly why you deliberately acted maliciously here, and it could all be very unpleasant indeed.

Look, after many, many posts by Charles here, and you at your place, I would have liked to have seen at least something, anything, supporting our Marines' story about that day. Wouldn't that be fair?
I like to read that our military are always just and good, too.

I also like to learn as close an approximation of truth as possible.

That's what I think is fair.

So, by all means, link to any unfair statement I made in any of my Haditha posts.

Was Haditha really the first thing you wanted to bring up in conversation with me since Hilzoy finally, after months of your attacks on us, booted you?

Why, yes, turns out it was. I win my bet with myself.

Sample nostalgia from DaveC:

[...] The Democrats, pareticularly Eric Martin, support Al Sadr and his Murder Squads, They say that Malaki is the "real" Iranian puppet, even if he wears a suit and tie and attempts to go after the Taliban types in Basra.

[...]

Obamama didn't vote for the war, but he said he would get out of Iraq, even if the consequence was genocide. That is what the Dems boast about regarding Vietnam: they got out, and the resulting genocide, well They didn't care.

And every stinking Democrat doesn't care about the aftermath of pulling out precipitously from Iraq. The posters on the blog do not and Obama does not either. This is

The Democrats are against Americas goals for Democracy, civil society, and a middle class in the Middle East. They actively support Al Sadr, and actively oppose the War on Terror. This is very similar to the Democratic opposition to liberation of Eastern Europe. Almost all to the Democrats were against the very actions that gave freedom to millions of people, because they were against the Republicans.

I cannot fathom why it the Democrats think that it is advantageous to side with America's enemies, and with dictators and would-be dictators like Castro, Al Sadr, Assad, etc., but they do it over and over again.

And so on and so forth. Good times.

Not so much.

Incientally last week:

[...] The meeting came two days after Mr. Maliki met privately in the Iranian holy city of Qum with Moktada al-Sadr, a formerly bitter rival who this month threw his support behind Mr. Maliki. As prime minister, Mr. Maliki built his reputation in part by sending the military against militias loyal to Mr. Sadr, and the two camps had been scathing opponents, with several Sadrist ministers withdrawing from the Maliki government.

The meeting between the two men in Qum, where Mr. Sadr has been pursuing his clerical studies, was their first since the election. Mr. Sadr’s support added 40 seats to the 89 won by Mr. Maliki’s bloc, moving it closer to the 163 needed to form a government.

In Iran, Mr. Maliki also met with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who made their most favorable statements to date regarding his re-election bid.

Meanwhile, those Sunni Taliban in Basra continue to be exactly as threatening, and non-existent, in Basra, as ever.

And to quote someone with ten thousand times my credibility, one Hilzoy:

Look: we have, in fact, cut DaveC a whole lot of slack. During that time, even though he is really great over at TiO, when he comes here he feels compelled to tell us, repeatedly, how we all hate the troops, hate our country, support al Qaeda, want to throw our opponents into psychiatric prisons, etc., etc., etc.

I don't know how it looks to anyone else, but to me, those are serious things to say. And DaveC knows us well enough, I would have thought, to know that. But he does it anyways. It's as though none of us here are people, who might actually mind being called traitors, or told that we support death squads.

Posted by: hilzoy | October 07, 2008 at 04:08 PM

That's enough nostalgia for now, I think.

ohfergoonesssakes, look at what was being said back then

In short, I think that once we leave, all hell will break loose, and that a lot of the most horrifying predictions about what will happen in the event of a withdrawal stand a decent chance of coming true.

And yet I still think we should withdraw. The easiest way to explain this would be to note, first, that we don't have much choice, since we are on the verge of breaking our army as it is; and second, that our presence doesn't seem to have helped much so far. But the real reason is that I think that our presence only delays the inevitable.

This wouldn't necessarily be true if there were some prospect that the Iraqi government would turn into a government that was willing and able to exercise control over the whole country. In that case, there would be something to be said for sticking around to allow it to fully take over. But, as I wrote yesterday, the present Iraqi government is only barely functioning at all, and I see no indication whatsoever that that will change in the near future

Sure, the Iraqi govt isn't functioning right, 4 years on, but that horrifying civil war hasn't yet happened either.For the record, I was not in favor of letting evrything go to hell, and I stood up and said so. Maybe that was too harsh, but I think I was right. Now, it is still an issue for President Obama, who specificly identified Pakistan as a problem. I think the current administration is doing the best they can to prevent these awful civil wars from happening, to prevent a strong-man regime from taking over. To me, that is good and necessary.

Well, DaveC, you're entitled to assert and discuss any views you have, within the posting rules.

That is, when you get frustrated with people you see face to face, you don't decide, after you've had a few, to come here to take it out on the imaginary people in your head who turn out to be real people who don't take kindly to endlessly personal accusations about how we don't care about genocide, want to see American troops killed, are against democracy, wanted to see Eastern Europe under the Soviet Union, are stinkers who side with America's enemies, and so on.

Don't do that, and argue whatever you like about Iraq, or anything else, and you're fine.

I don't think attempting to explain that you really truly were provoked into month after month after month after month of calling us traitorous, pro-genocide scum, etc., on the other hand, would be productive, but if you'd prefer to use your time explaining why you were justified and accurate, why, that's up to you, too.

Not wanting to keep adding to an already long post with what could easily too many updates, I'll put this in comments for the dedicated:

[...] Recent revelations by Wikileaks show how top American leaders lied, knowingly, to the American public, to American troops, and to the world. Ellen Knickmeyer on the carnage she saw as Baghdad bureau chief.

In the dark morning hours of Feb. 22, 2006, a group of unknown attackers detonated bombs in the northern Iraqi city of Samarra, bringing down the golden dome of a revered Shia Muslim shrine.

A few hours later, I drove through Baghdad and watched the country descend into civil war. Then the Baghdad Bureau Chief for The Washington Post, I drove with Iraqi and American colleagues to Sadr City, the sprawling slum on the outskirts of the city. We watched hundreds of black-clad religious militiamen, waving their AK 47s in the air and calling for revenge, in what would be the start to a campaign of sectarian killing and torture.

During visits to Baghdad's morgue over the next two days, I saw Sunni families thronging to find the bodies of loved ones killed by the militias. The morgue's computer registrar told the grim-faced families and me that we would have to be patient; the morgue had taken in more than 1,000 bodies since the Samarra bombing, and was way behind on processing corpses.

Here's the thing, though: According to then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his top commanders, it never happened. These killings, these dead, did not exist. According to them, reporters like myself were lying.

"The country is not awash in sectarian violence,'' the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. George Casey said, on talk show after talk show, making the rounds to tell the American home-front not to worry. Civil war? "I don't see it happening, certainly anytime in the near term,” he said, as he denied the surge in sectarian violence.

Here's the thing, though: According to then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his top commanders, it never happened. These killings, these dead, did not exist.

Casey had taken his own drive around Baghdad after the bombing of the Samarra mosque and had seen, not executed bodies in the streets but “a lot of bustle, a lot of economic activity. Store fronts crowded, goods stacked up on the street.”

Donald Rumsfeld held a news conference at the Pentagon to say that U.S. press reports of killings—such as mine that estimated 1,300 dead in the immediate aftermath of the bombing, based on what I had seen at the morgue, interviews with Sunni survivors, UN and Iraq health officials—were calculated "exaggerated reporting." Iraqi security forces, he said, “were taking the lead in controlling the situation,” everything he assured his listeners was “calming.”

American journalists in Baghdad were under attack not just from Iraqi insurgents, but, at least verbally, from our own country's civilian and military commanders as well.

After the mosque bombing, I had the twisting-in-the-wind experience of attending the weekly press briefings at the Green Zone—this war’s four o’ clock follies—and have the military spokesman insist that things were great, implying that the problem wasn’t the executed and mutilated bodies now found in the streets; the problem was people like me. [...]

But, of course, this was nothing like Vietnam.

The fascinating thing is that the people who are most fixated on the idea that you can't trust the government, and that people from the government lie, don't notice that the military happens to be one of the Biggest Parts of Big Government, and is made up of government employees.

Our military is made up of individuals. Most are highly honorable.

Our military places these individuals into a system that incentivizes in ways good and bad.

Most individuals respond honorably, and many intelligently.

Being human, not all do, and sometimes atrocities will result.

That's war.

And war, particularly war that is going badly, always provokes governmental lying.

If conservatives understand their own philosophy, they should have no problem grasping this concept.

It's not an attack on America, or American soldiers. It's an attack on war, and it's an attack on aspects of the American military system.

If that's unpatriotic, tell it to David Hackworth's ghost.

Recent revelations by Wikileaks show how top American leaders lied, knowingly

Now there is a news flash.

My only comment on all of this is "What the Dalai Lama said".

Iraq presented no credible threat to this country. None.

We invaded Iraq in order to re-engineer the political landscape of the Middle East into something more to our liking.

Employing war as a way to effect constructive political change is, as best as I can make out, like attempting brain surgery with a chainsaw.

Next time somebody talks about "omelettes" and "breaking eggs" we should hand them a rifle, a plane ticket, and politely invite them to lead the charge.

Or maybe we should just commit them, immediately, to a hospital for the criminally insane.

Because that is what they are.

Sure, the Iraqi govt isn't functioning right, 4 years on, but that horrifying civil war hasn't yet happened either.

That depends on how you define a horrible civil war.

4.2 million Iraqis, out of a population of about 25 million, have been displaced internally and externally.

There have been hundreds of thousands of deaths.

Sounds pretty bad as is.

As for Lancet:

1. As Emma noted, Lancet measured "excess deaths" not violent deaths. Thus, a partial tally of violent deaths should be smaller than Lancet's number, even if Lancet's number isn't accurate.

2. The violent deaths tallied by IBC and the US gov do not include deaths of Iraqi military personnel and others during the initial invasion.

However, those Iraqis were also...er...Iraqis, and thus would show up in a study counting all Iraqi deaths.

What Russell and Eric said.

(Yes, it's group mindish. It's all because of the daily memos we receive from The Left.)

What Eric said. Seems to me the civil war pretty much happened, despite US occupation forces.

I get the whole "it would be worse if we leave!" argument, but I think it's wrong. As much as I'd hate to see a civil war erupt post-withdrawl, the fact is that disintegration of Iraq was a possibility from the moment the US invaded and tore the lid off the place.

The idea that a supporter of the Iraqi adventure could manage to convince himself that the people who were opposed to it are the ones who don't care about Iraqis... man, that's some SERIOUS projection.

Iraq was a geopolitical experiment. The jerkwads running our government really are THAT arrogant. The US military (and the UK military, etc) was a tool to be used for sculpture. What could go wrong?

Outstanding post, Gary. Your effort ought to be archived somewhere besides here.

I think, though, the Wikeleaks documents will ultimately play an unfortunate role in the final act of the drama, when we finally extricate ourselves somehow from this mess. The plot line will be this: the reason things did not go well is that our loyal and brave front-line troops were stabbed in the back by traitorous Democrats (cf Vietnam, Ellsberg, etc.) So, ultimately, the totally predictable failure of this tragic and absurd imperialistic adventure will not be the fault of the idiots who ordered it. And, the Wikileaks documents will somehow actually serve as evidence of the treason of those who opposed it all along. Or, up is down.

Look, after many, many posts by Charles here, and you at your place, I would have liked to have seen at least something, anything, supporting our Marines' story about that day. Wouldn't that be fair? And retract the (various bloggers) will have to apologize to John Murtha statements. That is all. I don't want to re-live this mess.
I missed this aspect from DaveC: "And retract the (various bloggers) will have to apologize to John Murtha statements."

Again: DaveC, link to any post or comment I've ever made saying any such thing.

You can't, because I never once ever said any such thing. Why do you want me to retract statements I never made? Why are you still falsely accusing me of making statements I have never made?

And, to return again to a long ago point in our relationship, for the first of what I hope will be the last time: please stop.

Back on substance, I, also, second Donald Johnson's question to you, DaveC:

Incidentally, what the wikileaks documents do demonstrate is that US documents cannot be relied upon to produce accurate counts of civilians killed by American forces, as pointed out in the Guardian article regarding what happened at Fallujah and in the NYT article regarding Haditha.

Rob in CT: "The US military (and the UK military, etc) was a tool to be used for sculpture."

I'm not sure "in fairness" are the best words, but it probably should be noted that certainly Rumsfeld's interest did not lie in remaking the Middle East, or Iraq, into democracies, but simply in knocking off Saddam Hussein, and then assuming a pro-American regime would be installed or emerge, and the U.S. military would have been done with fighting pretty much by the time Bush, you'll recall, did his "Mission Accomplished" oooh, so sexy, fly-in.

The idealistic stuff about democracy can be attributed to Wolfowitz, Bush himself, and some others, while others, such as Rumsfeld, clearly were indifferent at best to the notion.

I'm not sure there's enough public evidence to make any claims about Cheney's thinking on the importance or relevance of Iraqi democracy, but my suspicion is that it was not among his top priorities.

Paul Wolfowitz, on the other hand, among a number of others -- Christopher Hitchens, a number of neo-cons and hawkish liberals, and various people in and out of government -- were, at best, sincerely self-delusional about the timeframe and costs of any kind of positive, idealistic, democratic, shining political example of the power of Democracy, Freedom, And American Exceptionalism, outcome beyond the destruction of the Hussein regime.

Dave C: Sure, the Iraqi govt isn't functioning right, 4 years on, but that horrifying civil war hasn't yet happened either.

Piling on, but this is really Big Lie, holocaust denial territory.

How do you suppose all those formerly Sunni neighborhoods became Shia enclaves, Dave? Somewhere between five and ten thousand people, mostly Sunni men, were buried in one big field in Sadr City, murdered by Shia militias.

This ObWi post from November 2006, an excerpt from the blog Healing Iraq recounting the events that led one Sunni to seek exile, was at the height of that civil war you seem to have missed:

I live in fear everyday, I wake up in fear, and I sleep the night in fear too, few days ago I stopped going to college, because the road to college is very dangerous, fake police check-points are everywhere and at any moment they can stop me and ask for my ID and once they see that I'm a Sunni they would have me killed or kidnapped or tortured, because they can figure it out from my name and my address (my district is a sunni district), and the 2nd reason why I stopped going to college, is that in Monday (20th Nov. 2006) two police patrols attacked our college building, and opened fire on the outer gate of the college for nearly 15 minutes, then they stopped after they injured some guards of the college, and they left immediatly without giving excuses for what they did.

The last two months I have experienced a lot of things that I never imagend that I will experience in my life. About two weeks ago, my district was attacked by mortar missiles, we had missiles falling everywhere in the district, destroying houses and killing innocent people, the district was attacked with about 75 missiles in 5 days, one of the missiles fell on the side-walk just two yards away from the outer door of my house, it was shocking and very horrible, about a month ago, gunmen killed a woman who was a hair styler and owns a shop near my house for no reason, they just stopped her in the street when she was closing her shop and killed her, and left her corpse laying on the street, and truly I don't want to end up like that.

Christopher Albritton reported in February 2006:

"Shi’ite militiamen, probably Mahdi Army, and Sunni gunmen fought pitched battles in the streets of southern Baghdad yesterday and today, while the Iraqi police and Army — praised by the Americans and the Iraqi “government” for their professionalism and efficacy — stood by and watched. During the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990), the Lebanese Army sat out much of the conflict there, allowing militias free reign. The same is happening here in Baghdad today."

Facts are unlikely to penetrate impermeable propagandistic armor, I realized. But I foolishly thought this particular fact, the ethnic cleansing of Sunni Baghdad by Shias, was well established even among war supporters.

My reference above to the formerly Sunni neighborhoods was meant to have included a link to this map.

Satellite imagery told the same story:

Night light in neighborhoods populated primarily by embattled Sunni residents declined dramatically just before the February 2007 surge and never returned, suggesting that ethnic cleansing by rival Shiites may have been largely responsible for the decrease in violence for which the U.S. military has claimed credit, the team reports in a new study based on publicly available satellite imagery. “Essentially, our interpretation is that violence has declined in Baghdad because of intercommunal violence that reached a climax as the surge was beginning,” said lead author John Agnew, a UCLA professor of geography and authority on ethnic conflict. “By the launch of the surge, many of the targets of conflict had either been killed or fled the country, and they turned off the lights when they left.”

Chris J, the claims of liberals backstabbing 'our' troops started even before the actual war this time*. And I have seen stacks of editorial cartoons that were more or less copies of those in Germany after WW1, sometimes down to fine details (it helps of course that US soldiers wear a helmet, "Fritz", that is a based on the German Stahlhelm). Add to that cartoon versions of some infamous Vietnam War photos with Bushies as the victims. I don't know whether this is some Rovian masterplot but these clusters seem to me to be more than just accidental or the result of lacking creativity on the side of the cartoonists.

*I have stated repeatedly that I believe that conservative speechwriters must have direct translations of German political speeches from the Weimar and Nazi era on their shelves ready for use.

Thank you for this post, Gary -- and it's good to see Donald Johnson and Nell pitching in here too. Keep making noise.

The economy cannot continue to sustain unlimited expenditures for both wars not to mention over 700 military installations worldwide.

Not if people keep insisting on luxuries like Social Security, decent schools, clean drinking water, and breathable air they can't. But fortunately Project Starve-the-Beast is in full swing: the guns are winning and the butter doesn't stand a chance. Why, Even The Liberal Barack Obama is ready to do some serious belt-tightening in order to ensure that tens of thousands of US troops can continue doing whatever the hell it is they're doing in Afghanistan, for however long it takes.

I would encourage anyone who wants a first-hand account of what the brutality and barbarism of the invasion of Iraq in 2003 looked like at ground level, to read the book "Generation Kill". Written by a journalist embedded with a forward Marine platoon, you read about American soldiers indiscriminately killing innocent Iraqis, shooting farmers off tractors, etc. Anyone who thinks the U.S. military are some sort of lily-white force of angels of mercy doing acts of kindness is delusional and misguided. Our soldiers are often sadistic, heartless criminals who create widows and orphans and leave behind thousands of crippled and broken people. This was not a noble effort, no matter how right-wing creeps try to spin it!

"Our soldiers are often sadistic, heartless criminals who create widows and orphans and leave behind thousands of crippled and broken people."

"Often" is a vast over-statement, and the problem isn't individual soldiers, but the politicians who send them on unnecessary and criminal wars of aggression.

I am opposed to both legal and illegal immigration. This country is overpopulated, and 21 million Americans are out of work.

"This country is overpopulated"

That's actually a very difficult to defend notion, but I won't be able to repeat myself why for some weeks. I've written about it in comments on this blog in the past, at length, more than once, for what little that's worth.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Whatnot


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