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"Correct me if I'm wrong"
Well, yes, Shan, I was referring in my post above to the actions of particular insurgents in recent months -- which, by the way, I do NOT think represent the rest of the Iraqi people. I think most Iraqis are every bit as horrified by these actions as we are.|
But did such atrocities occur in Iraq before this war? Oh, yes, Shan, yes they did, and even worse, under the regime of Sadaam.
Sadaam conducted, for decades, a genocidal campaign against the Kurds and other ethnic minorities in his country (called "Anfal") -- according to Human Rights Watch, he is responsible for the deaths of 50,000 to 100,000 ethnic minorities in his own country.
In March 1988 Saddam's henchman massacred more than 5,000 Iraqi civilians in Halabja, in a brutal chemical weapons attack utilizing mustard gas and nerve toxins. "Entire families were wiped out and the streets were littered with the corpses of men, women and children", reported the Washington Post (24/3/88). "Other forms of life in and around the city - horses, house cats, cattle - perished as well."
Sadaam invaded Kuwait in 1990 and threatened to invade Saudi Arabia until the U.S. and other allies stepped in. During this war:
-Saddam held more than 4500 British citizens (and thousands of other foreigners) hostage in Baghdad, in deplorable conditions for 5 months, using them as human shields.
-but the Kuwaiti nationals that he took as prisoners (as well as Iraqis who resisted his evil intentions), had it far worse. Saddam's torture of prisoners included electric shocks, burns, rape, cutting off ears and tongue, gouging out eyes, and castration. His son was known to hang prisoners over a tree chopper, and chop them up alive, from their feet up.
-600 Kuwaitis who were taken prisoner and transported to Iraq are still missing to this day.
These are a few of the crimes for which Saddam Hussein is standing trial today. And this is also the reason why a lot of people, even though they might have doubted the existence of WMDs in the months prior to this most recent war, thought that a regime change was warranted. It might explain the laziness on the part of some journalists.
Let me go on record as stating that I wasn't among them. I remember reading an article (NY Times, I think?) back in 2002 (?) stating that a regime change in Iraq would lead to even more strife and atrocities, and I agreed wholeheartedly with that article, and that is exactly what we're seeing today. This war was a mistake. But let's not kid ourselves that things were all rosy in the "good ole days."
And one correction to your statement about U.S. troops killing 100,000 civilians. This is the number given by the Lancet survey. However, that survey did not always distinguish between deaths of civilians and combatants. Futhermore, it was largely based on estimates and projections. The Iraq Body Count figures of between 14,000 to 16,000 are based on deaths tallied by official bodies (hospitals, morgues) (although IBC will be the first to explain that their total is sure to be an underestimate).
But the important point is that less than half of those civilian causalties were at the hands of U.S. troops. The majority of the deaths are the result of Iraqi on Iraqi violence. So it is a bit misleading to say that U.S. troops have killed 100,000 civilians, although we could readily admit that the disruption of law and order (which has led to such a high number of civilian deaths) was caused by this invasion.