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  • If America Were Iraq, What Would It Have Been Like?

    Posted by Jay Manifold on September 22nd, 2004 (All posts by )

    In the spirit of ken’s post, below … currently tied for #12 on Blogdex, Juan Cole paints a compelling picture with numbers:

    The population of the US is over 11 times that of Iraq, so a lot of statistics would have to be multiplied by that number.
    Thus, violence killed 300 Iraqis last week, the equivalent proportionately of 3,300 Americans. What if 3,300 Americans had died in car bombings, grenade and rocket attacks, machine gun spray, and aerial bombardment in the last week? That is a number greater than the deaths on September 11, and if America were Iraq, it would be an ongoing, weekly or monthly toll.

    There’s much more, and it’s worth reading, so graze on over and read it.
    All done? Great. Now for The Rest Of The Story:

    What if America had been a fascist dictatorship for forty-five years, until just a year and a half ago? What if during the last three decades of that period, 50 million people had been killed — over one and a half million a year — thirty thousand every week, for thirty years?
    What if the countryside were dotted with thousands of mass graves, each containing thousands of victims?
    What if the US had been prevented from waging nuclear war on its neighbors only by a pre-emptive attack?
    What if it had invaded its neighbors anyway, losing one war of attrition at immense cost, and being driven out of the other neighbor by a crushing defeat, administered by a coalition of most of the countries in the Americas, aided by powerful allies elsewhere?
    What if its public health had deteriorated to the level of that of the poorest nations in the world?
    What if the family of its leadership had become notorious for personally torturing and executing opponents?
    What if it had deliberately devastated the environment of the entire South to starve out an insurgent religious group?
    I could go on, but all of this is well-known. No remotely reasonable person has ever denied that Saddam’s dictatorship was among the handful of cruelest regimes on Earth.
    Well, then, if “the leader of the European Union maintained that the citizens of the United States are, under [present] conditions, refuting pessimism and that freedom and democracy are just around the corner” — he’d be absolutely right.

     

    3 Responses to “If America Were Iraq, What Would It Have Been Like?”

    1. Chicagoan in DC Says:

      If America is 11 times Iraq in all dimensions, wouldn’t the dictatorship have lasted 495 years? Wouldn’t America have invaded 22 neighbors? And wouldn’t America have violated several hundred UN resolutions?

    2. ArtD0dger Says:

      Jay, I’ve been curious about the dearth of mass-grave estimates and Saddam-era deaths lately. Shortly after the war, there was that report (which I’m too lazy to look up) estimating mass graves at 290k. Afterwards, figures of 300-400k were often given. Then there were the “millions disappeared” claims…

      A couple of months ago, Blair’s administration was forced to back off the 400k figure and acknowledge that only 5000 bodies had actually been counted. Nobody seemed to be making the mass-graves case against Saddam when I was googling it a few weeks ago.

      We’ve been there long enough to get much more accurate estimates now. What gives? Was there a big surprise in the mass-graves body count, or are we due for an October surprise?

    3. Ginny Says:

      The mass graves do turn up in relatively timely sources, but the number may well be less than first expected (that is my untutored sense from a google glance). Here is an article from Sept 10

      This one does come up with the million person figure, though frankly it doesn’t look as dependable as it might. Other google articles seem to indicate the numbers are shakey – but someone else needs to do this that is better with google and not tired.