Iraq to Howard Dean: Explain yourself

Iraq to Howard Dean: Explain yourself
: Iraqi blogger Ali writes an amazing open letter to Howard Dean following the candidate’s assertion that Iraqis’ “living standard is a whole lot worse now than it was before.”

Ali calls that “too irritating and insulting” and says, “I

  • http://tomgrey.motime.com Tom Grey

    Yes Jeff, keep encouraging Zeyad. Hope for the best (expect the worst). Work toward the best.

  • http://www.russpundit.com/ Serge

    Ali is too naive. Of course, staying in White House for 4 more years does worth any war. It is not only staying – how about Haliburton contracts?

  • sickles

    Mr. Ali can rest assured that their is a “Silent Majority” in the US that is with him 100%.

  • hen

    “haliburton contracts” — jesus you wd think they wd have come up with something better then that by now. first it was for oil, then to avenge “Daddy Bush”, now haliburton.
    what a joke.

  • Hipocrite

    That’s not what Dean meant at all. Try it like this, with “They” replaced by the subect of the previous sentance:
    “And [the Iraqi’s who are dead] living standard is a whole lot worse now than it was before.”
    Not nearly as offensive, eh?

  • hen

    Hip – Oh you mean like Qusay and Oday? Yeah too bad, right?

  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    Hip: Do you work in Atlantic City stretching taffy for a living?

  • Hipocrite

    Feisty little winger, aren’t you?
    No, like the thouands of dead Iraqi civilians.

  • Hipocrite

    No, Jeff, I work outside of the media, were words have meanings beyond whatever the spin is.

  • hen

    Oh the 1,000’s of dead civilians…care to link to a source? And when you say “Thousands” are we talking 2,000 or 20,000? Just curious.
    Hey i thought the sanctions were killing 500,000 adorable babies a year – so even if 500,000 innocent civilians were killed isn’t it a net gain?
    How does lefty math work exactly?

  • KMK

    No hipocrite your method is to work in a world where spin has more meaning beyond whatever the word is.

  • capt joe

    For “hipocritical” left wingers, far better than Saddam keep killing these people than anyone ever do anything about it.
    To see the problems with guys like that, read Paul Bermans’s essay. He nails it right on the money.
    see: http://www.dissentmagazine.org/menutest/articles/wi04/berman.htm
    bet, Hip uses the comments to sling ad-homs again. Can’t attack the argument so do the person.

  • Hipocrite

    hen, are you doubting that thousands of civilians died in our attack on Iraq? Are you kidding?
    Lefty math requires that you do it, rather than just snark about hypotheticals. Every time we try to do cost beneifit analysises on costs including hundrds of dead American soldiers and billions of dollars, the repsonse is “Rape Rooms!” as if the existance of “Rape Rooms” justifies any expense and any loss of life. Of course, we eagerly await the armed invasion of Alpha Mu Omega’s across the country.
    For honest leftists, it is better sometimes to use diplomatic and international means to deal with dictators than to just go in with guns-a-blazing.
    Anyone who thinks that the only dead Iraqi civilians are Uday and Qasay deserves nothing but contempt. In addition to not being civilians, they are far from the only dead.

  • hen

    Am i kidding? No. Show me the proof that “thousands” of civilians were killed.
    But let’s just play a bit: You seem to think that if you can’t overthrow a murderous, terrorist dictator by throwing flowers at him then nothing should be done. Maybe you are unaware but the US and Western Civilization is at war. Yeah scary isn’t it? And the sooner people like you understand that and realize things like the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact et al are for fools the better off we’ll all be.
    Yes civilians die in war. That’s a fact. And from all i have read most of the civilians that you are so worried about wd rather risk the slim chance of death due to an Allied war to free them rather then continue to live under the boot of a madman like Saddam Hussein.
    Tell you what: Figure out a way to get to N Korea and live with the poor civilians you are so afraid we might kill. After about a week when you start dreaming about buffs dropping bombs on Pyongyang to free you and the civilians you weep for remember: Any civilian death trumps the prospect for freedom. So enjoy the tender mercies you wd so happily subject others to.
    I understand in NK tree bark is considered a meal.
    Have fun.

  • http://www.russpundit.com/ Serge

    Well said, Hip!
    And pls note – there WERE thousands of civilians. Can anyone predict how much there WILL BE?

  • KMK

    “For honest leftists, it is better sometimes to use diplomatic and international means to deal with dictators than to just go in with guns-a-blazing.”
    Honest leftists maybe you meant marxist/socialists/bathist apologists. 12 years of trying through diplomatic means to deal with this particular dictator produced what, exactly? International means in this case meant unsanctioned arms sales from russia and france. An honest leftist you are not. Tell me in your death equation how many more Iraqis had to die under Saddams rule because apparently not enough did.

  • http://www.russpundit.com/ Serge

    If you would like to discuss any kind of facts – pls show these. Any kind of proof about arms.
    Just a few words – the fact that American (and whole coalition) soldiers brought a new life to Iraqis does not automatically mean that all motives of GWB were also idealistic and moral. To think so is to be naive as I said in my first comment.

  • Hipocrite

    hen – you’ve got to be kidding. You honestly think less than a thousand civilians were killed by our actions in Iraq?
    You seem to have attributed to me the statement that nothing should ever be done to stop dictators. This is completly and totally not my opinion. I was a huge supporter of both actions in the former Yugoslavia. I found that the benefits of those operations dramatically outweighed the costs.
    I have seen no evidence presented before or after our invasion that would justify it on a cost-benefit basis.
    I will NEVER support an invasion of North Korea. I care a bit too much, perhaps, about the millions of civilians that would possibly die in any such action to even consider that an agressive war aginst North Korea is even fathomable. The fact that you pretty much demand that we do to a Nuclear Power what we did to a two-bit dictator pretty much shows that you’re operating out of a morass of ignorance. Luckily, I don’t live on the West Coast or Hawaii, so I don’t need to worry about being incinerated based on idiots like you proposing aggressive wars.
    How many must die such that North Korea can be free, exactly? What’s the unit of cost-benefit analysis you did there?
    KMK adequatly addresses the “Rape Room! He Had Rape Rooms!” idiocy that spewes out when every anyone asks if it was worth it.
    If a million American troops died in the liberation of Iraq would you have supported the invasion? Where’s the line? What math did you do to draw that line? How are you sure that we’re not over the line already? Rape rooms!

  • Sandy P.

    Hypocrite does make a valid point. Words have meaning. Didn’t Saddam’s words lead us to believe he’s a threat? MOAB?

  • hen

    how nice. you do a cost benefit analysis to decide whether or not you support war. good for you. so the lives of Croats is worth how much more then the lives of Iraqis? i’m just trying to understand your accounting method.
    let’s see, under 500 US soldiers died. while every American soldiers death is a tragedy if i thought like YOU did, that “thousands” of our troops wd die then yeah i wd not be for the liberation of the Iraqi people from their meglomaniacal leader, but i didn’t think that. in other words, i was right, and you were and are wrong.
    Hey do you care about the thousands of N Koreans who are in slave camps, the thousands that are starving to death, etc? or are you only concerned about the civilians that “may” die at the hands of Allied troops trying to free them from their dictator leaders? the same dictators who you believe are, by your cost benefit analysis, not a problem whatsoever and the civilians should just realize how lucky they are. i mean after all they might die from American bombs during their liberation.
    you have no moral compass. you are sadly the epitome of what the left in this country has become: a hotbed of anti Americanism, a group that supports the most vicious dictators as long as their vitriol is directed at us.
    are we at war hip or not?

  • Doctor Slack

    You are saying that, either they are stupid enough to sacrifice their lives for the sake of GWB political future, or they are evil people who love fighting and killing and they are doing this only for money, in other words they’re no more than mercenaries.
    Or maybe what’s being said is that they’re soldiers, doing what they’re ordered to do as best they can, in a war that may have less than honorable motives and a less than positive outcome. I’ve got to disagree with Ali on this one: opposing the war is not opposing or blaming the troops. This can’t be said enough; “support the troops” also means supporting their right to good treatment from their civilian leadership.
    When Dean said their standard of living was lower, I suspect he was referring to material life (employment, security etc) and not political freedoms. Everyone should agree there are, currently, more of the latter and less state repression. I don’t blame Ali for reacting as he does — for many people, the two issues are currently one. For that reason, there are many Iraqis who are still giving the occupation the benefit of the doubt. For now.
    Going into Lebanon, Israeli soldiers were greeted as liberators, then forced out after a long and increasingly grinding occupation. Before the war, I expected Iraq to be a kind of Lebanon writ large, but it turns out it’s potentially much worse than that. I didn’t expect the insurgency to start as quickly as it did or to be as destructive as it’s already been, and unless there’s a tipping point soon it seems likely to get worse.
    My suspicion — and this was my problem with the humanitarian angle on Iraq, as indeed it seems to have been for HRW as well — was always that this war would lead to a long bloodletting followed by a change to another dictatorship in Iraq. If that happens it will be a lot harder to justify it on any grounds whatsoever.
    Right now the Iraq War stands as a war deceptively “sold” and thus damaging to American credibility, but not yet entirely disastrous. Salvaging whatever remains probably depends on getting different people at the reins. If it can be done at this stage, can Bush do it? I’m not convinced.

  • KMK

    “I have seen no evidence presented before or after our invasion that would justify it on a cost-benefit basis.”
    You a definitely not an honest leftist.
    KMK adequately addresses the “Rape Room! He Had Rape Rooms!”
    No, actually, I was referencing mass graves, gassed Kurds, you know men, women and children being executed. Death. Rape rooms are a leap from there although quite deplorable. Amazing I ask how many more should have died under Saddam and you dress down death to rape rooms.

  • James Stephenson

    My question is, when did these thousands of civilians die? If the Coalition had killed thousands of Civilians, I do believe that Saddam would have used that for propaganda. Basically we have these people thinking we carpet bombed Iraq.
    Instead the coalition used guided munitions and concrete bombs to do a lot of the work. Concrete bombs that are guided, the only thing destroyed is the target.
    Meanwhile the Iraqi’s are using Ambulances, forcing civilians in between them and Coalition forces. While the Coalition forces did their best to prevent the innocent civilians deaths. Yet we here of these thousands, but we see no proof, none. No mass burials, except for the 100’s of thousands by Saddam, including mass graves of Children. Yet somehow, the Coalition forces are the bad guys?
    Yet we see no proof, none. And 20,000 bodies are hard to get rid of, ask Saddam.

  • Wagner

    The Associated Press estimates 3,240 civilians killed in the crossfire during the main military conflict:
    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/middle_east/jan-june03/iraq_06-19.html
    This number must, of course, be factored against the total Iraq population, which is somewhere in the range of 24 *million*. Which means roughly one innocent life lost for every 7407 spared. This is by any standard a miraculous ratio. It must be further factored against the tens of thousands of political prisoners who would almost certainly spend the remainder of their lives in Saddam’s confines. Then there’s the issue of the sanctions, which before talk of war loomed, many on the left claimed had killed 300,000 Iraqi children through malnutrition and lack of medical care. This is a distorted tally, at least partly because it lays the blame for these deaths on the UN and not Saddam, but it is at least certainly true that thousands of Iraqis would continue dying every year as an indirect result of the way Saddam distributed (or didn’t, as was often the case) food-for-oil charity to poor Iraqis. Then there’s the random 1000s that would surely be killed every year, through executions and other repression, for the forseeable future under Saddam’s regime, and then under Qusay (who used to personally oversee the feeding of thousands of Iraqis feet first into plastic shredders.)
    Or to approach this another way: if, before the war, you could ask the Iraqi people in groups of 7408 whether they were willing to take this chance at liberation, with the proviso that at least one in that group would almost certainly die in the subsequent crossfire, what do you think they’d say?

  • Doctor Slack

    My question is, when did these thousands of civilians die?
    Confirmed numbers are hard to come by. No army is going to be interested in counting the number of civilians lost to its actions, for some fairly obvious reasons. IBC’s numbers, probably the most reliable we have access to, report some 8000 – 9000 Iraqi civilians have died. Their methodology is noted here.
    I do believe that Saddam would have used that for propaganda.
    According to David Kay, Saddam was barely in control of his own country even before he was found hiding in a spider hole. “Baghdad Bob” seems to have been about the extent of his capacity for propaganda.
    No, actually, I was referencing mass graves, gassed Kurds, you know men, women and children being executed.
    Whether killed by Saddam or by war, dead is dead. As Iraq unfolds, the war will be judged by the amount of death it generates — and no doubt that’s why some are trying to squeeze off any discussion about cost-benefit analysis. Alleging that the war may yet prove less lethal than Saddam is a responsible position; climbing on a moralistic high horse is not.

  • http://myblahg.blogspot.com Robert McClelland

    Too many of the Iraqi bloggers are naive. They think that Iraq should be the centre of the world’s attention and all activity that is not focused on their country should cease.
    And of course, they’ve become nothing more than a tool for immoral skanks like you to use against your opponents.

  • Charlie

    The contradictions in the running dialogue of the anti-war position are manifold. The deaths during the liberation of Iraq are horrible — but the genocidal massacres of Saddam are regrettable at best, and the fact that the genocide has been stopped is an inconvenient little detail.
    Deaths from malnutrition, illness, poor sanitation and medical treatment denied are due to the sanctions — not to a fascist party that hoarded food and medical supplies for its members, and turned construction from needed infrastructure to giant, gaudy, gilt and marble faux palaces while skimming billions of dollars into foreign bank accounts, or into boxes full of cash in their back yards. And those sanctions themselves are genocidal, reprehensible, morally unjustifiable — except that we should have continued with sanctions because “Saddam was contained”.
    The war is said to be “all about oil” and “just about more Halliburton contracts” — and the people who maintain these positions stridently maintain their moral and intellectual superiority to those of us who see through the contradictions, deny that a country with millions of people living in tyranny and terror must continue living in fear — and when we ask “who benefits?”, we find out that the support for Saddam was maintained with literally billions of dollars in bribes to the very countries and political organizations that dare to proclaim that “the sanctions are working” and “war is never the answer”.

  • Hipocrite

    Bosnian lives are worth no more or less than Iraqi lives.
    How many US combat fatalities in comthe Kosovo action? None. How many US combat fatalities in the Bosnia action? None.
    The difference is not only in the benefit side, it’s also the cost.
    I feel terrible about the millions on North Korea. It’s too bad that GWB screwed up the Agreed Framework by agitating the North Koreans, making it currently impossible to do anything agressive to an insane, nuclear armed country. I’m unwilling to see Seattle in a mushroom cloud, nor Seoul, regardless of how many North Koreans are in bondage. Diplomacy is the only option.
    With tens of thousands of troops risking their lives daily in Iraq, it’s abundantly clear we are at war.
    You have no intelligence. You are sadly the epitome of what the right in this country has become: a hotbed of anti intellectualism, a group that supports any violent action, regardless of the wisdom of such.
    KMK says that I am not honest because I state I’ve never seen a cost-benefit analysis. I tried and tried to find something, but I couldn’t. I guess I must have missed it. Could you show me something that detailed this analysis that I saw but must have forgotten?

  • Hipocrite

    Charlie, unlike the monolithic right, the left has a diverity of opinions. To compare those and say the left is wrong because people say different things is about as honest as me saying that the right is contradictory because Andrew Sullivan believes in gay rights.

  • hen

    Thank you hip for showing me YOUR intelligence with unprovoked personal attacks. Once again, the left, as indicated by the blatering of hip, has collectively lost its mind. Too bad.

  • Hipocrite

    Don’t get your panties in a bunch, hen, I stole that paragraph from you, remember?
    “you have no moral compass. you are sadly the epitome of what the left in this country has become: a hotbed of anti Americanism, a group that supports the most vicious dictators as long as their vitriol is directed at us.”

  • hen

    don’t concern yourself with my underwear hip. i was referring to the “left”, not you personally. you said “you have no intelligence”. whatever. i’ve wasted enough time debating with someone who was happy to see the Iraqi people under the jackboot of a dictator. piss off.

  • Doctor Slack

    Charlie: attributing a string of elaborate strawmen to a so-called “anti-war position” obviously conflated from widely divergent political camps would be a neat trick… for a garden-variety freeper. But aren’t you supposed to be a “logic and rhetoric guy” with a measured IQ of 180 and two PhD’s? I’d expect better from you.
    we find out that the support for Saddam was maintained with literally billions of dollars in bribes
    And haven’t you noticed that the pro-war echo chamber has been burned by fake “scoops” about Secret Saddam Documents before? Shouldn’t that have taught you some restraint by now? Sheesh.

  • Doctor Slack

    i’ve wasted enough time debating with someone who was happy to see the Iraqi people under the jackboot of a dictator
    I continue to be amused, sort of, by the people who piss and moan about the supposed moral superiority of “the left” and then churn out garbage like this. I have little faith in the newfound “humanitarianism” of such people, though, and little confidence in their ability to seriously address the problems that face either their country or Iraq.
    I’ll say it again, the ultimate fate of Iraq — and the last call for justifying the invasion — will be determined by whether the policymakers can now keep it together. Would be nice to see more pro-wars addressing those concerns seriously, but far too many are still what, say, JD Morris used to be, as we’re seeing on display in this thread.

  • Hipocrite

    hen argues he was talking about the “left” when he wrote:
    “you have no moral compass. you are sadly the epitome of what the left in this country has become”
    Of course, now we know he’s just lying. The left is the epitome of the left? Come on.

  • http://myblahg.blogspot.com Robert McClelland

    >but the genocidal massacres of Saddam are regrettable at best, and the fact that the genocide has been stopped is an inconvenient little detail.
    Look up the word “genocide” and then stop using it in such a haphazard manner lest it too lose meaning.

  • capt joe

    Robbie,
    Funny you should be talking about tools. You seem to spend every breath on their blogs haranging Zeyad, Ali and the other guys that are LIVING there.
    All I see from you is bile towards these guys. What is the problem, Seasonal Affective Disorder? Get out of you Mom’s basement once in a while. ;)

  • capt joe

    Hey Doc,
    Far be it for me to say this, but “youse” are pretty quick to left on rumors and innuendo, and false documents to be calling the pot black.

  • Doctor Slack

    Far be it for me to say this, but “youse” are pretty quick to left on rumors and innuendo, and false documents to be calling the pot black.
    Such as…

  • KMK

    Doc, Robert and hipocrite are not on the left. They are antigovernment socialist propaganda machines. They enjoy being the devils advocate at all costs. After reading what the referenced Iraqi bloggers have written they show nothing other then contempt for their government and the bloggers. Death is death but coalition caused death means more to them then Saddams crimes.
    The former U-S ambassador to Croatia, Peter Galbraith, is a board member at “Indict.” http://www.indict.org.uk Mr. Galbraith has
    been tracking Iraqi war crimes since the late 1980s. He says “Indict” has 18 tons of files, captured from the Iraqi Secret Service after the Gulf War (in 1991), which document crimes against Iraq’s Kurdish and Shi’ite minorities, Kuwaitis, Iranians and the people of Iraq themselves.
    “That evidence consists of the systematic destruction of four-thousand small cities and villages, which we can document, and it consists of the use of chemical weapons for which we have testimony from hundreds of survivors, as well as physical evidence on the ground. There are mass graves, some of which have been excavated by Physicians for Human Rights. There are people who were tortured in prison and have survived. We also have videotapes, because the Iraqi regime liked to videotape itself committing crimes.” True humanitarians have always supported the Iraqi people.

  • Michael Hall

    “Hipocrite” claims that “[t]hat’s not what Dean meant at all. Try it like this, with ‘They’ replaced by the subect of the previous sentance [sic]:
    “And [the Iraqi’s [sic] who are dead] living standard is a whole lot worse now than it was before.
    “Not nearly as offensive, eh?”
    Nice try, Hipocrite, but according to the USA Today, Dean said:
    “You can say that it’s great that Saddam is gone and I’m sure that a lot of Iraqis feel it is great that Saddam is gone . . . . But a lot of them gave their lives. And their living standard is a whole lot worse now than it was before.”
    So, Hipocrite, do you really believe that the word “them” refers to dead Iraqis? Give me a break. Does is not make vastly more sense for the word “them” to refer to the “Iraqis [who] feel it is great that Saddam is gone?” Does it make ANY sense to say that the “living standard” of dead people is below (or above, for that matter) anyone else? C’mon, is that the best that the left can come up with??? Pathetic.

  • http://www.classlesswarfare.com Jay

    Hipocrite is working off something Atrios said apparently, which is so dumb it’s almost funny.
    How in the hell does a dead person even have a standard of living? HE’S DEAD!!
    Idiots.

  • http://saturninretrograde.blogspot.com Ernest Brown

    Here’s an excellent link debunking idiots like Hipocrite from a leftist perspective:
    http://www.marxist.org.uk/htm_docs/comm12.htm

  • KMK

    That was a great link and a great read.

  • Hipocrite

    Communist: I have never said, nor do I believe, any of the strawmen that article, written by communists, attributes to the undefined “left.”
    My only and sole argument is that the costs of the war outweigh the benefits. Since the article you reference details neither the costs nor the benefits of the war, it in no way changes my beliefs.
    KMK – I said nothing about Iraqi bloggers. I find riverbendblog to be one of my most interesting reads. I don’t care who causes death, mereley that death was caused. You, one again, go with the “RAPE ROOMS! HE HAD RAPE ROOMS!” cost-benefit analysis, which is neither an analysis of the costs, or of the benefits. When will the pro-war side present a case for war?
    Michael – no elipses, please.

  • Doctor Slack

    I see Hipocrite has already responded to KMK. Just wanted to say that yes, I’ve been aware of Indict for a few years, and I really like their work. (Interestingly enough, the recent HRW report talks a bit about the surprising power that war crimes indictments can exert even indirectly.)

  • KMK

    Once again, you are not on the left. You put cost above life. I’ve already addressed the rape room thing you keep bringing up, Indict is not about rape rooms. Your attempt to once again dress down death to rape is appalling.

  • http://saturninretrograde.blogspot.com Ernest Brown

    Kmk,
    Yes, it really drives a stake through the heart of the anti-liberation left, doesn’t it?

  • Hipocrite

    No, I demand that all actions taken show benefit in excess of their costs before they are undertaken.

  • Angus Jung

    “No, I demand that all actions taken show benefit in excess of their costs before they are undertaken.”
    If that were true, you would have shut up a long time ago. ;)