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Author Topic: Comparing Death Tolls  (Read 3106 times)

Silver

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Comparing Death Tolls
« on: October 30, 2009, 11:18:02 am »

I visited Auschwitz.  I hired a guide, a member of the museum staff, who led me through the complex for 4 hours.  His explanations of the context and meaning of the relics I was seeing were invaluable.

It was a deeply moving experience.  Years later, I still do not have adequate words to describe what I felt then, and how it changed me forever.

One anecdote:  After walking for several hours, I noticed a few places where the soil had been disturbed, mostly for conservation of a building or for landscaping.  The mounds of fresh earth were flecked with tiny white dots.  I asked my guide about them. 

"Pick up a handful of dirt, and look at it closely," he told me.  I did.  I saw that the flecks were in fact irregularly shaped fragments, some long and thin, others short or nearly cubical.  I looked at him in puzzlement.

"They are human bone fragments.  At first, the Nazis ground up the bones left from the crematoriums, and took them and the ashes to the river for dumping.  But as time went on, the river bank where they dumped became fouled and dangerous, and the pace of the cremations increased, so they just spread them over the compound after having prisoners pound the bones into small bits.  Everywhere you have walked today is covered with these fragments to a depth of a 10 cm or more."

The horror of that handful is still burned into my brain.  I felt sick.

The total number of people killed at Auschwitz is estimated by the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum at 1.1 million, about 90% of whom were Jews from almost every country in Europe. Most victims were killed in Auschwitz II's gas chambers using Zyklon B; other deaths were caused by systematic starvation, forced labor, lack of disease control, individual executions, and purported "medical experiments".  Auschwitz concentration camp

Over at Just Foreign Policy  they keep a running total of the number of Iraq deaths since the US invasion in 2003.   The methods are based on scientific studies, such as the one published in the Lancet.  Few questions the results when applied to Darfur, or Bosnia, or to death tolls in natural disasters.  But the chickenhawks who endlessly beat the war drums are furious at this study because they don't like the answers.

I don't like the answers either, but I can't refute them.  Today's estimate of the death toll in Iraq is 1,339,771.  That's 22% higher than Auschwitz.  The victims of Auschwitz were drawn from pretty much all of Europe, with a population vastly greater than 30-odd million souls in Iraq.  Roughly 4% of the nation has been slaughtered.

This doesn't count the killing in Afghanistan, Pakistan, or other theaters.  In just this one war, the US government has murdered more people than the Germans managed to kill at Auschwitz.   

God help us all.  If there is any hope of salvation for us, it comes from mercy, not justice.

Peace,

Silver

« Last Edit: October 30, 2009, 11:20:38 am by Silver »
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Mr. Bill

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Re: Comparing Death Tolls
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2009, 12:35:19 pm »

I'm not going to argue about the statistics, since there are a zillion ways to add up the "excess deaths" caused by the war.

I disagree with this, however:

In just this one war, the US government has murdered more people than the Germans managed to kill at Auschwitz.   

The US invasion may have been the trigger, but I believe it is unjustified to describe all the deaths as murders caused by the US.

For example:

Major attacks in Iraq since Jan. 1

Arguably, the bombings directed against government facilities and officials can be considered part of the war, and (if you believe that the current government of Iraq is a US puppet) you could say that these attacks are aimed at the US oppressor and are therefore the US's fault.

But look at all these other attacks:

Quote
Aug. 7 — A suicide truck bomb targets a Shiite mosque in a northern suburb of Mosul, flattening the mosque and killing at least 44 people. The attack also injures more than 200 people. Bombings against Shiite pilgrims in Baghdad kill seven.

June 24 — Bomb rips through crowded market in Baghdad's Sadr City, killing 78.

 May 20 — A parked car bomb explodes near several restaurants in northwest Baghdad, killing 41.

April 29 — Twin car bombing in a popular shopping area in Sadr City, the biggest Shiite district in Baghdad, kills 51 people.

April 24 — Back-to-back female suicide bombings kill 71 people outside the most important Shiite shrine in Baghdad in Kazimiyah.

April 23 — Suicide bomber strikes restaurant in Muqdadiyah, kills at least 53, including 44 Iranian pilgrims, three Iraqis and six burned beyond recognition bodies.

Feb. 13 — Female suicide bomber targets Shiite pilgrims in Musayyib, killing 40.

Jan. 4 — Female suicide bomber strikes Shiite pilgrims in Baghdad, killing 38.

How can these possibly be called US murders?  These are parts of a religion-linked civil war; the perpetrators are Iraqis taking advantage of the breakdown of civil order to murder their opponents.  Yes, the US is the cause of the breakdown in civil order.  But does that make the US directly responsible for every crime that then occurs?  Should we therefore give credit to the charming government of Saddam Hussein for having prevented such bloodshed in the past?

There are a lot of parties who need to share the blame for this tragedy.
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Silver

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Re: Comparing Death Tolls
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2009, 12:40:23 pm »

There were NO suicide bombing attacks in Iran before the US invaded.

Saddam may have been a brutal dictator, but he was THEIR brutal dictator.  Once we moved in, the bombings started. 

Car bombs and guerrilla tactics are standard for a weaker party to use against occupation forces.  They are directed against collaborators as well as the occupation army.  Innocents get killed as well.  But none of this was happening before the US invaded.  If we had not invaded, then there would be no argument as to US responsibiity for the deaths you document.

I believe the US government bears full responsibility for these killings.


Peace,

Silver
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Iconoclast

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Re: Comparing Death Tolls
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2009, 03:06:55 pm »


The US invasion may have been the trigger, but I believe it is unjustified to describe all the deaths as murders caused by the US.

I have to agree with Silver. If the US invasion was the catalyst for all these events, why shouldn't the US FedGov be held accountable?

The question I have is that in 50 or 60 years hence, will the current US political leaders be viewed in history as the Nazi's are today?  Will what the FedGov is doing to those innocent people be Iraq's Holocaust?
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vekar

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Re: Comparing Death Tolls
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2009, 04:07:10 pm »

I agree with silver as well, the USA caused it to start therefor the USA is responsible which includes government, politicians and also the people who voted them into office. Also the military is responsible as well since they do the dirty work in the field for them and so far are not letting up any.

No matter how hard people may try and obscure or shirk their responsibility in this mess they can not, nor can they shift their own blame to someone else. There are many guilty "parties" here such as politicians, voters and the military, that includes the soldiers who did the killing or pushed the button... We must remember what the USA decided a long time ago... Or not so long ago during the Nuremberg trials: There is no such thing as "just following orders." We hung all the ones who tried to claim that.

Again, no matter how hard anyone might try to shirk their responsibility the fact will remain that when they die of old age or get killed... They are going to be having a face to face meeting with their creator whoever they may be or what they may be. I am not christian but I sure as heck believe in hell and I think hell is going to get overpopulated in the next 30 years once this lot start kicking the bucket for whatever reason.

There are no excuses for blatant murder and genocide, no matter how anyone might try and dodge that, it is a simple truth of what is going on today.

That is about all I can say on this, just remember an old viking saying: "If you dont kill them time will anyway." We are all responsible for our OWN actions, no one else forced our hands and when the time comes we will have to explain our actions to a higher power. That, is inevitable.
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If you believe in something, fight for it even in death, never surrender that belief to anyone for any reason.
Never surrender no matter the cost.
Death before dishonor!

gaurdduck

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Re: Comparing Death Tolls
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2009, 04:09:06 pm »


The US invasion may have been the trigger, but I believe it is unjustified to describe all the deaths as murders caused by the US.

I have to agree with Silver. If the US invasion was the catalyst for all these events, why shouldn't the US FedGov be held accountable?

The question I have is that in 50 or 60 years hence, will the current US political leaders be viewed in history as the Nazi's are today?  Will what the FedGov is doing to those innocent people be Iraq's Holocaust?

If it is, we'll be those evil ordinary people who did nothing.
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Silver

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Re: Comparing Death Tolls
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2009, 04:24:05 pm »

Indeed.  That's why our hope of salvation lies in mercy, not justice.
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somedude

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Re: Comparing Death Tolls
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2009, 05:05:42 pm »

If it is, we'll be those evil ordinary people who did nothing.

Personally, I’m no more responsible for the deaths brought about by the U.S. Government than I am for those brought about by the Bloods, Crips, La Cosa Nostra,
or any individual freelance criminals. If I had any say in the matter the U.S. Government wouldn’t exist, except in histories of a past age of barbarism.
   
If I am murdered by the U.S. Gov, Bloods, Crips, La Cosa Nostra, or any freelance criminal it is no ones fault but those individuals who directly participated in, or sanctioned, the act. It wouldn’t be the fault of outside individuals for not taking up the mantle of crime fighters and eradicating the criminal threat in society, it would be the fault of criminals. To say otherwise is a collectivist fallacy, and collectivist thinking is arguably the root cause of such criminal atrocities as Silver outlined.
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The revolution in public opinion which this cause requires is not to be expected in a day, or perhaps an age. - Albert Jay Nock

I get around a rock that stands in my, till I have powder enough to blast it; I get around the laws of a people, till I have gathered enough strength to overthrow them. - Max Stirner

Silver

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Re: Comparing Death Tolls
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2009, 05:23:46 pm »

I'm not arguing that anyone but the federal government and its enforcers are responsible.  My post attempts to put the death toll in perspective.  We don't see much press about Iraqi deaths.

And yet - there is this nagging bit about standing by while great harm is done to innocents.  And paying for it with taxes.  Not resisting, not helping the victims, and forking over the cash to support it.

This isn't a case of collectivism, it's feeling queasy when I contemplate the role I have to play in this awful drama.  Like holding that handful of dirt filled with human bone fragments at Auschwitz, it makes me feel sick to be associated in the least way with this terrible evil.

Peace,

Silver
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somedude

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Re: Comparing Death Tolls
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2009, 05:55:45 pm »

I just have a knee jerk reaction to the cliché about good men doing nothing. I didn’t mean to single anyone out.  I just wanted to make the point that is not good men doing nothing, but evil men doing evil, that is the cause of all crime.

As to taxes, they are theft plain and simple. One shouldn’t feel any guilt for what a criminal does with the monies he steals. And there are numerable ways to avoid paying most taxes. However, to completely avoid paying taxes (all goods are taxed at numerous points throughout production) one's bones would have to become one with the earth, which is exactly where those in power want those of us who oppose them.

Personally, I believe living well is the best revenge. All rhetorical hand wringing and hair pulling accomplishes is to make ourselves and others miserable due to our seeming impotence in relation to social change, thus fulfilling the, at least subconscious, desires of all statists (I don’t believe anyone who supports the institutionalization of violence is truly happy).
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When Anarchists are agreed in numbers sufficient to enable them to accomplish whatever special work lies before them, they will probably go about it. - Benjamin R. Tucker

The revolution in public opinion which this cause requires is not to be expected in a day, or perhaps an age. - Albert Jay Nock

I get around a rock that stands in my, till I have powder enough to blast it; I get around the laws of a people, till I have gathered enough strength to overthrow them. - Max Stirner

Rarick

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Re: Comparing Death Tolls
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2009, 06:12:58 am »

Bear, I'm with you.  The guys who chose to exploit the situation are at fault, not the US.  The actions of Al Queda of sacrificing locals to get at US troops are terrorists fault, not the US's.  They could have figured a safer, for the Iraqis, way to hit a convoy, but intentionally don't.  That is why a fair chunk of Iraqis are coming around to the Hyphenated Iraqi concept (Iraqi- shia, Iraqi - sunni, Iraqi- kurd) and starting to take an interest in THEIR country.

It is time for the US to leave tho' and let Iraq figure out its own destiny.  We shouldn't have rolled in with the tanks anyway, but there is a responsibility to try and set things right once that happened.

That is one seriously sad fact about the way war is currently fought, when it involves "disproportionate forces"  a side has to be sneaky.  Those tactics include using the non-combatant population for camouflage, and cover upon occaision.  That is a guarantee that a lot of non-combatants are going to get killed.   BOTH sides of any war are responsible for the civilian/non-combatant deaths, the one that is trying to do the right thing by avoiding them whenever they can is the one in the right.  That is definately NOT the terrorist cells currently operating in Iraq.
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Most of the time news is about the same old violations of the first principles of consent and golden rule with a dash of force thrown in........ with just enough duct tape to be believable.

canadian

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Re: Comparing Death Tolls
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2009, 09:08:50 am »

The question I have is that in 50 or 60 years hence, will the current US political leaders be viewed in history as the Nazi's are today?  Will what the FedGov is doing to those innocent people be Iraq's Holocaust?

Only if those leaders are somehow driven off and defeated. Otherwise, history will remember them as brilliant, benevolent visionaries who rescued those "poor iraqis" from darkness. The deaths will be forgotten.

History is written by the victors.
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vekar

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Re: Comparing Death Tolls
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2009, 02:13:49 pm »

Here is your quote by Edmund Berke: "All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

JFK also picked up on that quote and used it in his short lived hayday as president.
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If you believe in something, fight for it even in death, never surrender that belief to anyone for any reason.
Never surrender no matter the cost.
Death before dishonor!

Junker

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Re: Comparing Death Tolls
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2009, 10:38:16 am »

Wikipedia.org on J.S. Mill's (1859)

A Few Words on Non-Intervention

    "There seems to be no little need that the
    whole doctrine of non-interference with
    foreign nations should be reconsidered,
    if it can be said to have as yet been
    considered as a really moral question at
    all...
To go to war for an idea, if the
war is aggressive, not defensive, is as
criminal as to go to war for territory or
revenue
; for it is as little justifiable
to force our ideas on other people, as to
compel them to submit to our will in any
other respect." [my bold]
[/list]

And aggressive, not defensive, killing is criminal killing, thus murder.
The U.S. govt has sent and supported its U.S. troops around
the world criminally killing many, many people at many times in
many places.

As in Wikipedia A Timeline of U.S. Military Operations

    This is a timeline of United States military operations. Since 1776, there
    have been hundreds of instances of the deployment of United States
    military forces abroad and domestically. ... Note that instances where
    the U.S. gave aid alone, with no military personnel involvement, are
    excluded, as are CIA-based operations.

    Contents:

      1 Extraterritorial and major domestic deployments
      1.1 1775-1800           by decade to     1.23 2000-2009
      2 Other interventions
      3 Battles with the Native Americans, 4 Relocation, 5 Armed insurrections and slave revolts,
           6 Range wars, 7 Bloody local feuds, 8 Bloodless boundary disputes,
           9 Terror, paramilitary groups and guerrilla warfare,
           9.1 18th & 19th century, 9.2 20th & 21st century,
      10 Labor-management disputes, 11 State and national secession attempts, 12 Riots, Disorder and Natural Disasters,
      13 Covert operations, coups, military advisers etc., 13.1 1980s
      14 Miscellaneous
    [/list][/list]

    Many times in many places


      Through a Glass, Darkly

        (by George Patton)


        Through the travail of the ages,
        Midst the pomp and toil of war,
        Have I fought and strove and perished
        Countless times upon this star.
        ...
        I have sinned and I have suffered,
        Played the hero and the knave;
        Fought for belly, shame, or country,
        And for each have found a grave.

        I cannot name my battles
        For the visions are not clear,
        Yet, I see the twisted faces
        And I feel the rending spear.

        Perhaps I stabbed our Savior
        In His sacred helpless side.
        Yet, I've called His name in blessing
        When after times I died.
        ...
        So as through a glass, and darkly
        The age long strife I see
        Where I fought in many guises,
        Many names, but always me.
        ....
        [/list][/list]
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        freewoman

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        Re: Comparing Death Tolls
        « Reply #14 on: November 01, 2009, 11:01:37 am »

        If you haven't seen the JPFO DVD "Innocents Betrayed", you should.  It's incredibly disturbing, and provides a tremendous perspective on the inhumanity of those who choose to attempt to control others for their own benefit.  And the really sad thing is, it only covers the 20th century.  The controllers are not becoming  more humane, nor are they changing their ways.  They're just looking for sneakier ways to do it.  Depleted uranium, anyone?
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