Lancet/ILCS roundup

Jim Lindgren agrees with me that the ILCS supports the Lancet study. He also raises some concerns about some of the numbers in Lancet study:

I find it somewhat odd that heart attack and stroke deaths are up 64% in the later period, and accidental deaths are up more than 3-fold. And live births are up 33% in the later (War & Post-War) period, even though post-War pregnancies would not lead to live births until 9 months had passed, so the rate of having children would likely have to have jumped substantially more than 33% in the last half of the later period. Further, household size jumps from 7.5 in the earlier period to 8.0 in the later period.

None of these increases seem unlikely to me. While the number of births was 33% higher the time period after the war was longer, so the birth rate only increased by 10%. For this to happen, there would only have to be a 20% increase in the last nine months and it seems that the overthrow of Saddam might make people more optimistic about bringing another child into the world. The increases in heart attacks could be caused by an increase in stress because of the war and the decline in medical services. The increase in car accidents could be caused by the breakdown in law and order and fear of crime. (For example, driving through intersections at high speed to avoid ambush by robbers.) Finally, the increase in household size seems to be an inevitable consequence of the number of births and deaths recorded.

Of course, Lindgren’s suggestion that people are forgetting to mention some deaths that happened before the invasion may still be correct, indeed, the ILCS found evidence that infant deaths were being under-counted and went back to do some re-interviews.

Shannon Love claims that the ILCS disproves the Lancet study finding of a large number of deaths in Falluja. He’s completely wrong. The ILCS fieldwork started in March 2004, before the heavy fighting in Falluja. It neither confirms nor denies the Lancet’s findings about deaths in Falluja.

John Quiggin notes that Tim Blair has now accepted an estimate of tens of thousands Iraqis dead from the war and wonders if Blair will correct an earlier post denying that the war had killed that many. Blair, of course, declines to make the correction.

Tim Worstall wonders why more attention has not been given to the ILCS and hints that this might be due to anti-war bias in the media. However, the news about Iraq in the the report is not good: living conditions are bad, the war made them worse and killed 24,000 Iraqis in just the first year.

Comments

  1. #1 Shirin
    May 20, 2005

    he has hundreds of links to back up his stuff

    So what? You could claim the world is flat, and post hundreds of links to back it up, and it would not make the world flat.

  2. #2 Shirin
    May 20, 2005

    thought the idea was for the Iraqis to possess & control Iraq.

    I guess that’s why the U.S. is unilaterally building numerous permanent – sorry, I mean “enduring” – military bases. I guess that is why they are also unilaterally setting up the largest embassy in the world in Baghdad.

    It is the right of every state to decide whether or not it will maintain relations with another state, and what the nature of those relations will be. It is the right of every state to determine whether a foreign state will set up and maintain military bases on its soil, and to determine the location, size, and population of those military bases. It is the right of every state to determine whether a foreign state will maintain an embassy, and determine the location and size of that embassy. It is the right of every state to be presented with ambassadorial candidates, and to reject any candidate for any reason. The U.S. denies all of these rights to Iraq.

  3. #3 TallDave
    May 20, 2005

    Tnanks Kerry, that is helpful.

    Donald,

    Right now the Iraqis are worse off than they were under Saddam in his final year. That seems fairly clear

    Really?

    “International monitors and prisoners who witnessed his dreadocracy report that under Saddam’s direction, some inmates were branded, given electric shocks to their genitals or beaten. The fingernails of some were pulled out. Others were hung from rotating ceiling fans, raped or burned with irons and blowtorches. Guards dripped acid on the skin of some and often denied prisoners food and water. Saddam would force people he considered traitors to watch videotapes of their children being tortured or their wives raped.

    And all this is in addition to his using chemical and biological weapons on his own citizens.

    Like father, like sons. Qusai and Odai Hussein, who died in a shootout with American troops in July, were malignant clones. Odai would order his guards to grab young women from the streets so he could rape them. Qusai sometimes watched as prisoners he wanted dead were dropped into shredding machines — some head first, some feet first so they’d suffer longer.

    Even if intelligence sources got some of the details wrong, the

    brutality was so pervasive, so consistent, so unbelievable in scope and cruelty that words cannot convey the atmosphere of fear that permeated all of Iraqi society — a fear that continued after his fall and before his capture. So far, no theory adequately explains how things got so bad. All we know for sure is that Hussein ran one of the bloodiest regimes in history. Even people who have criticized President Bush’s decision to go to war with Iraq and remove him do not deny Hussein’s maliciousness.”

    http://www.spokesmanreview.com/breaking-news-story.asp?submitdate=20031215191838

    I think being fed into a shredder is one those “quality-of-life” issues that have improved of late.

  4. #4 TallDave
    May 20, 2005

    Gruesome videotape allegedly shows brutal Fedayeen Saddam punishment

    Members of the Fedayeen Saddam throw a bound man from a rooftop. This man, and others shown on the videotape, survived the fall.
    VIDEO
    Viewer discretion advised: Alleged tape of torture under Saddam’s regime has been obtained by independent sources.

    PLAY VIDEO

    WASHINGTON (CNN) — A gruesome videotape found in April by U.S. troops in Iraq allegedly shows the brutal punishment administered by the Fedayeen Saddam to enforce discipline under the regime of Saddam Hussein

    On the tape, what appear to be Fedayeen Saddam members and Republican Guard troops are shown administering cruel punishments, including chopping off fingers, cutting off tongues, breaking a wrist with a heavy stick, and throwing people off a multi-story building.

    http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/10/30/sprj.irq.torture.tape/

    Also depicted is a beheading by sword, which takes several attempts to complete.

    “When you have people filming in front of crowds cheering and clapping, you have people cutting off people’s tongues and cutting off people’s heads and chopping off their fingers and chopping off their hands, throwing them off three-story buildings, you learn something about a group of people and how they lived their lives and how they treated their people.”

    http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/10/30/sprj.irq.torture.tape/

  5. #5 TallDave
    May 20, 2005

    It is the right of every state to decide whether or not it will maintain relations with another state, and what the nature of those relations will be. It is the right of every state to determine whether a foreign state will set up and maintain military bases on its soil, and to determine the location, size, and population of those military bases. It is the right of every state to determine whether a foreign state will maintain an embassy, and determine the location and size of that embassy. It is the right of every state to be presented with ambassadorial candidates, and to reject any candidate for any reason. The U.S. denies all of these rights to Iraq.

    More unsupported and easily disproven BS.

    With American troops facing continuing battles in Iraq, the Bush administration on Friday did little to play down remarks by U.S. civilian administrator L. Paul Bremer (search), who said the United States would withdraw after the June 30 handover if the Iraqi Governing Council requested.

    “We don’t stay in countries where we’re not wanted. So if the provisional government, the interim government were to ask us to leave, we would leave,” Bremer told a delegation visiting Baghdad on Friday from Iraq’s Diyala province.

    Bremer added that he doesn’t think that will happen in six weeks, when the United States is also expected to declare its occupation of the country over. There are 135,000 U.S. troops deployed in Iraq.

    In Washington, Secretary of State Colin Powell (search), meeting with the foreign ministers of the G-8 countries, half of which are coalition members, reinforced the notion of a pullout upon request.

    “Were this interim government to say to us, ‘We really think we can handle this on our own, it would be better if you were to leave,’ we would leave,” Powell said.

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,120015,00.html

  6. #6 Eli Rabett
    May 20, 2005

    Tall Dave, I appear to remember similar statements from Krushchev about the Soviet Union pulling out of places.

  7. #7 Donald Johnson
    May 20, 2005

    The point of the Lancet study, one which you’ve endorsed Talldave, is that the death rate since the invasion has almost certainly gone up. The confidence interval isn’t negative at the lower bound, you know. So in that sense Iraqis are worse off. They’re worse off in some other ways too–women have less freedom than before. Maybe things will get better in time, but from what I’ve read that’s not the current situation.

    In general Saddam was a vicious murdering brutal thug, like many other American allies. To be honest, probably like some American politicians would be–it’s our system that keeps our nastier politicians in check, I think, not their own consciences and when they deal with people overseas I think some American “statesmen” let their inner Saddam out.

    I think the shredder story has been discredited, but I don’t have links. Doesn’t matter for determining that Saddam was a really nasty mass-murderer.

  8. #8 Shirin
    May 20, 2005

    women have less freedom than before.

    Women have less freedom and fewer rights than EVER before in history, and it is getting worse due to several factors.

    Traditionally Iraqi women have had a lot of rights, freedoms, privileges and were equal to men in many areas of life. Iraqi women were taking an active part in public life by the ’20′s and ’30′s. State-provided education through advanced degrees has always been available to women on the same basis as to men. Women’s rights and equality eventually became a matter of law in Iraq. Women in rural and poor areas still had quite some way to go, but Iraqi women were taking some rights and privileges for granted while American women were still struggling for them. All of that has been blown away by American bombs.

    Maybe things will get better in time

    It is highly unlikely that the loss of rights and freedoms resultiang from the unleashing and bringing to power of religious extremism will do anything but continue to increase over time. Even Christian women are increasingly afraid to leave the house without wearing “Islamic” covering. The sister of a very close friend of mine is a professor at Najaf university. Prior to “liberation” the hijab – headscarf and modest clothing – she wore was always sufficient. Now she cannot leave the house without being harrassed for not being covered enough.

    The unspeakably horrible safety and security situation continues to get worse over time. It may eventually improve – though not until the Americans withdraw – but it will be a very, very long time before Iraqi women (or anyone else) can leave their houses without constant fear.

    In general Saddam was a vicious murdering brutal thug, like many other American allies.

    Like most who obtain power, he would do just about anything he could get away with in order to retain it. However, the overwhelming majority of Iraqis never encountered his brutality, and even at the worst of times most Iraqis had some semblance of normal life. The brutality of the occupation and its horrific sequelae affects every Iraqi at every moment of the day and night in ways no one can imagine who has not experienced it. There is no longer even a small semblance of normal life in Iraq.

    I think the shredder story has been discredited, but I don’t have links.

    It was one of many exaggerated rumours that had no basis in reality.

  9. #9 soru
    May 20, 2005


    The point of the Lancet study, one which you’ve endorsed Talldave, is that the death rate since the invasion has almost certainly gone up.

    That’s a very strange reading of the study. If it shows anything, it is that the _average_ of the war and occupation was in some sense worse than the immediate pre-war period.

    In addition, saddam knew the war was coming, so the immediate pre-war period is best considered part of the effects of the war, not a valid baseline to compare to, or a stable norm.

    soru

  10. #10 TallDave
    May 20, 2005

    Eli,

    I don’t seem to remember the Soviet Union holding free and fair elections or estbalishing a Bill of Rights in any country they conquered. They weren’t big on freedom and democracy.

  11. #11 TallDave
    May 20, 2005

    Donald,

    The point of the Lancet study, one which you’ve endorsed Talldave, is that the death rate since the invasion has almost certainly gone up.

    Yes, if you include the 30,000 who died directly from the military action to remove the Hussein regime that is true. However if you take them out, to ascertain the “postwar” effect aside from direct military effects, the lower bound becomes negative. Still, in my view the Lancet study mostly just says nothing useful.

  12. #12 Eli Rabett
    May 20, 2005

    Austria, you could look it up. Thank you for the straight line.

  13. #13 Eli Rabett
    May 20, 2005

    TD: Austria.

  14. #14 TallDave
    May 20, 2005

    OK, what about the other 30-plus countries they conquered?

    Thank you for such a ridiculous comparison.

  15. #15 TallDave
    May 20, 2005

    Also, Autria was not conquered strictly by the Soviets, it was divided among the Allies.

    http://www.austria.org/oldsite/nov96/eberhard.html

    While Austria by then had a democratically elected government, the country was effectively governed by Britain, France, the United States and the Soviet Union. Each occupation zone was for all intents and purposes economically autonomous and each was loosely attached to the respective occupation areas in Germany (U.S. and France), Italy (Britain) and Hungary (USSR). Thus, Salzburg and Upper Austria, for instance, had closer contact with Bavaria than with Lower Austria.

    Austria had no diplomatic representation abroad. The only way the Austrian government could communicate with the governments of the four occupying powers was through the four High Commissioners in Vienna.

    As the economic situation deteriorated, the Austrian government early in 1946 decided to send envoys to London, Paris, Washington and Moscow. Ludwig Kleinwaechter was the diplomat selected for Washington. (He became Austria’s first postwar ambassador to the United States). Kleinwaechter and his colleague Heinrich Schmid, who was sent to London, prevailed upon the American and British governments to review the Austrian situation not only to lend assistance in the economic area but also to ameliorate the occupation regime. Thereafter, the British representative in the Allied Council in Vienna proposed that the Allied control mechanism be amended to grant the Austrian government a greater degree of sovereignty and to let the four occupation zones become more integrated. The attitude of the Soviet Union was of course crucial. There was, however, a certain degree of optimism. After all, the USSR was proud that it was in Moscow that the declaration regarding the restoration of Austria’s independence after the war had been signed in 1943.

    In the subsequent Allied discussions in London, which laid the groundwork for the occupation regimes in Germany and Austria, the Soviets made a distinction between Germany and Austria. The “Four in a Jeep” in Vienna would hardly have been possible in Berlin. What the Soviets were inflexible about was their insistence on reaping economic benefits from the occupation in Austria. The question of the so-called German assets in Austria bedeviled the conclusion of an Austrian treaty almost to the last day of Allied negotiations in 1955.

  16. #16 TallDave
    May 20, 2005

    Shirin,
    State-provided education through advanced degrees has always been available to women on the same basis as to men. Women’s rights and equality eventually became a matter of law in Iraq. Women in rural and poor areas still had quite some way to go, but Iraqi women were taking some rights and privileges for granted while American women were still struggling for them. All of that has been blown away by American bombs.

    That’s a bit rosy. It’s true women were quite liberated in Iraq, but Saddam was pushing those rights back.


    HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
    Background on Women’s Status in Iraq Prior to the Fall of the Saddam Hussein Government

    In the years following the 1991 Gulf War, many of the positive steps that had been taken to advance women’s and girls’ status in Iraqi society were reversed due to a combination of legal, economic, and political factors.22 The most significant political factor was Saddam Hussein’s decision to embrace Islamic and tribal traditions as a political tool in order to consolidate power. In addition, the U.N. sanctions imposed after the war have had a disproportionate impact on women and children (especially girls).23 For example, the gender gap in school enrollment (and subsequently female illiteracy) increased dramatically due to families’ financial inability to send their children to school. When faced with limited resources, many families chose to keep their girl children at home.24 According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), as a result of the national literacy campaign, as of 1987 approximately 75 percent of Iraqi women were literate; however, by year-end 2000, Iraq had the lowest regional adult literacy levels, with the percentage of literate women at less than 25 percent.25

    Women and girls have also suffered from increasing restrictions on their freedom of mobility and protections under the law.26 In collusion with conservative religious groups and tribal leaders, the government issued numerous decrees and introduced legislation negatively impacting women’s legal status in the labor code, criminal justice system, and personal status laws.27 In 2001, the U.N. Special Rapporteur for Violence against Women reported that since the passage of the reforms in 1991, an estimated 4,000 women and girls had been victims of “honor killings.”28 In recent years, both the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) administrations in northern Iraq issued decrees suspending laws allowing for mitigation of sentences in honor crimes, but the degree to which the suspension has been implemented is unknown.29

    Furthermore, as the economy constricted, in an effort to ensure employment for men the government pushed women out of the labor force and into more traditional roles in the home. In 1998, the government reportedly dismissed all females working as secretaries in governmental agencies.30 In June 2000, it also reportedly enacted a law requiring all state ministries to put restrictions on women working outside the home.31 Women’s freedom to travel abroad was also legally restricted and formerly co-educational high schools were required by law to provide single-sex education only, further reflecting the reversion to religious and tribal traditions.32 As a result of these combined forces, by the last years of Saddam Hussein’s government the majority of women and girls had been relegated to traditional roles within the home.
    http://www.hrw.org/backgrounder/wrd/iraq-women.htm

    At the age of 14, I was arrested by the regime merely because I joined the Iraqi Women’s League. I was not the only young girl arrested for such a trivial offence.
    http://www.warroom.com/iraqiwar/firstperson.htm

    I’m still curious, so I’ll ask a third time: are you a Sunni?

  17. #17 Meyrick
    May 21, 2005

    The “Human Subject Social Dynamic” does not appear to be on the internet, but found this article about it. Again, the coalition is distrusted/disliked:

    “”I was surprised to see the Shiias were so anti-American,” he said. “They are very suspicious of America’s intentions.””

    Link

  18. #18 Eli Rabett
    May 21, 2005

    Ah but Dave, I never said they left did I, I merely said that they said they were there on the invitation of the government. and would leave if invited to leave, which they surely did not do in Hungary, but did do in the DDR.

  19. #19 TallDave
    May 21, 2005

    I didn’t say you said they left, I said they weren’t big on freedom and democracy. If you don’t allow elections to replace the gov’t you set up, as the US has alreay done in Iraq, the claim you’ll leave if asked is pretty hollow.

  20. #20 Shirin
    May 21, 2005

    TallDave, the U.S. was dragged,kicking and screaming, by Ayat Ullah Sistani into allowing elections after steadfastly refusing to allow anything remotely resembling a democratic process of any kind at any level (Iraqis also have been given absolutely no say in any of the decisions or actions that affected the short, mid, or long-term future of their country in any area, including political, economic, infrastructural, civil, social, or cultural, but that is a different subject). Paul Bremer even went so far as to cancel local elections that had been scheduled by his predecessor, Jay Garner, and to dismiss local officials that had been elected by the people and replace them by his own, often incredibly inappropriate, hand-picked appointees.

    Once they were dragged kicking and screaming into allowing elections the Bush administration took every step they could get away with to define a process that they would be able to manipulate to their advantage. They appointed their own hand-picked people to the “Independent” (sic) Election Committee, and created a system that gave their only ally in Iraq, the Kurds, disproportionate power amounting among other things to veto power in the “assembly”, and the ability to bring the process into gridlock any time they were ordered to.

    They spent tens of millions to promote their candidates, and made sure they had a few trojan horses, such as Abdul Mehdi, in the other major lists. They even resurrected their warm and loving relationship with Chalabi when it became clear that their enormous investments in `Allawi’s and Yawar’s campaigns were not going to pay off, and they were going to need more friends in the UIA than they already had there. They also “met” with the UIA shortly before the election and “explained” certain “realities” to them. It was after these meetings that the UIA began to back down on three of the most critical planks in their platform, including demanding U.S. withdrawal.

    And of course, there was no intependent supervision of the election, and the U.S. – hardly a disinterested third party – had possession and control of the ballots during the process of transporting and counting them, which took several times as long as it should have, completel with mysterious recounts, which may or may not be perfectly innocent.

    To put it succinctly, that the election and government selection process that was designed, supervised, and controlled by an occupying power with a clear interest in the outcome, and without the benefit of independent third party monitoring, makes any claim of honest intentions pretty hollow.

  21. #21 TallDave
    May 22, 2005

    Shirin,

    No, the intent was always to transition to democracy, it was always a question of when not if.

    The elections were free and fair, and Iraq has a real democratic gov’t that has invited the U.S. to stay and assist in the continuing process of democratization. As usual your allegations otherwise are ridiculous and totally unsupported.

    But of course you already know that what you’re posting is misleading, and are doing it deliberately. Why don’t you just be honest and admit you oppose democracy in Iraq?

  22. #22 Ian Gould
    May 22, 2005

    This is equivalent to “Why don’t you just be honest and admit you enjoy masturbating over pictures of dead arabs”.

    As to the claim that everything in Iraq is just hunk-dory. Someone hasn’t told this guy: http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200505/s1374021.htm.

  23. #23 Shirin
    May 22, 2005

    the intent was always to transition to democracy, it was always a question of when not if.

    And your sole “evidence” for this is, of course, the words of the proven habitual prevaricators of the Bush administration.

    If the true intention was to “transition to democracy” (whatever THAT means), then why did the Bush administration go to such enormous lengths to maintain control over every aspect of the country, to delay the “transition” by virtually any means possible, and finally to make sure they maintained as much ability as possible to manipulate the process once they had no viable choice but to allow some kind of election to take place?

    The elections were free and fair a, and Iraq has a real democratic gov’t

    TallDave, you can repeat that all day every day and it will not make it a fact. There are very specific criteria that an election must meet to qualify as free. There are very specific criteria that an election must meet to qualify as fair. The election that took place in January did not meet even the minimum requirements to qualify as free and fair. The process of selecting the “government” does not qualify as democratic. Therefore, the election was neither free nor fair, and the “government” is not a “real democratic” one no matter how many times you insist – without a bit of supporting evidence or a single supporting argument.

    that has invited the U.S. to stay and assist in the continuing process of democratization.

    Now that you are just making up out of whole cloth. The “government” has not “invited” the U.S. to stay, and they certainly have not asked them to assist in any “process of democratization”.

    Why don’t you just be honest and admit you oppose democracy in Iraq?

    Perhaps I don’t “admit” that I oppose democracy in Iraq because what I oppose is not democracy in Iraq, but the creation at the point of a gun of a charade that is falsely labeled democracy.

  24. #24 Shirin
    May 22, 2005

    Ian Gould, your link did not work. Please try again.

  25. #25 TallDave
    May 22, 2005

    Ian,

    No I think in Shirin’s case he really does oppose democracy, and for good reason.

  26. #26 TallDave
    May 22, 2005

    Shirin,

    I posted links to back up everything I said. You can’t, because it’s all sophistry and BS. You lose.

  27. #27 TallDave
    May 22, 2005

    LOL here’s another link, just to show that in fact Shirin is the real “proven habitual prevaricator.”

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4471997

  28. #28 TallDave
    May 22, 2005

    Sorry Shirin, freedom and democracy are the inalienable rights of every human being, and Iraqis are not going to give those rights up.

  29. #29 TallDave
    May 22, 2005

    Like Riverbend, Shirin’s vociferous and counterfactual rhetoric is probably best understood as coming from the Sunni minority that was the most powerful group in Iraq under Saddam. It’s natural they bitterly resent their loss of power and privilege and the concomitant imposition of egalitarian freedom and democracy that came with the end of that brutal regime, and equally understandable that they would tend to whitewash the regime’s crimes during their heyday while painting the worst picture possible of the war that drove them from power, the aftermath of that war, and its architects. Of course they would like the US troops to leave so they can overthrow the democratic gov’t by force and re-assert tyrannical Sunni rule over Iraq, as the Sunni insurgency has been trying to do for some time now. Their views probably are fairly representative of a good proportion of Sunnis – but not of the 80% of Iraqis who are not Sunnis, as the polls I posted amply demonstrate. His counterfactual insistence that elections were not free and fair, that “Democracy is NOT a human right” and “It is not the business of the United States or any other state to decide what form of government any other country must have. ” and “Nation building is an internal matter, not something to be forced by one state on another.” make much more sense viewed in this light.

  30. #30 Shirin
    May 22, 2005

    freedom and democracy are the inalienable rights of every human being

    “Freedom” is not a human right, inalienable or otherwise. If it were there could be no laws restricting any kind of freedom. Only certain specific freedoms are human rights, most other specific freedoms are definitely not human rights.

    Democracy is not a human right, period. Human beings DO have the right not to be attacked, killed, tortured, deprived of shelter, education, medical care, clean water, and basic decent living conditions in the name of democracy.

    Iraqis are not going to give those rights up.

    And what, exactly, qualifies you to speak for the Iraqi people?

  31. #31 TallDave
    May 22, 2005

    Oh, I don’t need to speak for freedom- and democracy-loving Iraqis. They speak for themsleves just fine.

    Free Iraqi
    I was not living before the 9th of April and now I am, so let me speak!
    http://iraqilibe.blogspot.com/

    I promised to tell you about different aspects of life in Iraq before and after the liberation, so today I’ll be writing about another aspect (HEALTH CARE)
    To those who think that conditions in Iraq nowadays are worse than they were under Saddan’s regime, here are some notes…There are no more torture rooms, no more mass graves and we will make sure that it remains so.
    http://iraqthemodel.blogspot.com/

    Democracy and freedom (within reasonable bounds) are the most basic and important human rights, and Iraqis will not be handing them back over now that they have them.

  32. #32 Shirin
    May 22, 2005

    another link, just to show that in fact Shirin is the real “proven habitual prevaricator.”

    “U.N. Representative: Iraqi Elections Appeared Fair, Transparent

    A link is only as good as its contents.

    1. That something APPEARED to be a certain way is a very equivocal statement, and certainly does not confirm as a fact that it was that way, or even that the speaker unequivocally believes it was that way.

    2. Someone claiming, or even honestly believing something does not make it factual. He could have many reasons for claiming or believing something that is simply not borne out by the evidence or the reality.

    3. To state that the elections were transparent flies in the face of reality and logic given that, for starters, a) the identities of the overwhelming majority of candidates were unknown, 2) the positions on issues of the overwhelming majority of the candidates were unknown, c) the positions on issues of the overwhelming majority of the lists were unknown.

    4. By no means can an election be free when the only parties who are able to campaign or even make their positions, or even their identities known are those who have their own militias, can afford to hire a large number of private armed guards, and/or who are provided armed guards and other forms of support by an occupying power that has an interest and a stake in the outcome.

    5. By no means can an election be free or fair when large numbers of those who want to vote are prevented from doing so, and in which people feel compelled to vote even though they may not want to. Both were the case in Iraq.

    6. That an election is free or fair is, at best, suspect when the armed forces of the occupying power, which has an interest and a stake in the outcome, have control over the ballots and their counting. It becomes even more suspect when the armed forces of the occupying power whisk the ballots out of sight, and when there are lengthy, unexplained delays in the results.

    I could go on, but that will have to be enough for now.

  33. #33 Ian Gould
    May 22, 2005

    I’m not sure why the previous link didn’t work so here it is again http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200505/s1374021.htm.

    I dropped out the initial http etc. so that may help.

    Here’s a sample:

    Violence crippling Iraq rebuilding effort

    The US official in charge of reconstruction efforts in Iraq says Washington is far behind in plans to pump $27.7 billion into reconstruction because it is bogged down by an insurgency that has killed hundreds of contractors.

    William Taylor says too much of the available money is being diverted to meet increased security demands.

    “There is a long way to go. We recognise a lot of work needs to be done,” Mr Taylor said.

    He said it was still too early to predict when Iraqis will enjoy adequate electricity and other essential services, more than two years after the US-led invasion.

    Relentless insurgent attacks have killed 295 contractors for US projects alone since reconstruction began, said Theresa Shope, spokeswoman for the Iraq Reconstruction Management Office.

    Violence has forced foreign governments and companies to pump money into security, draining budgets and delaying rebuilding ventures after years of wars, United Nations trade sanctions and a state stranglehold on the economy.

    Boosting the national electricity grid would help raise the spirits of Iraqis who have spent three straight summers battling stifling heat with erratic power for air conditioners.

    But bloodshed has put a US plan to improve the electricity grid on hold, Mr Taylor said.

  34. #34 Ian Gould
    May 22, 2005

    Shirin

    On the information avaialble to me I believe the election day itself in Iraq was operated faaily – you may have access to arabic language sources that dispute this.

    “Appears” in this context is simpyl the standard cautious language of bureacracy.

    The thing is though if I wanted to ensure a certain outcome from an election without resorting to outright ballot-riggin I’d use a process much like the one the US set up.

    Base the election on a national electorate to make it harder for popular local leaders to run unless they have the backing of a national party.

    Selectively fund and resource the parties you want to do well. (Dave: yes the US wanted Da’wa et al to win – having backed a secular sunni dictator up until 1990, they now seem to think a religious shia dictatorship is the best way to restore stabiltiy and let them leave before the next Presidential election.)

    Keep the party lists secret so, for example, Talabani can shore up his support by doing deals with Kurdish clan leaders who collaborated with Saddam during the Anfal campaign.

    Ensure that the executive government isn’t directly elected so that even if you don’t get the assembly you want you can twist arms to get the rulers you want.

    Limit the term and the pwoer of the assembly for similar reasons.

    The Iraqi Communist Party was polling up to 10% in polls leading up to the election – not because the Iraqis have any love for communism but because they were almost the only party to campaign for a secular Iraq with religious and sexual equality.

    In the event, they got only 2 seats in the assembly. That MIGHT have something to do with the occupation forces selectively deciding who got access to the media and who got security for public rallies.

  35. #35 TallDave
    May 22, 2005

    Ian,

    The thing is though if I wanted to ensure a certain outcome from an election without resorting to outright ballot–riggin I’d use a process much like the one the US set up.
    That’s just laughably ridiculous. Lots of countries have party-slate elections. The UN helped set up the elections. There were consultants from dozens of countries. The U.S. did not choose the leaders of Dawa; they’ve been around for decades.

    religious shia dictatorship
    That’s a ludicrous and counterfactual libel of an elected multiparty gov’t that has promised to respect all religions. There are Kurds and Sunnis in the gov’t as well; they are hardly a Shia religious dictatorship.

  36. #36 TallDave
    May 22, 2005

    He could have many reasons for claiming or believing something that is simply not borne out by the evidence or the reality

    Do tell.

  37. #37 Ian Gould
    May 22, 2005

    “They are hardly a sha religious dictatorship” -give it a year.

  38. #38 TallDave
    May 22, 2005

    “They are hardly a sha religious dictatorship” -give it a year.

    Not likely. The constitution must be approved by Kurds and Sunnis. They wouldn’t even bother putting forward a religious dictatorship model as they know it would be rejected, never mind that the Shia don’t want one either. Honestly, I don’t know why this notion gets tossed around that the Iraqi Shia look at Iran’s gov’t and say “Yeah! That’s what we want!” when even the Iranians don’t like it.

    Poll after poll after poll says Iraqis do not want a theocracy, though they are receptive to Islamic principles underlying the gov’t.

    A vital detail: Shiites (whom Western reporters frequently portray as self-flagellating maniacs) are least receptive to the idea of an Islamic government, saying no by 66% to 27%. It is only among the minority Sunnis that there is interest in a religious state, and they are split evenly on the question

    http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110003991

    a. Multi-party parliamentary democracy such as that in most European nations, U.S. and some Asian countries

    b. An Islamic democracy, such as that in Pakistan:

    c. An Islamic theocracy in which religious leaders or Mullahs have a strong influence, such as in Iran

    d. A conservative Islamic theocracy, such as existed in the former Taliban regime in Afghanistan:

    e. A conservative Islamic kingdom, such as in Saudi Arabia

    f. A royal constitutional regime such as the one prevailed in Iraq before 1958:

    g. A system based on the Islamic concept of SHURA (mutual consent)

    12. If you had to choose one of these forms of government, which would you choose?

    Total Baghdad Shi’ite areas Sunni areas Kurdish areas Non-Kurdish areas
    European version 40 45 27 31 94 32
    SHURA 25 20 31 23 4 28
    Iran 12 9 23 3 * 13
    Royal constitutional 7 6 5 17 1 7
    (Iraq pre-1958)
    Saudi 4 6 2 9 – 4
    Pakistan 2 2 2 3 – 2
    Afghan(Taliban) 1 1 2 1 – 1

    13. Looking ahead five years, which form of government do you think Iraq is most likely to have?

    Total Baghdad Shi’ite areas Sunni areas Kurdish areas Non-Kurdish areas
    European version 50 53 43 37 95 43
    SHURA 12 8 14 12 4 14
    Royal constitutional 7 4 5 17 1 8
    (Iraq pre-1958)
    Iran 6 3 12 1 – 7
    Saudi 2 3 1 4 – 2
    Pakistan 1 1 2 1 – 1
    Don’t know 19 26 19 27 * 22

    14.4 Agree or disagree that these should be included in the new constitution:

    Total Baghdad Shi’ite areas Sunni areas Kurdish areas Non-Kurdish areas
    Freedom of speech 94 96 95 89 100 93
    Freedom of religion 73 60 84 51 79 72
    Freedom of assembly 77 81 81 63 75 77

  39. #40 Ian Gould
    May 22, 2005

    I’m sure that, if they actually manage to draft a constitution, it’ll be full of all sorts og high-minded ideals.

    Much like the one under which Saddam operated.

    I pay less attnetion to such proclamations than I do to events such as the recent killings of university students in Basra by religious vigilantes (for the crime of staging a mixed picnic in a public park); the increasing reports of torture and reports that recent murders of sunni clerics were carried out by members of the security forces.

    Of course, the majority of Iraqis want democracy – so do the majority of Burmese, Chinese, Saudis and Uzbeks.

    The majority of Yugoslavs wanted the country dissolved peacefully.

    To quote Sir humphrey Appleby: “Neville Chamberlain wanted peace – and look how that turned out.”

    The Sunni will probably boycott any future elections as they did the last. The kurds will happily cut a deal which leaves the Sunni under Shia domination provided it advances them towards their goal of independence.

  40. #41 TallDave
    May 22, 2005

    Much like the one under which Saddam operated.
    More like the ones every free democracy operate under.

    Of course, the majority of Iraqis want democracy – so do the majority of Burmese, Chinese, Saudis and Uzbeks.

    The main difference being there aren’t 150,000 U.S. troops there to enforce their wishes.

    To quote Sir humphrey Appleby: “Neville Chamberlain wanted peace – and look how that turned out.”
    Thus proving appeasing dictators doesn’t work and removing them by force and replacing them with real democracies is a better course.

    The Sunni will probably boycott any future elections as they did the last.

    Our special correspondent Haider Ajina reports:

    “The following is a translation of a headline and article in the April 23rd Edition of the Iraqi Arabic newspaper Nahrain:

    ” ‘Iraqi Sunni Accord confirms that Sunnis will participate in the next elections’

    ” ‘Adnan Mohamed Selman president of the Iraqi Sunni Accord confirmed that Iraqi Arab Sunnis will participate in the next elections. This was backed up by Nasier Alaani, a leader in the Iraqi Islamic Party (a Sunni party) who said that it is of utmost importance that all Iraqis of all factions participate in the writing of the constitution’.”
    Haider comments:

    “Those Sunni leaders who called for the boycott of the Iraqi elections have realize the error of their ways and the damage they did to them selves, their followers and Iraq as a whole. These same leaders are now joining the river of democracy, which quenches the Iraqi peoples thirst for freedom and security. They realize that terrorism and supporting terrorism is not the way.

    “It is sad that we do not see this kind of news reported in our mainstream media.”
    That’s two major Sunni parties apparently making a conversion to democracy

    http://chrenkoff.blogspot.com/2005/04/sunnis-change-their-mind.html

  41. #42 Shirin
    May 23, 2005

    Ian Gould,

    Violence crippling Iraq rebuilding effort

    The US official in charge of reconstruction efforts in Iraq says Washington is far behind in plans to pump $27.7 billion into reconstruction because it is bogged down by an insurgency that has killed hundreds of contractors.

    That might be the case now, although it is far from the only factor even today. In the beginning, however, the so-called “reconstruction effort” (a better term would be “deconstruction and transformation”) was crippled by a combination of 1) ignoring Iraqis’ immediate needs in order to focus on the Bush administration’s short and long-term economic, political, military, societal and cultural agenda (oh yes, part of the plan was “social and cultural transformation”), 2) spectacular arrogance, ignorance and incompetence from the very top levels in the White House and the Pentagon on down to every level and every action of the American Occupation Authority, and the military, 3) raging corruption permeating every aspect of Bremer’s American Occupation Authority (aka CPA) and virtually everything associated with it, 4) utter disregard, and disrespect amounting to open distain for Iraqis’ immediate needs or for their abilities, desires, needs and absolute right to participate in determining, designing, and realizing any aspect whatsoever of their own future.

  42. #43 Meyrick
    May 23, 2005

    Democracy is the tyrany of the majority. Which is just fine if there is no majority (this is one of the US’s great advantages, there is no dominant ethnic group), but as the Shia constitute about 60% of the population of Iraq, there is a danger. If the Sunni population end up feeling “it us against the Shia & Kurds”, then there will be problems for the future of Iraq.

  43. #44 Shirin
    May 23, 2005

    Ian Gould,

    Violence crippling Iraq rebuilding effort

    The US official in charge of reconstruction efforts in Iraq says Washington is far behind in plans to pump $27.7 billion into reconstruction because it is bogged down by an insurgency that has killed hundreds of contractors.

    That might be the case now, although it is far from the only factor even today. In the beginning, however, the so-called “reconstruction effort” (a better term would be “deconstruction and transformation”) was crippled by a combination of 1) ignoring Iraqis’ immediate needs in order to focus on the Bush administration’s short and long-term economic, political, military, societal and cultural agenda (oh yes, part of the plan was “social and cultural transformation”), 2) spectacular arrogance, ignorance and incompetence from the very top levels in the White House and the Pentagon on down to every level and every action of the American Occupation Authority, and the military, 3) raging corruption permeating every aspect of Bremer’s American Occupation Authority (aka CPA) and virtually everything associated with it, 4) utter disregard, and disrespect amounting to open distain for Iraqis’ immediate needs or for their abilities, desires, needs and absolute right to participate in determining, designing, and realizing any aspect whatsoever of their own future.

  44. #45 Ian Gould
    May 23, 2005

    There was an interesting article about the Iraqi power industry. I forget exactly where but I think John Quiggin’s linked to it on his blog.

    It described the problems that arose because foreign engineers failed to understand that their Iraqi counterparts had a lot of specialised knowledge that they lacked.

    Examples included running generators at full power despite Iraqi advice that this would result in transformers on the high-voltage lines burning out and ignoring Iraqi warnings that fuel was likely to be contaminated.

    Most of Iraq’s power plants are based on Russian designs (and most Iraqi engineers trained in Russia) even leaving aside the particular problems arisiong from the long-term
    neglect of the infrastructure, the western technical staff often simply don’t understand the systems as well as the Iraqis.

  45. #46 TallDave
    May 23, 2005

    Sure, there are problems, but Iraq still managed to have the highest GDP growth rate in the world.

    http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/rankorder/2003rank.html

    Or course, that’s relative to a very bad year, but it does show things got a lot better during a period that some people keep describing as getting worse for all involved.

    Some things are rolling along despite the problems.

    In less than one year, the newly formed Iraqi Stock Exchange (search) has tripled its trading volume, with growth rates unheard of nearly anywhere else.

    “The market since it’s opening last year is doing very, very well,” said Talab Tabuy, a trader. “Excellent, actually.”

    Tabuy is betting on companies like Baghdad Soda, Hader Marble and Thesar Agriculture. But the real excitement is over Iraq’s banking sector, especially Basra Bank (search).

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,157221,00.html

  46. #47 Ian Gould
    May 23, 2005

    1. That’s an (unsourced) estimate

    2. I’d be willing to bet virtually all of the increase is due to revaluation of the Iraqi dinar. I’d like to see the PPE figures.

    3. Iraq’s largest industry is oil. I need to look at the Brookings Institute figures again. I know oil exports in dollar has fallen off since a peak some time last time. That suggests this year’s growth is unlikely to match last years.

  47. #48 Jeff Harvey
    May 23, 2005

    The latest piece (amongst many) completely quashing TallDave’s myths about democracy in Iraq: http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=15&ItemID=7914

    It is indeed interesting how the Americans rigged the electoral process in Iraq to ensure its impotence. For any motion to pass in the new parliament, a full 75% majority vote is required. The Kurds make up only 15% of the Iraq population but enjoy 27% of the representation in the Iraqi parliament. As the Kurdish population is the only one really supporting the illegal occupation, the Americans can count on that 27% of their vote (2% more than needed) to block any legislaton unfavorable to Washington.

    As I have said before, but without any kind of response from TD, the U.S. had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the electoral process. The big worry is that the Shia majority will eventually want to establish better relations with the Shia thoecracy in Iran. Following this, they will want to rebuild their defenses and eventually confront the old enemy of the region (Israel). Will the neocons allow for any of this? Brent Scowcroft said several years ago, in respose to a question about the formation of a Shia theocracy in Iraq, that “Surely we aren’t going to let them take over!”. At present, the impotence of the Iraqi parliament is a boon for the occupiers. But at some point the Americans are going to have to reveal their hand, and the Shia know it. They are being patient, for now.

  48. #49 Eli Rabett
    May 23, 2005

    I think TallDave Harvey has a false impression of the Kurdish situation. The Kurds are a major ethnic group in Asia Minor. One only has to consider their recent history with Turkey, Iran and Iraq to understand their paranoia. It is also clear that Iraq as a political entity can only exist with Kurdish participation, as is the case with the Sunnis. In that case it makes sense for each group to have a blocking vote in any assembly which drafts a constitution.

    That being said, the election was more than a bit manipulated at the front, resembling that in Iran, and the Kurdish leaders are not you local democrats.

  49. #50 TallDave
    May 23, 2005

    Jeff,

    As I have said before, but without any kind of response from TD, the U.S. had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the electoral process.
    Of course you’re free to continue embarassing yourself with ridiculously counterfactual statements, but I don’t see why I’m obligated to respond to every such raving. Yes, besides saying for years we would create a democratic Iraq, sending hundreds of thousands of troops to overthrow Saddam and make it possible, inviting representatives from the UN and numerous other countries to make recommendations on how best to hold elections, meeting with Shia, Kurd, and Sunni leaders to discuss timetables and logistics, and guarding the polling places from anti-democracy terrorists trying to kill voters, we really didn’t do much to bring democracy to Iraq at all.

    And of course the Iraqis are now writing their own constitution as we speak, and will soon be holding a referendum, then parliamentary elections based on that constitution. I can’t wait to hear how the U.S. fixed all those too. And if that doesn’t work, they can alway go back to claiming Iraq is about to become a theocracy or dissolve into civil war. Or more likely they’ll claim all three at once like they do now.

    Of course, no elections, constitution, or government in Iraq will ever be good enough for some people.

  50. #51 TallDave
    May 23, 2005

    Ian,

    1. If you have a competing, better-sourced estimate, I’m all ears.

    2. I’m trying not to laugh.

    3. I didn’t say anything about this year, I was talking about 2004.

  51. #52 TallDave
    May 23, 2005

    Monday, February 16, 2004; Page A01

    CHEBAYISH, Iraq — The banner outside declared the occasion: the first free elections in this hardscrabble southern town, battered by President Saddam Hussein and neglected in the disarray that followed. Campaign posters of men in turbans, suits and street clothes crowded for space along the wall of the polling station, peering at the gathering crowds. Inside was Tobin Bradley, a 29-year-old American trying to pull off the vote and, in the process, possibly reshape Iraq’s transition from occupation.

    “Ask them if they read and write,” Bradley called out in Arabic to volunteers and staff. He positioned police to keep order. “One officer goes here,” he said. “One goes there.” To a handful of candidates gathered at the door, he lifted up a ballot box, painted in white. “You can see the boxes are empty.” He caught his breath, rolled up his sleeves, then called out, “Yalla, let’s go.”

    “We’ll see how it works out,” Bradley said, as voters surged through the doors. “It’s always figure-it-out-as-we-go.”

    With a knack for improvisation and little help from Baghdad, Bradley, the political adviser for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Nasiriyah, has carried out what may stand as one of the most ambitious democratic experiments in Iraq’s history, a project that goes to the heart of the debate about how Iraq’s next government should be chosen. In the province of Dhi Qar, about 230 miles southeast of Baghdad and a backwater even by Iraq’s standards, residents voting as families will have elected city councils in 16 of the 20 biggest cities by next month. Bradley will have organized 11, more than half of them this month.

    http://www.iraqcoalition.org/democracy/shadid.html

    There’s hundreds of stories like this.

  52. #53 TallDave
    May 24, 2005

    This was my fourth trip to Iraq since the fall of the despotism, and my most hopeful yet. I traveled to Baghdad, Kirkuk, Erbil and Suleimaniyah. A close colleague–Leslie Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations–and I were there to lecture and to “show the flag.” We met with parliamentarians and journalists, provincial legislators, clerics and secularists alike, Sunni and Shia Arabs and Kurds. One memory I shall treasure: a visit to the National Assembly. From afar, there are reports of the “acrimony” of Iraq, of the long interlude between Iraq’s elections, on Jan. 30, and the formation of a cabinet. But that day, in the assembly, these concerns seemed like a quibble with history. There was the spectacle of democracy: men and women doing democracy’s work, women cloaked in Islamic attire right alongside more emancipated women, the technocrats and the tribal sheikhs, and the infectious awareness among these people of the precious tradition bequeathed them after a terrible history. One of the principal leaders of the Supreme Islamic Council for Revolution in Iraq, Sheikh Hamam Hammoudi, an elegant, thoughtful cleric in his early 50s, brushed aside the talk of a Shia theocracy. This Shia man, who knew a smattering of English, offered his own assurance that the example and the power of Iran shall be kept at bay: “My English is better than my Farsi, even though I spent 20 years in Iran.” He was proud of his Iraqi identity, proud of being “an Arab.” He was sure that the Najaf school of Shia jurisprudence would offer its own alternative to the world view of Qom, across the border. He wanted no theocratic state in Iraq: Islam, he said, would be “a source” of legislation, but the content of politics would be largely secular. The model, he added, with a touch of irony, would be closer to the American mix of religion and politics than to the uncompromising secularism of France.

    “George W. Bush has unleashed a tsunami on this region,” a shrewd Kuwaiti merchant who knows the way of his world said to me. The man had no patience with the standard refrain that Arab reform had to come from within, that a foreign power cannot alter the age-old ways of the Arabs. “Everything here–the borders of these states, the oil explorations that remade the life of this world, the political outcomes that favored the elites now in the saddle–came from the outside. This moment of possibility for the Arabs is no exception.” A Jordanian of deep political experience at the highest reaches of Arab political life had no doubt as to why history suddenly broke in Lebanon, and could conceivably change in Syria itself before long. “The people in the streets of Beirut knew that no second Hama is possible; they knew that the rulers were under the gaze of American power, and knew that Bush would not permit a massive crackdown by the men in Damascus.”

    http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110006721

  53. #54 Ian Gould
    May 24, 2005

    “Prior to the 1991 war, the official rate of the Iraqi Dinar was approximately 3.00 USD. However, the black market rate was closer to 0.30 USD per Dinar. The currency slid during the post 1991 war United Nations embargo. The value of the Iraqi Dinar has appreciated from lows of approximately 3,000 Dinars per US Dollar to 1,460 Dinar per USD as of January 2005.” http://www.answers.com/topic/iraqi-dinar-1

    In case case the link doesn’t work that’s http://www.answers.com/topic/iraqi-dinar-1.

    An appreciation in the currecny from 3000 dinar to the US dollar to ca. 1500 dinar to the dollar would by itself result in a doubling of GDP in US dollar terms.

  54. #55 Ian Gould
    May 24, 2005

    “The drop in GDP in 2001-02 was largely the result of the global economic slowdown and lower oil prices. Per capita food imports increased significantly, while medical supplies and health care services steadily improved. Per capita output and living standards were still well below the pre-1991 level, but any estimates have a wide range of error. The military victory of the US-led coalition in March-April 2003 resulted in the shutdown of much of the central economic administrative structure. Although a comparatively small amount of capital plant was damaged during the hostilities, looting, insurgent attacks, and sabotage have undermined efforts to rebuild the economy. Despite continuing political uncertainty, the Iraqi Interim Government (IG) has founded the institutions needed to implement economic policy, and has successfully concluded a debt reduction agreement with the Paris Club. The high percentage gain estimated for GDP in 2004 is the result of starting from a low base.

    That’s from the CIA Factbook – the apparent source of the claimed 53% growth in GDP in 2004.

  55. #56 Ian Gould
    May 24, 2005

    http://www.ameinfo.com/42209.html

    EIU, Iraq GDP to rise 55pc
    Iraq: Tuesday, July 06 – 2004 at 08:36
    The Economist Intelligence Unit has forecast a 55 per cent rise in Iraqi GDP this year, and a further 25 per cent growth in 2005, making Iraq the fastest growing economy in the world. This follows a 22 per cent fall in GDP last year. But progress is dependent on maintaining oil supplies.

    That prediction from the Economist Intelligence Unit seems to be the basis for the estimate. Note that it was issued in July – before Fallujah, before the fall-off in oil output and before the election campaign and the related surge in violence

    Note too that the estimated 55% increase follows an estimated 25% fall the previous year. So if we take 2002 output as 100 it fell to 75 in 2003 and then rose to 116.

    That’s somewhat less impressive sounding, isn’t it?

    There’s also the issue of monetarisation.

    Since Dave is such an expert in economics I’m sure he’ll be only too happy to define the term and explain its relevance.

  56. #57 Ian Gould
    May 24, 2005

    http://www.indexmundi.com/g/g.aspx?c=iz&v=65

    That’s: http://www.indexmundi.com/g/g.aspx?c=iz&v=65

    This site includes data from previous editiosn of the CIA Wold Factbook. On those estimates, output fell from $58 billion in 2002 to ca. $39 billion in 2003.

    On that basis a 55% increase in 2004 would mean output in 2004 of around $60.5 billion – a massive 4% increase over 2002. Wow!

    And it only cost $300 billion (so far). Oh and 100,000 lives.

    Let’s see $2.5 billion dividing by 100,000 dead Iraqis – that’s around $2,500 per Iraqi.

  57. #58 Ian Gould
    May 24, 2005

    http://www.worldbank.org/data/countrydata/aag/irq_aag.pdf

    That’s: http://www.worldbank.org/data/countrydata/aag/irq_aag.pdf.

    The Worldbank says Iraqi GDP grew by 52% in 2004 after declining 30% in 2003. GDP per capita declined 33% then recovered 47%.

    On those figures GDP was 6% higher in 2004 than 2002 and per capita GDP was 2% LOWER.

  58. #59 Ian Gould
    May 24, 2005

    Looking further at the World Bank figures.

    Inj 2002, private consumption amounted to 74% of Iraqi GDP. Government expenditure was 16%, In 2004 the figures were 38.9% and 50.5%.

    In other words, private consumption has fallen significantly and the 2004 “boom” consists largely of public spending.

    I wonder how much of that went to Bechtel and Haliburton? And how much was spent on security?

  59. #60 Jeff Harvey
    May 24, 2005

    “The people in the streets of Beirut knew that no second Hama is possible; they knew that the rulers were under the gaze of American power, and knew that Bush would not permit a massive crackdown by the men in Damascus.”

    Even if this were so, its only because Syria is strategically important from Washington’s point of view in terms of its location (access to oil fields and of course being Israel’s neighbour). Of course, it had nix to do with human rights. Where human rights conflicts with U.S. business and military objectives (as is the case in much of Latin America, Uzbekistan, Indonesia etc. etc. etc.) Bush and his junta are more than happy to support rogue regimes that torture their citizens and plunder their environment.

    Read this little atrocious ditty by Melana Zyla Vickers on Tech ‘Exxon’ Station (TCS): http://www.techcentralstation.com/052305A.html

    In Vickers vile piece she makes no bones about it: the U.S. just has to keep on supportin’ many of those rootin’ tootin’ vile regimes out there. Why? Because the U.S. has ‘strategic priorities’. Pure bile.

  60. #61 Shirin
    May 24, 2005

    I wonder how much of that went to Bechtel and Haliburton? And how much was spent on security?

    Don’t forget to wonder how much of it simply got sucked into that great black hole of corruption known as the CPA (more caccurately the American Occupation Authority).

  61. #62 Jeff Harvey
    May 24, 2005

    To show you how much the media in the U.S. is now a pawn of its far-right government, this interview with journalist Greg Palast underlines the fact: http://www.zmag.org/content/print_article.cfm?itemID=7931&sectionID=15

    The facts laid out here and in the European media reveal how brazenly Bush and his cronies control the media in support of their agenda.

  62. #63 soru
    May 24, 2005


    Of course, it had nix to do with human rights.

    It has everything to do with human rights, and very little do do with how much Bush cares about human rights.

    Which is more important, the lives of the poeple on the ground or the state of Bush’s conscience?

    soru

  63. #64 Shirin
    May 25, 2005

    It has everything to do with human rights…

    Human rights are in worse shape in Iraq now than at any time in memory.

    and very little do do with how much Bush cares about human rights.

    Which is more important, the lives of the poeple on the ground or the state of Bush’s conscience?

  64. #65 Ian Gould
    May 25, 2005

    Soru

    What’sd mpre important – Iraqis’ lives or Americans’ sense of their own righteousness?

  65. #66 Shirin
    May 25, 2005

    What’s mpre important – Iraqis’ lives or Americans’ sense of their own righteousness?ev

    Do you even have to ask? Isn’t it obvious?!

  66. #67 Ian Gould
    June 18, 2005

    http://news.ft.com/cms/s/a0c6194c-dece-11d9-92cd-00000e2511c8.html

    On the subject of Iraqi living standards, The Financial Times reports that, according to a UN survey (presumably the ICLS so beloved by the right wing since it gives a lower head-line figure for Iraqi casualties than the Lancet survey), the median income in Iraq has declined since the war from from $255 in 2003 to about $144 in 2004.

    So much for claims that average Iraqis are materially better as a result of the war.

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