Nuclear-armed Iran risks 'World War III,' Bush says


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Nuclear-armed Iran risks 'World War III,' Bush says

by Brian Knowlton

October 17, 2007

International Herald Tribune

This may be saber-rattling, but the stakes just got raised. This is a new game. From the article:

That comment, made during a 45-minute news conference, came as reporters probed for the president's reaction to a warning Tuesday by President Vladimir Putin of Russia against any military strikes on Iran to halt the nuclear work it has continued in defiance of much of the world. Iran says the program is purely peaceful.

"If Iran had a nuclear weapon, it'd be a dangerous threat to world peace," Bush said. "So I told people that if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in ensuring Iran not gain the capacity to develop such weapons."

"I take the threat of Iran with a nuclear weapon very seriously," he said.

Michael

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I wonder how exactly they consider 'nuclear-armed Iran' a threat to world peace any more than any other country with nuclear weapons?

Yes because a fundamantalist religious dictatorship possessing nuclear weapons is the same thing as a representative liberal democracy prossessing them.

Edited by Matus1976
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Yes because a fundamantalist religious dictatorship possessing nuclear weapons is the same thing as a representative liberal democracy prossessing them.

Leaving the sarcasm aside, nuclear weapons are probably the biggest reason we HAVEN'T had WWWIII yet. So far the only country that has used them on someone is a "representative liberal democracy", whatever that means. Maybe if Iraq had had them the US wouldn't have invaded it.

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The reason Iraq didn't have them is because Israel bombed the plant.

Be that as it may, I maintain that nuclear weapons have been a deterrent to world war.

Edited by general semanticist
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GS,

Shi'a Islam leans heavily on a concept similar to the Second Coming in Christianity. For them it is the 14th Imam. Ahmadinejad has made a public appearance where he left no doubt that he thinks he either is that 14th Imam or will serve him directly (although he plays this down now).

How would you like to see David Koresh fiddling his fingers near the button of a nuclear device? "God told me to and the hour is at hand," is his only criterion. That's the problem with Iran having nuclear weapons. They also think Zionists (Israel in general) are Satan.

Boom.

Michael

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GS,

Shi'a Islam leans heavily on a concept similar to the Second Coming in Christianity. For them it is the 14th Imam. Ahmadinejad has made a public appearance where he left no doubt that he thinks he either is that 14th Imam or will serve him directly (although he plays this down now).

How would you like to see David Koresh fiddling his fingers near the button of a nuclear device? "God told me to and the hour is at hand," is his only criterion. That's the problem with Iran having nuclear weapons. They also think Zionists (Israel in general) are Satan.

Boom.

Michael

Why do you think Putin is coming on board against the US on this? Nuclear weapons are all about the balance of power and Putin et al think this balance is getting too far out of whack in the US's favour. It's sad that this is the best mankind has come up with to avoid world war, but there it is.

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Yes because a fundamantalist religious dictatorship possessing nuclear weapons is the same thing as a representative liberal democracy prossessing them.

Leaving the sarcasm aside, nuclear weapons are probably the biggest reason we HAVEN'T had WWWIII yet. So far the only country that has used them on someone is a "representative liberal democracy", whatever that means. Maybe if Iraq had had them the US wouldn't have invaded it.

No doubt, if you look at the number killed during war, it climbs steadily for centuries until the end of WWII with the dropping of the atomic bomb, and then dros preciptiously. They certainly has limited the scale of conflicts, but that limit in scale is based on the premise that the people controlling those nations and thier weapons have a modicum of pragmatic rationality, not something that shitty murderous dictators who are religious fanatics wanting the second coming have a stellar track record for.

NO nation which does not respect the right to life (and self defense) of it's own people has any right to self defense of it's own, let alone having nuclear weapons. The mullahs of Iran and the president hold the people of Iran hostage, as is the same case with every majority Arab or Islamic nation, with the notable exceptions *now* of Iraq and Afghnastan thanks *only* to the western coalation, and the biggest problems these efforts are having are from insurgencies funded and supplied by these niehgboring murderous dictatorships.

By many estimates Saddam Hussien killed 2 million people over his reign, which comes out to some 5,500 deaths per month, the deaths from this war have totalled some 80,000 according to IraqBodycount.org, which over 4.5 years amounts to 1,500 deaths per month, and so the coalition forces could be said to have saved the lives of roughly 4,000 people PER MONTH in Iraq. And if Iraq had nuclear weapons, they would have immediately used them in Israel first, and Iran second, killing many millions of people.

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I suspect the deaths in WW11 would have been higher if the atomic bombs had not been used. Japan was in no mood to surrender and an invasion would have had to be carried out.

I tend to agree, politicians of that era saw the atomic bombs as nothing more than regular bombs, just bigger. Additionally, just the invasions of Okinawa and Iwo Jima constitued some 1/3rd of allied casualties in the pacific theater. Some 90,000 Japanese died in Okinawa alone, defending it with vicious severity. I have no doubt an invasion of Japan would have cost hundreds of thousands of more lives and the dropping of the atomic bombs obviously saved American lives, but also saved more Japanese lives than an invasion would have cost. While the devestation from the atomic bombs was massive, the combined death toll was half the number of people the Japanese killed in their conventional invasion of NanKing.

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The argument that dropping the bombs saved lives depends on the assumption that the war needed to be continued until the emperor et al surrendered. Supposedly the US entered the war because Japan attacked it. ie self-defense, who says they had to invade Japan? So at what point do you stop defending yourself and start offending? In courts of law you are only allowed to use a certain amount of force when defending yourself but in world war anything goes.

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The argument that dropping the bombs saved lives depends on the assumption that the war needed to be continued until the emperor et al surrendered. Supposedly the US entered the war because Japan attacked it. ie self-defense, who says they had to invade Japan? So at what point do you stop defending yourself and start offending? In courts of law you are only allowed to use a certain amount of force when defending yourself but in world war anything goes.

Japan attacked Pearl Harbor to keep the U.S. Navy from interfering with its plans to take over Malaya and (what was then) the Dutch East Indies. It was aggression from start to finish. They attacked Pearl Harbor so we burned them to the ground. Justice was done. Now the Japanese are humble and lovable and make great cameras and cars. Thanks to our A-Bombs. If thine enemy smite thee on thy cheek tear his heart out and piss in his chest cavity.

The Japanese Bastards raped China and Korea and would have established a brutal empire in the Pacific. They thought we were weak and indecisive when they tried to wreck our Navy. We showed them to be quite mistaken in that estimate. We fucked them good.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Japan attacked Pearl Harbor to keep the U.S. Navy from interfering with its plans to take over Malaya and (what was then) the Dutch East Indies. It was aggression from start to finish. They attacked Pearl Harbor so we burned them to the ground. Justice was done. Now the Japanese are humble and lovable and make great cameras and cars. Thanks to our A-Bombs. If thine enemy smite thee on thy cheek tear his heart out and piss in his chest cavity.

The Japanese Bastards raped China and Korea and would have established a brutal empire in the Pacific. They thought we were weak and indecisive when they tried to wreck our Navy. We showed them to be quite mistaken in that estimate. We fucked them good.

Ba'al Chatzaf

In my short time here I have already learned better than to argue with you about this topic. :) There is zero probability we will ever agree.

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Why do you think Putin is coming on board against the US on this?

GS,

Oil.

Michael

Love those short answers! You can elaborate if you want. I don't think Russia needs oil like the US - doesn't it have a shit load itself?

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I wonder how exactly they consider 'nuclear-armed Iran' a threat to world peace any more than any other country with nuclear weapons?

Yes because a fundamantalist religious dictatorship possessing nuclear weapons is the same thing as a representative liberal democracy prossessing them.

I am new here, but that is a very refreshing website.

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GS,

Shi'a Islam leans heavily on a concept similar to the Second Coming in Christianity. For them it is the 14th Imam. Ahmadinejad has made a public appearance where he left no doubt that he thinks he either is that 14th Imam or will serve him directly (although he plays this down now).

How would you like to see David Koresh fiddling his fingers near the button of a nuclear device? "God told me to and the hour is at hand," is his only criterion. That's the problem with Iran having nuclear weapons. They also think Zionists (Israel in general) are Satan.

Boom.

Michael

I am surely not a stickler for typos, but are you certain it is the 14th not the 12th Imam.

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I suspect the deaths in WW11 would have been higher if the atomic bombs had not been used. Japan was in no mood to surrender and an invasion would have had to be carried out.

I tend to agree, politicians of that era saw the atomic bombs as nothing more than regular bombs, just bigger. Additionally, just the invasions of Okinawa and Iwo Jima constitued some 1/3rd of allied casualties in the pacific theater. Some 90,000 Japanese died in Okinawa alone, defending it with vicious severity. I have no doubt an invasion of Japan would have cost hundreds of thousands of more lives and the dropping of the atomic bombs obviously saved American lives, but also saved more Japanese lives than an invasion would have cost. While the devestation from the atomic bombs was massive, the combined death toll was half the number of people the Japanese killed in their conventional invasion of NanKing.

The U.S. could have seized Iwo many months earlier before it was fortified by the Japanese, but turned its attention to the Philippines. Okinawa was fought, like Tarawa, by American commanders with some brains but no imagination. Brutal frontal assaults. MacArthur was not in charge.

--Brant

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The argument that dropping the bombs saved lives depends on the assumption that the war needed to be continued until the emperor et al surrendered. Supposedly the US entered the war because Japan attacked it. ie self-defense, who says they had to invade Japan? So at what point do you stop defending yourself and start offending? In courts of law you are only allowed to use a certain amount of force when defending yourself but in world war anything goes.

The U.S. was not fighting a half-ass war. You don't give quarter until the other guy gives up, on your terms. WWII was one massive, continuous effort. You don't let your enemies get off the floor. You keep stomping them even unto their deaths. Stomp, burn, stab, blow them up--morning, noon and night.

--Brant

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Love those short answers! You can elaborate if you want. I don't think Russia needs oil like the US - doesn't it have a shit load itself?

GS,

Sure if you like Siberia. Pipelinestan went the way of the former Soviet republics. Sitting on oil and getting it out of the ground and delivering it where it has to go are two very different things. Siberia is colder than all gitout.

To safeguard and enhance the sorely needed bucks from oil exports, enter swap deals with Iran and ganging up with China through Iran to face off against US oil interests.

Michael

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No doubt, if you look at the number killed during war, it climbs steadily for centuries until the end of WWII with the dropping of the atomic bomb, and then dros preciptiously. They certainly has limited the scale of conflicts, but that limit in scale is based on the premise that the people controlling those nations and thier weapons have a modicum of pragmatic rationality, not something that shitty murderous dictators who are religious fanatics wanting the second coming have a stellar track record for.

There are plenty of Americans who are Christian religious fanatics waiting for the end times and the second coming of Christ. This millenial Christian influence is particularly strong in the US military itself, which controls thousands of nuclear warheads. George W. Bush is himself a born-again Christian who is reputed to believe that he is on a mission from God. The US government has repeatedly threatened Iran with a massive aerial bombing campaign, including possibly the use of tactical nuclear weapons. But, of course, none of the dangers you have associated with religious fanatics in control of WMDs apply to our religious fanatics, only to their religious fanatics.

NO nation which does not respect the right to life (and self defense) of it's own people has any right to self defense of it's own, let alone having nuclear weapons. The mullahs of Iran and the president hold the people of Iran hostage, as is the same case with every majority Arab or Islamic nation, with the notable exceptions *now* of Iraq and Afghnastan thanks *only* to the western coalation, and the biggest problems these efforts are having are from insurgencies funded and supplied by these niehgboring murderous dictatorships.

Since it was "liberated" by the US government, life in Iraq is so wonderful that an estimated 4 million Iraqis have fled their homes and become refugees, about half fleeing to other sections of Iraq as a result of ethnic cleansing and half fleeing Iraq altogether, mostly to Jordan and Syria. That's about one sixth of the entire population of Iraq. The two million Iraqis who have fled Iraq and become refugees in Jordan and Syria obviously disagree with you about how wonderful Iraq is relative to these other nations. But what do they know? They only live there and have experienced first hand the effects of the US bombing, invasion, and occupation. The idea that Iranians are held hostage by their government while Iraqis and Afghanis are enjoying freedom is laughable. Iranians have far more freedom and a much better quality of life than exists in either Iraq or Afghanistan. One of the main sources of funding and fighters for the insurgency is Saudi Arabia, recipient of huge amounts of American military aid. So the US is actually indirectly funding the insurgency. The US is also now directly funding Sunni fighters in Iraq, now that it is feeling threatened by the rise of the Shia brought about by the US invasion of Iraq.

By many estimates Saddam Hussien killed 2 million people over his reign, which comes out to some 5,500 deaths per month, the deaths from this war have totalled some 80,000 according to IraqBodycount.org, which over 4.5 years amounts to 1,500 deaths per month, and so the coalition forces could be said to have saved the lives of roughly 4,000 people PER MONTH in Iraq. And if Iraq had nuclear weapons, they would have immediately used them in Israel first, and Iran second, killing many millions of people.

About one million of the people killed by Hussein were Iranians killed during the eight year Iran - Iraq war, a war in which the US supported Hussein, providing the Iraqi military with logistical support. So complaining about Hussein's brutality during the war when he was supported by the US rings just a little hollow. The US government also supported Hussein during some of the attrocities that he committed within Iraq. In 1991, the US government encouraged the Kurds and Shiites to launch a rebellion against Hussein, then forgot to support them, leaving them to be slaughtered, in a situation reminiscent of the Bay of Pigs. US imposed sanctions after the first gulf war led to the estimated deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. But when Hussein slaughters Iraqis or Iranians, he is a mass murderer. When the US government does the same thing, it is just carrying out our foreign policy business as usual.

Your calculation of 5,500 deaths per months is particularly absurd. Most of the people killed by Hussein were killed during the 80s and early 90s, not in 2003, when the American invasion was launched. The IraqBodyCount uses a methodology guaranteed to grossly undercount the actual number of Iraqi casualties. The only peer reviewed study, done in the Lancet, estimated about 600,000 Iraqi casualties. The just completed ORB poll estimated 1.2 million Iraqi casualties. But even in your figures were absolutely correct (and they're not even close to correct), this would not justify what the US government has done in Iraq. There is no moral justification for an action (other than self defense) which leads to the deaths of thousands of innocent people, even if it saves the lives of thousands of others. Human lives are not interchangeable. Or, to paraphrase Ayn Rand from her essay "Collectivized Ethics", "men's lives are not yours to dispose of". Nor are they the US government's to dispose of.

Martin

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Martin jumps in, guns ablaze:

There are plenty of Americans who are Christian religious fanatics waiting for the end times and the second coming of Christ. ... But, of course, none of the dangers you have associated with religious fanatics in control of WMDs apply to our religious fanatics, only to their religious fanatics.

I am concerned about all religious fanatics, from radical nihilists to judeo/christian/islamic. Yet the religious fanatacism of the US is far more toned down than that of islamic fascism, even so, I am more concerned about anti-human secular nihilism in the future than either of those, since those people see all human life as evil. The checks and balances of power in the US and typical liberal constutional democracy do not allow for the arbitrary use of nuclear weapons, so despite your alarmism, no I am not concerned about the US using nuclear weapons, and even if they did, it would be in a controlled, limited, tactical use, not a carpet bombing or deliberate destruction of an infidel population of millions.

Since it was "liberated" by the US government, life in Iraq is so wonderful that an estimated 4 million Iraqis have fled

I never said life was "wonderful" in Iraq, or Afghanstan, or any majority Arab / Islamic nation. Yet I cant help to make a causal connection between the fact that the majority Arab / Islam nations are the only 'wealthy' nations which are horrific shit holes. Since I never said Iraq is 'wonderful' the rest of your rant is irrelevant.

The idea that Iranians are held hostage by their government while Iraqis and Afghanis are enjoying freedom is laughable.

Again, I never said anyone was throwing rave parties in the streets celebrating freedom. The 'idea' you are arguing against is never one I expressed, perhaps you should try responding to what I actually said, and not what you think I meant, which is obviously wrong.

Iranians have far more freedom and a much better quality of life than exists in either Iraq or Afghanistan.

Hmm, lets check that claim.

From Freedomhouse.org on Iran:

Political and civil liberties continued to deteriorate in 2006 under the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. While the reform movement was dealt significant blows through government suppression of dissent and control over media outlets, there was growing frustration over the Ahmadinejad government’s handling of domestic policy. The government crackdown on peaceful demonstrations and strikes throughout the year also inhibited peaceful reform efforts. Negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program are at an impasse, and the country faces the serious prospect of international sanctions due to its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment activities. As a result the U.N. Security Council unanimously voted to impose limited sanctions. Ahmedinejad and his allies experienced a political setback in the municipal and Assembly of Experts elections in December.

Iran's scores:

Political Rights: 6

Civil Liberties: 6

On Iraq:

A new full-term Iraqi government came to power as a result of free and fair elections in December 2005. The Shia-dominated cabinet, led by Prime Minister Nouri Kamel al-Maliki, faced numerous challenges in its first year. Sectarian violence swept the country after the bombing of a Shia shrine prompted reprisal killings that have not abated. Meanwhile, the Sunni-led insurgency was dealt a blow when U.S. forces killed terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and many Sunni Arab tribes decided to pledge their support for the country’s new institutions. Al-Maliki’s government is hampered by a lack of security and widespread corruption but maintains its commitment to democracy. The Supreme Court confirmed the November 2006 guilty verdict against Saddam Hussein in the al Dujail trial, and the former Iraqi leader was executed by hanging in December.

Iraq's scores:

Political Rights: 6

Civil Liberties: 6

Seems about the same according to them. But feel free to share your divined wisdom with us.

Lets look at Amnesty International human rights review

Iran:

The human rights situation deteriorated, with civil society facing increasing restrictions on fundamental freedoms of expression and association. Scores of political prisoners, including prisoners of conscience, continued to serve prison sentences imposed following unfair trials in previous years. Thousands more arrests were made in 2006, mostly during or following demonstrations. Human rights defenders, including journalists, students and lawyers, were among those

detained arbitrarily without access to family or legal representation. Torture, especially during periods of pre-trial detention, remained commonplace. At least 177 people were executed, at least four of whom were under 18 at the time of the alleged offence, including one who was under 18 at the time of execution. Two people were reportedly stoned to death. Sentences of flogging, amputation and eye-gouging continued to be passed. The true numbers of those executed or subjected to corporal punishment were probably considerably higher than those reported.

Iraq:

civilians were killed or injured in daily and widespread violence that continued to escalate throughout 2006. Many of the killings were the result of deliberate attacks by Sunni and Shi’a armed groups as the conflict took on an increasingly

sectarian nature. Iraqi security forces committed widespread human rights violations, including killings of civilians and torture and other ill-treatment of detainees, and were suspected of involvement in sectarian killings. Soldiers belonging to the US-led Multinational Force (MNF) also committed human rights violations, and some were prosecuted on

charges including the killing, rape or inhumane treatment of civilians. The MNF held thousands of people in arbitrary detention without charge or trial. Members of Iraq’s most vulnerable groups, including minorities and women, continued to be targeted for abuses. The violence caused many thousands of people to be displaced from their homes, as

neighbourhoods in Baghdad and some other centres were increasingly affected by rising sectarianism; hundreds of thousands of Iraqis fled the country and sought refuge abroad. The first trial of officials from the pre-2003 Iraqi government resulted in death sentences for former President Saddam Hussain and two of his co-defendants after an unfair trial. Scores of other people were sentenced to death, including after unfair trials. At least 65 women and men,

including Saddam Hussain, were executed.

Quite frankly they both sound like shitty places, I'm not sure how your figuring though that "Iranians have far more freedom and a much better quality of life" Perhaps you can share your crystal ball with us. While they may have a current quality of life claim, they certainly don't have more "freedom" assuming you give it a meaningfull definition. And of course many of the thousands of deaths in Iraq and subsequent displacement and violence has been directly instigated by Iran. My claim was that neither Iraq nor Afghanastan are now ruled by murderous dictatorships, while every *other* majority Arab / Islam nation *IS*, the situation in Iraq for your average person certainly is terrible today, and worse than it was before the coalition invasion, but *only* Iraq and Afghanastan have any reasonable and forseeable chance of moving forward from a murderous dictatorship to halfway decent nation with freedom and a decent standard of living.

One of the main sources of funding and fighters for the insurgency is Saudi Arabia, recipient of huge amounts of American military aid. So the US is actually indirectly funding the insurgency. The US is also now directly funding Sunni fighters in Iraq, now that it is feeling threatened by the rise of the Shia brought about by the US invasion of Iraq.

Though the situation is more complex than that, I generally agree with you and certainly dont think we should be so blindly supportive of Saudi Arabia especially while good evidence exists that they are directly funding wahabists schools in the US.

By many estimates Saddam Hussien killed 2 million people over his reign, which comes out to some 5,500 deaths per month, the deaths from this war have totalled some 80,000 according to IraqBodycount.org, which over 4.5 years amounts to 1,500 deaths per month, and so the coalition forces could be said to have saved the lives of roughly 4,000 people PER MONTH in Iraq. And if Iraq had nuclear weapons, they would have immediately used them in Israel first, and Iran second, killing many millions of people.
About one million of the people killed by Hussein were Iranians killed during the eight year Iran - Iraq war, a war in which the US supported Hussein, providing the Iraqi military with logistical support. So complaining about Hussein's brutality during the war when he was supported by the US rings just a little hollow.

Even trying to shuck culpability like you are, that still leaves 1 million domestic murders during the course of his regime, and still leaves the monthly average death toll thousands higher than the current rates (of which the vast majority are caused by terrorist groups seeking to impose yet another murderous tyranny) never mind the notoriously brutal track record of his sons who would have likely followed him.

The US government also supported Hussein during some of the attrocities that he committed within Iraq. In 1991, the US government encouraged the Kurds and Shiites to launch a rebellion against Hussein, then forgot to support them, leaving them to be slaughtered, in a situation reminiscent of the Bay of Pigs.

A disgusting a monumental failure of the US.

US imposed sanctions after the first gulf war led to the estimated deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. But when Hussein slaughters Iraqis or Iranians, he is a mass murderer. When the US government does the same thing, it is just carrying out our foreign policy business as usual.

I dont agree with sanctions, I favor war, since sanctions often lead to more suffering and penalize the people instead of whatever shitty dictator is oppressing them, furthermore it makes the people pissed off at the sanctions and not their dictators. Regardless of that though, the kurdish north, which was not under control of Hussien, yet had the same sanctions, did not experience the alleged childhood death rate that Iraq propagandists blamed on the sanctions.

Your calculation of 5,500 deaths per months is particularly absurd.

The numbers are right from the Iraqibodycount site. If you think their numbers are absurd, take it up with them.

Most of the people killed by Hussein were killed during the 80s and early 90s, not in 2003,

Im sure that would provide a lot of solace to the thousands murdered after the 90's

The IraqBodyCount uses a methodology guaranteed to grossly undercount the actual number of Iraqi casualties. The only peer reviewed study, done in the Lancet, estimated about 600,000 Iraqi casualties.

In perhaps the most attrocious piece of science ever 'published' The journal was explicitly stated as anti-war and published something which would never make it through standard peer reviewed publication. There is plenty of criticisms surrounding this paper, and while those who oppose the war think its a great piece of science, and those who favor it discredit, those in the middle also criticise it, such as Slate.com and even the IraqBodyCount site itself,

From the wikipedia entry on this

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lancet_survey...nvasion_of_Iraq

The Iraq Body Count project (IBC), who compiles a database of reported civilian deaths, has criticised the Lancet's estimate of 601,000 violent deaths[30] out of the Lancet estimate of 654,965 total excess deaths related to the war. The IBC argues that the Lancet estimate is suspect "because of a very different conclusion reached by another random household survey, the Iraq Living Conditions Survey 2004 (ILCS), using a comparable method but a considerably better-distributed and much larger sample." IBC also enumerates several "shocking implications" which would be true if the Lancet report were accurate, e.g. "Half a million death certificates were received by families which were never officially recorded as having been issued" and claims that these "extreme and improbable implications" and "utter failure of local or external agencies to notice and respond to a decimation of the adult male population in key urban areas" are some of several reasons why they doubt the study's estimates. IBC states that these consequences would constitute "extreme notions".[31]

Additionally R.J. Rummel, pretty much the worlds leading expert on democide, author of the most cited history text "Power Kills" and nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, and professor of statistics says of the study:

The study, which gives a figure of 655,000 dead, on which this is based and the manner of making the estimate is a travesty on the scientific method. It's agenda is obvious from the timing of its publication and the anti-Iraq war comments of the editor of the journal that published it.

I will defer to his judgement before I defer to yours.

The just completed ORB poll estimated 1.2 million Iraqi casualties. But even in your figures were absolutely correct (and they're not even close to correct), this would not justify what the US government has done in Iraq.

Rummel says it partly well:

In any case, the total killed in three years of warfare has to be morally and pragmatically judged against (1) the creation of a democracy in Iraq, (2) the freeing of 26,000,000 people from virtual enslavement, and (3) the 2,000,000 or more dead for which Saddam Hussein is responsible (about 1,000,000 in his invasion of Iran and takeover of Kuwait, and about 1,000,000 in democide

Additionally, these body count reports make absolutely no effort to distinguish between terrorists being killed by coalition forces, terrorists dressed as civilians being killed by coalition forces, civilians killed in cross fire between coalition forces and terrorists (often using civilians as human shields), terrorists deliberately killing civilians (the overwhelming majority of violent deaths in Iraq), and coalition forces deliberately or accidently killing civilians (the overwhelming minority). To blame any of these except the last on anyone but terrorists who are striving to setup their own murderous tyranny is a travesty of justice.

There is no moral justification for an action (other than self defense) which leads to the deaths of thousands of innocent people, even if it saves the lives of thousands of others. Human lives are not interchangeable. Or, to paraphrase Ayn Rand from her essay "Collectivized Ethics", "men's lives are not yours to dispose of". Nor are they the US government's to dispose of.

You embrace a naively limited interpretation of moral justification for violent action, Rand also stated that it is within the right of a free nation to attack and depose the leaders of a non free one, though they are never morally 'required' to do as such, it is not morally unjust. But beyond that 'self defense' includes defending the lives of your neighbors as well as your own, if you desire to stop a murderous rapist from attacking your neighbor, even if he poses no immediate threat to you, you are morally justified in stopping them. I should think this obvious to anyone who attatches a meaningfull definition to 'self defense' Beyond that, no murderous tyranny has any right to exist, and no right to self defense. Furthermore, it is not in the *long term rational self interest* of any rational life loving human being, especially in the modern era of globally interconnected economies and politics, to ignore and promulgate through depraved indifference the growth of murderous fundamentalism or murderous tyrannical oppression as these nations are the source of all famines, major disease outbreaks and deaths, genocides, democides, and wars the world sees, and ultimately man made existential threats to all of civilization.

Edited by Matus1976
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Martin jumps in, guns ablaze:
There are plenty of Americans who are Christian religious fanatics waiting for the end times and the second coming of Christ. ... But, of course, none of the dangers you have associated with religious fanatics in control of WMDs apply to our religious fanatics, only to their religious fanatics.

I am concerned about all religious fanatics, from radical nihilists to judeo/christian/islamic. Yet the religious fanatacism of the US is far more toned down than that of islamic fascism, even so, I am more concerned about anti-human secular nihilism in the future than either of those, since those people see all human life as evil. The checks and balances of power in the US and typical liberal constutional democracy do not allow for the arbitrary use of nuclear weapons, so despite your alarmism, no I am not concerned about the US using nuclear weapons, and even if they did, it would be in a controlled, limited, tactical use, not a carpet bombing or deliberate destruction of an infidel population of millions.

I can certainly see why you are not concerned about the US using nuclear weapons; you will not be the target of them. You can safely sit behind the safety of your computer screen, while bombs are dropped on people thousands of miles away. Perhaps you would feel differently if you were living in Iran, which the US has repeatedly threatened with massive bombing ("all options are on the table"). Your statement that "even if they did, it would be in a controlled, limited, tactical use" is truly repulsive. Controlled, limited, tactical nuking? How would you like to live in the vicinity of an area that was going to experience controlled, limited, tactical nuking? The same US government that gives such assurances of a controlled, limited, tactical attack also promised that the invasion and occupation of Iraq would be a cake walk and that the Iraqis would view our invading soldiers as liberators. It also promised that this war would cost a tiny fraction of what it has already cost, which is now over $300,000,000,000. The US government has lied every step of the way about this war.

Since it was "liberated" by the US government, life in Iraq is so wonderful that an estimated 4 million Iraqis have fled

I never said life was "wonderful" in Iraq, or Afghanstan, or any majority Arab / Islamic nation. Yet I cant help to make a causal connection between the fact that the majority Arab / Islam nations are the only 'wealthy' nations which are horrific shit holes. Since I never said Iraq is 'wonderful' the rest of your rant is irrelevant.

The idea that Iranians are held hostage by their government while Iraqis and Afghanis are enjoying freedom is laughable.

Again, I never said anyone was throwing rave parties in the streets celebrating freedom. The 'idea' you are arguing against is never one I expressed, perhaps you should try responding to what I actually said, and not what you think I meant, which is obviously wrong.

You said, "The mullahs of Iran and the president hold the people of Iran hostage, as is the same case with every majority Arab or Islamic nation, with the notable exceptions *now* of Iraq and Afghnastan thanks *only* to the western coalation". The clear implication here is that Iraqis and Afghanis are not held hostage by their governments and, presumably, enjoy a high degree of political freedom. The Iraqi government is Shiite Islamic dominated, with Shiite militias and Sunni militias fighting for control of large sections of the country. Thousands of Iraqis are being held in prison camps by coalition forces, who have established check points throughout Iraq. American troops were recently found "baiting" Iraqis, leaving various items out on the street and then shooting Iraqis who dared to pick them up. As for Afghanistan, outside of Kabul, it is controlled by war lords and ex taliban fighters, who are regaining control. This might be your idea of freedom, but it is certainly not mine.

Iranians have far more freedom and a much better quality of life than exists in either Iraq or Afghanistan.

Hmm, lets check that claim.

From Freedomhouse.org on Iran:

Political and civil liberties continued to deteriorate in 2006 under the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. While the reform movement was dealt significant blows through government suppression of dissent and control over media outlets, there was growing frustration over the Ahmadinejad government’s handling of domestic policy. The government crackdown on peaceful demonstrations and strikes throughout the year also inhibited peaceful reform efforts. Negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program are at an impasse, and the country faces the serious prospect of international sanctions due to its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment activities. As a result the U.N. Security Council unanimously voted to impose limited sanctions. Ahmedinejad and his allies experienced a political setback in the municipal and Assembly of Experts elections in December.

Iran's scores:

Political Rights: 6

Civil Liberties: 6

On Iraq:

A new full-term Iraqi government came to power as a result of free and fair elections in December 2005. The Shia-dominated cabinet, led by Prime Minister Nouri Kamel al-Maliki, faced numerous challenges in its first year. Sectarian violence swept the country after the bombing of a Shia shrine prompted reprisal killings that have not abated. Meanwhile, the Sunni-led insurgency was dealt a blow when U.S. forces killed terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and many Sunni Arab tribes decided to pledge their support for the country’s new institutions. Al-Maliki’s government is hampered by a lack of security and widespread corruption but maintains its commitment to democracy. The Supreme Court confirmed the November 2006 guilty verdict against Saddam Hussein in the al Dujail trial, and the former Iraqi leader was executed by hanging in December.

Iraq's scores:

Political Rights: 6

Civil Liberties: 6

Seems about the same according to them. But feel free to share your divined wisdom with us.

Lets look at Amnesty International human rights review

Iran:

The human rights situation deteriorated, with civil society facing increasing restrictions on fundamental freedoms of expression and association. Scores of political prisoners, including prisoners of conscience, continued to serve prison sentences imposed following unfair trials in previous years. Thousands more arrests were made in 2006, mostly during or following demonstrations. Human rights defenders, including journalists, students and lawyers, were among those

detained arbitrarily without access to family or legal representation. Torture, especially during periods of pre-trial detention, remained commonplace. At least 177 people were executed, at least four of whom were under 18 at the time of the alleged offence, including one who was under 18 at the time of execution. Two people were reportedly stoned to death. Sentences of flogging, amputation and eye-gouging continued to be passed. The true numbers of those executed or subjected to corporal punishment were probably considerably higher than those reported.

Iraq:

civilians were killed or injured in daily and widespread violence that continued to escalate throughout 2006. Many of the killings were the result of deliberate attacks by Sunni and Shi’a armed groups as the conflict took on an increasingly

sectarian nature. Iraqi security forces committed widespread human rights violations, including killings of civilians and torture and other ill-treatment of detainees, and were suspected of involvement in sectarian killings. Soldiers belonging to the US-led Multinational Force (MNF) also committed human rights violations, and some were prosecuted on

charges including the killing, rape or inhumane treatment of civilians. The MNF held thousands of people in arbitrary detention without charge or trial. Members of Iraq’s most vulnerable groups, including minorities and women, continued to be targeted for abuses. The violence caused many thousands of people to be displaced from their homes, as

neighbourhoods in Baghdad and some other centres were increasingly affected by rising sectarianism; hundreds of thousands of Iraqis fled the country and sought refuge abroad. The first trial of officials from the pre-2003 Iraqi government resulted in death sentences for former President Saddam Hussain and two of his co-defendants after an unfair trial. Scores of other people were sentenced to death, including after unfair trials. At least 65 women and men,

including Saddam Hussain, were executed.

Quite frankly they both sound like shitty places, I'm not sure how your figuring though that "Iranians have far more freedom and a much better quality of life" Perhaps you can share your crystal ball with us. While they may have a current quality of life claim, they certainly don't have more "freedom" assuming you give it a meaningfull definition. And of course many of the thousands of deaths in Iraq and subsequent displacement and violence has been directly instigated by Iran. My claim was that neither Iraq nor Afghanastan are now ruled by murderous dictatorships, while every *other* majority Arab / Islam nation *IS*, the situation in Iraq for your average person certainly is terrible today, and worse than it was before the coalition invasion, but *only* Iraq and Afghanastan have any reasonable and forseeable chance of moving forward from a murderous dictatorship to halfway decent nation with freedom and a decent standard of living.

It's pretty damned obvious that Iranians, Jordanians, and Syrians all have a much better quality of life than Iraqis. Two million Iraqis have voted with their feet by fleeing Iraq, mostly to Jordan and Syria. How many people have fled Iran? Iran has a young, highly educated population that is actually very pro American. People can actually freely travel to and from Iran. Who in their right mind would travel to Iraq now? The US government has followed a policy against Iran designed to make the Iranian government as repressive as possible. Ahmadinejad is generally held in contempt by most Iranians. There is no better way to make the Iranian people supportive of their government than to have the US government threaten bombing attacks against Iran.

Martin

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