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Did invading Iraq save thousands of Iraqi lives?

The UN/World Health Organization and Iraq have released the results of a new study estimating the number of excess (by violence) deaths in Iraq between March 2003 and June 2006. Folks who oppose the Iraq war, despise Bush/Cheney, and generally look for anything through which they can feel morally superior to people who supports the US mission in Iraq often bandy about the number one million Iraqi deaths as a result of the invasion. That number is erroneous and vastly inflated:

Limiting the study to the time since the invasion in March 2003, and extrapolating results to the whole country, researchers arrived at the 151,000 estimate. The study authors say they are 95 percent certain that the true number is between 104,000 and 223,000. Iraq's population is roughly 26 million.
Included in that figure are the insurgents/terrorists who have been killed in battle. One thing the survey cannot tell us is the the number of deaths directly caused by US military action versus the number of deaths caused by terrorism.

There is no dispute that the majority of the civilian deaths were caused by terrorism. We have been told that al Qaeda didn't exist in Iraq before the US-led invasion, if that was true they didn't waste much time developing the leadership, infrastructure, and means to begin slaughtering Iraqis wholesale. Saddam loyalists ensured his legacy of murder lived on after he was captured as well. They almost succeeded in destabilizing Iraq and forcing the US to withdraw. But the Bush administration doubled down and crushed the insurgents. The Iraqi people are safer now as a result of Bush's stubbornness.

How would Iraqi mortality have differed if there had been no invasion? It is impossible to predict what Saddam may or may not have done, but it was widely reported that sanctions imposed in 1990 were killing thousands of Iraqis a month:

"The sanctions, the toughest in history, are killing up to 6,000 Iraqis a month", according to Denis Halliday, a former UN coordinator of humanitarian aid to Iraq.
Six-thousand deaths a month over thirty-six months equals 216,000 dead Iraqis - a number that would place any three years between 1990 and 1999 at the high end of the 2003-2006 study results. Needless to say, there was significant momentum toward ending the sanctions. The Oil for Food program proved to be a giant slush fund through which Saddam plundered billions and bribed sympathetic voices in the UN.

Those sanctions were in place because Saddam chose to send his army to rape and pillage Kuwait. Beyond the impact of sanctions, actions by Saddam against the Kurds in northern Iraq and Shiites in southern Iraq killed between 250 and 500 thousand people.

The invasion of Iraq has saved tens of thousands of Iraqi lives.

It has also given the Iraqi people something ten years of sanctions and no-fly zones could not - an end to Saddam Hussein's reign of terror and opportunity for self-determination. The struggle has been costly, but the potential rewards are incalculable.


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Comments (34)

During the sanctions there ... (Below threshold)

During the sanctions there were arguments, also, and accusations that the US was responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children because we weren't allowing Saddam the high grade of chlorine that he claimed was necessary for water purification and we said could be used for weapons. I seem to recall that this killing of Iraqi children was one of Bin Laden's calls to action.

Then, of course, were the "excess" deaths caused by Saddam's efforts to destroy the Marsh Arabs and the "excess" deaths he caused among Sunni Kurds.

And the claims that Iraqi d... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

And the claims that Iraqi deaths were caused by US sanctions were roundly and almost unanimously denied by the Right when they were being made. So, were they accurate or not?
When the Reagan administration was Saddam's BFF, was he a nicer guy? Didn't the gas attacks on the Kurds happen in '88?

When all is said and done, ... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

When all is said and done, clear out the bull shit, and I'll wager that US caused deaths to non- combatants where probably the lowest of all the different groups involved. But that idea won't play well with "progressives".

Does it really take much im... (Below threshold)
MPR:

Does it really take much imagination to think what the Middle East would be like if Sadam was still in power.Flush with oil money he could have paid off more diplomats and international watchdog organizations. He would be using the excuse that Awkmadenijad had nukes he should be allowed to have them also. They had one long, horrible war that cost a million lives. The Middle East would probably not have survived another.

Bruce,The UN is my... (Below threshold)
Baron Von Ottomatic:

Bruce,

The UN is my source for both estimates of deaths. Regardless of how unanimously the "Right" may or may not have denied the implications of sanctions using UN figures gives an apples-to-apples comparison.

When FDR was Stalin's BFF was he a nicer guy? Funny how Democrats and Republicans both adopt a "my enemy's enemy" approach when it is advantageous.

Who said anything about gas attacks? Saddam proved quite capable of killing people throughout northern and southern Iraq with conventional weapons in 1991 and beyond.

So your argument is that we... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

So your argument is that we killed less Iraqis by bombing them and being the catlyst however unwittingly for suicide terrorism (there was never any in Iraq before the invasion) than in the previous decades in the 80's when we armed him to the teeth,(with the help of Gates and Rumsfeld) encouraged him to have a bloody war with Iran, also helped arm the Iranians, and then later imposed sanctions on him which resulted in more Iraqi deaths. You are right the rewards have been incalculable.

Fact Saddam and his two son... (Below threshold)
sirsurfalot:

Fact Saddam and his two sons Uday and Qussay were a trilogy of terror. That dynasty had to be stopped. Period. You would have to be stuck on stupid to be sad at their demise. Fuck the UN and anybody else for that matter, who thinks "things" were better before the U.S. military and allies pulled the plug that evil regime. Same stupid fucktards probably think the U.S. should have "negotiated" with Hitler.

Saddam
http://tinyurl.com/c636g

Qusay
http://tinyurl.com/c58rv

Uday
http://tinyurl.com/9adh5a


"Does it really take much i... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

"Does it really take much imagination to think what the Middle East would be like if Sadam was still in power."

Well, it depends on who you ask.

If you go by the 'Progressives', all was just fine in Iraq, until we came in and busted things up. Of course, you've got to overlook the documented atrocities Saddam inflicted on his own people to believe that, but such denial is an easy thing to do when 'peace' - described as the absence of the US doing anything militarily anywhere in the world - is your primary goal. All secondary goals (like keeping Saddam from taking on other countries, financing terrorism, feeding his own people into wood chippers) pale to insignificance compared to that. Besides, who are we to pass judgement on other cultures and how their governments handle destabilizing influences? Wood chippers? Shit - that's nothing compared to playing loud music at 'em in Gitmo!

Personally? I was in the military for 23 years. I lived through the inept Carter administration and came to realize that citizens of democracies - by the very nature of the systems they live under - have little to no understanding of the actualities of life in dictatorships. There isn't the freedom of expression and disagreement under a dictatorship that we have - and the thinking seemed to be by those who were protesting our involvement with taking Saddam out was that:

A - if his people didn't like him, they could get rid of him, and

B - it wasn't something that was OUR problem. Let his neighbors take care of him - why bother?

First off - the people have NO recourse under a dictatorship. When the government has the whip hand AND the resources to enforce it, all the people can do is endure and hope for better days. Rumania was able to dump Ceauşescu because he REALLY screwed up their economy and couldn't support the police and military supporting his cult-of-personality dictatorship. Without that - the dictator falls. This wouldn't have been the case in Iraq.

As far as B goes... perhaps the best way to think of things is to look at the entire world as a living organism - political Gaiaism, if you will. What one nation does has effects on others - I believe that could be seen as a given, correct? Whether financial, military or political, every state affects others. And in the case of negative effects, there's going to be a response by those affected, and it may range far beyond the immediately affected countries.

For example - when you catch a cold, you get a fever. But the fever isn't limited to your lungs and nasal cavities - the whole body heats up (think Communism, if you will) - and fights off the infection. It takes time and energy to fight it off without damaging the host severely.

If you get cancer, your body does attempt to combat it. Surgery and chemotherapy can help, removing the cancer before it can spread widely and kill the host. (Think WW2, if you will, with Germany and Japan needing to have their ideologies exised.) But if the cancer manages to fool the immune system, it spreads all over the place, right? In some cases you can remove localized cancers, but the cancer has already metastized to the rest of the body.

Militant Islam would seem to be one of those - an ideology that can masquerade as normal until it has metastized and embedded itself, at which point it starts trying to take over the country/organ it's attached to. Holland, a tolerant country - is no longer. France has areas where non-Muslims pretty much dare not go. The Scandinavian countries are having problems with Muslims demanding that the people there conform to THEIR customs - and riots if there isn't immediate conformance. Europe's having a lot of difficulty with the Muslim populations.

And what's the cure? Hell if I know. Here's where the cancer analogy breaks down. Perhaps some sort of ideological DNA transplant/infection can be arranged so that Islam becomes less militant. Perhaps the example of a free, democratic, and non-ideologically controlled Iraq will be able to do it's own metastizing - I don't know.

But what I DO believe is that with Saddam still in power, funding groups that could metastize to other countries, there wasn't much chance you'd see anything in the ME but war for the next 50 years. The sanctions were about to fail, and a Saddam with free access to the world again could have wreaked serious damage around the globe.

So your argument is t... (Below threshold)

So your argument is that we killed less Iraqis by bombing them and being the catlyst however unwittingly for suicide terrorism (there was never any in Iraq before the invasion) than in the previous decades in the 80's when we armed him to the teeth,

How do you know there was never any "suicide terrorism" before the invasion? I don't know if there was but how do you know there wasn't any? Before the conclusion of the invasion, I didn't know that Uday and Husay used human shredding machines to murder and intimidate civilians.

As for when "when we armed him to the teeth", well, we've been doing that for centuries. The enemy of our enemy may not be our friend but he may not be our enemy. It's a strategic calculation; JFK would know. So would Rosevelt. So would the Mexicans in 1939. The French did it for us, and famously, in 1778.

Steve, your comments show a shocking ignorance of the basic fundamentals of foreign policy execution.

While "sanctions" were kill... (Below threshold)
Synova:

While "sanctions" were killing Iraqi people, Saddam was building palaces. So were the US backed sanctions killing children, or were the priorities of Saddam killing Iraqis?

People like to blame the US for everything, because pointing out that water can be purified and baby formula manufactured.

Sorry, multi-tasking...... (Below threshold)
Synova:

Sorry, multi-tasking...

Pointing out that if clean water and baby formula were a priority for Saddam they would have been taken care of... people like to blame the US for everything.

And act as if we aren't involved that nothing happened and nothing exists.

It's like America is the anti-Langolier... instead of eating reality, things only come into existence as we are there to observe.

Wow, this will add more bur... (Below threshold)

Wow, this will add more burden on our shoulders toward our "liberators", we have to save another big thank for them for getting rid of Saddam and saving the lives of tens of thousands that would have fallen if Saddam still in power.
This entry is really a desperate attempt by those who support the war to beutify the war.
Such Americans are really weird, instead of denouncing the war, they are trying hard to defend it.

Here are a few facts:... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Here are a few facts:
The Iraq-Iran War of 1980-1988 was not exactly a proxy war by the US against Iran, but the US was pretty pleased that it was happening. That's why Saddam was armed by the US, and supported by the US. That's why there was no hue and cry about the Halabja attacks.
Saddam was taken by surprise that the US would not acquiesce in the Kuwait invasion.
There is no way to know, despite Lawson's Ceaucescu analogy, whether a homegrown coup against Saddam would have ocurred if we had not invaded. Such coups against tinpot dictators happen all the time, even long-term tinpot dictators.
And finally, the war was NOT sold to the public as a way to relieve the suffering of the noble Iraqi people. It was sold as a way to make sure that "the smoking gun didn't come in the form of a mushroom cloud." In other words, that Saddam had WMD and was going to give them to Al-Qaeda to attack the US. This was FALSE, and the Bush administration either knew, or should have known, that it was false.
To now claim that it was necessary to lose 4100 American soldiers, countless Iraqi lives, and trillions of dollars in American treasure to remove Saddam is to re-write history in the most dishonest way.

Kassakhoon,I take ... (Below threshold)
Baron Von Ottomatic:

Kassakhoon,

I take it you are Iraqi? Thanks for the opportunity to discuss the situation pre and post war.

You say "liberators" as though you think otherwise. In your opinion, what was the most promising plan formulated by Iraqis to rid your country of Saddam and his sons? At what point was that plan to have been executed?

Would you prefer Saddam's rule in Iraq to the current government? Why or why not?

Who do you hold more responsible for the chaos in Iraq following the 2003 invasion - American troops or your fellow Muslims who came in droves to commit murder? Why did the "insurgents" dedicate a lot more energy towards killing Iraqis than killing the occupying US forces?

It wasn't US forces who took toddler Marwa's family from her.

Regarding the UN figures, was there an increase in excess deaths as a result of sanctions from 1990-2002? There seems to be quite a bit of data indicating that children age five and under were particularly impacted by the sanctions, was that merely propaganda intended to play on Western sympathies and weaken support for sanctions?

I don't denounce the war because I have always agreed with the decision to invade Iraq. With the benefit of hindsight it's easy to see the mismanagement and errors that have been made. That doesn't change my mind about the initial decision or continuing the occupation until the new Iraq government can effectively defend its people and borders.

Thanks for your comments. Keep up your good work.

"...in the 80's when we ... (Below threshold)

"...in the 80's when we armed him to the teeth,..."

Steve C, apparently you're relying on NY times op-ed columns, UN "reports", and book titles claiming the the US is fully responsible for all of Saddam's "wares" for all your information. That's, of course, when you're not busy trying to figure out who's really running Alaska.

You obviously didn't peruse volumes like the SIPRI report from the mid-eighties. I guess hard facts sans political agendas and all that is just boring.

For arms, the Soviet Union was Iraq's biggest supplier (roughly 60%). Compare that to the US number of about 1%. For nuclear, France was their biggest supplier. For chemical and biological supplies the lion's share came from western Europe and Russia and mostly from private suppliers, with the biological supplies coming primarily from Germany. Compare that to the US number of roughly 3%.

This is not to say that any or all of these transfers were for ill intent. At the time it was all legal. After all, Iraq was doing some legitimate research and had a right to defend itself with conventional weaponry like any other country. but any intentional uses of these supplies for evil rests squarely on Saddam's shoulders.

The fact is, after the March '03 invasion, every time we found chemical or biological supplies, it was the left who cried out that these were "dual-use" and could not be construed as definitely for the intent of producing war materiel. Now they cry out that it was the US that "armed him to the teeth".

So, whatever.

Bruce,WWII was not... (Below threshold)
Baron Von Ottomatic:

Bruce,

WWII was not sold to the public as a mission to liberate the Nazi death camps or rescue SE Asia and Pacific Islanders from Imperial Japanese tyranny, but both were results of the US efforts.

The Korean War was a war against communist aggression, but the end result was half a country spared from the misery and death of the il Sung/Jong il regimes.

Whatever the justifications were and regardless of how flawed US intelligence may have been, the end result in Iraq - according to the UN - has been reduced mortality. If its Muslim neighbors hadn't been so determined to see Iraq descend into chaos and destruction the reduction would have been far, far greater.

More liberal Obamalala land... (Below threshold)
MPR:

More liberal Obamalala land coulda, woulda, shoulda from the same bunch. Lots of assumptions, few facts and little reality.

Jeez, you idiots 230 some o... (Below threshold)
H.E.Larson:

Jeez, you idiots 230 some odd years of diplomacy down the drain, 230 some odd years of we will never strike first only defend ourselves down the drain. Is the total cost lives and money worth it?

Did invading Iraq save t... (Below threshold)
Smiles:

Did invading Iraq save thousands of Iraqi lives?

Probably not, the UN/World Health Organization study only measures deaths that were a direct result of violence.

Denis Halliday estimate of 6,000 deaths per month is a result of dire living conditions; lack of food, water ect.

UN/World Health Organization study ommitted deaths that meet the criteria Denis Halliday used.

Therefore the study does not support the notion that the Iraq war saved lives.

However, smiles - would Sad... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

However, smiles - would Saddam have improved the infrastructure in Iraq so that food and water were available to ALL, not just his favored tribes? The state of the electrical grid and water systems in various cities tends to belie your assertion.

He used food, water and electricity as ways to control the population. I know you're down with that and all - but it's a pretty shabby way to run things.

Ah, but Baron, there was no... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Ah, but Baron, there was no need to "sell" WW2 after the Pearl Harbor attack. Once that happened, the US vowed, with one voice, to crush Japan. Hitler then obligingly declared war on US, and so, laughably enough, did Mussolini.
Do you honestly think that, if 9/11 had not been conflated into the "smoking gun/mushroom cloud" excuse for war, that the American people would have hopped onto that bandwagon?
There are murderous regimes around the world, some of them sponsors of terror, that the US has seen fit to NOT invade, for good reason. We measure military action against a variety of matrices, not solely on whether the people of any given dictatorship would be better off with a new regime. At least, we used to, until the Bush administration decided the Cowboy Way was the way to go.
The Bushies used our fear and loathing of all things Islamic after 9/11 to leverage us into a war in Iraq that they never could have sold otherwise. They wanted war, and 9/11 was a convenient excuse.

Bruce Henry - "Ah, but ... (Below threshold)
Marc:

Bruce Henry - "Ah, but Baron, there was no need to "sell" WW2 after the Pearl Harbor attack."

And there was no need to "sell" the Iraq war either.

Saddam violated each and every requirement laid out in the 1991 ceasefire agreement.

Those violations justified, and made legal, any U.N. member state to invade and toss out Saddam sans any "coalition" or further action on the part of the U.N.

All the political posturing, reasons given via the Congressional mandate for the war and additional U.N. decrees were just that - politics.

Nothing more, nothing less.

P.S. Bruce Henry - "We ... (Below threshold)
Marc:

P.S. Bruce Henry - "We measure military action against a variety of matrices, not solely on whether the people of any given dictatorship would be better off with a new regime. At least, we used to, until the Bush administration decided the Cowboy Way was the way to go."

Your use of the invective "Cowboy Way" says a lot, but that aside, name one - just one- of the other dictatorships in the world in March 2003 that held more importance tactically and strategically than Iraq.

North Korea, which actually... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

North Korea, which actually HAD nukes, and may still give or sell them to a terrorist group.
Oh, just so I'm clear, it's not OK, and it weakens my case, to use the term "Cowboy Way" when talking about the Bush administration, but it IS alright to say things like "Obamalala" and "stupid fucktards" to describe people on the other side of the argument?
I know that wasn't you, Baron, but I didn't notice you scolding them for rhetorical excess.
And Marc, what you call politics I call salesmanship.

Oops, I made the mistake of... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Oops, I made the mistake of attributing to the Baron remarks actually made by Marc. My apologies.

Bruce Henry - "North Ko... (Below threshold)
Marc:

Bruce Henry - "North Korea"

Sorry NK is far and away down a list of priorities on the world stage as compared to an Iraq who did sponsor terror activities in Palestine/Israel and also sat/sits smack in the middle of the world's oil supply.

There is no way to know,... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

There is no way to know, despite Lawson's Ceaucescu analogy, whether a homegrown coup against Saddam would have ocurred if we had not invaded. Such coups against tinpot dictators happen all the time, even long-term tinpot dictators.

Oh, I think a coup could have happened - but it likely would have been by one of his sons shooting the old man. By many accounts they were worse (more sadistic and paranoid) than the father. I'm sure another 30-40 years of the same crap would have suited the Iraqi people just fine, don't you?

"Meet the new boss, same as the old boss" - there would not have been a popular uprising against Saddam or his sons, just as there wasn't a popular uprising against the ruling circles in the USSR. ANY hint of such a thing was quickly ground to a halt in Saddam's Iraq, usually by throwing the conspirators and their families into grinders, after extracting what knowledge they possessed through real torture.

They learned well the lessons of the USSR in how to keep your population in line...

"Did invading Iraq save tho... (Below threshold)
sirsurfalot:

"Did invading Iraq save thousands of lives?" is a very good question and deserves a very good answer. Unfortunately there will be none forthcoming from the libs as they are blinded by their Bush Derangement Syndrome. The Left Progressive Fucktards are more concerned with destroying GWB. If during this process, anybody else is hurt or killed, so be it. The only people who can answer this question from an experienced viewpoint are the citizens of Iraq. I live in Dearborn, and talk with people from the middle east every day. Many are recent immigrants with family and friends still living there. And, without a doubt, admit, Iraq and her people are much better off now. They do not worry about being arrested, kidnapped, tortured, killed by the Saddam regime. They are free to come and go as they please. The major threat to them now is from "outsiders" who simply will not tolerate any of this. They, much like the liberal fucktards, have a better idea.

It's comforting to know tha... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

It's comforting to know that Lawson can say with certainty what would have happened or not happened if the invasion had not taken place.
Please tell us, what will happen if we DON'T invade Syria? What if we DON'T invade Darfur? Belgium? Canada?
Where do you study for a degree in Predicting What Wouldn't Have Happened?
Something fundamental did happen to the Soviet Union, sir. Very few were predicting in 1987 that the USSR would be GONE in 1991. Condeleeza Rice,our very own "Russia expert", for one, was quite taken aback.
While we're suddenly discussing the Soviet Union, are you suggesting that by NOT invading and liberating the USSR, the US is responsible for the suffering in the Gulag? Or that the world would have been better off if we had?

Certainty, Mr. Henry? No. ... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Certainty, Mr. Henry? No. High probability, based on recorded history and trends in other countries? Yes.

Look at what the Iraqi people themselves were saying - there was no organized underground, no internal network of activists looking for the right time to eliminate Saddam and sons. There were some expatriate Iraqis - but you read the histories and our own State Department didn't have much (if any) trust in them or what they were saying - much less any real willingness to support them.

Where would the revolt have come from?

With the pressure on from other countries to remove the sanctions on Iraq - Saddam's hold would have been solidified. The WORLD (well, kind of - at least the UN) would have put the stamp of approval on him by lifting the sanctions against Iraq. What country would have served as a staging area for revolutionaries working to topple Saddam? What country would have funded them in a manner that would enable them to be anything more than an annoyance?

It doesn't really take much in the way of observation or critical thinking to see that the population of Iraq had no recourse against Saddam, and was so cowed that without major external assistance (much more than, for example, the aid the US gave Afghanistan when the USSR was there) there wouldn't have been a revolt. Saddam had solid control of the weaponry, he had control of the military, he had control of the government, he had control of the civic infrastructure, and he killed off any of his generals he even suspected of disloyalty.

Where would a revolt find leadership? A figurehead to rally around? Supplies? Or even external support?

Re the USSR - was it a 'popular revolt' that brought the USSR down, or economic pressures that made the entire facade unsustainable? Seems to me like it was the other - and after the Politburo voted in 1990 to dissolve the USSR, some of the upper echelon tried in 1991 to grab back control, only to find that their power and support base was no longer sufficient to do so.

So it would seem your example there is flawed.

Re your Darfur, Syria, Belgium, Canada attempts - sucks to have to try to shift the arguement emotionally when you don't have facts on your side, doesn't it? The question was about IRAQ, whether they're better or worse off - and that's what I gave my opinion on, based on what's in the record. We can argue it all day long - but there's no evidence at all there would have been a popular revolt against Saddam.

Curses! You win th... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Curses!
You win this time, Lawson.....but I'll be back!

No, seriously, one of the reasons I started coming to Wizbang was to get myself out of the echo chamber I was in during the election. Good job, Baron, Lawson, and Marc.

Ah yes, how grateful the Ir... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Ah yes, how grateful the Iraqi people should be for their newfound freedom and prosperity! Great place to open a business and raise a family--thanks to all the heroes at the PNAC!

Are you people really so craven as to suggest that any circumstances that result in fewer fatalities of a certain kind than occurred while Saddam Hussein was in power counts as justification for the actions of your government? It would appear that the concepts of right and wrong are perhaps slightly too complex for some people to bandy about.

I believe the following two things, which are perfectly consistent with one another:

a) The Husseins were awful people who had no business running a country; and
b) The invasion and occupation of Iraq by the US-led coalition was a moral and political catastrophe and will be a source of deep shame for many of its supporters for years to come.

Hypie -Please give... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Hypie -

Please give links to an invasion which, in your obviously superior moral opinion, was done flawlessly. Where no mistakes were made. Where no innnocent civilians were killed. Where everything went right.

BTW - your two statements ignore one minor problem.

Without the US, Saddam & Sons would still have the family business. And business, for them, was real good. (Not so much for a lot of his customers, though.)

Mr. Henry -"No... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Mr. Henry -

"No, seriously, one of the reasons I started coming to Wizbang was to get myself out of the echo chamber I was in during the election."

At least you're open-minded enough to realize you were in one - and that the echos (although fun to play with and occasionally satisfying in their content) didn't exactly match up with reality.

I don't mind arguing facts. FACTS tend to stand by themselves, are self-evident, and easily verified. Opinions are a lot harder to argue against, tend to have an emotional content which the possesor is NOT going to release easily, and are exceedingly resistant to any erosion by actual reality.

(Just look at the 9/11 'truthers' - reality just doesn't figure into the discussion when you deal with THEM. Steel doesn't melt in fire, after all - apparently holding 100% of its structural strength until it vaporizes...)

But anyway - I enjoyed the discussion, too. See you next time!




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