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Jason Holliston
Thursday, June 03, 2004  
The Dead of Iraq

Hugh Hewitt is back from his radio/blogging vacation, and back on duty. Today he touches upon something I was talking to a friend about over instant messaging yesterday -- the incredible numbers of people killed by Saddam's regime during the past 20 plus years. I mentioned to him that what happened in Iraq is indeed comparable to the Holocaust, simply because of the scale of the murders. I quoted that Human Rights Watch had estimated that somewhere between a quarter million to a half million people were murdered under Hussein's grip, but I didn't have time to find the link. Well, here it is:

But Ali couldn't even approach the site, much less dig. The mounds were strewn with live mortar shells and other unexploded ordnance. Whoever dug those graves, if they are indeed graves, intended that the task of uncovering them would be as difficult as possible.

And so it will be. More than 250,000 people were detained or murdered by the government of Saddam Hussein, and almost all of them have relatives who now want justice, or physical remains, or at the very least information about what happened to their loved ones. In the looting that followed the U.S.-led invasion, countless documents about arrests and executions were pilfered or destroyed.

My friend was amazed, and wondered how high the count really was. Back to Mr. Hewitt, where he's quoting a National Geographic article (hardly a Neo-Conservative magazine):

By mid-January of 2004, 270 mass graves had been reported. The Free Prisoners Society estimates that five to seven million people 'disappeared' in the past two decades, the majority of them Shiites.

The link above doesn't show the full article, and unfortunately you need to subscribe to get the whole thing (I have way too many magazine subscriptions right now to even think about it). Still, wow. I haven't heard of a number that high before, and while it doesn't really affect the evilness of Saddam's regime, it does give you a good idea of how deep the scars in Iraqi society must run. How could a country of 30 million possibly lose 15 or more percent of it's population to a tyrant and not be scarred? How could possibly trust any leader to do the right thing implicitly, Iraqi or American? How can anyone be surprised, after seeing those kinds of numbers, that conspiracy and mistrust are as much a part of Iraqi society (or more so) as Islam is?

Back to Hewitt again for a comment:

Opponents of the war, beginning with John Kerry, have got to answer what would they have done to stop this killing by a regime that also posed an ongoing threat to the United States and her allies.

Exactly. They won't, because they don't have an answer that many people would like to hear. That is, nothing. Anti-war people, any number of reasons, believe that the Iraq War is much more wrong and evil than the murder of 5 to 7 million people. That's really the heart of the matter, no matter how they try and spin it. Playing with averages, based on the National Geographic article, in the year after we liberated Iraq, we have saved approximately 250,000 people from being murdered. I'd like to know if the anti-war protesters would say that those people should have died instead of going to war. I'd like to know if they really believe that our war of liberation is really morally equivalent. I'd like them to look me in the eye and say that.

If they had the conviction to say that, I'd call them out as the fascists they are.

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