Mary Mostert
January 17, 2005
87% fewer violent deaths annually in Iraq now than under Saddam Hussein
By Mary Mostert

Five weeks before the November 2004 election, Senator Ted Kennedy said on the floor of the Senate:

    "President Bush's record on Iraq is clearly costing American lives and endangering America and the world. Our President won't change or even admit how wrong he has been and still is. Despite the long line of mistaken blunders and outright deception, there has been no accountability. As Election Day draws closer, the buck is circling more and more closely over 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Only a new President can right the extraordinary wrongs of the Bush administration on our foreign policy and our national security.

    "On November 2, the American people will decide whether they still have confidence in this President's leadership. When we ask ourselves the fundamental question, whether President Bush has made us safer, there can only be one answer. No, he has not. That is why America needs new leadership. We could have been, and we should have been much safer than we are today."

It appears that the American people decided on November 2, 2004 that Sen. Kennedy was wrong and President Bush was right about Iraq and America's security. Only Kennedy isn't man enough to admit it, even after what he said day after day during his 2004 campaigning against Bush from the Senate floor. Over the week-end, President Bush was asked by the Washington Post "why no one in his administration had been held accountable for perceived missteps on Iraq policy." The President replied:

    "The American people listened to different assessments made about what was taking place in Iraq, and they looked at the two candidates and chose me, for which I'm grateful."

That reply infuriated Kennedy who said that was "ridiculous" and asked if America was now "a force that is perceived to be expanding the kind of uncertainty and savagery and revolution that's taking place there?" He also charged that "U.S. soldiers are bogged down in a quagmire with no end in sight" in Iraq.

Kennedy characterizing America's ouster of the murdering butcher Saddam Hussein as "savagery" while ignoring Saddam Hussein's 20 year regime of genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and torture is nothing short of treason. In those 20 years about 5% of the people of Iraq were killed or mysteriously disappeared never to be seen again after being arrested. Since liberation, hundreds of thousands of the "disappeared" have been found in Iraq in mass graves.

The war crimes and chemical weapons of Saddam Hussein were the subject of a talk given by U.S. War Crimes Ambassador David J. Scheffer at the National Press Club. Scheffer, on September 18, 2000, when he was working for a Democrat President Bill Clinton. Scheffer, listed 8 specific incidents of war crimes to illustrate what he called "the magnitude" of Saddam Hussein's "criminal record." Scheffer said that Hussein's "criminal record" goes to the "very heart of why his conduct deserves an international response." The eight points of evidence Scheffer listed were:

  1. The Iran-Iraq War in which approximately 5,000 Iranians were killed with chemical weapons between 1983-1988, plus the several thousand Iranian prisoners of war killed by Hussein. (In the "legal" part of the war between these two powerful Muslim nations, 200,000 Iraqis died and over 300,000 Iranians died. They are not counted in Scheffer's report on war crimes.)

  2. The dropping of chemical weapons on the Kurdish city of Halaja in Iraq in March of 1988, that killed over 5,000 civilians. The U.S. government has satellite photos of the carnage. The Kurds have since reported that five to seven thousand people of 80,000 inhabitants died immediately and a further 20,000 to 30,000 were injured, many severely. Initial studies indicate approximately 52% of current inhabitants were exposed at the time of the chemical warhead attack on Halaja.

  3. The Anfal campaigns, also against the Kurds, when Chemical Ali, Hussein's cousin, was given the orders to slaughter the Kurds. Somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 Kurds were killed. Scheffer called it genocide.

  4. The invasion and occupation of Kuwait on August 2, 1990 in which Saddam Hussein's forces killed more than 1000 Kuwaiti nationals, and an uncounted number from other nations while launching the environmental crime "such as the destruction of oil wells in Kuwait's oil fields. War crimes also were committed against other nationals in an "effort to coerce their governments into pro-Iraqi policies."

  5. In 1991, when the United Nations failed to approve the actual removal of Saddam Hussein from power, from 30,000 to 60,000 Iraqi civilians, mostly Kurds and Shiites were killed.

  6. In the early 1990s, Saddam Hussein drained the southern marshes, which deprived over 100,000 people of their livelihood and their ability to live on land their ancestors had lived on for thousands of years.

  7. The ethnic cleansing of Persians and other non-Arabs from Iraq,

  8. The killing, torturing and raping of political opponents and their wives and daughters and the disappearance of 300,000 people, the remains of many of whom have been found in mass graves following Iraq's liberation in 2003.

  9. And, according to a booklet written by the U.S. Agency for International Development approximately 400,000 Iraqi civilians were seized by Saddam Hussein's various "security" organizations and simply never heard from again

Iraq, a country approximately the size of California, but with only 2/3rd its population, suffered more than a million violent deaths under Saddam Hussein's regime. That would average out at about 50,000 deaths a year in a population of 25 million before the Americans got involved. In the two years since the Americans have been fighting in Iraq, 13,650 Iraqis, have been killed, many of them by terrorist attacks by their own countrymen. Others were by military action. That averages out at 6, 825 deaths per year in a population of 25 million.

So, the mostly American liberation of Iraq dropped the rate of violent deaths from 50,000 a year under Saddam Hussein to 6,825 a year with the Americans in Baghdad. What Kennedy has labeled as American "savagery" has REDUCED deaths from violence in Iraq by 87%.

Not bad for a quagmire.

© Mary Mostert


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Mary Mostert

Mary Mostert is a nationally-respected political writer. She was one of the first female political commentators to be published in a major metropolitan newspaper in the 1960s... (more)

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