Sunday, March 18, 2007



Making the world a safer place

The US invasion of Iraq is full of horrific ironies. A "war on terror" has encouraged terorism. A war to bring human rights has instead brought torture and death squads and abuses assessed by Iraqis themselves as "worse than under Saddam". And now a war ostensibly fought to prevent terrorists from gaining access to weapons of mass destruction has seen the Iraqi resistance using chemical weapons.

The Iraqi gas bombs are as crude as you can get - a cylinder of chlorine with a bomb attached - but they are effective enough. The raw material is widely available - chlorine can be found whereever there are water treatment facilities - and the idea seems to be getting around fast. There were three gas attacks last week alone, and US forces have found a bomb factory where the bombs were being made. Once perfected, the technique will no doubt spread to other conflicts - just as the use of roadside bombs and suicide bombers has.

So much for the idea that the fighting terrorism in Iraq would make the world a safer place...

18 comments:

They probably kill less people with chlorine than the same weight of explosive would. However if by using Cl to make bombs that forces the authorities to stop treating water with it, that would kill lots of people through cholera, etc.

Posted by Rich : 3/18/2007 05:05:00 PM

chemical weapons are generally not particularly effective for fighting/killing people in this context - but they are very useful for getting people to want you dead.

GNZ

Posted by Anonymous : 3/18/2007 05:17:00 PM

They're also very good at spreading fear - even the simple ones like Chlorine.

And yes, the real worry is that the US will decide that people outside the first world aren't "allowed" access to Chlorine, because it could be used to threaten Americans. Chlorination is one of the most basic sanitation procedures, and without it, we'd be back to the C18th.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 3/18/2007 05:33:00 PM

This comment has been removed by the author. Posted by Dave : 3/18/2007 08:27:00 PM

If you think Iraq is bad, how bad will it be if the US attacks Iran.

Posted by Dave : 3/18/2007 08:28:00 PM

Ahhh, the left's favorite game of shitting on the Iraqi people by telling them their life was better ubder one of the worst tyrants of the 20th century.

Inconveniently for you and your friends, Idiot, it appears Iraqis themselves believe that they are definitely better off with Saddam gone and DON'T consider life worse than under his regime. But then, what would they know?

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/iraq/article1530526.ece

Posted by 123 : 3/19/2007 12:24:00 AM

123 - it should be no surprise that a majority of Iraqis consider themselves better off under the current administration. The majority of Iraqis are Shia, and finally have a government that is led by Shia.

To me, the telling statistics (from the article you cited) are that in the post-occupation violence one in four Iraqis have had a close family member murdered, and that over 33% of Baghdad people have had a family member or acquaintance kidnapped.

Posted by Strategist : 3/19/2007 06:35:00 AM

Inconveniently for you and your friends, Idiot, it appears Iraqis themselves believe that they are definitely better off with Saddam gone and DON'T consider life worse than under his regime. But then, what would they know?

I think that 'what the Iraqis know' is that when a stranger comes to your door or calls you on the phone and asks if you 'like' the current government it's prudent to say yes no matter what you really think.

Posted by danyl : 3/19/2007 07:23:00 AM

Of course Danyl, because heavens knows those darn Iraqis couldn't be being honest if what they're saying dosn't reflect your worldview...

Posted by 123 : 3/19/2007 10:02:00 AM

Less than half of the respondents think the current situation is an improvement on Saddam. "By a majority of two to one, Iraqis prefer the current leadership" is appallingly bad journalism, since the majority either prefer Saddam or express no preference. Four years of US occupation, and the majority of surviving Iraqis don't think life is any better than under an evil dictator and sanctions - that's an impressively dismal outcome.

The majority _do_ think things will improve when the US troops leave.

Posted by Commie Mutant Traitor : 3/19/2007 10:06:00 AM

Of course Danyl, because heavens knows those darn Iraqis couldn't be being honest if what they're saying dosn't reflect your worldview...

Do you also think the Iraqis were being 'honest' back when Saddams approval ratings were solid at around 99%?

Posted by Danyl : 3/19/2007 10:12:00 AM

I disagree entirely that it's bad journalism, CMT - it's inconvenient journalism for you, certainly, but the article presents the findings of the poll truthfully and accurately. What this does prove is that Iraqis certainly do not - by a margin of 2 to 1 - consider that life in Iraq now is "worse than under Saddam", as Idiot gloatingly claimed.

You can stand with the chlorine bombers and the beheaders and the mosque bombers who pass as the Iraqi 'resistance'; I'll stand with Kanan Makiya, Shanaz Rashid, and those who have fought bravely for an Iraq free from tyranny. And I'll stand with these Iraqi teachers:

Ali Ahmed Sindal, aged 63, a school inspector, checks on his three sons and daughter every day after work. But Ahmed, who spent four years on death row under Saddam Hussein, was hopeful: 'We are optimistic that all these things will be ended within one year, two years, three years. Then we are expecting a new life, a better life.'

In the meantime, the teachers want to keep improving the country's education system. Mahdi, who has brought the teachers to Britain with the support of the Iraqi Federation of Workers, said he was still planning strategies for teaching a year in advance despite the trouble.

'These people who attack education, attack schools and teachers have nothing in their heart but hate and violence and they want the destruction of Iraq. They have no sense of humanity.'

Teacher Mohamed Seed Hatem said the situation today 'was still better than it was. A bloody dictatorship has gone.'

http://www.iraqitradeunions.org/archives/000791.html

It is for these people that any decent left should be fighting. And yet the likes of you and Idiot seem to enjoy more sitting in a circle gloating about how bad things are in Iraq, as if the suffering of Iraqis represented some sort of moral victory for your politic. No thanks. The question for anyone with a shred of decency should be 'how do we lend these people our support?'

Posted by 123 : 3/19/2007 10:30:00 AM

"It is for these people that any decent left should be fighting."

well... duh. thats exactly who most people on "the left" are speaking out for.

considering that the post is about how the WOT has had the opposite effect, ie: growing terrorism, what should we do?

talk about what a sterling success the occupation has been?

talk about how legal and truthfull the whole glorious little fight has been?

you make the common mistake of assuming that a vote against GWB is a vote for saddam. and you couldnt be more wrong.

no one here has said that iraqi's should go back to saddam.

Posted by fraser : 3/19/2007 12:25:00 PM

"It is for these people that any decent left should be fighting."

well... duh. thats exactly who most people on "the left" are speaking out for.

considering that the post is about how the WOT has had the opposite effect, ie: growing terrorism, what should we do?

talk about what a sterling success the occupation has been?

talk about how legal and truthfull the whole glorious little fight has been?

you make the common mistake of assuming that a vote against GWB is a vote for saddam. and you couldnt be more wrong.

no one here has said that iraqi's should go back to saddam.

Posted by fraser : 3/19/2007 12:25:00 PM

whoops - apologies for double post

Posted by fraser : 3/19/2007 12:26:00 PM

"Iraqis certainly do not - by a margin of 2 to 1 - consider that life in Iraq now is "worse than under Saddam""

That's not what the article says - it claims "better", not merely "no worse", which is blatantly untrue.

Posted by Commie Mutant Traitor : 3/19/2007 12:39:00 PM

CMT - you'll find that I'm referring to Idiot's comments in his original post, thank you. As for you Fraser; do pull the other one. If you opposed the invason of Iraq, you actively made a choice that it was preferable for Saddam to remain in power. The Chilean author Ariel Dorfmann agonised over this very choice during the anti-war marches; at least he was honest enough to recognise the profundity of his decision. I quote from his Letter to an Unknown Iraqi:


"I do not know your name, and that is already significant. Are you one of the thousands upon thousands who survived Saddam Hussein's chambers of torture, did you see the genitals of one of your sons crushed to punish you, to make you cooperate? Are you a member of a family that has to live with the father who returned, silent and broken, from that inferno, the mother who must remember each morning the daughter taken one night by security forces, and who may or may not still be alive? Are you one of the Kurds gassed in the north of Iraq, an Arab from the south displaced from his home, a Shiite clergyman ruthlessly persecuted by the Baath Party, a communist who has been fighting the dictatorship for long decades?

Whoever you are, faceless and suffering, you have been waiting many years for the reign of terror to end. And now, at last, you can see fast approaching the moment you have been praying for, even if you oppose and fear the American invasion that will inevitably kill so many Iraqis and devastate your land: the moment when the dictator who has built himself lavish palaces, the man who praises Hitler and Stalin and promises to emulate them, may well be forced out of power.

What right does anyone have to deny you and your fellow Iraqis that liberation from tyranny? What right do we have to oppose the war the United States is preparing to wage on your country, if it could indeed result in the ouster of Saddam Hussein? Can those countless human rights activists who, a few years ago, celebrated the trial in London of Chilean Gen. Augusto Pinochet as a victory for all the victims on this Earth, now deny the world the joy of seeing the strongman of Iraq indicted and tried for crimes against humanity?"

http://www.dukenews.duke.edu/2003/02/dorfmaniraqiletter0203.html

In this case - as Dorfman sees - it is VERY much about the moral responsibility of choosing between the two. Your intimation that one can choose neither smacks of evasion - an assumed moral superiority unsullied by the need to make a choice. And in doing that, you choose Saddam as the least evil future for Iraq. So did Dorfman ultimately, but unlike yourself, he realised that a decision had to be made, and it was one that comprised of strong moral arguments from both sides. Your smug condescension shows that an equivalent realisation is for you not close at hand.

Posted by 123 : 3/19/2007 01:56:00 PM

"CMT - you'll find that I'm referring to Idiot's comments in his original post, thank you."

I'm sure i/s is delighted that you think his post "presents the findings of the poll truthfully and accurately"

Posted by Commie Mutant Traitor : 3/19/2007 04:21:00 PM