Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Blaming the victim

So, having illegally invaded Iraq and provoked a civil war, at the cost of an estimated 655,000 lives, the US is now saying that it's Iraq's responsibility to clean up the mess, and threatening "consequences" if they don't. Talk about blaming the victim!

At this stage, its difficult to see what they can do. The war is unwinnable, the stated aim of a free and democratic Iraq to serve as an inspiration to the region unachievable (by American methods at least). Staying around means they provoke more violence (but paradoxically, increases the chances of a united Iraq). Withdrawing means watching a bloodbath (but on the plus side, at least they won't be making things any worse, and there won't be any more blood directly on their hands; on the minus, it will still be their fault for having caused it in the first place). So instead they're now openly talking of installing a "strongman" to "stabilise" the country - a betrayal of the very reasons they supposedly invaded in the first place. But I suppose to American eyes, that's better than admitting you were wrong and that you should never have invaded in the first place.


I'd be cautious about using that 650k number too much - it was far over-extrapolated IMHO. Their confidence interval was 30% of their result - that's not a quantitative finding, it's qualitative. If you look at the sample sizes, I think they are small enough that you could come up with quite more plausible explanations than those involving media, aid workers, etc, just completely missing piles of deaths.

Posted by Anonymous : 10/24/2006 06:51:00 PM

Yes well, a smaller figure like say 200,000 would be so much better...we could all rest easy knowing that Bush had done the right thing.

Out of interest, how many unnecessary civilian deaths would be an acceptable price for getting rid of Saddam, dstroying the country, inciting sectarian violence, finding no link to Al Qaeda, finding no wmds, killing almost 3000 American soldiers and making the muslim world hate the west even more than they did before? Huge fucking foreign policy success that one.

Adding insult to injury and letting another strongman take over is just the icing on the cake.

Posted by Michael : 10/24/2006 10:59:00 PM

The March of Folly, Barbara Tuchman.

Posted by Anonymous : 10/25/2006 08:42:00 AM

It's a difficult situation the yanks have got themselves in. After running roughshod over global opinion and the UN and invading Iraq on some unilateral trigger happy ticket, they have now realised that there was a reason why Iraq was governed by a despotic tyrant and that the answer to this problem is not enforced democracy.

They know instinctively that when they pull out the country will collapse into chaos and armed militia will fight it out in the streets until either one party wins or the place breaks up into factions. There are multiple possibilities, such as Shi'a and Sunni separating out Pakistan-India style into separate states, to Turkey grabbing Kurdistan. Basically, the place will go out of 'control', or more correctly will return to Iraqi 'control', which is a different kettle of fish and what this 'control' will consist of will take some time to resolve.

Whether or not some elements of enforced democracy will remain we will not know, but certainly the US implanted leaders will be exiled or killed. More bloodbaths to come. The only reason the US hangs on is to delay this bloodbath as long as possible. Who knows it might turn out to be a cathartic bloodbath and in 10 years time Iraq could be a reformed place and Bush could get the 'credit'. Stranger things have happened.

Posted by Anonymous : 10/25/2006 03:11:00 PM

'cathartic bloodbath' - isn't the internet wonderful?
Think I'll give myself a nice pureed webtroll enema and have a wee lie down.

Posted by Anonymous : 10/25/2006 06:27:00 PM