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March 08, 2003

Murder By Numbers

In the matter of civilian casualties, OxBlog gives us a number of figures to consider. Those of you who read up in Cobb, know that I've set the radar at 1 lynch factor which equals 3,000 lives, the approximate number of African Americans lynched between the failure of Reconstruction and the triumph of justice. That's also approximately the number dead on both sides from the intifada since 1968 as we keep counting them off, busload by busload in the census of inexorable human butchery.

I cannot recall any figures for heart disease, but here are some for women. I'm not sure how many people die of drowning every year, but here's a great page on mortality due to bizzare twists of fate. So according to these statistics, even if I was a Kosovar during Clinton's bombing or an Afghan during GWBush's bombing, I'd be more at risk drowning by accident than being a casualty of American Aggression. Small comfort if you own a swimming pool.

But let's leave aside the freak accidents and stare down the barrel of hostility. In 2000, there were 16,765 homicides in these great United States. That's a right fat number. As much as we fear muggers and crooks, most Americans don't worry too much about being murdered, yet a good number of us are murdered. So what of this character Saddam and his Ba'ath party? Even though OxBlog cites 'em I want to go directly to Human Rights Watch's numbers. How about killing off 190,000 folks in a decade?  This is the kind of stuff that is difficult to read through, especially if you don't want to know. I don't want to know, and I don't want to be responsible. But now that I know.. well, now I know.

Several weeks ago, I asked the rhetorical question whether or not the world will accept this imperial show. I wondered out loud if Saddam, of all the nasty bastards on the planet, and Iraq of all the gawdawful spots in the world, were the right targets for our first venture. Perhaps I am waiting for the right person to do the right thing in consideration of the fact the GWBush is wrong for just about everything which calls for an intelligent command of the oratory worthy of free world leadership. I want my emperor to be kingly, and why oh why did I get GW? Do you hear me pissing and moaning?

Yet if I could stop for a minute and start dealing with the hideous facts of the matter on the ground in Iraq (and probably a half dozen other horrible places), I wonder if I would mind so much if my president is Shrek instead of a Handsome Prince. I'm a policy snob in the face of Saddam's clear and present danger. Not to me, to Iraqis. It's not about me.

Since it is not about me, and a busybody neighbor is better than an abusive parent, I have to concede the fact that an ugly rescue is better than benign neglect. I feel that our geopolitical snobbery and posing are pretty worthless right about now, and the fact that we have to wheedle our way around the diplomatic chicanery of the UN and everyplace else is only necessitated by a failure of brotherhood and an ignoble squeamishness which is not rescued by our well-meant outrage at Bush's mendacity. I do believe in class warfare.That means noblesse on our part and revolt by the Shi'a.

The focus of the world is on Saddam Hussein. WMD or no, Iraqis are hopeless without our intervention. Now is the time for action, political snobs be damned. No matter how physically wreckless we may be, and I have a strong feeling that we won't be, this war is better happening than not. No matter how diplomatically wreckless we have been, and I know for damned sure that we have been, those are only words and hard feelings, but they're not lives. Lives are more important than words.

Let's go kick some ass and not worry so much about collateral damage.

Posted by mbowen at March 8, 2003 09:13 PM

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