Thursday, October 17, 2013

Study: Half a million Iraqis died from war-related causes since US invasion

Here's the clip:

Nearly half a million people have died from war-related causes in Iraq since the US-led invasion in 2003, according to an academic study published in the United States on Tuesday.

That toll is far higher than the nearly 115,000 violent civilian deaths reported by the British-based group Iraq Body Count, which bases its tally on media reports, hospital and morgue records, and official and non-governmental accounts.

The latest estimate by university researchers in the United States, Canada and Baghdad in cooperation with the Iraqi Ministry of Health covers not only violent deaths but other avoidable deaths linked to the invasion, insurgencies and subsequent social breakdown.

It also differs from some previous counts by spanning a longer period of time and by using randomized surveys of households across Iraq to project a nationwide death toll from 2003 to mid 2011.
Linkage. Since a number of us expressed outrage at not only the Iraq invasion but the genocidal level of carnage that ensued at the hands of the US and its so-called "Coalition of the Willing," it seemed fitting to share with those of you who are still around the latest effort by academicians to estimate the death toll. Although employing a different methodology, the numbers seem to square with the estimates of previous studies that had employed cluster sampling methodology (the margins of error in each of those studies could easily include one half-million dead as a plausible number).

As an aside, those of us who protested this travesty back in 2003 were not heard by those who had the power to stop it from happening in the first place. The aftermath of that invasion should have led to the conclusion that we really, really need a Left in the US that actually has some tangible power to stop atrocities. So far, those who grasp that particular reality are barely recognized by their peers, and we remain as a political force more a diaspora than a movement. It wasn't always like that, nor need it remain that way as some sort of inevitability.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Quotable - Alain Badiou

After the sweeping movements of the 1960s and 1970s, we have inherited a very long counter-revolutionary period, economically, politically and ideologically. This counter-revolution has effectively destroyed the confidence and power that were once able to commit popular consciousness to the most elementary words of emancipatory politics – words, to cite a few at random, like “class struggle”, “general strike”, “revolution”, “mass democracy”’, and many others. The key word of “communism”, which dominated the political stage since the beginning of the 19th century, is itself henceforth confined to a sort of historical infamy. That the equation “communism equals totalitarianism” should come to appear as natural and be unanimously accepted is an indication of how badly revolutionaries failed during the disastrous 1980s. Of course, we also cannot avoid an incisive and severe criticism of what the socialist states and communist parties in power, especially in the Soviet Union, had become. But this criticism should be our own. It should nourish our own theories and practices, helping them to progress, and not lead to some kind of morose renunciation, throwing out the political baby with the historical bathwater. This has led to an astonishing state of affairs: regarding a historical episode of capital importance for us, we have adopted, practically without restriction, the point of view of the enemy. And those who haven’t done so have simply persevered in the old lugubrious rhetoric, as if nothing had happened.

Alain Badiou (h/t)

The whole column is worth reading.

Monday, October 14, 2013


Today is also known as the Day of Indigenous Resistance. We could also, as I have no doubt mentioned before, called it Genocidal Slave Trader Day - as that would be an apt enough description of Columbus and those who followed in his wake.