pageok
pageok
pageok
"Armed Against Genocide":

A new column by Glenn Reynolds, in the Guardian (U.K.), of all places. A British newspaper's Web site entertaining the notion that "the right of people to be armed to resist genocide should perhaps be regarded as the next international human right" -- shocking.

Justin (mail):
This is almost as brilliant of an idea as "Cars to reduce pollution from Horse dung" or "Television will be considered major educational device" ideas.
3.20.2006 7:41pm
Freddy Hill (mail):
Justin,

That's right. It's much more practical to let them die, as long as they have the good manners of doing so quietly.
3.20.2006 7:52pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
Might it be helpful if commenters make sustained arguments in response to the arguments that Reynolds makes, rather than just throwing off sarcastic one-liners? (I realize that my post included a sarcastic one-liner, but at least it linked to Reynolds' substantive argument.)
3.20.2006 7:59pm
Gabriel Malor (mail):
Indeed, how dare these people try and stop genocide.
3.20.2006 8:01pm
Gabriel Malor (mail):
Hmm, how embarrasing to post that just after our host's admonishment.

Justin, if these people won't be defended by anyone else (the UN, US, their own governments, etc.), maybe they should be encouraged to defend themselves.

Part of that encouragement would have to be ensuring that they can defend themselves if necessary.

I'm interested to know what your solution would be.
3.20.2006 8:04pm
Mark H.:
Justin, both of those observations happen to be true (but it's also true that you're free to ride a horse or tune in cartoons as you see fit).

The thing is, if we won't stand up for their right to live today (and looking the other way and much jawboning in the UN has, so far, done nothing to save their lives), why would we think that anyone would stand up for their right to bear arms to prevent same death on their own?
3.20.2006 8:20pm
Justin (mail):
Okay, here's a sustained argument.

One, arming African populations with guns will be useless, because

1) there's not enough money to do it
2) even if there was, there's not enough money to provide sustainable bullets
3) by definition, they're the weaker group in the area, presumably the stronger group in the area will want/have guns, and will massacre them anyway. In fact, since they now have an incentive to own guns, they'll be more likely to do so, and be better at it. And there will be higher casualties on both sides for it, which doesn't make me shed that many tears, but is technically at least a larger loss of life.

4) In Eastern Europe and Asia, arming these communities will be useless, as military technology has advanced in this area as to make guns a fairly uselss endeavor. Militarizing them without training will be even more useless. Arming them and providing or encouraging proper training will just increase fear and loathing of such minorities (see Israel in the Middle East) and will make them larger targets for genocide.

The only way arming a political minority insulates them from genocide is by arming them in a way that gives them equal military power (increasing the likelihood of armed conflict in the process) or superior military power (which makes the other side the potential victims of genocide).

But all of this seems common sense, and I assume common sense gets the rebuttable presumption of correctness.
3.20.2006 8:24pm
Cody E.:
I find the idea fascinating, and I'm quite sympathetic to it, but what concerns me is how we would prevent those we just armed from turning their weapons on their former oppressors to exact revenge whenever the right opportunity presents itself.
3.20.2006 8:26pm
BU2L (mail):

Justin, you are presumably saying that by deregulating arms to an extent, we run the risk of subverting our aim and arming those that would carry out genocide, not fall victim to it.

History does not bear this argument. By definition, potential victims of genocide comprise some kind of minority, and relative minorities have never to my knowledge carried out genocide, except under the auspices of government protection (see Sunnis in Saddam's Iraq), but in that case, they clearly don't need the protection.
3.20.2006 8:27pm
BU2L (mail):
My post refers to Justin's first post btw
3.20.2006 8:27pm
Gabriel Malor (mail):
Justin, you've missed the point. These people aren't itching to start smuggling guns into countries with governments that have genocidal tyrants. They want the right to keep arms to be regarded internationally as a human right.
3.20.2006 8:29pm
Wally (mail) (www):
The Iraqi populace was incredibly well-armed and Saddam Hussein still butchered and murdered them by the tens of thousands, didn't he!
3.20.2006 8:31pm
BU2L (mail):
Wally, he certainly did, but that's not hte point. It doesnt have to work every time. It just has to be there for future Saddams to consider. Not every perpetrator of genocide has nerve gas, or a huge regional juggernaut of an army.
3.20.2006 8:33pm
Justin (mail):
Political boundaries change over time and make minorities into majorities. See, eg, the Balkans. Iraq, relatedly, has a Shi'a majority, who suffered non-genocidal massacres in the 1980s from the Hussein regime, and is now beginning to inflict non-genocidal massacres on Sunni Muslims.
3.20.2006 8:37pm
Vovan:
I believe that the article that needs to be examined is not Reynold's summary, but rather the Kopel paper that seems to form its substantive basis.

From my cursory look at the Kopel study, I believe that he argues against imposing criminal penalties agaisnt those who smuggle weapons to the victims of the genocide. He also argues against weapon embargoes imposed against the genocide-perpetrating countries, since embargoes only reinforce the status quo - namely lack of weapons in the hands of the victims, and their abundance in the hands of the aggressors.

I see two problems in the substantive paper, and thereby in the argument that Reynolds makes:
1) If the embargoes are lifted, the ethnic group committing the genocide will be able to acquire weapons at a significantly higher rate, than its victims, since at the commission of the genocide, it enjoys comparative advantage of being in cotrol of the economic and political resources. Its ability to acquire weaponry at the increased rate, will negate any advantages obtained by the victims as a result of the lift of the weapon embargoe. The result will most likely be status quo.

2) I also would like to see some empirical data concerning the viability of a minority population armed with small-arms and lacking any outside support, providing meaningful resistance against an aggressor intent on destorying them. The Warsaw Ghetto example is the obvious one to make, however, I believe that more sufficient research needs to be done, before conclusive argument could be made.
3.20.2006 8:39pm
Wally (mail) (www):
Wally, he certainly did, but that's not hte point. It doesnt have to work every time. It just has to be there for future Saddams to consider. Not every perpetrator of genocide has nerve gas, or a huge regional juggernaut of an army.
=======================
Niether the nerve gas nor the size of his army was what created the vast Stalinist machinery that kept the population in check. It IS the point. The arming of individuals does not advance the cause of democracy. The educating of individuals does.
3.20.2006 8:52pm
BU2L (mail):
Wally, Stalin's Russia was overwhelmingly unarmed. Bad example . See Solzhenitsyn, who said something along the lines of, "If only we showed some resistance early on..."
3.20.2006 8:58pm
BU2L (mail):
Also, it's not the educating of individuals that advances democracy. We've seen many educated and middle-class terrorists over the years. What seems to have an impact is a meaningful democracy with protected freedoms, notably of speech.
3.20.2006 9:06pm
Justin (mail):
If all you're saying is that laws like "Jews can't own guns" then I'll concur that these laws are good, though they can be justified on antidiscrimination human rights principles.

If you're telling countries with instability and generally effective gun bans to allow guns into their country, my guess is it its the political MINORITY that will object. The tool de force in Rwanda was a machete not because the minority was unarmed and machetes will do, but because the majority was unarmed and a machete had to do. Allow guns, and well, its easier to massacre people with guns, esp when bullets are expensive and the majority controls the economic resources (see my primary point).
3.20.2006 9:06pm
Andy Freeman (mail):
> by definition, they're the weaker group in the area, presumably the stronger group in the area will want/have guns, and will massacre them anyway. In fact, since they now have an incentive to own guns, they'll be more likely to do so, and be better at it. And there will be higher casualties on both sides for it, which doesn't make me shed that many tears, but is technically at least a larger loss of life.

Justin is ignoring the disproportionate increase in the minority group's power. By definition, the majority group has the arms that it wants. If the minority group is disarmed, killing them is fairly risk free and almost guaranteed to succeed. However, killing an armed minority group is both risky and costly. They may still lose, but the more expensive it is to kill them, the less likely the majority is to go to the trouble and the more likely it is that the minority will be able to successfully resist.

> But all of this seems common sense, and I assume common sense gets the rebuttable presumption of correctness.

Ignoring changes in costs and a relative change in capability may be common, but it certainly isn't sensible/correct.
3.20.2006 9:18pm
Vovan:
Quote
By definition, the majority group has the arms that it wants. If the minority group is disarmed, killing them is fairly risk free and almost guaranteed to succeed. However, killing an armed minority group is both risky and costly. They may still lose, but the more expensive it is to kill them, the less likely the majority is to go to the trouble and the more likely it is that the minority will be able to successfully resist.
End Quote

Andy,

That assumes that perpetrators of genocide are rational actors, who will stop committing genocide if the costs to continue it will be higher than the the costs to desist.

Such theories worked well in explaining civil conflict. However, genocide can also be a self-containing occurence, outside of the context of civil war. You have to present empirical studies that deal with the matter, before you can carry over research from one social science subdivision to the next.
3.20.2006 9:26pm
Justin (mail):
Andy, if you want to talk about specifics, I've explained above why the relative costs are zero. In countries with failed economies, the minorities can't afford to militarize even if you allow them guns. In countries with active (if diminished) economies, the guns are nerf toys compared to what the enemy has gotten. While some marginal advantage may occur, it is vastly outweighed by the increase in destabilization, alternative uses of the money, and increase in civil violence.
3.20.2006 9:50pm
Enoch:
In countries with failed economies, the minorities can't afford to militarize even if you allow them guns.

Seems like in all these crappy failed countries, the only thing they DO have cheap and in great quantities is guns. An AK-47 costs somewhere from $5 to $30 in most parts of Africa - hardly unaffordable.

In countries with active (if diminished) economies, the guns are nerf toys compared to what the enemy has gotten.

Insurgencies armed with nothing but small arms are HARD to put down, even for ruthless dictatorships with heavy weapons.
3.20.2006 10:01pm
BU2L (mail):
"
Insurgencies armed with nothing but small arms are HARD to put down, even for ruthless dictatorships with heavy weapons.
"

Consider the Soviet effort against Lithuanian nationalists in the 40's and 50's. Militia bands equipped, in many cases, with bolt action rifles and breach-load shotguns evaded the Soviet military that was not just numerically superior, but equipped with AK's, (the height of small arm innovation at the time), T-34's, and rocket artillery.
3.20.2006 10:14pm
llamasex (mail) (www):
It isn't guns that causes problems to powerful governments (and who else is committing genocide). Look at our attempt to keep order in Iraq, our army isn't being hurt by gunfire, it is the explosives. I would suggest we make it a right for all people to have C4 and other explosives. These days with body armor and medical advances guns aren't a good deterrent. We need to let everyone have something that makes a big boom.
3.20.2006 10:27pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
That assumes that perpetrators of genocide are rational actors, who will stop committing genocide if the costs to continue it will be higher than the the costs to desist.

It requires rationality only to the degree of understanding that (1) genocide in this context may get the perpetrator killed and (2) getting killed is not a good idea. I believe that is a level of rationality which most genocidal types experience. Hitler, after all, killed himself only when cornered, and most of his henchmen were taken alive.
3.20.2006 10:33pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Andy, if you want to talk about specifics, I've explained above why the relative costs are zero. In countries with failed economies, the minorities can't afford to militarize even if you allow them guns. In countries with active (if diminished) economies, the guns are nerf toys compared to what the enemy has gotten. While some marginal advantage may occur, it is vastly outweighed by the increase in destabilization, alternative uses of the money, and increase in civil violence.

If you think "guns are nerf toys" compared to anything the majority might have, I suggest you haven't noticed, you know, Vietnam, or Afghanistan under the Soviets, or Iraq. Guns bridge the gap, at least somewhat. Moreover, if you've been paying attention in Darfur, you'll have seen that the government uses groups like the Janjaweed to provide deniability; they can't bring the full weight of their armed forces -- which aren't exactly NATO caliber in any case -- to bear on the situation.

And as for "affording" the guns, what's missing in places like Darfur isn't so much money as it is countries willing to put bodies on the ground. But there are bodies right there — the victims. Let them defend themselves.

In any case, you don't identify any other practical approach which has any chance of succeeding. We already know that, in Darfur, the African Union doesn't have the resources to do anything, and that Europe doesn't have the will. What's left?
3.20.2006 10:52pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
I see two problems in the substantive paper, and thereby in the argument that Reynolds makes:
1) If the embargoes are lifted, the ethnic group committing the genocide will be able to acquire weapons at a significantly higher rate, than its victims, since at the commission of the genocide, it enjoys comparative advantage of being in cotrol of the economic and political resources.


Counterconsideration: genocide seems to flourish only where the perpetrators have appreciably more than a comparative advantage in arms. No one can be certain of the outcome of their actions (is this house one of the 10% that have an AK inside?) and while suicide bombers are known, the example of a suicide genocidal type is harder to call up. Like most of us, they seem to prefer 0% odds of being killed on the job in the next year to, oh, 10, 20, or 50%.
3.20.2006 11:05pm
Andy Freeman (mail):
> explained above why the relative costs are zero.

The explanation was wrong. The majority can't have more than the 100% odds of success and or less than the 0 cost that it has facing an unarmed majority. Any decrease in the odds of success is a win for the minority. Any increase in the cost of committing genocide (the ability to kill attackers that they wouldn't have been able to kill without guns) is also a win for the minority.

I find arguments that rely on the good will of a genocidal majority ("we're not going to try to kill you unless you have the ability to fight back") somewhat strange. In other news, someone who says "your money or your life" doesn't value your life very highly.
3.20.2006 11:06pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
Also, it's not the educating of individuals that advances democracy. We've seen many educated and middle-class terrorists over the years. What seems to have an impact is a meaningful democracy with protected freedoms, notably of speech.

This is a chicken-or-the-egg question that merits some serious study. Does liberal democracy spring from advancements in thought (which I personally suspect), or the other way around? And what's the role of economics in the two? Does, shall we say, Enlightenment require a certain amount of disposable cash in the average person's pocketbook?

If someone wants to do a case study, they can try 17th century England. As Joyce Malcolm pointed out to me, under Charles I people were still being executed for witchcraft. Under his son Charles II, claiming to predict the future was made punishable -- as a fraud. What one generation had regarded as unquestionable the next regarded as false as a matter of law.

(But when Charles II was told of a fellow who said he could predict the future he responded... by taking him to the horse races as a test!)
3.20.2006 11:15pm
Andy Freeman (mail):
> That assumes that perpetrators of genocide are rational actors, who will stop committing genocide if the costs to continue it will be higher than the the costs to desist.

The cost argument does, but the odds of success argument doesn't. If I'm facing an irrational genocidal majority, the more I can push up the odds of killing them, the better off I am. Dead folks don't kill all that well. I may fail, but the irrational genocidal majority was going to kill me anyway, so what have I lost by taking the best shot I could get?
3.20.2006 11:22pm
byomtov (mail):
Might it be helpful if commenters make sustained arguments in response to the arguments that Reynolds makes, rather than just throwing off sarcastic one-liners?

It would be helpful, if Reynolds had in fact made substantive arguments. But that's a lot to ask of Reynolds. So far as I can tell he simply says that the targets of a genocidal campaign would benefit by being armed. There's an insight.

About how he would define, implement, enforce, his proposed right, about the risks involved, about alternative policies, he says nothing. In other words, this is nothing more than another version of "gun rights are wonderful." It's not a serious article.
3.20.2006 11:22pm
Vovan:
Neither Afganistan, nor Vietnam, nor Lithuania had a party determined to exterminate a particular ethinic/religious group. The availability of small arms helped prolong the resistance, however it did not end the conflict, nor did it result in "victory" for the resisting minority.

Genocide on the other hand, is not explained in sufficient detail, to claim that "the perpetrator will stop if there is a sufficient chance that he will get killed". For the most part genocides are not driven by economic, or even political motives that can be quanitified in a numerical value. There is no economic rationale for the genocide in Darfur, so what makes anyone sure that a chance that the victim will defend, will stop the assailant, when he is not driven by something that is quantifiable in the first place?
3.20.2006 11:36pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
Genocide on the other hand, is not explained in sufficient detail, to claim that "the perpetrator will stop if there is a sufficient chance that he will get killed". For the most part genocides are not driven by economic, or even political motives that can be quanitified in a numerical value.

Few people, faced with the question of how significant are the odds of getting killed while doing something, will demand numerical quantification before assessing their conduct, at least so long as the odds are nontrivial.

If the issue is receiving a gutshot from a three round burst, I suspect most folks are content with a very crude approximation of the odds, even into a simple zilch vs. might just happen dichotomy.
3.20.2006 11:59pm
Vovan:
We are talking about different things - even if an individual will stop when faced with an armed potential victim, genocides are perpetrated by the majority - I am asking what are the chances that a rational group of actors committing genocide (that sounds very wrong I know), will stop upon realization that minority victim population possessess miniscule means of defense agaisnt them.

I speculate that the chance of them stopping, are very low, you are welcome to disagree with me. Until studies are done quantifying the relevant factors - both positions: give them guns, don't give them guns - are equally wrong
3.21.2006 12:24am
PersonFromPorlock:
In the face of an ongoing genocide, why not arm the victims and see what happens? They can hardly end up deader.

If the argument is that the victims can't afford weapons, I'm pretty sure someone will supply guns on the cuff; damn few of those 'wars of national liberation' in the last century were cash-and-carry operations.

Of course, if it turned out badly we'd be responsible; but not doing it may turn out worse, and a sin of omission is still a sin -- a point Liberals are notoriously weak on.
3.21.2006 1:11am
Justin (mail):
Nobody here is arguing against your moot point Person. Liberals aren't exactly jumping up and down that we arm South Korea for instance. The trivial point you're making is irrelevant, the more important question, which seems equally silly to me, is whether allowing everyone to arm themselves with small arms, if so they choose, would be good for political minorities in destabilized countries.
3.21.2006 1:14am
sam24 (mail):
Why should one not be able to defend himself against murder by what ever means and even if it may not be effective? Who are we to say that some greater good may be served by letting an individual be murdered or that some lesser evil is better? What are we thinking? Place yourself in this poor hapless person's place as some distant high minder makes such a decision. --Such arrogance!!
3.21.2006 2:20am
Taimyoboi:
Does the prohibition on sarcastic one-liners now extend to all comments on all posts, or just ones that discuss a more serious topic?
3.21.2006 9:38am
Jeek:
what are the chances that a rational group of actors committing genocide (that sounds very wrong I know), will stop upon realization that minority victim population possessess miniscule means of defense agaisnt them

It is certainly significant that genocide is usually preceded by a determined effort to disarm the victims.

Until studies are done quantifying the relevant factors - both positions: give them guns, don't give them guns - are equally wrong

Not doing anything is not a morally neutral act, since it permits genocide to continue. It is hard to see how arming the victims in Darfur could be "just as wrong" as watching the atrocities continue.
3.21.2006 9:44am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Let me suggest that part of the resistance is motivated by the terrifying possibility that it might work wonderfully.

What a lesson that would be.
3.21.2006 11:24am
KevinM:
I think I could justify nearly any policy by annexing to it the words "to prevent genocide." Where do I get one of those special anti-genocide guns?

In times of upheaval only gold and pornography seem to hold their value; I declare it to be a basic human right that everyone be given gold and porno so that they can trade them for guns or buy off those who would kill them, in order to prevent genocide.
3.21.2006 12:00pm
M. Brown (mail):
The entire thread reminds me of the old saying, "the kids throw rocks at the frogs in fun, but the frogs die in earnest."

That's what the victims of genocide do ... die in earnest ... while everyone in this thread has fun playing a fatal kind of one upmanship with one another, and meanwhile the rocks keep pelting the frogs.
3.21.2006 2:23pm
Jeek:
Where do I get one of those special anti-genocide guns?

Don't ask the UN, they don't even believe in a thing called "genocide", much less doing anything practical - like distributing guns - to prevent it.
3.21.2006 3:56pm
Random3 (mail):
Guns very definitely increase the ability of a group to resist genocide, and in fact tyranny of all stripes. This is of course why the right to keep and bear arms is written into the U.S. Constitution. The founders understood that common ownership of guns helps inoculate a society against tyranny. In virtually every place and time where the government has imposed tyranny, it has first eliminated the ability of the general population from owning serious weaponry, and most particularly firearms. This is even more true today than it was 200 years ago, since modern guns are so easy to use and conceal. Guns are still the great force equalizer - it is the weakest people in a society that are most advantaged by having a gun, since a bullet can kill a powerful man just as easily as it can kill a less physically strong woman or child. And contrary to what has been asserted here, it is quite easy for a layperson to learn how to fire a gun accurately enough to give the tyrant or criminal pause. And guns are not a particularly expensive proposition, particularly when valued against other important necessities, such as your life. The argument that guns won't deter genocide because the perpetrators are irrational is silly - all that matters is that the perpetrator be concerned for their own life. They can be irrational about all sorts of things, but as long as they want to stay alive, and are aware that the potential victim might have gun, it will radically change the force equation. Its called deterrence, and it works just about everywhere.
3.21.2006 4:53pm
Wally (mail) (www):
The point still stands. Genocide in Iraq continued unabated despite the presence of massive amounts of firearms. Please spare me the "they didn't have the spirit to fight" nonsense. At the moment, apparently they DO.

Moreover, the violence in Iraq creates another problem. The fact that Iraq has massive amounts of arms has obviously created no stability in that society.
3.21.2006 5:27pm
Wally (mail) (www):
It's like fucking for virginity....(Sorry...bad language allowed?)
3.21.2006 5:28pm
Wally (mail) (www):
The following information comes from the link at the bottom of the page and is not my original writing. It is a lengthy article but I posted only this section to make the point that, as the author says, states no longer have power over the means of violence that they once had, and that has no led to any increase in peace or stability....
=====================


Small arms are responsible for most of the deaths in current conflicts, the most common being the automatic assault rifle. The majority of actors in these conflicts are sub-state groupings. All the violent conflict under way in the world involves violence between internal groups, often ethnically defined, rather than states. According to one estimate, ‘only 4 of the 82 armed conflicts recorded in 1989-92 were of a classic inter-state character, while all of the remainder entailed some degree of internal warfare, usually along ethnic and religious lines’ (Klare, 1994:38). Instead of the ‘cats paw’ wars of the Cold War era fought by the superpowers using proxy forces, there are civil wars taking place within failed states, in what have been termed ‘teacup wars’ (Gelb, 1994:36).

States are losing their monopoly of legitimate violence. ‘The key narrative of the new world order is the disintegration of states’ and the ‘key language of that dissolution is ethnic nationalism’ (Ignatieff, 1994:5). This implies the reversal of another historic trend: the disarmament of civilians in the process of Western state formation. ‘Well-armed groups of citizens are forming all over the world’ (Tilly, 1991: 7) and this process threatens to subvert democracy


.http://www.idrc.ca/en/ev-68073-201-1-DO_TOPIC.html
3.21.2006 5:33pm
therut:
I find it disgusting that the well fed and rich sit here in this country and tinker with the lives of those in others in deciding who will have a firearm to defend themselves. It is like you are playing chess with puny false people. If I was in the situation of the group about to be put to genocide I damn well would want to be able to shoot back. I might and probably would die but I would die taking a stand instead of like a sheep lead to a slaughter. No dignity in that. And I would curse those of the human race who take that dignity from me as I am not pawn of yours to play with. Why not let those people at least be able to say "Give me liberty or give me death". You take away their dignity in the name of human rights by thinking you control them and therefore will save them you leave them to be hacked to death. Shame.
3.21.2006 6:21pm
Enoch:
The point still stands. Genocide in Iraq continued unabated despite the presence of massive amounts of firearms.

It did not continue "unabated". It took the Iraqis a long time, and heavy, heavy casualties to suppress various outbreaks of Kurdish insurgency in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1990s. No, the Kurds did not stop the Iraqi efforts at genocide, but they undoubtedly slowed the process. If they had been unarmed, not only would the Iraqis have slaughtered them faster, but the Kurds wouldn't have had the opportunity to make the Iraqis pay a significant price for their crimes.
3.21.2006 7:55pm
Random3 (mail):
Wally, I'm not sure the facts cited in your article lead to the conclusions that the author, or you, seem to think they lead to, but the whole thing seems beside the point. I'm not claiming that giving people the right to have guns will lead to societal peace or stability. There are all kinds of factors associated with peaceful, stable societies (and it bears mentioning that peaceful and stable societies can still be bad places to live if that society also happens to be a tyranny). The point is that giving people the right to have guns gives those people the right to resist genocide. Resisting genocide with guns isn't a peaceful or stability-inducing activity. It's an inherently violent one. But the people doing the genocide-resisting have higher priorities than peace and stability - they care about survival. And having a gun will give them a chance for that, whereas without one they have no chance. They will be dead, which is a very peaceful and stable state to be in, but not one I'd prefer.

I'm not sure what you mean by "genocide in Iraq." Genocide of whom carried out by whom? Are you talking about Saddam's killing of Kurds? There is no ongoing genocide happening in Iraq so I assume you're talking about the Kurds. If so, you are wrong about the effect of the Kurds being armed. It obviously did abate Saddam's attempt to exterminate them, as evidenced by the fact that they still exist as a large percentage of the country's population. In order to pursue his aims, Saddam was forced to pursue extreme measures, such as his poisoning of Halabja in 1988, and even these measures were unsuccessful at exterminating the Kurds.
3.21.2006 7:57pm
Wally (mail) (www):
No, the Kurds did not stop the Iraqi efforts at genocide, but they undoubtedly slowed the process. If they had been unarmed, not only would the Iraqis have slaughtered them faster, but the Kurds wouldn't have had the opportunity to make the Iraqis pay a significant price for their crimes.
=========================
I don't know the score...the HRW report on the anfal campaign estimates the slaughter at around two hundred thousand people...how many Iraqi soldiers died? "undoubtedly"? HOw did you conclude that?
3.21.2006 8:44pm
Wally (mail) (www):
I'm not sure what you mean by "genocide in Iraq." Genocide of whom carried out by whom? Are you talking about Saddam's killing of Kurds? There is no ongoing genocide happening in Iraq so I assume you're talking about the Kurds. If so, you are wrong about the effect of the Kurds being armed. It obviously did abate Saddam's attempt to exterminate them, as evidenced by the fact that they still exist as a large percentage of the country's population.
=====================
YOur confusing the two terms "genocide" and "extermination" but in any case, there are hundreds of thousands of dead people who were quite well armed. The article, which was on a different topic, indicated how the presence of arms destabilizes political situations.
3.21.2006 8:48pm
Wally (mail) (www):
And I apologize if I seem rude or don't spend enough time responding. I shouldn't have said anything unless I had the time to take this seriously.
3.21.2006 8:49pm
Enoch:
how many Iraqi soldiers died? "undoubtedly"? HOw did you conclude that?

See Kenneth Pollack, Arabs at War, pp. 156-182. In the first Kurdish revolt (1961-70), the Kurds actually managed to inflict major defeats on the Iraqi Army, stopping Iraqi offensives cold in 1963, 1965, 1966, and 1968, and inflicting many thousands of casualties - all this despite the Iraqi advantage in heavy weapons and airpower.
3.21.2006 11:58pm
Wally (mail) (www):
The al-Anfal Campaign (Arabic: حملة الأنفال , Kurdish: Şallawî Enfal) was an anti-Kurdish campaign lead by the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein between 1986 and 1989 (during and just after the Iran-Iraq war). The campaign takes its name from Surat Al-Anfal in the Qur'an, which was used as a code name by the former Iraqi Baathist regime for a genocidal campaign against the Kurdish community of southern Kurdistan.

The campaign, which began in 1986 and lasted until 1989, is said to have cost the lives of 182,000 civilian Kurds, according to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.
-Wikipedia
-----------------------------------
So your reference to success against the Iraq army predated the genocide against the Kurds by several decades, and you can only point to "several thousand casualties" as your proof. Insignificant numbers and incorrect dates. The kurds, who all had their pop-guns, were massacred. Thus Iraq stands as one example of how the presence of armed civilians did little, if anything, to stop genocide.
3.22.2006 1:58pm
Enoch:
Oh Lord, a citation from wikipedia. I feel really dominated now.

You need to inform yourself on the Iraqi campaign against the Kurds from 1961-70, which may or may not be called an "official genocide", but certainly featured large-scale and well-nigh indiscriminate use of government firepower against Kurdish civilians (so it's a genocide in my book). Indeed, the "systematic destruction of Kurdish villages by Iraqi air and ground forces" (Pollack 159) and a scorched-earth strategy against Kurdish-controlled areas was the basis of Iraq's military strategy during this period. To the extent that the Kurds armed themselves and stopped the Iraqi Army from implementing this strategy - and the Kurds were quite successful in doing so - the acquisition of small arms by civilians prevented genocide in this case.
3.22.2006 11:08pm
Wally (mail) (www):
Sarcasm...yawn....at least you attempt to argue your way out of the hole you dug yourself into by pulling out the history book, but the Anfal campaign is still there, staring you in the face, a shining example of how the myth of guns=freedom or whatever NRA schlock you've absorbed is wrong, wrong, and wrong again.
3.24.2006 2:38pm
Enoch:
What hole? My contention is every but as correct for the 1980s as it is for the previous decades. The Kurds resisted the Anfal campaign, just like they resisted the previous campaigns. That they did not "prevent genocide" does not, in any way, prove that their resistance was pointless. Kurd resistance in the 1980s slowed the pace of government massacres just like it did back in the 1960s and 1970s, and enabled Kurdish civilians to flee before they got massacred. Civilian casualties would unquestionable have been EVEN WORSE than they were without armed resistance.

If you actually knew anything about the military history of the Kurdish resistance, you wouldn't even make absurd statements like "the presence of armed civilians did little, if anything, to stop genocide". Go back to your idiotic wiki article and post an update to that effect.
3.24.2006 7:57pm