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U.S. Casualties in Iraq:
Most people realize that U.S. casualties in Iraq have dropped in the past year. This chart shows how far, showing a drop from about 70 or 80 deaths a month to about 20 deaths a month. If you take out non-hostile/non-combat deaths, current casualties are in the range of 10-15 deaths per month.

  Obviously, attitudes will vary about the significance of these figures. But I think the numbers were worth flagging either way.
Bpbatista (mail):
Iraq casualties are only important to the extent that they can be used to bash Bush and Republicans. Otherwise, they should be ignored.
9.25.2008 5:27pm
commontheme (mail):
After you kill 600,000 people in a country with Iraq's population, you have fewer targets.

How many millions of Iraqis are refugees abroad now?
9.25.2008 5:31pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
It's great that casualties are down, and I really resent Bpbatista's comment that implies that liberals' concerns about combat deaths in Iraq are nothing more than political. The reason why so many liberals opposed the Iraq War was because they didn't think the alleged benefits of the enterprise were sufficient to justify the death and destruction (including the deaths of American troops).

That objection, of course, still holds. 10-15 deaths a month is much, much better than where we were, but the question still remains about whether what we are doing there is worth losing even 10-15 additional brave American servicemembers a month.
9.25.2008 5:35pm
darelf:

That objection, of course, still holds. 10-15 deaths a month is much, much better than where we were, but the question still remains about whether what we are doing there is worth losing even 10-15 additional brave American servicemembers a month.


The answer is yes.
9.25.2008 5:42pm
AntonK (mail):
Does anyone have any numbers for casualties per month for major (and not so major) American cities?
9.25.2008 5:44pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Or for US troops training in the US?

There comes a point--see Desert Storm--where the war was safer than being home.

But it is gratifying to see libs concerned for our soldiers. And, no, I don't believe outraged cries of innocence and real concern. Not for one minute.

It is also noteworthy that, while casualties are sometimes mentioned recently, the trend seems to be impossible for the MSM to discover. Funny, that.
9.25.2008 5:47pm
MQuinn:
I strongly opposed the surge. I must admit that I was wrong about the surge -- it has worked. When I read these casualty numbers, it reaffirmed my newly found belief that the surge has worked. Then, I opened this comment thread and saw this post by Bpbatista:

Iraq casualties are only important to the extent that they can be used to bash Bush and Republicans. Otherwise, they should be ignored.

How can this possibly be right? The casualty level is relevant in many respects that do not relate to Bush-bashing. For instance, they offer some evidence of the success of the surge. They are an indicator of when it is appropriate to pull out of the country. They can be used to show what regions are safest. I.e., they can have great tactical relevance. Further, I am of the opinion that we should care a great deal about the rate at which precious human life is being ended; that is true whether or not you support the war.
9.25.2008 5:52pm
James Gibson (mail):
I prefer to note that in the last Mid-term Election (2006) Chris Matthews was emphasizing that we had over 100 dead in October and the war had become a civil war. Of course if you check the yearly total dead, 2006 had the fewest casualties of the previous three years of the war. We then have the surge, the monthly numbers shoot up until June and then begin the decline that has brought us to the monthly figures of 20 (or less) per month since the fall of last year. So what does Matthews say in January of this year, that 2007 had the highest casualty number for any year of the war.

You can't win with people who want to find bad news in everything.
9.25.2008 5:54pm
MQuinn:
Richard Aubrey said:

But it is gratifying to see libs concerned for our soldiers. And, no, I don't believe outraged cries of innocence and real concern. Not for one minute.

What is this supposed to mean? That liberals do not care for the troops? To the contrary, as a liberal, it is the value I give to human life -- i.e., my "real concern" for the troops -- that led to my opposition to the war (this sentence should not be read as suggesting that libs care more for life than conservatives). Further, what proof do you have for the suggestion that disapproval of the war = disdain for soldiers?
9.25.2008 6:00pm
OrinKerr:
Richard Aubrey,

The idea that "libs" don't care for the lives of the troops is utterly preposterous.
9.25.2008 6:05pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Orin. McQ.

I should be clearer. The libs care for the troops' lives when a political point can be made.

Otherwise, see "Tommy".
9.25.2008 6:07pm
wfjag:
And, on Sept 24th, the Iraqis enacted a provincial election law -- fulfilling another of the 18 benchmarks Congress set (I believe that is #16 -- and while no Oil Revenues Sharing Law has been passed, the Iraqi government is already doing that via the budget that was enacted). But, you didn't hear much about this, either.

I guess if you're a US "news" reporter (i.e., someone who never leaves the Green Zone), calling in on your cell-phone camera to say "The Iraqis passed an important law today, but nothing else happened that I could see" won't be broadcast.
9.25.2008 6:09pm
Bill Poser (mail) (www):
Are there also figures for non-fatal casualties? I ask because improved medical care can turn fatalities into injuries without affecting the total number of casualties and it isn't implausible that medical care has improved with improvements in infrastructure and increases in troop levels. I don't mean to suggest that medical care accounts for the drop, but it would be nice to be able to separate out this factor.
9.25.2008 6:10pm
Houston Lawyer:
Liberals care the the troops only as victims. And if they are not being victimized then they are victimizing someone else.

The idea that these are volunteer warriors who take great pride and satisfaction in placing their lives at risk for their country never enters into the equation.

I've read that some of our soldiers in Iraq now openly wish they were in Afghanistan facing live action. Our soldiers are not victims or victimizers, they are warriors, the best we have ever fielded. They have accomplished what Obama said couldn't be done, namely pacifying Iraq.
9.25.2008 6:11pm
Mark Rockwell (mail):
... go back to your bridge.
9.25.2008 6:12pm
Bill Poser (mail) (www):

The libs care for the troops' lives when a political point can be made.


Hogwash. This is one of the myths that a segment of the right likes to trot out without the slightest evidence.
9.25.2008 6:12pm
Mark Rockwell (mail):
If you think about it, we are victimizing the soldier every time we don't send them to die in war. I mean; these folks signed up to fight wars for any, ill conceived political purpose imaginable. When we deny them the fulfillment they seek in going to war for said purposes, we are victimizing the troops. And hating America.
9.25.2008 6:15pm
Stolidus:

But it is gratifying to see libs concerned for our soldiers. And, no, I don't believe outraged cries of innocence and real concern. Not for one minute.


The fact that at least some of the soldiers are "libs" must help tremendously with your cognitive dissonance.
9.25.2008 6:20pm
ChrisIowa (mail):
Another figure that cannot be forgotten: 27,000,000 people in Iraq have a chance to be free.
9.25.2008 6:20pm
Philistine (mail):

Are there also figures for non-fatal casualties? I ask because improved medical care can turn fatalities into injuries without affecting the total number of casualties and it isn't implausible that medical care has improved with improvements in infrastructure and increases in troop levels. I don't mean to suggest that medical care accounts for the drop, but it would be nice to be able to separate out this factor.



At the Same Site (scroll down) there are figures for wounded as well--they are similary reduced (e.g. 107, 156 and 143 for August, July, June of 2008 vs. 566, 616, 756 for the same months in 2007-- 592, 525, 459 in 2006)

Note they also have Iraqi security force and civilian deaths which are likewise down from previous levels.
9.25.2008 6:24pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
I was heartened to find that non-combat deaths are now apparently exceeding combat deaths. The Surge worked beyond the wildest dreams of probably everyone except for Gen. Petreaus. It seems like whenever we go to war, we fumble around until the right generals can be found and put in charge. I think that was clearly the case here.
9.25.2008 6:24pm
EH (mail):
Don't forget to mention that deaths in Afghanistan have been rising.
9.25.2008 6:32pm
KeithK (mail):

Are there also figures for non-fatal casualties? I ask because improved medical care can turn fatalities into injuries without affecting the total number of casualties and it isn't implausible that medical care has improved with improvements in infrastructure and increases in troop levels. I don't mean to suggest that medical care accounts for the drop, but it would be nice to be able to separate out this factor.


It is certainly true that the low rate of combat deaths in the Iraq war compared to earlier wars is at least partially attributable to improvements in medical care. But it doesn't seem likely that there has been any significant changes in care/access over the last five years. I think it would be a safe assumption that wounded soldiers have had access to high quality medical care and rapid extraction to medical facilities from the beginning in 2003.

More data is almost always a good thing. I just doubt that you would see any trends within this war.
9.25.2008 6:32pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
I'm sure liberals are concerned about American soldiers. But unfortunately some liberals don't more about American lives than Iraq lives. This attitude is an outgrowth of the open borders, "citizen of the world" mentality, which posits that all folks everywhere are the same, and all lives are equally precious everywhere in the world. They have no preference for a resident of St. Louis over a resident of Baghdad.
9.25.2008 6:33pm
commontheme (mail):
Anyone care to offer up some thoughts about whether the surge or 4 years of ethnic cleansing has resulted in (currently) lower death rates?
9.25.2008 6:34pm
MQuinn:
Richard Aubrey: I don't know that "Tommy" is, so I can't respond to that point. However, your bald point is undermined by many facts, including: (1) your lack of evidence; and (2) the fact that even if your statement accurately describes some liberals, your statement is nonetheless wildly overbroad.

Houston Lawyer said:

Liberals care the the troops only as victims. And if they are not being victimized then they are victimizing someone else.

The idea that these are volunteer warriors who take great pride and satisfaction in placing their lives at risk for their country never enters into the equation.

What do you derive this statement from? What evidence can you offer to support this suggestion? I understand that you really, really, really, really, really, really, really want to think that liberals are radical anti-Americans, but that doesn't make it so. Please offer some proof that this offensive statement is true, and please don't put forth anecdotal "evidence" and call it proof.

Your statement is analogous to -- and equally as wrong as -- those liberals that suggest that conservatives love war and hate minorities. Both positions seize on a minuscule class and wrongly assume that the class represents the whole.
9.25.2008 6:37pm
josh:
wfjag:

"And, on Sept 24th, the Iraqis enacted a provincial election law -- fulfilling another of the 18 benchmarks Congress set ... But, you didn't hear much about this, either. I guess if you're a US "news" reporter (i.e., someone who never leaves the Green Zone), calling in on your cell-phone camera to say "The Iraqis passed an important law today, but nothing else happened that I could see" won't be broadcast."

Uh ... OK. Actually, a Google search using "september 24 iraq provincial elections" turned up 1,120,000 results, the first of which is a Sept. 24 article in that most traitorous of traitor papers, the New York Times, entitled, "Iraq Passes Provincial Elections Law."

You must have been sleeping that day.

Oh, by the way, as to your comment on reporters not leaving the Green Zone, please feel free to tell that to the families of the journalists listed on the very same site that provided the chart in Prof Kerr's post: http://www.icasualties.org/oif/Journalist.aspx.

Keep hatin' them Libs!
9.25.2008 6:45pm
Stolidus:

I'm sure liberals are concerned about American soldiers. But unfortunately some liberals don't more about American lives than Iraq lives. This attitude is an outgrowth of the open borders, "citizen of the world" mentality, which posits that all folks everywhere are the same, and all lives are equally precious everywhere in the world. They have no preference for a resident of St. Louis over a resident of Baghdad.


First, you are so right. Treating all human life as precious and equal, with certain inalienable rights, is so completely un-American. The libs had to break the constitution to get that crap in.

Second, are you saying that for every American who is alive, there is a corresponding Iraqi that should be dead? I can't follow your logic, but then again I am an idiot.
9.25.2008 6:49pm
Michael B (mail):
"That objection, of course, still holds. 10-15 deaths a month is much, much better than where we were, but the question still remains about whether what we are doing there is worth losing even 10-15 additional brave American servicemembers a month."

Then you should be willing to let those brave American servicemembers speak for themselves, rather than presuming to speak for them.

And there is this consideration.
9.25.2008 6:49pm
MQuinn:
A. Zarkov said:

I'm sure liberals are concerned about American soldiers. But unfortunately some liberals don't more about American lives than Iraq lives. This attitude is an outgrowth of the open borders, "citizen of the world" mentality, which posits that all folks everywhere are the same, and all lives are equally precious everywhere in the world. They have no preference for a resident of St. Louis over a resident of Baghdad.

There are lots of bald assertions floating around this thread! This particular assertion might find some support in fact, but a poster should hesitate before making such a statement with offering support.

And even if this assertion is true, A. Zarkov should still argue that this belief is wrong. Lets consider A. Zarkov's assertion. Generally, why should we, as humans, care about other human lives? Sentience is probably the answer, but there are others. For instance, the value that religions give to human life. Or a concern for a shared intellectual and emotional experience. Or a concern for the family of the dead. Etc, etc. Notice how all of these reasons for caring about the continuity of human life apply equally well to Americans and non-Americans!

Don't get me wrong, I subscribe to the view that America is the greatest country in the world, and I would not care to live anywhere else. However, A. Zarkov, your argument made a huge assumption -- that American life is inherently more valuable than non-American life -- without offering any proof thereto. I.e., you assumed a very debatable fact not in evidence.
9.25.2008 6:49pm
wfjag:
Hush Bruce. If you keep following the "we fumble around until the right generals can be found and put in charge" you'll stumble across the fact that the Joint Chiefs opposed the surge and tried to sabotage it, and the surge was done because Pres. Bush agreed with then Lt. Gen. Petreaus and rejected the "expert" advice being received from elsewhere (including Sen. "the war is lost" Reid and all the pundits that the US "news" media could find). See "Our Generals Almost Cost Us Iraq" by Mackbin Owens, Professor, US Naval War College, Wall Street Journal (Sept. 24, 2008).

Then, the next thing that will happen is that you'll be forced to admit that a graduate of Yale and Harvard Business School's MBA program was capable of making a good decision.

Once you do that, you must go into hiding as those infected with BDS will have an over powering urge to track you down and kill you (or, at least hack into your personal email account and post it on-line).

There's only one way to save yourself. You must immediately repeat the magic charm to ward off such evil thoughts:

"There's no place like home, there's no place" -- sorry, wrong charm;
"Four legs good, two legs better, four legs" -- oops, sorry again;
Here it is: "Only liberals love the troops, only liberals love the troops, only liberals love the troops" -- keep repeating it until you believe it.
9.25.2008 6:53pm
Sarcastro (www):
To expand on the many insights into the minds of liberals on this thread, liberals hope we lose in Iraq because they hate America, cause it's all Capitalist and free.

Liberals are all sociopaths and only see others as people they can use, so troop deaths only matter to them politically.

Despite the above, Liberals love Muslims and want them all to live, though. Probably this is in solidarity with Obama. A real man would see foreigners as the enemy and not care at all whether they live or die.

Now you know, and knowing is half the battle!
9.25.2008 6:54pm
Mac (mail):
Mark Rockwell wrote:(mail):

If you think about it, we are victimizing the soldier every time we don't send them to die in war. I mean; these folks signed up to fight wars for any, ill conceived political purpose imaginable. When we deny them the fulfillment they seek in going to war for said purposes, we are victimizing the troops. And hating America.


Thank you Mr. Rockwell for providing the necessary Liberal statement to prove the point that Liberals only care about soldiers when it is politically expedient.

MQuinn,

You are the exception to the rule as you provided a fairly rational explanation of Liberal view. Unfortunately, among Liberals, you are the exception.

MQuinn wrote:

Further, what proof do you have for the suggestion that disapproval of the war = disdain for soldiers?


Possible proof is,now that soldiers are not dying, the MSM has totally forgotten about their existence, let alone the fine and effective job they are doing.

However, there is news of possible new prisoner abuse in Iraq. If so, you will see the MSM wallowing in Iraq again.

There was also Murtha accusing, erroneously Marines of murder and John Kerry saying they were terrorizing women and children, for a few examples.
9.25.2008 6:54pm
Pat C (mail):
If I really didn't care about American soldiers being killed, then I would have no objection to leaving them in Iraq, or dropping them into North Korea, or for that matter dropping them into Kilauea crater.

I don't think getting rid of Hussein and his no-longer-existent WMD was worth the total cost. And I suspect, as Scott McClennan mentioned, if President Bush and his team had known the real facts at the time and could have foreseen the real cost, they would also have decided it wasn't worth the cost.
9.25.2008 6:55pm
Mac (mail):
Sorry. My privious post should read

here was also Murtha accusing, erroneously, Marines of

The lack of a comma certainly played havoc with that sentence.
9.25.2008 6:56pm
josh:
Bruce Hayden:

"I was heartened to find that non-combat deaths are now apparently exceeding combat deaths. The Surge worked beyond the wildest dreams of probably everyone except for Gen. Petreaus."

To follow up on commontheme's question, could you provide us with a timeline of the surge that includes the begining of the Anbar Awakening, the division of Bagdad into secterian enclaves, and, as commontheme mentioned, the ethnic cleansing as demonstrated by Pentagon satellite imagery: http://www.envplan.com/epa/editorials/a41200.pdf ?

According to the Pentagon's report, " Our findings suggest that in these terms the surge has had no observable effect,
except insofar as it has helped to provide a seal of approval for a process of ethno-sectarian neighborhood homogenization that is now largely achieved but with a
tremendous decline in the extent of residential intermixing between groups and a probable significant loss of population in some areas ... [T]he diminished level of violence in Iraq since the onset of the surge owes much to a vicious process of interethnic cleansing. This might resume if US forces withdraw. But as the case we have made strongly implies, the massive residential segregation and population loss happened anyway even when US forces were presentin increased numbers."

If I had to hazard a guess to your response, it would be that the authors of the pentagon report are bias liberals who hate America, want Obama to win, are Muslims, etc.

Or maybe you really meant: "It seems like whenever we go to war, we fumble around until the right generals satellite imagery can be found and put in charge."
9.25.2008 6:58pm
xx:
"This attitude is an outgrowth of the open borders, 'citizen of the world' mentality, which posits that all folks everywhere are the same, and all lives are equally precious everywhere in the world. They have no preference for a resident of St. Louis over a resident of Baghdad."

I'll confess to believing that,* though I'm not sure I'm liberal.

*At least in the sense that I don't think someone's life is more valuable because they happened to be born in St. Louis than if they had happened to be born in Baghdad. I do think the United States government owes significantly more responsibilities to U.S. citizens than it does to foreign nationals.
9.25.2008 7:00pm
Comrade Bush:
Them wiley insurgents are just lulling you into a false sense of confidence so you'll elect Obama and declare defeat in Iraq. Don't be fooled, we can still win this war if you'll just vote Palin in November!
9.25.2008 7:02pm
josh:
Excuse me, not "the Pentagon's report." The report about the Penatgon's satellite imagery.
9.25.2008 7:02pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Well, when this blog was totally consumed by the subject of torture, no liberal's world-famous compassion stretched even so far as to refer to Menchaca and Tucker as in, "oh, yeah, whosits and whatsisname, too bad about them, too, but anyway...."

Making this point to some idiot journalists, I mentioned a chopper crash at Ft. Hood several years ago where seven guys were killed, including a one-star, of which there aren't all that many. Nobody in the MSM cared, I said, because you couldn't use this to bash Bush. Oh, yeah, said one, google this: One mention in the LAT and the rest local papers, presumably the guys' home towns. Funny thing is, this clown thought he'd got me but good.

Somebody doesn't know "Tommy". I don't guess I'm surprised, although I am disappointed that I'm not.

It's all about the preferred narrative. Matthew Shepard gets the ink, Jesse Dirkhising is a nobody. James Byrd gets the ink, Kenneth Tillery is a nobody. The Wichita massacre may as well be a state secret--or, no, the NYT would have first-paged it--as the Newsom murders in Knoxville.

US casualties allow Bush-bashing, in which case the libs will be all over them, or they don't, in which case they don't exist.
9.25.2008 7:07pm
Mac (mail):
Pat C wrote:

If I really didn't care about American soldiers being killed, then I would have no objection to leaving them in Iraq, or dropping them into North Korea, or for that matter dropping them into Kilauea crater.


Hmmm. Interesting statement.

However, Liberals would have no problem with dropping troops into the Sudan just as they had no problem with dropping them into Somalia, (and not providing back-up, I might add) for examples. Both countries where we have no national interest and where there is no infrastructure and countries where the only thing both sides have in common is that they hate Americans, with the exception of a few aid workers and celebrities.

I, also, recall certain Liberals wanting US troops to go to Miramar to make the regime help their own people.

Liberals have no problem with US troops dying just as long as they can feel good about it.
9.25.2008 7:08pm
Al Maviva (mail):
I try to distinguish between honorable liberals of both the pro- and anti- Iraq war type, and the infantile leftish internet trolls whose primary goal seems to be exorcising childhood demons through the mindless repetition of talking points and imperviousness to facts that don't fit their viewpoint. See, e.g. the repetition of the Lancet's discredited "600,000" figure. I also try to distinguish the political spin doctors and professional partisans, who seem to be pretty similar to the trolls in a lot of ways, except they are paid better.
9.25.2008 7:09pm
Sarcastro (www):

Liberals have no problem with US troops dying just as long as they can feel good about it.


Unlike Conservatives who see the true hell of war, but suck it up like the men they are.
9.25.2008 7:13pm
MQuinn:
Mac said:

Possible proof is,now that soldiers are not dying, the MSM has totally forgotten about their existence, let alone the fine and effective job they are doing.

Your post assumes that the MSM is liberal. I think this point is debatable, which places your post on shaky ground. Also, please note that the American public considers the current epic financial crisis to be the hot button issue, which explains the decreased instance of Iraq reporting. Further, there are many explanations for a decreased instance of Iraq reporting that do not require the conclusion that disapproval of the war = disdain for the soldiers. For instance, there is a presidential election that takes up a tremendous amount of public interest and air time, or the fact that disdain for soldiers does not logically follow from disapproval of war.

However, there is news of possible new prisoner abuse in Iraq. If so, you will see the MSM wallowing in Iraq again.

And rightly so. This is newsworthy. Further, a liberal disdain for soldiers doesn't follow from this statement.
9.25.2008 7:14pm
Mac (mail):

I also try to distinguish the political spin doctors and professional partisans, who seem to be pretty similar to the trolls in a lot of ways, except they are paid better.


Al Maviva,

Admirable. However, you must be one busy fella. There is so much of this, I don't see how anyone could do as you suggest and have a job or a life.
9.25.2008 7:14pm
Xanthippas (mail) (www):

attitudes will vary about the significance of these figures


I wouldn't quite put it that way. Less soldiers are dying, which people on the left and right agree is significant and welcome. The reasons why this is happening, or where we should go from here as a result, is something we are certainly in disagreement about however.
9.25.2008 7:20pm
Mac (mail):

And rightly so. This is newsworthy. Further, a liberal disdain for soldiers doesn't follow from this statement.


MQuinn,

You really don't think the obsession with the topic didn't indicate a disdain for soldiers?

Well, if there is anything to this, watch the coverage with this in mind, despite the financial situation and the Presidential election. Especially, watch NBC, MSNBC and the NY Times. There are many independent studies showing liberal bias in the media, by the way. And, polling has shown journalists to be about 90% registered Democrats, as I recall.

Don't forget NewsWeek's false report that US soldiers had flushed a Koran down a toilet in Gitmo. This caused riots and numerous deaths in Afghanistan, I believe, if memory serves me.
9.25.2008 7:22pm
Xanthippas (mail) (www):

US casualties allow Bush-bashing, in which case the libs will be all over them, or they don't, in which case they don't exist.


Richard, if you bothered to read some of the "idiot journalists" you malign, you would find that there are numerous stories about the decrease of casualties in Iraq and what it means. You will also find that there are many stories about the death of soldiers that seek only to portray the soldiers life and death and homecoming; of course, only people on the right believe that an "MSM" article highlighting the life and death of a soldier can only possibly be written as an effort by the journalist to malign Bush.
9.25.2008 7:28pm
Xanthippas (mail) (www):

Both countries where we have no national interest and where there is no infrastructure and countries where the only thing both sides have in common is that they hate Americans, with the exception of a few aid workers and celebrities.


Strange that you should recall those differences, and yet leave out the fact that those were humanitarian missions with limited focus in which few soldiers (relatively speaking) died. But a war premised on finding WMDs that didn't exist, in which over 4000 soldiers have died, is the more responsible war? Explain please.
9.25.2008 7:32pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
"That objection, of course, still holds. 10-15 deaths a month is much, much better than where we were, but the question still remains about whether what we are doing there is worth losing even 10-15 additional brave American servicemembers a month." Then you should be willing to let those brave American servicemembers speak for themselves, rather than presuming to speak for them.

I wasn't speaking for the servicemembers. I was speaking as an American citizen with a First Amendment right to opine about the war.

In any event, our system separates the military from the civilian government and requires civilian control of the military. A person who thinks that anyone who criticizes war is "speaking for the servicemembers" is obviously unfamiliar with this very basic precondition for what it means to be an American. Perhaps before you make some criticisms in the future, you should learn more about our system of government and what that military is supposed to be defending.
9.25.2008 7:34pm
MQuinn:
Mac,

No, I really don't think that reporting on prisoner abuse = disdain for the soldiers. Please explain the logic behind that suggestion, step by step. In my opinion, reporting on foreign prisoner abuse shows a concern for the basic rights of human life that exists for both American and non-American life, for both incarcerated and non-incarcerated human life.

You are right that studies show that there is a liberal bias. But there are studies that say the opposite as well. And the truth of the liberal bias allegation isn't the issue. The issue is that your post rested upon that assumption without acknowledging the assumption or offering proof for the assumption. Further, I will be shocked if it is true that 90% of all journalists are Democrats! Please point me to that study.

Don't forget NewsWeek's false report that US soldiers had flushed a Koran down a toilet in Gitmo. This caused riots and numerous deaths in Afghanistan, I believe, if memory serves me.

In the context of our debate, this assertion is only relevant if you are willing to claim that Newsweek decided to smear the troops even though Newsweek believed the smear would cause death. That is a breathtakingly bold and unprecedented assertion. Further, your argument is undermined by the fact that this is clearly a newsworthy event; the MSM would be folly to avoid reporting this event!

In the end, Mac, there are several major problems with your position: (1) it assumes that there is an unhealthy and unwarranted obsession with reporting negative aspects of the war; (2) you are offering anecdotal evidence (negative news reports) as proof that liberals hate the troops, when such negative reports can be explained on far more simply and intuitive grounds, such as a disdain for the war (not the troops), or a journalistic duty to report on the war; (3) a disdain for troops does not logically follow from your allegation that the media obsesses over negative aspects of the war; and (4) anecdotal examples are not proof.
9.25.2008 7:46pm
Mac (mail):




Xanthippas wrote:


Strange that you should recall those differences, and yet leave out the fact that those were humanitarian missions with limited focus in which few soldiers (relatively speaking) died.


Good grief, Xanthippas, we did not go into the Sudan or into Miramar.

I said, "However, Liberals would have no problem with dropping troops into the Sudan" and, I, also, recall certain Liberals wanting US troops to go to Miramar to make the regime help their own people ".

Liberals want us to go into the Sudan and many have so stated repeatedly as they did during the humanitarian crisis caused by the typhoon in Miramar. Any other time, with Liberals, the United Nations is just wonderful, unless you actually want something done, like for people to quit killing each other or allowing others to die, then Liberals want US troops to be used, whether we have any national interest or not. We have none in the Sudan or Miramar.

Maybe, you need to do some studying on current events and opine from a basis of knowledge, which you are obviously not doing.
9.25.2008 7:48pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
MQuinn:

"However, A. Zarkov, your argument made a huge assumption -- that American life is inherently more valuable than non-American life -- without offering any proof thereto. I.e., you assumed a very debatable fact not in evidence."

I do not assume that. I assert that American life should be more valuable to Americans than non-American life. This does not assume that non-American life is not valuable. I would expect foreigners to likewise hold the view that they hold a preference for their countrymen over Americans. I look at it as a kind of social contract. If we are to be a nation then we should give a preference to our fellow citizens.

I further assert that some liberals (and some conservatives too) buy into the open borders and multicultural idea to such a degree that they cannot hold a preference for their own countrymen.
9.25.2008 7:51pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"Second, are you saying that for every American who is alive, there is a corresponding Iraqi that should be dead?"

Not at all. Iraqi lives are valuable, but they should not be equally valuable or more valuable than American lives to Americans. Thus if an American soldier were faced with the choice between saving an Iraqi or an American, he would choose the latter.
9.25.2008 7:57pm
Mac (mail):
MQuinn,

I've got to get to an appointment and have to go. Life calls. There are few, if any, studies that show the media does not have a liberal bias. I'll look later re the journalist as Democrat thing for you.


In the context of our debate, this assertion is only relevant if you are willing to claim that Newsweek decided to smear the troops even though Newsweek believed the smear would cause death. That is a breathtakingly bold and unprecedented assertion. Further, your argument is undermined by the fact that this is clearly a newsworthy event; the MSM would be folly to avoid reporting this event!


Newsweek didn't give a damn if the story was true or false. A few seconds of thought would have told any reporter that it would be impossible to get any but the first few pages down any modern toilet before it stopped up, let alone the whole darned Koran. They didn't care. It slimed the troops, so they reported it. The fact that people died probably surprised them, I will grant you. I am sure they were amazed that anyone would actually believe anything they wrote.
9.25.2008 7:58pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
I'd stay away from Miramar. That's where the Navy has its Top Gun school.
Myanmar, on the other hand, has disease, poverty, and oppression. Wouldn't want to go there, either.

Fixing the place up would start with whacking the junta, which the libs would oppose, so we/the Myanmarianese are stuck.
9.25.2008 8:13pm
KeithK (mail):

Newsweek didn't give a damn if the story was true or false. A few seconds of thought would have told any reporter that it would be impossible to get any but the first few pages down any modern toilet before it stopped up, let alone the whole darned Koran. They didn't care. It slimed the troops, so they reported it. The fact that people died probably surprised them, I will grant you. I am sure they were amazed that anyone would actually believe anything they wrote.


I'm someone who does believe that most MSM outlets have a liberal bias, but I tend to think that things like the flushed Koran reflect unconscious bias rather than intentional effort to "slime the troops". The reporter hears about an alleged event (e.g. Koran flushing) and is more likely to believe the report is true because it fits his worldview and personal biases. So there is less fact checking and verfication than there would be for a story that ran against his world view. The end result is bias in media reports but it's not necessarily due to deliberate intent.
9.25.2008 8:22pm
Michael B (mail):
Then you should be willing to let those brave American servicemembers speak for themselves, rather than presuming to speak for them.

And there is this consideration.

"I wasn't speaking for the servicemembers. I was speaking as an American citizen with a First Amendment right to opine about the war." Dilan Esper

It's not an either/or, you were doing both. Hence your retort is virtually a non sequitur.

You didn't forward an argument other than mentioning the risks servicemembers are subjected to. Hence my response, in the links provided, was entirely apropos since I'm more simply allowing servicemembers to speak for themselves without further comment (which is why I provide the links again, to underscore that very point).
9.25.2008 8:25pm
Stormy Dragon (mail) (www):
Most people realize that U.S. casualties in Iraq have dropped in the past year


Wow, you'd think dead soldiers miraculously coming back to life would be featured more prominently in the news.
9.25.2008 8:55pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Xanthippas.
You will note the story on which I challenged the idiot journalists was one of seven dead in a catastrophe in this country.
Sure, we can crank up the lachrymal glands for the dead of war.
I notified next of kin a couple of times in 1971. Both of the guys I notified for had been killed in combat. However, I kept the roster--popular guy I was--for the other officers when it was their turn, and did reports. Guys killed in other circumstances than combat--chopper crash in Korea, short round in training--did not cause their folks to grieve differently.
But, as I pointed out, the media treat it differently. The crash at Ft. Hood offered no Bush-bashing opportunity. So no weepers about those guys.
9.25.2008 9:34pm
Smokey:
I'm surprised that no one has compared Clinton's military losses during his tenure with GWB's.

IIRC, Clinton's were about the same. But, what did Slick ever really accomplish?
9.25.2008 11:30pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
What a coinkydink.
Rantburg has a delayed report complete with video of the military's largest reupping ceremony ever. It was over 1200 men and women in Baghdad, possibly one of Saddaam's places. Petraeus was the featured speaker.
One of the commenters had done a google. Came up with eighteen hits, most of which seemed to be American.
Pathetic.
Remember, one of the criteria in newsworthiness is a new record, of whatever kind. Of whatever kind.

Thomas Lifson--The American Thinker--did a short piece on the American invasion of Normandy in 2004. Apparently it happens most years. Funny. Anyway, it's in that mag June 7, 2008. His point is that the MSM would prefer you not know about it.

Or maybe it's better to quote a left-wing French writer to whom few pay attention on the lousyness of America.
9.25.2008 11:31pm
Mac (mail):
Richard Aubrey wrote:(mail):
I

I'd stay away from Miramar. That's where the Navy has its Top Gun school.
Myanmar, on the other hand, has disease, poverty, and oppression. Wouldn't want to go there, either.


Oh hell. I knew I should have just called it Burma. Those idiot junta members should be shot for not coming up with a more original name. Maybe we should invade them then we can call it Burma again. A fine name we can all remember and not get confused.
9.26.2008 12:10am
Mac (mail):
rel="nofollow" href="http://volokh.com/posts/1222374186.shtml">

Mquinn,

Some info. Not what I was really looking for, but am pressed for time and got to go get some work done.
9.26.2008 12:13am
Mac (mail):
MQuinn,

Ack! Nevermind. I can't get this link thing down. Is there a problem with Mac's and operating the Link button does anyone know?
9.26.2008 12:15am
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
It's not an either/or, you were doing both. Hence your retort is virtually a non sequitur. You didn't forward an argument other than mentioning the risks servicemembers are subjected to. Hence my response, in the links provided, was entirely apropos since I'm more simply allowing servicemembers to speak for themselves without further comment (which is why I provide the links again, to underscore that very point).

With respect, that makes no sense at all. You are basically contending that "American servicemembers may die unnecessarily" is an anti-war argument that only the servicemembers themselves may make.

That's totally wrong. Even if American servicemembers are all set to die for a cause, we still have civilian control of the military, and civilians have every right and obligation to say "no way, stay home" if they don't think the risk is worth the benefit.

What really seems to be going on is for some reason you don't like people pointing out that Americans are dying in Iraq. Well, get used to it or move to a country where there is no free speech.
9.26.2008 12:41am
JK:

Most people realize that U.S. casualties in Iraq have dropped in the past year.

The RATE of U.S. casualties in Iraq as decreased. The total
hasn't declined, so if it was true a year ago that the price of the Iraq War in blood and treasure wasn't worth the benefits that we received, then it is still true today. Why do so many "conservatives" not seem to get why the Iraq War doesn't suddenly become a brilliant idea just because violence has declined?

The day that total U.S. casualties really does decline is the day that the cost benefit analysis that concludes that Iraq was a terrible idea can be reconsidered.

And BTW claiming that anyone, left, right, or center, doesn't care about US casualties except as a political tool is despicable. Has it really come to the point where we believe such terrible things of people we disagree with politically?
9.26.2008 12:50am
SATA_Interface:
Mac, what you do is first copy the url to your clipboard. Then, select the text that you want to have appear blue as the hyperlink. Then click the Link button, paste the text, and you'll see the html appear in the box. Preview should show you that the hyperlink is working.
9.26.2008 1:55am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
JK.
Yeah. That's what experience does for ya. If you keep your eyes open.
9.26.2008 8:16am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
BK. And I don't believe such things because I disagree with them politically. I believe such things because in my experience they're true.
9.26.2008 9:56am
eyesay:
Mac: "There are few, if any, studies that show the media does not have a liberal bias." That assertion comes from someone who does not bother to look at the extensive studies that show that the media has a conservative bias, for example, those conducted by FAIR (Fairness &Accuracy in Reporting), among other organizations that draw similar conclusions.

Mac: "polling has shown journalists to be about 90% registered Democrats, as I recall." An interesting factoid, if true, but it says little about actual media news and editorial coverage. Suppose that 90% of bank tellers and loan officers were registered Democrats. Would one infer from that that the banking industry is pro-Democratic, or would one expect that banking industry policy is set by a different set of individuals, such as top management and the boards of directors? Do reporters set the media agenda, or does top management?

General Electric owns NBC. General Electric manufactures components of nuclear power plants. Do you think General Electric would ever allow NBC to run an aggressive story into the risks of nuclear power generation?

Disney owns ABC. Disney profits extensively from products such as clothing and toys that relate to its movies. Do you think Disney would ever allow ABC to run an aggressive story on the labor conditions under which such products are manufactured?

Get real: the media are corporate, through and through, and the media endlessly promote the corporate agenda, and to the extent that the corporate agenda conflicts with workers or the environment, just remember the golden rule: Who has the gold makes the rule.

Even nonprofit PBS has a strong conservative bias. Who are the guests on the Lehrer newshour? They interview strong conservative thinkers from right-wing think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute, the Hoover Institution, and the Heritage Foundation. Do they ever interview strong liberal thinkers from liberal think tanks such as Institute for Policy Studies or the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities? Do they ever interview strong liberal thinkers like Michael Parenti, Howard Zinn, or Noam Chomsky? Not very often, if ever.

Yes, sure, PBS is more liberal than the corporate media. That's another way of saying that PBS is less biased in the conservative direction than the corporate media.
9.26.2008 2:03pm
Michael B (mail):
Interviewing Zinn and Chomsky would be similar to interviewing Finkelstein concerning the Shoah, the holocaust, or interviewing 9/11 Truthers concerning 9/11. Zinn, in too many respects, is not a conscientious scholar, is one who forwards a certain narrative as truth; Chomsky not only forwarded a certain narrative in lieu of attempts to better grasp some underlying truths, he did so a critical apologist for the Khmer Rouge, post-April, 1975, in the very midst of the slaughter - and that is but the tip of the tip of the iceberg in terms of Chomsky's methodology and his ideological morass, a casuistically invested Leftist Libertarinism for all I can tell.

"What really seems to be going on is for some reason you don't like people pointing out that Americans are dying in Iraq. Well, get used to it or move to a country where there is no free speech."

The first sentence is in fact a complete non sequitur, I didn't so much as suggest such a thing, not least of all because it would be patently inane to do so but foremostly because it would be incredibly presumptuous, disrespectful and dishonoring. The concluding sentence seems to be a way of even more brusquely deflecting, rather than addressing, the criticism that had been forwarded. Likewise, the suggestion anyone is attempt to trespass upon your 1st Amendment rights is odd, at best.

The only argument you forwarded was one based upon the casualties, hence I replied without adding my own opinion, whether yea or ney, but instead by allowing servicemembers to speak for themselves, thus here and here and, for wider context, here.
9.26.2008 8:14pm
Sosy1325 (mail):
Id like to say that as a member of the first unit to go into Baghdad as part of the surge, 1-325 AIR, the surge was only one of several reasons for the recent decline in casualties. For whatever reason, the media and most US politicians decline to mention the other reasons for the decline in violence in Iraq. They include the emergence of the Awakening Councils amongst the Sunni tribes; a revamping of the Iraqi Army; al Sadr's restraining of the Mahdi Army while the surge began;and considerable reconciliation efforts between the national Iraqi government and former Baathists. Just a little more info for everyone to think about.
9.26.2008 11:41pm
TruthInAdvertising:
Has there been any draw down in US troop levels to levels below what they were prior to the Surge? If the answer is no, then the casualty rates can only tell us that we need a lot more troops to hold down violence than we previously anticipated. If we can't pull out troops without violence going back up, we've got real problems.
9.27.2008 1:40am
Michael B (mail):
inAdvertising,

Thinking of this?
9.27.2008 3:14pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Thinking of a phony story that was debunked by multiple Republicans?
9.27.2008 4:49pm
Michael B (mail):
No, the Obama camp/Jake Tapper response is replying to an entirely different meeting, excerpt:

"Tapper's story -- and Camp Obama's response quoting all those people who were reportedly also present -- refers to an entirely different meeting."

Likewise, emphases now added and an extended excerpt:

"Taheri wrote his report having spoken to a number of people in Iraq following Obama's July visit. He has told me that Obama made these comments at a meeting in Baghdad with Foreign Minister Zebari before the meeting with al Maliki and the cast of thousands referred to in Tapper's article. Dismayed by what he knew Obama had said to Zebari, Maliki actually tried to pre-empt Obama from saying the same thing to him -- which would have put him in a difficult position by undermining his negotiations with the US government -- by getting his press spokesman to describe the forthcoming meeting with the US senators, in which Obama was pointedly not singled out, as a courtesy call where no substantive political matters would be discussed. In other words, alert to the political damage Obama might do to the negotiations with the US, Maliki tried to shut him up.

"What is really extraordinary about this whole affair is that, in any event, Obama had said the same thing to Zebari the previous month on the Foreign Minister's trip to the US. This had even been reported in the US media. On 16 June, the New York Times reported, after Obama's conversation with Zebari in the US:

[...]

"In his latest put-down (not yet published) of the mounting attacks on the integrity of his reporting, Taheri sums up the nub of this whole affair:

1. The Bush administration is negotiating an ensemble of agreements regarding the status of US troops, the timetable for their withdrawal, and the future strategic cooperation between the two nations.

2. Senator Obama opposes these negotiations and urges an alternative set of talks in which the Congress is involved. (That would be a novel way of doing business in a system based on separation of powers.) He then tells the Iraqi Foreign Minister in private that his government had better postpone the agreements until there is a new administration in Washington.

3. The Iraqis are bewildered. They wonder whether there are two governments in the US at the same time. They also wonder what is the use of reaching an agreement that the next man in the White House could scrap in a few months' time. The negotiating process is slowed down and the prospect of an agreement, and thus a timetable for the withdrawal of US troops, postponed for at least another year.

4. Although we are all fond of television-style courtroom dramas, the issue here is not who said what to whom and where and when. The issue is that Obama intervened in a process of negotiations between his government and a foreign power. He admits it himself as do all media accounts of the episode, although Senator Hagel, more royalist that the king, does not. My article was not a news story. It was an op-ed. The opinion I wanted to express was simple: no one would trust the United States if the leader of its opposition rejected agreements negotiated by its government in advance and without knowing what they looked like. The issue is that Obama has done, and admits that he has done, something that he should not have done: trying to second-guess an incumbent president.

And here I thought Obama wanted troops out as soon as feasible. But when politics intervenes ...

Likewise, someone might tell Obama about that separations of powers principle in the U.S. Constitution.

Among other things still.
9.27.2008 7:29pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
emphases now added and an extended excerpt


The most unintentionally humorous part of the article you cited is a passage you didn't cite:

Yet even while it was reporting what Obama had said, the US media had not seen fit to question the fact that Obama was trying to undermine US negotiations with Iraq … the implications went totally unremarked


Phillips is trying to claim that "US media reporting [in June and July, of] what Obama had said" is proof of the point she's trying to make. And she's whining that "the US media had not seen fit to question" what Obama had done, based on the statements that were reported in US media. Well, guess who else "had not seen fit to question" what Obama had done, based on the statements that were reported in US media: you, McCarthy, Phillips, Taheri, the McCain campaign, or anyone else. Among this group, "the implications went totally unremarked."

If those media reports are as unambiguous and reliable as you now claim, why did it take you folks so long to decide to make a fuss about them?

I just love the irony of Phillips complaining about the group of people who "had not seen fit to question" those earlier events, given that she's a member of that group.

And the excuse offered by Phillips, that Taheri "was previously unaware of these NYT reports," is lame. Those earlier reports were not just "totally unremarked" by Taheri. They were unremarked by anyone.

Another problem: Taheri has roughly the same amount of credibility as Jerome Corsi.
9.28.2008 10:00am
Michael B (mail):
Another belabored sneer from jukebox. The claims are neither proven nor disproven by resorting to "authorities" from within the Obama campaign and MSM, nor via the "authority" of some anonymous Iraqi scholar.
9.29.2008 4:51pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
I notice you're completely dodging the question I asked, about why it took months for you folks to get excited about something Obama said in June or July.

nor via the "authority" of some anonymous Iraqi scholar.


I also notice that you're pretending that the claims about Taheri's credibility are based only on "the 'authority' of some anonymous Iraqi scholar." They're not:

A 1989 review of Taheri's book, Nest of Spies: America's Journey to Disaster in Iran, written for The New Republic by noted Iranian scholar Shaul Bakhash and unearthed by TPMmuckraker in 2006, noted that Taheri "repeatedly refers us to books where the information cited does not exist," and is "capable of generalizations of breathtaking sweep and inaccuracy." According to Bakhash, "[Taheri's] interpretations of the documents are often egregiously inaccurate," and he "has trouble transcribing even the simplest information."


In other words, Taheri has about as much credibility as you do.

A bit more about Bakhash is here. Let the swiftboating begin.
9.29.2008 5:15pm
Michael B (mail):
Fact remains, the story is neither proven nor disproven and that is what was said, your blowfish puffery notwithstanding.

And this as pertain to the Amir Taheri vs. Shaul Bakhash consideration, by way of Norm Podhoretz and Commentary.
9.29.2008 10:08pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
The jokes never stop. We're supposed to believe that Taheri isn't a liar because Podhoretz says so. And the proof that Podhoretz presents: a bunch of uncorroborated statements from Taheri! QED.

Let us know when you're ready to start citing reliable sources. And let us know when you're ready to address the question you've been ducking.
9.30.2008 12:56am
Michael B (mail):
Deceit coupled with snide, from jukeboxclown, yet again.

In fact, far from being uncorroborated, Prof. Ahmad Karimi Hakkak, Dir., Center for Persian Studies, Univ. of Maryland is cited. Additionally, a compilation of Khomeini's speeches is cited, "Messages and Speeches of Imam Khomeini," Nur Research and Publication Institute, pub., Tehran, 1981. Further substantiation is offered via quote from former Iranian Pres. Rafsanjani.

Interpreting such corroborative information is a subject unto itself (most of it, I suspect, geared to domestic incitements and politics), but to vapidly sneer about a lack of corroborative information is nothing more than deceit and incoherence.
9.30.2008 5:14pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
to vapidly sneer about a lack of corroborative information is nothing more than deceit and incoherence


Blah blah blah. You've got a lock on vapid.

Taheri has a long track record as a serial fabricator. NPod's credibility also leaves a lot to be desired. I don't trust anything they say that can't be corroborated via another source. And Taheri's statement about "Paymaha va Sokhanraniyha-yi Imam Khomeini" can't be corroborated via any other source that I can find. If you know of one, you should tell us about it. Until then, I'm sticking with what was reported in The Economist.
9.30.2008 5:48pm
Michael B (mail):
Does this suggest I'm no longer on your holiday gift list?
9.30.2008 6:06pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Why would you think that? I'll be sending you a complete collection of all the books ever written by Taheri that don't contain any lies.
9.30.2008 7:16pm
Michael B (mail):
A lone issue of The Economist that didn't contain a lie published within the last ten to fifteen years would do. I'll send you my address when you find one.

As to the subject at hand, the potential for suicidal acts on a large scale, The Economist, as is often the case, is more than a little incurious. There is for example additional supportive material, such as is reflected in this piece by M. Kuntzel, three or four excerpts:

"During the Iran-Iraq War, the Ayatollah Khomeini imported 500,000 small plastic keys from Taiwan. ... Khomeini sent Iranian children, some as young as twelve years old, to the front lines. There, they marched in formation across minefields toward the enemy, clearing a path with their bodies. Before every mission, one of the Taiwanese keys would be hung around each child's neck. It was supposed to open the gates to paradise for them."

Also,

"As Basij ideology and influence enjoy a renaissance under Ahmadinejad, the movement's belief in the virtues of violent self-sacrifice remains intact. There is no "truth commission" in Iran to investigate the state-planned collective suicide that took place from 1980 to 1988. Instead, every Iranian is taught the virtues of martyrdom from childhood."

And,

"Ahmadinejad, by contrast, is predisposed toward apocalyptic thinking. In one of his first TV interviews after being elected president, he enthused: "Is there an art that is more beautiful, more divine, more eternal than the art of the martyr's death?" In September 2005, he concluded his first speech before the United Nations by imploring God to bring about the return of the Twelfth Imam."

But I'm guessing you can vapidly sneer at that as well.
9.30.2008 9:02pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
A lone issue of The Economist that didn't contain a lie


You seem to be implying that The Economist and Taheri are roughly in the same universe, with regard to overall credibility. I think that tells us everything we need to know about your relationship with reality.

you can vapidly sneer at that as well


There are fundamentalist wackos all over the world. Always have been, always will be. I'd like to deal with them all, but a good place to start is with the ones who are asking me to vote for them (video).
10.1.2008 1:55am