We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

The Butcher’s Bill

If you oppose a war to overthrow Ba’athist Socialism in Iraq but also claim to despise Saddam Hussain, then I can only assume that you are a ‘containment’ advocate… which is to say you view the policy of the last 12 years which prevented the Iraqi regime attacking it neighbours as an adequate response. You probably also think that containing Hussain within Iraq’s borders is all that is really in the interests of any outsiders (which in practice means primarily the USA and UK)… therefore what happens inside Iraq is really not germane. You might even add that you would be quite happy to see the Iraqi people overthrow Hussain, just not with our tax money or the blood of US and UK soldiers, thanks.

Okay, I do not agree but that is indeed a coherent argument to make.

However if part of your argument against this impending war is ‘many Iraqi civilians will be killed and thus it is unjustified’, then you are not making the ‘containment’ argument, nor are you making a ‘not in our national interest’ argument. What you are saying is that the interests of the Iraqi people are actually important to you and presumably have some objective value.

So ponder this: Saddam Hussein’s Ba’athist Socialist regime has been in power since 1979… about 22 years. Although the figures for how many people his regime has murdered varies hugely depending on the source and which axe they are grinding (with the high figure being 2 million), I will assume that the one million statistic being widely bandied about is correct… and lets for now just gloss over the number of people tortured, imprisoned or driven into exile.

That is approximately 45,500 Iraqi and Kurdish people per year murdered inside Iraq by the Ba’athist government… about 125 people per day that Saddam Hussein has been in power (or equal to about two Waco massacres every day). This is a crude blood calculus of course but it does put the Butcher’s Bill up where it can be seen and priced. Even if the number was half that, it gives us some measure of the scale of the horror involved.

So if your argument against a (hopefully short) war to overthrow Iraq’s Socialist regime is based on the undeniable fact innocent people will die, you would seem to be saying that it only matters when Iraqis are killed if outsiders are the ones killing them… because Iraqis are already dying at the hands of the Iraqi state in prodigious numbers. If that is indeed your position, I would contend that you really do not give a damn about what is best for the Iraqi people.

When the air turned to poison in Halabja: the reality of peace in Iraq

34 comments to The Butcher’s Bill

  • Tedd McHenry

    Given that Saddam Hussein’s military and internal security forces will be rather busy once the shooting begins, perhaps the odds of being killed (per day) for a typical Iraqi will drop DURING the war (as well as after). One-hundred-twenty-five civilians killed per day would be pretty high collateral damage, wouldn’t it?

  • Ian Geldard

    In the “best interest of the Iraqi people”? This is a very dangerous argument to make.

    Who are we i.e. the USA/UK to decide what is in the best interest of anybody? Isn’t this just imperialist paternalism? We may think that individualist democracy (or a variation) is the best system known to man, but does it have any validity when imposed by force? Could it even be counter-productive?

    It’s absolutely true that many people have died under Saddam Hussein’s rule. But what if a similar number die in a US/UK invasion? And if numbers etc. are important why didn’t we invade Cambodia, or Rwanda?

    Weapons of mass destruction? Well, that would mean that we should seek to disarm countries such as North Korea or Isreal that have already developed these weapons outside ot NPT agreements.

    War on terrorism? Well Iraq has little connection with al Qaede – Saudi Arabia would be a better objective there – and a war against Iraq will surely be a recruiting boost to the Islamic fundamentalists who currently have no lovbe for Ba’athist National Socialism.

  • Julian Morrison

    “If you oppose a war to overthrow Ba’athist Socialism in Iraq but also claim to despise Saddam Hussain, then I can only assume that you are ‘containment’ advocate…”

    Convenient to leave out any alternatives. Such as for example private war or assassination.

  • T. Hartin

    Come on, Ian – are you so far gone in cultural relativism that you believe that it is “cultural imperialism” to posit that the people of Iraq would be better off if they were not being killed and tortured by their government?

    Civilian casualties during the invasion will be due to (a) misplaced allied fire (“collateral damage”) and (b) Saddam inflicting one last round of atrocities. While you might attempt to balance (a) off against the ongoing butcher’s bill, Saddam’s last hurrah should be totted up on his side of the ledger, not ours. I very seriously doubt that the collateral damage will approach the approximately 500,000 killed by Saddam since the Gulf War I cease fire, so I would abandon this line of attack if I were you.

    We tried to save Cambodia, remember? But the peaceniks put paid to that. The toll in Cambodia is on their heads, not on those of us who believe that the war against Communism is SE Asia should have been prosecuted to its conclusion. As for Rwanda, I believe there was some feeble flopping around at the UN, but Rwanda stands mostly for the proposition that the UN is not the mechanism for stopping genocide. All told, though, this argument seems place you in the position of saying that, since we didn’t save one country, we can never try to save another, ever.

    We will get around to NK and its weapons in good time, never fear. As for Israel, when it starts acting like Iraq (that is, using its WMD on its neighbors and its own citizens) do let us know.

    Saddam has well-known ties to Al Quaeda, and undeniable ties to Hamas and Hezbollah. As a matter of state policy, he pays off their suicide bombers, for one thing. Taking Saddam out of Iraq is a necessary, but not sufficient, step, in dismantling Islamist terror. Think of it as being justified for the same reason that the US going to war with Germany and Italy was justified in WWII, even though they did not attack Pearl Harbor.

  • Daniel

    Mr. Geldard-

    You do yourself a disservice when you make the “Israel has WMD too” argument. I suppose reasonable people can differ about Israel’s intentions and methods… but only to a point. To even compare the threat that Israel’s possession of WMD to Saddam’s possession of such weapons is absurd and insulting.

    North Korea, of course, is a different matter altogether. When the administration says that NorK’s nuclear capabilities are not as much of a threat as those of Saddam, this is of course a convenient lie. The real issue there is at what cost you’re willing to pay to end that threat. Any President that chose not to act with great caution when the second Korean War could be the consequence, would be well served by paying a visit to the psychiatrist.

  • Ian Geldard makes a couple of points that I find very hard to reconcile. He says there is very little connection between Iraq and the Islamic terrorists, the latter having no love for Ba’athist National Socialism. Yet he also claims that an attack on the Iraqis will bolster recruitment for those same radical Islamic terror gangs. How? Why?

    Either there is a connection between them or there is not. If Islamists are so opposed to the Iraqi regime then why aren’t they supporting the war or (better still) joining in?

  • amy

    David, you’d better knock it off with all that ‘making sense’

  • amy

    David, you’d better knock it off with all that ‘making sense’

  • Ian: I was going to respond but T. Hartin pretty much hit all the points I would have made… so my reply is… ditto.

    Julian Morrison: Private War… so who exactly is going to do that? Ditto for assassination. Yes, in an ideal world both would be vastly preferable options but we are not (yet) anywhere near that world. Thus in this world the choices come down to either talking about how nasty Ba’athist Socialism is and then theorizing how it could be dealt with if Sandline and other private military group were much larger and had a freer hand to take on such operations… or supporting the only realistic way to free Iraq now, which is to say the US/UK military.

    Convince me those options are in fact viable in 2003 and I will start advocating them as a realistic alternative to the impending war.

  • Ghaleon

    If you hadn’t bombarded Cambodia there are a lot more change that people wouldnt have been receptive to Pol Pot… but when you kill 100 000 of them in bombardment it’s more comprehensive that they decided to side with him, with the result we know…

    Israel.. maybe they don’t use WMD but they do act as terrorists… Mossad… they decided, without consulting anyone, that they had the right to kill anyone that they suspected was responsible of the terrorist act at Munich, nomatter where he was… but you just have to look a bit more deeply to understand that some of those they killed had no relation with Munich but they were simply ”dangerous”…. intellectuals who try to persuade others of the reality of the crimes of Israel are indeed very ”dangerous”…

    ”Ian Geldard makes a couple of points that I find very hard to reconcile. He says there is very little connection between Iraq and the Islamic terrorists, the latter having no love for Ba’athist National Socialism. Yet he also claims that an attack on the Iraqis will bolster recruitment for those same radical Islamic terror gangs.”

    David… i’ll try to help you figure out… because Iraqis are arabs and musulmans… and it’s what is really important to terrorists…also because they hate america 100x more than the iraq government…. because

    ”Saddam has well-known ties to Al Quaeda”

    Stop that fucking bullshit NO PROOF HAVE BEEN FOUND…

    ”I very seriously doubt that the collateral damage will approach the approximately 500,000 killed by Saddam since the Gulf War I cease fire”

    Well, my friend, it’s very possible in the long tem… You’re not even able to keep control over Afghanistan(even Tommy Frank admit it that they only really control Kaboul), what make you think that it won’t degenerate in Iraq….

  • T. Hartin

    Well, Ghaleon, I’m a little puzzled by your analysis of Cambodia. Was Pol Pot killing his supporters? Otherwise, how does our bombing creating more supporters for him increase his butcher’s bill? Or are you saying that if we hadn’t fought him, he wouldn’t have won and come into power in the first place?

    As to Saddam’s ties to Al Quaeda, it has been demonstrated to my satisfaction (sufficient for war, if not a courtroom). Try Ms. Mylroie’s piece in today’s Wall Street Journal online for one account of the ties between the two. Regardless of his ties to AQ, though, he is an essential cog in the Mideast terror machine that brought down the Twin Towers.

    Anyone who thinks Afghanistan was better off under the Taliban, or that Iraq is better off under Saddam, is too disconnected from reality to even try to converse with.

  • Ian Geldard

    Gosh, lots of points to answer. I’ll try my best …

    Cultural imperialism: Well I wasn’t thinking so much of ‘cultural imperialism’ as plain old imperialism – the idea that social, economic and military interests can be best served by armed force and, if necessary, by occupation. Either directly or indirectly. It’s quite possible we will be in Iraq for 20 years. Maybe more. Appointed Governors to administer the various protectorates, probably appointed friendly natives. Unless it all goes pear-shaped – which it might …

    Numbers are easy to throw around. Just how many have been killed by Saddam? How many have been killed by western sanctions that have denied basic medical care to the Iraqi people? Even pencils and bicycles are contraband items for goodness sake! According to some UN sources, more Iraqis have died from these sanctions than Saddam himself! Who then is the guilty party?

    My argument re. Rwanda etc. is simply that one should be consistent. Either you send in troops to Rwanda, Chechnya, Tibet or wherever else whenever a people are being massacred, oppressed, tortured etc. – a liberventionist strategy or you concentrate on preserving liberty at home and encourage liberty overseas, but without resorting to armed aggression.

    Finally,because I dont have time to answer all the othe points, there are NO credible links between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. None. Sure they both dislike the US/West etc. But Iraq is a secular national socialist state. Saddam violently represes his Shiite population. He has as much interests in Islam as did Stalin with Christian Orthodoxy i.e. use it when it serves his interests (cf. 1941-45) otherwise destroy it.

    But while Iraq is secular it is part of the Moslem world. There are various holy sites located there. And they are Arabs. US/UK forces invading Iraq are going to be seen by many as an imperialst western/christian crusade. An attack on Iraq will be a huge recruiting call to anyone thinking about maybe becoming a ‘fundamentalist’.

    A War on Terror? An attack on Iraq will unleash forces which we will be having to deal with for many years to come. It’s the old law of unintended consequences.

    e.g. Destroy the Kaiser and create the conditions for Soviet Communism, Fascism and National Socialism – was that such a good outcome? Was Prussian militarism so bad, relatively?

  • T. Hartin

    Ian, surely you are not trying to put the bill for the sanctions on our tab, are you? After all, Saddam could have had the sanctions lifted at any time, just by living up to his cease-fire obligations, and could have avoided the worst effects by refraining from diverting the oil income to palaces and WMD research.

    I am still unconvinced that failing to intervene once means you should never intervene ever. I don’t see why we are forced to choose between micro-managing the planet and never leaving the house. I do think that a consistent case can be made for intervening in areas of the world that have demonstrated that they constitute a threat to the U.S., which justifies intervention in the mid-east without requiring intervention in sub-Saharan Africa. We are not going to war to spread liberty, we are going to war to kill our enemies.

    Ah yes, attack Saddam and the feared Arab street will rise. Them that would rise, have already risen, due to our support for Israel, our bases in Saudi Arabia, our first attack on Saddam, our attack on the Taliban, etc. I fail to see how gutting the Baathists (secular, remember?) will suddenly bring on a tidal wave of Arab streeting. I yawn at the Arab street, and fart in their beards.

    As to links between Saddam and al Qaeda, people will believe what they want to believe, and ignore evidence to the contrary, so I doubt I can convince you in the Samizdata comments section. Still, try this for a quick summary of links between the two< href="http://www.jewishworldreview.com/1202/jkelly121602.asp" target ="new">Its Hard Work Not Seeing the Ties Between Iraq and al Qaeda, and ask yourself how likely it is that two sworn enemies of the U.S. in the mideast would NOT have a working relationship. In any event, it doesn’t matter – Saddam would have to go even if he were hunting down and killing al Qaeda operatives, because of his other activities that directly threaten the U.S.

  • Ghaleon

    T Martin…
    I speak of the bombardment before he(Pol Pot) was actually fully in power… But after those bombardment, it’s pretty normal a lots of people joined him… Actually once Pol Pot was in power we weren’t bombarding anymore, he was considered kinda like an ally against the vietnam… the fact that he was commiting a genocide at the same time wasn’t really important then…

    Outside of Kabul, you should know that the difference between the talibans and the war lords is very small…

  • Mark Holland

    Al queda has no links to Saddam

    Well apart from bin Laden’s frequent visits to Iraqi intelligence HQ in Khartoum when he lived there in the mid 90s and Mohammed Atta’s meeting with Iraqi agents in Prague there is now this juicy article from the idiotrarian bible

    Feb 9th 1999

    Saddam Hussein’s regime has opened talks with Osama bin Laden, bringing closer the threat of a terrorist attack using chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, according to US intelligence sources and Iraqi opposition officials.

    The key meeting took place in the Afghan mountains near Kandahar in late December. The Iraqi delegation was led by Farouk Hijazi, Baghdad’s ambassador in Turkey and one of Saddam’s most powerful secret policemen, who is thought to have offered Bin Laden asylum in Iraq.

    Hat tip Tim Blair

  • Well apart from bin Laden’s frequent visits to Iraqi intelligence HQ in Khartoum when he lived there in the mid 90s

    “There is a wonderful photograph floating around the Internet these days. It is not a fake; it is not doctored; it is real. It shows the smiling face of a much younger Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with the Butcher of Baghdad.

    This photo was taken December 20, 1983, when Rumsfeld was sent to Iraq as a special envoy of Ronald Reagan.”

  • The picture comes from this article.

    And who is to say that whatever replaces Saddam will result in fewer killings? You assume that since the govt gives “installing a peaceful democracy” as a justification for its actions, that is what will happen. Govts lie and govts screw up, and our govts have been known to support not so nice foreign leadership when it suits their purposes.

  • T. Hartin

    Scott – There are no guarantees, of course, that the next government in Baghdad will be an improvement on the one there now, but I think the odds are heavily in favor of it being so. Its a bet I am willing to make, along with the vast majority of Iraqis. In any event, the ongoing American military presence will keep it from being hostile to the U.S. and part of the mideast terror network, which is the point of the war in the first place.

    Ghaleon – I am still confused about Pol Pot. There is no doubt that he killed millions, and the U.S. tried to keep him out of power. I suspect that the cessation of our opposition to him had a lot more to do with the anti-war protestors back home than anything else.

    Are you arguing that the millions killed by a man we opposed are somehow our fault? I suppose that would make Hitler’s Final Solution our fault as well, not to mention the millions killed by the Communists in Russia and China. Or are you agreeing with me that we should have prosecuted the war against Communist tyrants in SE Asia to a successful conclusion?

    As for Afghanistan – again, the main point of the war there was to remove it from the terror network, which has largely succeeded. The worst thing anyone can say about the intervention is that it may not have improved thing in the hinterlands, yet. Not the most scathing indictment, I must say.

  • Scott Cattanach

    There are no guarantees, of course, that the next government in Baghdad will be an improvement on the one there now, but I think the odds are heavily in favor of it being so.

    Based on what? Basic government competence on the parts of the US and UK? The long attention span of the public holding their govts’ feet to the fire? The fact that people care so damn much about foreign deaths when they aren’t being tossed in their faces on the TV news?

    Why are the odds heavily in the favor of this particular government project succeeding when so many others fail? Our guy in Afghanistan needs US bodyguards to survive, and you’ve admitted things may not be so peachy “in the hinterlands”

    Germany and Japan, post WWII? They started as Western (or westernizing) nations, and the US has keep troops in both places for 60 years after the war. And while we got them out of China and Poland, the result was handing those nations to Mao and Stalin – not necessarily a huge trade up.

  • Marty Busse

    The claim that bombing of Viet Cong hideouts in Cambodia somehow put Pol Pot in power is a shibboleth of the left.

    It flies in the face of the reality, that Pol Pot was put in power after years of subersive effort by the Khmer Rouge, all supported by the Viet Cong/NVA forces who first violated Cambodia’s neutrality in the Vietnam conflict.

    How, exactly, did the bombing which ended 4 years before the seizure of power by Pol Pot (which did not come until after the US had abandoned Southeast Asia) cause the seizure of power?

    Pol Pot had a simple method of increasing his support. He killed people who didn’t back him, which changed demographics in his favor. (He also killed people who did support him, but that’s hardly unknown in Communist dictatorships.)

    Of course, there is another shibboleth in this: that Communist Vietnam invaded Cambodia to end Pol Pot’s demicidal mania. Piling up the corpses of “enemies of the people” never disturbed the heirs of Ho Chi Minh. What bothered them was Pol Pot’s refusal to be a reliable satrap of the Vietnamese Communist empire after years of support given to him.

  • PortugueseGuy

    The argument that the West was guilty of hundreds of thousands of deaths because of the sanctions was something i believed until recently…then, i read this: http://www.oxdem.org/rubin-tnr.html

  • T. Hartin

    Scott – are you seriously arguing that the people of Afghanistan and Iraq will be worse off because their murderous thug regimes have been run off by the Americans? Perhaps you should check with the Germans, the Italians, and the Japanese (not to mention the Panamanians and the Haitians) to see how things have gone in those countries since the US engaged in armed “regime change.”

    I am not saying that US-backed regime change leads to nirvana, I am merely pointing out that historically it has been better than the alternative. You are welcome to play with your strawmen all you want by arguing that the US is less than perfect; I prefer to engage with the real world, where “better” is always to be preferred, even if it is not “perfect.”

    Counterexamples, where successful armed US regime change has made things worse for the locals in the long run, are of course welcome.

  • T. J. Madison

    >>Counterexamples, where successful armed US regime change has made things worse for the locals in the long run, are of course welcome.

    Lets start with the easy ones:

    East Timor — run by U.S. puppet, ~200K deaths
    Indonesia — installation of same puppet, ~ 1M kills

    I wonder if the Diem assassination in 1963 Vietnam helped matters either.

    “Those who survive will be better off.”

  • Scott Cattanach

    Perhaps you should check with the Germans, the Italians, and the Japanese (not to mention the Panamanians and the Haitians) to see how things have gone in those countries since the US engaged in armed “regime change.”

    How about checking with the Poles, East Germans, and Chinese how things went in those countries in the 50 or so years after our post WWII armed regime changes.

  • Ian Geldard

    Mark,

    How do you know OBL and co. made frequent visits to Iraqi intelligence HQ in Khartoum? Or about Iraqi agents in Praque etc. Do you have photos? Transcripts of conversations? Did they meet anyone else other than Iraqis (if that ever happened?). Didn’t OBL use to have storong links with the CIA from his activities in Afghanistan? Wasn’t he originally armed and trained by America?

    A key meeting took place somewhere in Afghanistan – according to US intelligence ‘sources’ and Iraqi opposition ‘sources’ Wow, that’s convincing NOT. Can we have a bit more detail – from credible open sources? Or is this just another piece of poor disinformation not even backed up by badly faked documents which the combined analytical might of MI6/CIA were unable to detect!

  • Scott Cattanach

    Ian, you don’t understand. A good libertarian only demands evidence before the government acts against him or her, not if its just acting against foreigners.

    No Iraqi draftee is as important as a westerner with net access.

  • Ian Geldard

    T. Hartin,

    Well the sanction are a result of western, mainly US/UK policy. They are one of the most comprehensive sanctions policies ever implemented against a nation-state. It includes prohibition on trade involving bicycles, pencils and sanitary towels.

    What on earth are we doing supporting such a bizarre sanctions policy? Is this really going to bring down Saddam Hussein? Sanctions never work against tyrants. Palaces still get built and the people starve and die for lack of medical care etc.

    These sanctions are an undeclared war on the people of Iraq, not Saddam Hussein.

  • T. Hartin

    Well, lets run down the counterexamples – remember, I asked for “successful armed US regime change has made things worse for the locals in the long run.”

    TJ puts up East Timor and Indonesia. Sorry, but these countries did not experience armed US regime change, by which I meant regimes put in place after the US armed forces cleaned out the joint. I specifically did not want to get into discussing various CIA adventures, for a variety of reasons. Clandestine interference by the CIA does not count, because that is not what we are up to in Afghanistan and Iraq. I think the question of why the CIA so regularly screws up in its kingmaking, but the US Army does not, is a fascinating one, but not what I am getting at in these posts.

    Scott asks about the Poles and East Germans. I would count those as regime changes accomplished by the Russians, not by the US. As I recall, the Russians drove the Germans out of Poland and Eastern Germany and installed the regimes of their choice, not the regimes of our choice. Armed regime change by the US would have required us to drive the Russians out once we got done with the Germans. You can argue about whether we should have, but we didn’t, so this doesn’t count as a counterexample either.

    Finally, the Chinese. I don’t recall the US overthrowing the Emperor, or installing Mao. In fact, I believe we opposed Mao and supported the Nationalists. This doesn’t count either, as I don’t count wars that our side lost as “successful regime changes by the US.”

    Its really very simple – I am looking (still) for an example of a regime installed by the US after armed intervention by the US that made the inhabitants of the country worse off than they were before. C’mon, gang, the US has put boots on the ground in lots of places to change who runs the joint. Can’t you think of a single time that a regime installed by the US Army has made things worse?

  • T. Hartin

    Ian – I think economic sanctions are the worst of both worlds, but as they did not result in regime change in Iraq, much less regime change as the result of US military action, they do not stand as a counterexample either.

  • Jacob

    Ian,
    “Weapons of mass destruction? Well, that would mean that we should seek to disarm countries such as North Korea or Isreal that have already developed these weapons”

    Maybe we should also contemplate disarming France, which also has WMD and has proven very capricious and unpredictable lately.

  • Scott asks about the Poles and East Germans. I would count those as regime changes accomplished by the Russians, not by the US. As I recall, the Russians drove the Germans out of Poland and Eastern Germany and installed the regimes of their choice, not the regimes of our choice. Armed regime change by the US would have required us to drive the Russians out once we got done with the Germans. You can argue about whether we should have, but we didn’t, so this doesn’t count as a counterexample either.

    Finally, the Chinese. I don’t recall the US overthrowing the Emperor, or installing Mao. In fact, I believe we opposed Mao and supported the Nationalists. This doesn’t count either, as I don’t count wars that our side lost as “successful regime changes by the US.”

    Its really very simple – I am looking (still) for an example of a regime installed by the US after armed intervention by the US that made the inhabitants of the country worse off than they were before. C’mon, gang, the US has put boots on the ground in lots of places to change who runs the joint. Can’t you think of a single time that a regime installed by the US Army has made things worse?

    So if the US replaces Saddam w/ a warm and fuzzy democracy that lasts a week, any future bloodshed isn’t our fault because the govt we installed didn’t do it? If the US installed regime fails, then the policy fails, no matter who does the future killing. The stated goal is to stop the Iraqi govt from killing its own people, so any Iraqi govt kills its own people, the policy didn’t achieve its stated goal and therefore failed.

    Didn’t the UK originally go to war to ‘save’ Poland (or at least that was the immediate cause and/or excuse). My point still stands – we went to war to save the world from Hitler and Tojo, and big chunks of it wound up under Stalin and Mao. This is not because that is what the US wanted; its because you cannot forsee the results of war as clearly as the War Party claims you can. Did we know Mao would win China? No. Do we know what will happen in post-war Iraq?

    No, we don’t.

    Therefore “I’m confident our plan will work” is BS. If an attempted regime change fails (such as supporting the Nationalists instead of Mao), then the policy fails. Your stance of “an unsuccessful regime change isn’t a regime change” is basically saying “it doesn’t count when we failed, because our plan specifically called for success”.

  • Your stance of “an unsuccessful regime change isn’t a regime change” is basically saying “it doesn’t count when we failed, because our plan specifically called for success”.

    Its like when the USSR failed and was therefore not really socialism (according to the leftists), because socialism is defined as “everyone being equal” and all that wonderful stuff. Since everyone didn’t turn out equal in wealth or power (in other words, it bombed big time), it wasn’t really socialism – i.e. failed socialism isn’t socialism because socialism is defined (according to the socialists) by its goals, just like “regime change” is defined by its goals by you.

  • T. Hartin

    Sigh. Its not that complicated, folks. In assessing the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan, where regime change will occur after successful armed intervention by the US, I posited that, in the past, countries have generally been left better off after armed US intervention resulting in regime change. I asked for counterexamples, where regimes INSTALLED BY THE US after SUCCESFUL ARMED INTERVENTION BY THE US ARMY were actually worse than what came before.

    I maintain that no such counterexamples have been put forward. Mao and the Soviet empire in Eastern Europe were not INSTALLED BY THE US, got it? In fact, we opposed Mao (although we did not go to war against him directly), just as we opposed Pol Pot. You can split hairs about the degree of US complicity at Yalta in paving the way for the Soviets, but I don’t think anyone can claim that the Soviet puppet states in Eastern Europe were actually installed by the US, as opposed to the Soviets.

    I think it is a very different issue to discuss the kind of regimes that result when armed US intervention fails – SE Asia, for example, but I count UNSUCCESSFUL US intervention as being very different from SUCCESSFUL US intervention, and beside the point because we have not and will not fail to win the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. I don’t think I am tautological here, and I think it is easily distinguished from the socialist apologetics for the collapse of the USSR.

    I guess everyone is conceding that things were better off under the regimes installed by the US in Western Germany, Japan, Panama, Afghanistan, Grenada, etc.. and no one can really say that a regime installed by the US after successful US armed intervention has ever made things worse. It is interesting to me that the examples of regimes that made things worse were regimes that were installed by the enemies of the US, not the US itself. Fascinating rhetorical move, holding the US responsible for the actions of its enemies, but I doubt many will find it convincing.

    That is all. Good day.

  • Scott Cattanach

    We should look at successes and failures in regime changes, because it isn’t a given that this attempt at a regime change will be successful. The new Iraqi regime may last 1000 years, or it may last the week. You don’t know.