The Killing Baath

Juan Cole ‘counts’ civilian casualties in Iraq,” by Tigerhawk, Tigerhawk, 25 October 2005, http://tigerhawk.blogspot.com/2005/10/juan-cole-counts-civilian-casualties.html (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.

Literature Review Example from Midlarsky’s "Environmental Influences on Democracy"

Environmental Influences on Democracy: Aridity, Warfare, and a Reversal of the Causal Arrow,” by Manus Midlarsky, The Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 39, No. 2. (Jun., 1995), pp. 224-262, http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0022-0027%28199506%2939%3A2%3C224%3AEIODAW%3E2.0.CO%3B2-2.

So I need to write a literature review for Prof. I’ve done a fair bit of academic writing already, but that was in computer science and so I’m new to the this particular version of style. I chose to outline the first section of Manus Midlarsky’s Environmental Influences on Democracy Influences on Democracy: Aridity, Warfare, and a Reversal of the Causal Arrow, partially because it overlaps with Chirol‘s and my work on the generations of Empire.)

Environmental Influences on Democracy

Literature Review Example

Introduction
1. “A conundrum…. why (define problem)”
2. “Macroinfluences… theories…” (4 citations to papers, general approaches, some old)
3. “rise of hydraulic civilization… This theory” (2 citation)
4. One theory well known, the other not well known

Hydraulic Civilizations
5. Intro to hydraulic civ theory (2 citations)
6. Extended quote from one reference
7. Another quote from same reference
8. Existing criticisms look at hydraulic as state-building, not hydrology as democracy or autocracy building (2 references)
9. Problems in testing Wittfogel’s Hydrology. What about rainfall? (1 reference)
10. Extended quote (from that reference)
11. dependent variable / political rights / scale
12. a more modern example (de Rivera’s Spain) of “ancient” hydraulic dictatorship (1 reference)
13. another (qualitative) reason linking hydrology and government
14. Spanish government storing for hard times (1 reference)
15. extended quote from that reference
16. commentary on extended quote
17. a third reason linking rainfall and democracy (2 references)
18. extended quote from the reference
19. conclusion of importance of rainfall

Warfare and Democracy
20. Transition from Rainfall-Democracy to Warfare-Democracy (1 citation, older)
21. overview of warfare-democracy approaches (many references)
22. Compare this study to an existing one (1 reference)
23. warfare and democracy conclusion

Interestingly, the “hydraulic civ” section can be further broken down into

5. Intro to hydraulic civ theory (2 citations)
Ancient Hydraulic Civs
6. Extended quote from one reference
7. Another quote from same reference
8. Existing criticisms look at hydraulic as state-building, not hydrology as democracy or autocracy building (2 references)
9. Problems in testing Wittfogel’s Hydrology. What about rainfall? (1 reference)
10. Extended quote (from that reference)
11. dependent variable / political rights / scale
A Modern Hydraulic Civ
12. a more modern example (de Rivera’s Spain) of “ancient” hydraulic dictatorship (1 reference)
13. another (qualitative) reason linking hydrology and government
14. Spanish government storing for hard times (1 reference)
15. extended quote from that reference
16. commentary on extended quote
Conclusion
17. a third reason linking rainfall and democracy (2 references)
18. extended quote from the reference
19. conclusion of importance of rainfall

Iran Selling Syria

Syria, Iran and the Power Plays over Iraq,” by George Friedman, Stratfor, 25 October 2005, http://junkpolitics.blogspirit.com/archive/2005/10/26/syria-iran-and-the-power-plays-over-iraq.html.

The U.S. invasion of Iraq was in the direct interest of two countries, in addition to the United States: Iran and Israel. Other countries had a more ambiguous response. The Saudis, for example, were as terrified of Iran as of Iraq. They, more than anyone, wanted to see the balance of power maintained and viewed the American invasion as threatening to their interests.

For the Iranians, this was the golden moment. Their dream was of a pro-Iranian Iraq — or, alternatively, for Iraq’s Shiite region to be independent and pro-Iranian, or at least to have a neutral Iraq. The Sunni rising put the Iranians in a perfect position: Using their influence among the Shia, they held the cards that the Americans had dealt them. They adopted a strategy of waiting and spinning complex webs.

The Syrians saw themselves in a much less advantageous position. They were in their worst-case scenario. They could not engage the United States directly, of course. But the only satisfactory outcome to their dilemma was to divert U.S. attention from them or, barring that, so complicate the Americans’ position that they would be prevented from making any aggressive moves toward Syria. What Damascus needed was a strong guerrilla war to tie the Americans down.

The United States had two possible strategies. The key to controlling Iraq lay in ending the guerrilla war. One part of the guerrilla war — not all — was in Syria. The United States could invade Syria — not a good idea, given available forces. It could ask Israel to do it — which would be a bad move politically, nor was it clear that Israel wanted to do this. Or, it could use a strategy of indirection.

The thing that Syria wants more than anything is Lebanon. The United States has set in motion policies designed to force Syria out of Lebanon. It is not that the United States really cares who dominates Lebanon — in fact, its Israeli allies rather like the control that Syria has introduced there. Nevertheless, by threatening its core interests, the United States could, leaders thought, begin to leverage Syria.

The Syrians were obviously not going to go quietly into that good night — not with billions at stake. The assassination of Rafik al-Hariri was the answer.Even when Syria drew its overt military forces out of Lebanon, covert force remained there perpetually. The result of the assassination, however, was overwhelming pressure on Syria — coupled with a not-too-convincing threat of the use of force by the United States.

For Iran, the fate of Syria is not a major national interest. The future of Iraq is. Iran’s view of events in Iraq is divided into three parts: First, a belief that Syria is an important but not decisive source of support for the Sunni guerillas; second, the view that the United States has already maneuvered itself into a de facto alliance with a faction of Iraq’s Sunnis; and finally, the belief that Iran’s interests in Iraq were not endangered by evolving politics in Lebanon.

tdaxp‘s view?

syria_sold

Iran is selling Syria out. Good.