Syrians’ Deaths Not Our Business (Updated January 2th 2013)

This was first published January 12th 2012, twelve months ago, and again in June 2012, five months ago. Below a January 2013 update

Brave Syrians continue to die day- by-day trying to get what we take for granted: The right to be governed by those they chose. And yes, that may include Islamists. What do you think? That bloody fascist tyranny is better (for us) ?  Syrians also die because of the Obama policy of “engaging” the likes of Assad. He, Assad, is using tanks on the soft bodies of unarmed civilians to make sure he does not miss. Ron Paul followers assure me that the slaughter of Syrians is none of our business. Apparently they think it’s OK for someone else to  conduct mass slaughter as long as it’s done neatly within the boundaries of a nation-state. That’s the same nation-state libertarians say they want to abolish.

Update January 2th 2013

In a civil war, it’s always difficult to know how many civilian victims there are. Even the good guys exaggerate routinely. However, today, the UN said 65,000 Syrian have died since the beginning of the current crisis. (Reminder: The beginning was peaceful protests against the fascist regime.) In the absence of a Human Rights Watch estimate, that UN number will do, more or less for me. To get an idea of the scale of the killing by comparing the estimate with total population numbers, you have to multiply it by thirty. That would be about two million Americans killed.

The usual chorus of left-iberal tender-hearts is silent. As I have said before, it’s only when Jews kill Arabs that it matters. Since I first aired the piece above, Israelis did kill about 150 Gazans in war . Many of the Gazan victims had asked for it; many not, were just in the way;  other Gazans  asked for it implicitly only by voting for a party that has the elimination of Israel in its charter. (Link to the charter in English on this blog.)

As as always been the case, as has been the case from the beginning, Israelis are rank amateurs at killing Arabs. Arabs are enormously better at it. Look here:


The inaction of western public opinion, the immobility of our political class is not just prudence. If it were, there would be inaction accompanied by  loud vocalizations:. “We don’t want to get involved but we think Assad is a butcher; We hope he ends up hanging from a lamp-post downtown Damas.” (I hope so; personally, I think he will.)

Am I the only one who suspects that  a form of racism underlies our collective silence?

Well,  an Arab hoodlum is using warplanes against apartment houses that are sure to shelter women and small children . No big deal. That’s what Arabs do!

A last comment in the form of a question: I don’t understand why the powerful and skillful Israeli Air Force is not parachuting masses of humanitarian aid  well marked with the Star of David over areas of Syria were refugees are concentrated. I am thinking powdered milk and clean water, for example.


About Jacques Delacroix

I am a sociologist, a short-story writer, and a blogger (Facts Matter and Notes On Liberty) in Santa Cruz, California.
This entry was posted in Bitching, Current Events and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Syrians’ Deaths Not Our Business (Updated January 2th 2013)

  1. Bruce says:

    How luxurious it is to be a nation-state libertarian! There’s nothing like having it all, both ways. So comfortably positioned in an ideology that you are shielded from the horrors happening to other people. Herr Hitler didn’t have a bone to pick with the United States, heck he kinda liked us, so what possessed us to prevent him from nation building? I know, he’s the exception, sorry. Maybe there’s a downside to having a conscience, it makes us do things for the sake of humanity that does not always neatly fit the model.
    As an aside, I have heard several people say Hillary Clinton would have done a better job than Obama. I think if we had a capable president she would go down as one of the worst Secretaties of State ever.

  2. As I’ve often said, you know you’ve won an argument once the other side drops the “H” bomb.

    Buuuut, at least you two have each other! Just think about all of the fascinating, romantic conversations you can have on the beach: talking about what a tyrant Assad is, how benevolent Washington is, and what the two of you would do (together, of course) if you wielded the power of the state.

    Tremble petty dictators of the world: Jacques and Bruce are going to rescue humanity with American bombs!

    The Syrian opposition doesn’t want the US interfering. The Israelis don’t want the US interfering. The Turks don’t want the US interfering. The Iraqis don’t want the US interfering. The rest of the Arab world doesn’t want the US interfering. Most Americans don’t want to get mired in another war. The only people who want to bomb Syria are the poor, gullible fools who followed George W. Bush to war in 2003. They are ideologues of the worst kind.

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Brandon: Sometimes you have a tin ear.

    • A tin ear?!? Ouch! Where’s my mommy?!

      Hey look at that: none of the factions I have mentioned represent a “nation-state”…

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        That’s a demonstration of tin ear too. I am guessing that making jokes about Syrian civilians, including children, getting slaughtered is not what lies in your heart. I think that’s true irrespective of anything you say about nation-states and irrespective of how right you are.

      • I was rebutting (devastatingly so) your argument, though. Here is what you said:

        Apparently they [Ron Paul’s “followers”, of course] think it’s OK for someone else to conduct mass slaughter as long as it’s done neatly within the boundaries of a nation-state. That’s the same nation-state libertarians say they want to abolish.

        And your loyal sidekick Bruce:

        How luxurious it is to be a nation-state libertarian!

        The two of you make a cute couple, what with the strawmen you build together and all.

        You still pretend as if bombing, even the most carefully calculated kind, Syria won’t kill women and children. Need I remind you of Iraq?

        You also pretend as if the opposition – of which we know very little about – isn’t capable of doing the same thing. In fact, one of the reasons so many religious minorities are siding with the Assad regime is because they fear that the opposition is quite capable of exacting ruthless revenge. Again, need I remind you of Iraq? The Assad regime and his allies sure haven’t forgotten (speaking of tin ears).

        Normal Americans learned from the Iraqi lesson years ago. That’s why the republic voted for Obama. But for star-struck ideologues like you and your loyal sidekick, reality is just another hurdle for you to clear before the American state can finally usher in a new world of democracy and peace through the profligate use of force.

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Brandon: I read you. I stand by my words. Your moral ambiguity may speak for itself. I am not always sure what you are saying though. Take Iraq: Are you saying that absent a US intervention, Iraqis would have gained their freedom by themselves from their home-grown butcher? Or, are you saying that they would have been, would be better off under Saddam Hussein? One more time clear answers are called for. And I remind you that saying “yes’ or “no” does not prevent commentaries following.

        PS Why would you insult Greg by calling him my “side-kick?” We have never met outside my blog. We both have common sense and the kind of morality many people acquire by the time they are twelve. In addition, Greg’s and my reading may overlap. When Dr Ron Paul speaks nonsense, Greg may notice it for the same reasons I do. Why not? They are not sophisticated reasons. What requires an explanation is the many otherwise intelligent people who don’t notice or pretend not to (or who excuse the man on the ground of age, but still would like him to be president – N.S.!)

      • Woah! Woah! Woah!

        […] absent a US intervention, Iraqis would have gained their freedom […]

        What freedom?

        Fulfilling the role of your sidekick is hardly an insult!

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Brandon: You have a curious talent for which there may be a market somewhere. Let me reform my sentence to try to get you to answer.

        Do you think that absent US intervention, the Iraqis would have destroyed the murderous Saddam Hussein regime?

        This is a simple question to answer. And if you object to the qualifier “murderous,” you can say so.

        I think you are avoiding obvious questions because you do not want to consider the logical implications of many of your positions. This is just a speculation, of course.

      • Do you think that absent US intervention, the Iraqis would have destroyed the murderous Saddam Hussein regime?

        This is a silly question. How would Iraqis have been able to destroy the entire Baathist regime? Furthermore, would they even try? Look at what happened when the Bush administration removed and subsequently banned the Baathists from working in the new government. Iraqis wouldn’t have eliminated their bureaucratic class. I think you would grant that the Iraqis are better equipped to know about their country than are American central planners.

        Now, do I think Saddam Hussein himself would eventually have been ousted by Iraqis? Probably not. Here is my reasoning behind this answer: Washington had tough economic sanctions in place when the illegal invasion and occupation began in 2003. Sanctions have had the effect of strengthening dictators, not weakening them.

        Would you be so kind as to explain how following up one failed policy (sanctions) with another failed policy (an illegal invasion and occupation) is logically coherent? The results speak for themselves, of course, but I would like to hear your reasoning (so as to better see how ideologues think).

        Your moral case is based upon factually-incorrect assumptions that need to be addressed. I am tired of your gutter-level sermons about the moral high ground.

        Having Saddam Hussein gone does not mean that Iraqis are freer. Replacing one brutal murderer with a dozen or so mini-murderers is hardly an improvement (have you read the accounts of al-Maliki’s torture chambers?).

        Just because Ankara is now bombing the Kurds rather than Hussein does not mean that Iraqis are freer.

        Just because Iraqis were (were) able to vote for their dictator does not mean that Iraqis are freer. China holds elections all the time.

        American bombs are no different from Syrian bombs. Do you think that when American bombs kill innocent people that it is somehow different than when Syrian bombs kill innocent people? Do you think that when American bombs tear little children to shreds that such an atrocity is morally superior? If so, I would love to hear why you think so…

        Now, if you were able to point out to me some solid statistics that show decreased levels in violence and corruption and some increased levels of economic and civil prosperity since Hussein’s ouster I would be willing to turn at once on this topic (it’s been nearly ten years after all!). You, on the other hand, don’t seem to think that the car bombs, the torture chambers, the worsening poverty, the devastated infrastructure and the intrastate (and interstate) conflicts are that big of a deal: Iraqis were able to vote for their dictator, therefore Bush was right!

        PS “Christians to Beirut and Alawites to the tomb” is the new, hip phrase being promoted by the Syrian opposition.

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Reply to Brandon.

        True believers will go to almost any length to sustain the unsustainable. We learn from Brandon that elections don’t matter. We learn by implication that Iraqis are now merely electing those who murder them! Incidentally, those Iraqi elections were elections supervised by hundred of observers from around the globe. There is more reason to believe that they were fair and honest elections than say, of elections in Chicago or in New Orleans.

        The victors of the (first) Gulf War War tried to enforce the conditions of the armistice with economic sanctions because they had cold feet about the obvious alternative: resumption of hostilities. The sanctions did worse than nothing. The victors, led by the US, finally did the obvious. They terminated the Saddam Hussein dictatorship in two weeks plus a sandstorm. The aftermath was messy but not nearly as murderous as Saddam Hussein’s administration had been, not even close.

        Brandon is a little bit stubborn but uses his historical ignorance adroitly. The Turkish armed forces occasionally bomb rebel Turkish Kurds. They do pursue them into Iraq. They always did, including under Hussein. The relationship between the Turkish Republic and the largely autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan however is mostly civilized. Hundred of trucks cross their common border every day with no more trouble than say, between Poland and Russia.

        Brandon’s repeated denial of the obvious is tiresome. I worry about what t does to his otherwise good credibility.

        I have told Brandon and other Paulistas several times that the invasion of Iraq was voted by big majorities in both houses and that it is therefore legal. It’s only “illegal” if you insist childishly that the magic words, “declare war” must be used. Of course, they couldn’t do it in this case because hostilities between Iraq and the UN-approved coalition led by the US never ceased after 1992. You can’t declare war on those with whom you are at war.

        This is silly.

        To conclude: I am not eager to enter again and again into this kind of discussion with Brandon because I suspect that neither he nor other committed followers of Rep Paul can be persuaded of anything. I would change my mind easily on this point. Or, I would continue if curious by-standers who are not Paulistas invited me to continue. In the meantime, I am spending frivolously precious time stolen from the writing of my memoirs:

        I Used to Be French: An Immature Autobiography.

  3. Dr. J writes:

    To get an idea of the scale of the killing by comparing the estimate with total population numbers, you have to multiply it by thirty. That would be about two million Americans killed.

    Wow. That’s pretty bad. 2 million people in a republic of 300 million is how much of the total percentage? Let’s see: 2 divided by 300 equals…

    Ah yes: just a little over one half of one percent of the population. That’s a perfectly good reason to create another Iraq. From 1979-2003, Saddam Hussein was accused of murdering about 250,000 Iraqi citizens, largely with weapons purchased from the US government. That’s bad.

    And yet: when the US government imposed sanctions on Iraq, it led to the unnecessary deaths of half a million people. Sanctions only strengthen dictators.

    When the Bush administration undertook another government plan – illegally invading and occupying Iraq in 2003 – 100,000 people died from 2004-2009. That’s just under half the number of people murdered by Hussein over a 25-year period, and the carnage took place in a five-year window.

    Do we really want another Iraq in Syria?

    Dr. J also wrote, in the comments section, this:

    We learn from Brandon that elections don’t matter.

    Once the war with Iran ended, Saddam Hussein held elections all the time (war is the health of the state, after all). Did any of them matter?

    By the way, I haven’t heard a peep from any of the Bush administration’s apologists about al-Maliki of late. I wonder why…

    • Fanciful numbers.

      No apologies necessary for Al Maliki. Iraqis are now working out their problems without mass graves.

      It’s not clear what you are advocating for or against.

      PS My own instruction to multiply by thirty was wrong. The correct multiplier is 15. I apologize.

      • Fanciful numbers? Care to explain why you think so?

        Al-Maliki is the Arab world’s newest strong man. Have you heard his thoughts on the Arab Spring and Israel? Democracy benefits the “Zionist state” (in case you are wondering: this is a bad thing according to al-Maliki).

        There has been no need for mass graves since 2003 because the Bush administration’s illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq has made funeral services after mass killings acceptable. Chalk one up for Georgie and friends!

        Do I understand well that you advocate about the slaughter in Syria: Doing nothing? Please, say “yes” or “no.”

        I think the more correct response is: do what? Create another Iraq? 250,000 murdered in 25 years. 100,000 dead in five. Take your pick.

        I think it would be pertinent to point out that the US government has been meddling in the political affairs of states in the Middle East since the late 40s. In this time period we have sold weapons to dictators, trained their secret police forces, funded their welfare states and played them off on one another. As a result, the republic is now a target for terrorist activities.

        And you want the US government to do more in the region?

  4. Terry Amburgey says:

    “Would you be so kind as to explain how following up one failed policy (sanctions) with another failed policy (an illegal invasion and occupation) is logically coherent?”

    Brandon, why in the world would you expect logically coherent arguments from a teapublican? They are incapable of logic and the coherence is that of a paranoid [hence the fondness of teapublicans for conspiracy theories that make the ridiculous consistent].

    It is, however, great fun to point out inconsistency. Ask Jacques why invading Iraq was such a good idea given the HUGE budget deficits it produced….you know, the deficits that make him froth at the mouth now that a Democrat is president. Teapublicans never squawked about deficits when the neocons were wasting money looking for those imaginary weapons of mass destruction.

  5. Brandon: I accept the number of 100,000 killed in Iraq, in five years of all causes. I seem to remember that Human Rights Watch came up with something similar. It’s one of the sources I trust in general. “250,000 murdered” seems invented . Where does this come from? Murdered by whom?.

    Even if the figure were correct, do you mean that it corresponds to the number of deaths under Saddam for an equivalent period? If that’s you believe, I can’t talk to you, on this topic. It’s too patently absurd.

    The current prime minister of Iraq is an elected “strong man,” elected under perfectly good conditions (as compared to say, Chicago). This fact makes all the difference in the world to me. If it does not too you, I have no comment and I think you should say so clearly.

    • “250,000 murdered” seems invented .

      How did you come to this conclusion? I ask because of your penchant for exaggerating foreign threats and whimsical comments concerning foreign policy (“India should do the world a favor and invade Pakistan,” for example).

      • Brandon: You are mixing apples and petits-fours, as usual.

        That I think it would be good if India would destroy the failed state of Pakistan is clearly an opinion about policy. it’s a value judgment about what I would like to happen, about what ought to be. No one is mistaken about that.

        My reaction to the figure of 250,000 murdered is based on research intuition. It’s an of-the-top of my head opinion about reality. (NOT about what ought to be.) I voiced that opinion because either I have not seen that figure before or I have seen it and dismissed it and do not remember that I did. I assume I am generally well informed on the liberation of Iraq because I have been reading avidly on it. However, well-informed id not the same as perfect.

        Correcting my off-the-top opinion in this case should be easy: Just give a trustworthy source. In the meantime, do I trust your criticality on this particular matter? No, you have too much riding on this and your blindness regarding former congressman Ron Paul is unforgettable.

        I have much confidence in your criticality in other areas.

        One day, I might study your brain for the blind area.

  6. Martin Anding says:

    Jacques, can you explain just one thing. How can Asad continue killing his country’s citizens year after year without the support of various external governments? Shouldn’t he run out of money, bullets and bombs? IF we had stopped supporting him years ago (as Ron Paul wanted) wouldn’t it be all over by now?

    • Martin: Assad has not been killing his own citizens “year after year” but only for the past two years, and rather less than two years with full armed force. A war on civilians does not require much by way of ammunition as compared to say, a war with Israel. Assad was no doubt prepared for the latter. He no doubt has stockpiles. There is no reason to believe that the Russians and the Iranians have not (NOT) both been re-supplying him. There is presently no naval or air blockade against Syria. (One of the things I regret.) There is no mystery at all.

      No evil US participation is therefore needed. I doubt that Assad or his dad ever got any US weapons. Evil really does happen sometimes without the US willing it.

      The nauseating secret service relationship the US had on and off with Syria is a good enough reason to beat your chest. No need to imagine stuff.

      Ron Paul called for the US to stop supporting Assad? When would that have been and under what circumstances?

  7. Terry Amburgey says:

    For some reason your blog won’t accept my 2 sources about the debt consequences of the Iraq war [seems suspicious to me….]. I may have to email the links.

    • Email away.

    • Terry: One of the references you gave me opened on a whole bunch of sources in Google. That’s not useful. The other reference disappeared whee I tried to activate it. That’s not useful either.
      I am grateful when you try to enlighten me and our readers, but, please, please, limit yourself to one source and say why one is morally obligated to look at it.

      It’s common for people on blogs to throw irrelevant sources and pseudo-sources around. You should give a good example.

  8. Terry Amburgey says:

    One of the sources was for a Newsweek article. The other is a government site. Since you want only a single source how about the OMB…

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