The Killing Baath

Juan Cole ‘counts’ civilian casualties in Iraq,” by Tigerhawk, Tigerhawk, 25 October 2005, (from Larwyn).

After quoting Juan Cole quoting alternet:

Iraq Body Count, Reuters says, estimates that 38 Iraqis die in violence every day. Over thirty-five years, that would amount to nearly 500,000 dead. In fact, it is estimated that the Baath party killed 300,000 Iraqis, so the current rate seems to be greater than the Baath rate. (The number of civilians killed by the Baath is probably in fact exaggerated. Only a few thousand bodies have been recovered from mass graves so far.)

… Tigerhawk attacks Cole for switching numbers from people the Baath killed (pre-War) to people killed generally:

So why does Cole insist that the Ba’athists aren’t responsible for the current casualties when he quite plainly does not think that foreign fighters are the main culprits, and why does Reuters mislead its readers about the proportion of the casualties inflicted by Americans? Surely the casual observer — somebody who missed out on a first rate education at a top university, for example — would say that the people who detonate car bombs in markets or suicide belts on buses are themselves responsible for the murders they commit. Heck, such a dimwit might even think that the ununiformed insurgent is responsible for the deaths of the human shields that he uses to hide from the counterinsurgency. And if our casual observer is a real meathead, he would assume that if insurgents blow up systems for pumping water, they are the ones responsible for the dehydration and disease that follows.

Tigerhawk is correct. Dr. Cole switches criteria from people the Baath killed to people who died by violence, so that is someone was killed by the Baath in 2002 he blames the Baath, but if someone was killed by the Baath in 2004 he blames the free Iraqi government.

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