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A mob of "insurgents" in Iraq surrounded a military vehicle, set it on fire and then dragged the corpses of the five or six foreign nationals out of the truck, poked them with sticks and dragged them around, all the while cheering. Sick? Yes, indeed. It's horrible, it's terrifying, it's sad and it's gut wrenching, especially when you see the photos. Even sadder are the people who just can't wait to place the blame for this squarely on the shoulders of George Bush, Halliburton, the VRWC and all the other usual suspects. The monsters who committed this atrocity are not your ordinary Iraqi townspeople who have been so frustrated by the "occupation" that they are turning into cold blooded murderers. The Iraqis who did this are the ones we were fighting against to begin with. They are Saddam's legacy, men bent on hatred, destruction and death. They hated Americans long before this war started, long before Bush came into office or Halliburton became a household name. They are people who have been steeped in violence since they were young, men who grew up with machine guns on their shoulder and hatred in their hearts. They are the ones who tortured prisoners, raped young women, worked the death squads and carried out their leader's wishes. They are the ones who believe that their religion gives them the right to hate and kill. They are the fruit of Saddam and his regime and the Americans, Tony Blair or the war are no more to blame for their crimes than you are. If anything, their actions should be proof that we have to stay in Iraq to finish what we started. We cannot let these people who held the power before we got there to regain that power. Some people have an awful lot to learn about placing blame. Whether it's planes crashing into buildings, suicide bombs in Israel, Bush supporters getting beat on or soldiers being killed, the victims are not to blame. It's the people who perpetrate the acts that need to have fingers pointed at, not the victims of the acts. Update: I've been thinking about this a little more and I wonder if the presence of the Reuters crew had anything to do with the "celebration." Apparently, they filmed the whole thing. How "fortunate" that they were there right at that time. All in the name of news, I guess.
animals.jpg bq. Children point to a body part, tied to a brick and hanging from a telephone cable, after an attack in the restive town of Falluja March 31, 2004. A crowd of cheering Iraqis dragged charred and mutilated bodies through the streets of Falluja on Wednesday after an attack on two vehicles that witnesses said killed at least three foreigners. Photo by Ali Jasim/Reuters Reminds me of Palestinian Child Abuse.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference blame:

» nimals from Sekimori.org - Live Blog
They're animals. Rabid fucking animals. That's all they've ever been and that's all they're ever going to be. And if we don't start treating them as such they're going to infect the whole goddamned world.... [Read More]

» Seething in Minnesota from Inoperable Terran
A used-car salesman has an Osama-ish mannequin with a bomb belt. CAIR is predictably outraged. Perhaps they can explain this first though? (Michele has more, of course. Some great comments, especially by Evil Otto). (Via this comment).... [Read More]

» The horror in Fallujah from Boyd's blog
Four contractors for the U.S. government are attacked in Fallujah, burned to death, beaten with shovels, dragged through the streets and hung from a bridge. [Read More]

» Savages from c0llision.org
That's what those fuckers are (my bolding): The bodies of up to six foreigners were mutilated, set alight and strung up on poles by an angry Iraqi mob yesterday after their vehicles were attacked in the troubled city of Falluja.... [Read More]

» The Fallujah And Ramadi Deaths from Insults Unpunished
9 Killed in Separate Attacks in Iraq (washingtonpost.com) My history as an armchair general is pretty poor. I was one of those wringing my hands over the Afghanistan war before it turned into a rout of the Taliban. I was... [Read More]

» "NEWS" should be done in the privacy of one's home. from Who Tends the Fires
The word for today is Populist Authoritarianism. NOTE: The DailySpam!&trade isn't doing a special April Fools edition. For one thing, absurdity is no joking matter. For two... I didn't think about it in time. ;} Next year, maybe. It's a... [Read More]


Local VWRC radio insists we haven't killed enough people in these particular areas to let them know that they lost and Sammy ain't coming back. Sadly, they may actually be right - the Ba'athist strongholds may simply need to be flattened to let the rest of the country get on with its business.

There is some truth to your argument. However, 11,000 civilians were murdered by US Forces. Obviously, not all of these Iraqi's were the types mentioned above, and there is probably a substancial amount of Saddam haters who also want payback for those killed by US and UK bombs. The Shi'ite who was tortured by Saddam, who was then hung out to dry by Bush 1, and had his family killed by US and British bombs by Bush 2, most likely has a beef with the US and Britain but is by no means a supporter of Saddam.

Vince, where do you get that 11,000? That is utter bullshit.

www.iraqbodycount.net puts it between 8,799 and 10,649. Their methodology seems sound to me. However, I'm trying to find an exclusively right-wing estimate. I can't find any on Fox, Centcom or the DoD site.

Depending on Iraqbodycount.com for truth is like depending on Reuters to not use scare quotes.

Until Saddam's head is up on a pike at the Baghdad Airport, they still have the hope that he might come back.


Could you please provide an estimate of Iraqi civilian deaths since this war started (and provide the source)? I cannot find any estimates besides the one I showed. Thanks.

I'm pissed and took a more confrontational approach in my post: "We have been ensnared in a fight to the death, thus they must be killed. It is possible that with the introduction of viable education, religious pluralism, political enfranchisement, and economic opportunity, their next generation can escape our death."


These guys say that the civilian count is between 3,200 and 4,300. Mind you, this report was issued at the end of October 2003. If I can find a right-wing source, I'll post it. Are there right wing sources that count Iraqi civilian deaths?

Otherwise, debating whether 4,000 dead is better than 10,000 is pretty tacky. It's like saying al-Qaeda 'only' killed 3,600 at the Trade center, rather than the initial estimates of 15,000.

It seems to me that the comment Michele made about Reuters just happening to be there for the display points towards the truth. That there are people in placs like Iraq, Europe (including Spain), and other places who take advantage of situations like the violence that has killed civilians in Iraq, and the attack in Spain (the terrorist bombins of this past month). They parade around and use their so called facts (which are total BS) to turn peoples anger towards the US and away from the terrorists. The hatred of the US that has been growing over the past year or so is probably the result of the work of our own citizens who live to tell others in foreign countries how evil America is, and why it's our fault for everything bad that happens.

Vince, do you think that maybe, just maybe, a website called "iraqbodycount.com" might have an agenda?

The Project on Defense Alternatives states:

Our analysis of the evidence leads to the conclusion that between 10,800 and 15,100 Iraqis were killed in the war. Of these, between 3,200 and 4,300 were noncombatants -- that is: civilians who did not take up arms. Expressed in terms of their mid-points, our estimates are:
Total Iraqi fatalities: 12,950 plus or minus 2,150 (16.5 percent)

Iraqi non-combat fatalities: 3,750 plus/minus 550 (15 percent)

Iraqi combatant fatalities: 9,200 plus/minus 1,600 (17.5 percent)

Calculated on the basis of these mid-points, approximately 30 percent of the war's fatalities were noncombatant civilians.

Do you notice something, Vince? Approximately 9,200 of those deaths were in the Iraqi Military. That's the guys we were fighting against, in case you missed it. Civilian deaths were approximately 3,750. However, there is no reliable way of telling exactly how many were illed by US forces and how many were killed by Iraqi forces.

That's important, because not only do you draw the worst possible conclusions from a web site based around worst possible conclusions, you then lay those deaths SOLELY at the feet of the US.

(Your quote: "However, 11,000 civilians were murdered by US Forces."

In addition, the web site notes:

A central issue in estimating civilian dead is separating combatants from noncombatants within this category. The conventional concern with civilian casualties stems from the presumed status of civilians as noncombatants. But the noncombatant status of civilians cannot be simply assumed. In the Iraq war, militias and other combatants not in uniform played a major role. Hospitals tended to classify the dead as civilian as long as they had no form of military identification or clothing and there was no other evidence to the contrary. This might have allowed proper classification of the dead and injured in most cases, but not all. This is made clear in the Knight Ridder survey with regard to some of the dead at hospitals.

So we have no way of telling how many of those civilians were actually civilians, and how many were un-uniformed militia, terrorists, and the like.

OK, some more math. There are between 300,000 and 500,000 people in mass graves in Iraq. That does not include others murdered by Hussein's thugs and returned, people buried in "proper" graves, and the like.

From http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/world/iraq/memorial/20031210-1116-iraq-executions.html

The U.S.-led occupation authority in Iraq has said that at least 300,000 people are buried in mass graves in Iraq. Human rights officials put the number closer to 500,000, and some Iraqi political parties estimate more than 1 million were executed.

Let's take the 300,000 number, though, for our purposes. Saddam Hussein ruled Iraq for approximately 24 years. In simplest terms, what is 300,000 divided by 24, Vince? Of course, some years would have been bloodier and some less, but for all intents and purposes Saddam Hussein was killing 12,500 people each year. 12.5K people every stinking year! Note, that's MORE than your original claim of casualties caused by the US. So, in a way, by invading Iraq we saved 1500 people in a year's time. THIS year, we'll save thousands more.

OK, let's say the US didn't depose Huessein. That 12.5K figure then gets multiplied by however many years Hussein (and presumably either his insane offspring or whatever General kills his way to power) remained in power. How many years would THAT have been, Vince? 5? 10? You can do the math.

I guess you can live with that, though.

Otto, you are too good.

BTW, some blogger (and I can't remember who) has another IraqBodyCounter...er...IraqNon-BodyCounter of people not killed by Saddam since his overthrow. Anybody remember who?

Not to mention those who weren't in mass graves, but starved or died of illnesses under UN sanctions, which the UN itself estimates at over one million since sanctions began in 91; one million, over half of them children.

The Iraqi infant mortality rate was 55 per thousand, in the US its 6.75 per thousand.

Vince - What Otto said..

Those inflated body counts are used to justify the homicide and brutality of the ‘insurgents’ who attack our troops. They’re used to label that brutality ‘payback’, and to convince America to leave Iraq in the hands of those insurgents. Is that tacky or what?

People die as a result of oppression and genocide, from the inaction imposed by people who claim to be anti-war. They allow genocide and oppression to thrive. How many people died as a result of Kofi Annan & Saddam’s oil for food heist? When those deaths were being blamed on the Americans, before the war, the body count was way above 500,000.

As Michele said, blaming the victims is what’s tacky. When you say this is 'payback' that’s exactly what you’re using those biased body counts to do.

Yeah, what they all said. Also, using "murdered by US forces" to describe civillian casualties makes you sort of a butthole.

Yeah! What Otto said!

Sorry. ;-)

killed 3,600 at the Trade center

And what right-wing website did you get this off of, Vince?

I thought it was under 2800???

"Otherwise, debating whether 4,000 dead is better than 10,000 is pretty tacky. It's like saying al-Qaeda 'only' killed 3,600 at the Trade center, rather than the initial estimates of 15,000."

Not 'piling on' you here, Vince, but you did use the 11,000 number to support your own point in your initial post. In other words, you brought the subject up and open to rebuttal.

Insanity=responding to Vince

Michele, that link "Palestinian Child Abuse" isn't working properly (I think there is a tag not closed)

Ted, I never claimed to be sane.

Ken, thanks. I fixed it.

And once again Vince derails a thread just to get his agenda noticed. Can we get back to the real point of the post, Vince? Hint: It's not about body counts.

I think Vince is going to be the first victim of my new comment policy.

Vince, do you have any idea how much of the US defense budget is spent on weapons systems and intelligence/surveillence systems for the sole purpose of minimizing civilian deaths? I would say, until the count is much lower, not enough, but it's a hell of a lot more than the Sadaam ever spent (like, zero?), and don't even start with me about he didn't have the budget for it. That's not the point. He didn't have the humanity for it. Yes, innocent people die in war. That is and has always been a tragic fact of conflict. As a former military interrogator, in other words someone who is familiar with the way the military works and who has seen it first hand, I can tell you for a fact that there is a lot of effort put forth to minimize that toll as much as possible. And I can also tell you that our troops don't dance around the dead, whelping and ululating like animals. It's a difficult thing for them to see, even if it means their job is done. It's never a pleasure or something to celebrate, though.

That's the difference between us and them, Vince. Yep, I said it, us and them.

Ted, I just read your post re: Insanity after I posted. I laughed. Guilty as charged.

Only slightly OT (and definitely grisly):

Reuters has a rather peculiar definition of "body part". The "part" in question looks pretty complete to me.

Want to find out where the next attack is going to be? Follow the reporters.

We need to give Dick Marcinko a couple of cameras and let him and his boys run loose over there for a while, and see what they turn up.

(assuming that we aren't doing that already)

Insanity=responding to Vince

Bart: You're crazy!
Hugo: Am I? Well, perhaps we're all a little crazy. I know I am.

Michele: possibly off-thread, but just so I understand exactly who these Fullajah Fiends are... They're the ones who would put the fear of plastic shredders onto their own people?

Sad to say, but the only people who know how to deal with this sort of behavior are people just like them---the other Iraqis.

We used the Northern Alliance to bring justice to some of the taliban. They knew the methodology.

While Vince has had you arguing numbers, the BBC has just said that they were all Americans.


I remember seeing footage of something like this happen to 2 people in Northern Ireland. They turned out to be soldiers.
This is without doubt the most horrific death I can imagine.

I think Vince is going to be the first victim of my new comment policy.

Actually, I rather assumed it would be me. But that's probably just my ego talking.

In any event, given that Vince didn't call anyone a name, use any profanity, insult anyone or even, really, actively disagree with anyone, I do find myself wondering what the filter for this new comments policy looks like.

Not to derail the thread or anything. And I mean all this in the nicest possible way.

Joe - Vince is a comment hijacker. Sorry, but my ego demands that you stay on topic and don't turn my post into yours.

Vince needs to get his own blog or step off , as the kiddies say.

"...given that Vince didn't call anyone a name, use any profanity, insult anyone..."

Joshua: It seems to me he called Americans, or at least the US military, mass murderers. That's namecalling. And as an American, and a veteran of the US military, I'm insulted by that. It wasn't necessary to make his point, either. He could've simply said "civillian casualties" and not inflamed people (as much).

Iraq is burning, Iraq is lost....

Iraq is burning, Iraq is lost....

Is this the opening to a Moody Blues song?

I thought it was a nursery rhyme.

Iraq bridge is falling down...


Maybe it's supposed to be sung to the tune of London Calling?

dave - I don't choose to take it that way.

We could have a debate about my reasons, but I'm trying to honor michele's new and improved "on topic" rule. I'm happy to argue in e-mail if you'd like.

Wonder if these loons were trying to take a page out of Mohammed Farah Aideed's book? i.e. drag bodies through streets and Americans will run away. I don't think they fully understand how very different things have become since 9/11.

The word murder means something Joshua, particularly in the context Vince chose. You may choose not to take it that way. I don't doubt that's what Vince intended to say, and it is insulting.

Okay, sorry Michele. I just need to clarify this.

Dave in Texas: I can imagine several scenarios in which Vince would be correct in applying the term "murder" to the deaths of civilians in Iraq. I don't doubt for a minute that the overwhelming majority of Michele's readers would take issue with the particulars of every scenario I'm imagining, but there is room for debate on pretty much every count. As far as that goes, I believe that Vince having an opinion that offends people differs from the act of insulting someone directly. Adjective versus verb, if you see what I mean.

So, for example, I may be of the opinion that Anglo-Saxon White people look like pigs (I'm not, by the way). That opinion insults Anglo-Saxons. But there is a difference between my saying, "Anglo-Saxons look like pigs to me," versus if I were to look an Anglo-Saxon person right in the face and say, "You look like a pig."

(Though even in the second instance, there is room for interpretation: I'm given to understand that people in Austria are quite fond of pigs.)

I may then provide a rationale for why I think Anglo-Saxons look like pigs: pale skin, large ears, smallish eyes and so on. People may argue my interpretation, but simply having and stating the opinion is not, again, the same thing as insulting someone directly.

That's my take, for what it's worth. I'm sure most of Michele's readers will disagree, but that was my reasoning for stating that Vince had not insulted anyone.

Again, if anyone would like to debate this point off-list, I'm happy to engage.

But it hardly seems worth carying on about.


Calling soldiers "murderers" is insulting. Having an opinion that soldiers are "murderers" is insulting. Vince did not say "in my opinion, US Forces are murderers". He said they murdered 11,000 Iraqi civilians. It is a lie. It is insulting to me, to my friends who serve, to those wounded in service, and the memories of those who died. Who would not have if we had just decided to turn the whole country into a self-lighting parking lot.

Whatever scenarios you can imagine are not relevant to his statement. That is a bullshit argument, and normally you don't resort to those.

While I think what Michele said about who did this makes sense (and I would add that Saddam clearly made HIS clan the recipient of all of the booty from oppressing everyone else), there's something about this that bothers me.

This looks like what the Palestinians do all the time. And the Palestinians aren't oppressing anyone but themselves...

Perhaps we should look at this as a DEEP flaw in Sunni or Arab culture. Some culture that celebrates massacreing all outsiders - not just hatred but the absolute love of hatred... Do these people love massacre?

When I read that the Palestinian terror groups carry out attacks on Israel because that's the easiest way to gain support and adultation from the Palestinian masses, when I read that what the Palestinians want and respond is as many Israeli casualties per operation as possible - then I think that terrorism is a symbolic subsitute for genocide. The Palestinians want genocide and they settle for terrorism because it's the closest they can get.

And the Egyptian mobs love this stuff just as much as Palestinians. Hell, even some Americans were crying over Shiek Yassin's death...

So while I want to agree with what Michele said - that this is just the remaining oppressors from an oppressive regime, I can't completely agree.

These are the faces of people who've been taught to love killing - in a gulf-wide society that promotes this love.

They scare the hell out of me.

That should have read
"what the Palestinians want and respond to is"

Dave: I'd e-mail you this, but noematic is down at the moment.

Look, I'm sorry this is winding you up. That's really not my intention. As far as my "bullshit argument" goes, it boils down to this:


murder n. 1) The unlawful killing of one human being by another.

terrorism n. 1) The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.


Has the United States (through its military) committed murder in Iraq?


The United States has committed murder in Iraq.


IF the United States is engaged in a "war against terrorism" AND "terrorism" is defined as the unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence etc., THEN the United States acknowledges the existence of a body of international law.

IF the United States acknowledges the existence of a body of international law AND the invasion of Iraq violates international law (U.N. Charter, Chapter 1, Article 2, Sec. 4 [ref. Art. 1]), THEN the deaths of Iraqi soldiers and civilians in the course of the invasion is unlawful, eg "murder".


The United States has committed murder in Iraq.

Now, to be clear as to my own investment in this line of reasoning, I have subscribed to it in the past and still find it useful for examining certain attitudes I come across when discussing the current hostilities in the Middle East. I do not consider it definitive; I am aware of several parallel lines of reasoning that are, to lesser and greater degrees, valid in my esteem. In a situation as complex as that in the Middle East, I believe it is possible for several conflicting analyses to be correct simultaneously.

However, I would also like to address your concern that Vince's assertion that "11,000 civilians were murdered by US Forces" implies that U.S. soldiers are, by definition, murderers; I do not believe this to be so.

In the United States, the Constitution is the "supreme law of the land". The clause of the Constitution that asserts this is commonly referred to as the Supremacy Clause. One of the legal ramifications of the Supremacy Clause is that it establishes, effectively, a hierarchy of government policy. In descending order:

1. The Constitution
2. Powers granted to public offices by the Constitution
3. Federal laws and international treaties
4. State laws, etc (the 9th and 10th Amendments being particularly relevant to the breakdown at this level).

As a consequence, it is possible for the President to order the military to engage in hostilities in violation of a standing treaty (such as U.S. membership in the United Nations). The hostilities in this case may be, effectively, a violation of federal law and, I believe, it would be within the power of Congress to impeach a president for such a violation. The hostilities may also be viewed as a violation of international law, ie "war crimes".

I believe that, in cases such as this, the Supremacy Clause implies immunity from prosecution for "war crimes", though not for "crimes against humanity" (genocide, torture, etc.).

A fuller (and much more authoritative) discussion of these matters can be found here: http://www.noematic.org/news/archives/009455.html. Noematic should be up later today, and the text is definitely worth taking a look at.

In conclusion, I hope it's obvious that my previous desire to say simply that I could "imagine" several scenarios in which Vince may have a basis for using the word "murder" didn't spring out of any desire to pitch a "bullshit argument" so much as a desire for brevity. As to the relevance, or lack thereof, of the scenarios I had in mind, I leave that to you to decide.

I missed a sentence there, though I think it's strongly implied: I believe the Supremacy Clause makes it possible for the Iraqi casualties of the invasion to be, from a legal standpoint, "murdered" without making U.S. soldiers "murderers".

Joshua, since when have you ever desired brevity?

Kidding. Seriously though, that's an awfully long way of saying "it's an illegal war" and therefore it's murder. I don't buy that.

Neither would I buy "you can't fight a war against an idea" - historical examples of piracy and slavery refute that.

That ain't the argument. Vince said 11,000 civilians .

But I could give you all that and still believe Vince meant what I think he meant. Let's see if he comes back and tells us.

Neither would I buy "you can't fight a war against an idea" - historical examples of piracy and slavery refute that.

Actually, I don't recall having said, or even intentionally implied that, "you can't fight a war against an idea". I think there's an interesting discussion to be had there, but I haven't started it.

Also, not to quip, but there are more slaves in the world today than at any other point in history. And piracy is still alive and well in the modern age.

Dare I suggest that this bodes ill for the war on terrorism?

As far as Vince goes, I think he actually put his foot in his mouth. I think he only used the word "murder" to be dramatic, and that he said 11,000 civilians without checking sources. But I think chasing him around about it is kind of pointless.

now THAT's brevity!

And hold on, I wasn't chasing Vince anywhere. I was responding to your belief that Vince having an offensive opinion doesn't mean he's offending anyone directly. He expressed his opinion.

I didn't offer you the courtesy of responding to your second point. It does bode ill, if we give up. As we have in places today that permit slavery and piracy.

It isn't permitted in New Orleans anymore.

I was responding to your belief that Vince having an offensive opinion doesn't mean he's offending anyone directly.

I think we're splitting hairs at this point.

I pretty much thought so when you made the original post. But it had been a while and I missed ya.

It does bode ill, if we give up. As we have in places today that permit slavery and piracy.

There are still slaves in the United States; hardly a place that "permits" slavery. And I daresay I could pirate out of New Orleans if I had an economic incentive for doing so.

Whoops. Cross-post.

I'll go look for it on the other thread. This I gotta hear...