I'm watching them play what lo...,
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new boss worse than the old boss:
just in case it weren't obvious, as I'm sure it isn't to many people who reject all but the most specious of anectodatal 'evidence' - such that they believe the economy is getting stronger and stronger and things are going much better in Iraq (in fact, "mastefully planned and executed") than the press is telling us:
The study, which was carried out in 33 randomly-chosen neighbourhoods of Iraq representative of the entire population, shows that violence is now the leading cause of death in Iraq. Before the invasion, most people died of heart attacks, stroke and chronic illness. The risk of a violent death is now 58 times higher than it was before the invasion.
Like usual the range of the estimate is gigantic or more specifically "if we assume a symmetric distribution, which is plausible, there is a 50% chance that the total number of deaths exceeded 98,000, and a 2.5% chance that it was less than 8,000". We'll get to the statement "a war fought mainly by precision bombs dropped from the air...damage...very heavily concentrated in a few areas", but questioning the validity of a survey like this on the basis that inaccessible areas due to violence destroyed the random sample seems absurd: wouldn't surveying an area inaccessible due to violence increase the amount of violence found in the survey?
Anyway, for comparisons sake we'll point out that we don't know within the millions how many vietnamese were killed in that war, and for many others the ranges are orders of magnitude, and since none of the people supporting this war of liberation actually care about the damage it inflicts (we don't do bodycounts) we'll continue never having perfect figures on what kind of damage it inflicted.
What we do seem to have a reasonable guess at regardless of the specific number from this study is that it is higher under the Benevolent Hand of the Coallition of Liberation than it was under the All Powerful Evil of Saddam Hussein. The numbers reported by at least two seperate accounts in the Western Press add up to a very conservative 14,000 civillians killed violently due to the invasion, figuring that's a conservative figure and figuring the range of military deaths, add on additional detioration in healthcare and essential infrastructure due to the lack of reconstruction, unleashing the forces of violent ideologues, putting other violent ideologues into power to replace the previous violent ideologues, worsening economic conditions due the lack of investment and discombobulation of the state economy, etc. etc., and the study's allegedly flimsy estimates don't seem out of hand, and it should be apparent that the situation is much worse than it was. And it is getting worse. Positive benefits from lifting the sanctions haven't appeared, but maybe direct humanitarian aid had positive effects in regions in the south early on: bottled water, is, at least, much better than drinking out of the sewers.
Getting back to the precision bombing, Juan Cole points out that the increase in violent death is largely attributed to ariel bombing, among other salient points, which reminds me of Rahul Mahajan's comment a few weeks ago:
We gain more insight into the strategy behind this from an article in today's Times, 'Terror Command in Falluja is Half Destroyed, U.S. Says'. Talking about the ongoing bombing campaign against Falluja and lauding the shift from 1000- and 2000-pound bombs to kinder, gentler 500-pound bombs (with a blast radius of 400 meters, a quarter of a mile)
The nation's editorial boards remain complicit by their endorsement of the humane slaughter of innocents in acts of enlightened vengence, in other words.
The evidence that the majority of victims of the increase in violence have been women and children should not be particularly surprising - if the violence were merely random that would be the expected result. Only if you believe we're targetting militants with gentler 500-pound bombs would you be surprised, but we know from military spokespersons and Pentagon officials that our policy has a clear target: it is the calculated use of force against civillians in order to attain specific goals.
Our policy meets the very definition of terror, and so we have visited multiples of 9/11s upon Iraqis for no clear purpose and with no clear benefit to weigh against the terrible, astronomical costs.
This policy and its results - targetting the civillian population rather than combatants - is described in all its bizarre, conflicting nature by "a senior Iraqi official in interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's government": "The initiative is in [the insurgents'] hands right now. This approach of being lenient and accommodating has really backfired. They see this as weakness." That takes us back to William Odom's guesstimation as to what not being so "lenient" entails: "[Iraq] has become an "internal war". One the United States cannot win without destroying something like 20 percent of the population and imposing a ruthless U.S.-run regime in Baghdad."