The strength to say no to a dictator

Originally published at:


In 2003, the New York Times estimated that the number of individuals murdered, killed in wars the dictator started or who simply vanished during his despotic rule of Iraq could be as high as 22 million people.

This is horseshit. The entire population of Iraq in 2003 was 25.6 million, and the population of Iraq has never declined, by steadily increased during the last 60 years. The most that could count would be casualties of the Iran-Iraq war, which the United States supported and financed precisely to cause devastation in Iran, but in that case those get credited to the US as well, along with Vietnam, two Iraq wars, etc. etc. Nothing against Mr. al-Shahristani's courage, just that the NYT can go €#¢% itself to death when it comes to Iraq.

Quotation error (as explained below), now corrected.

NYT can still…


It looks like Mr. Bellamy may have misread the NYT article, which says:

figures of a million dead Iraqis, in war and through terror, may not be far from the mark, in a country of 22 million people


Hey, someone reads the links! Thanks for setting
me straight.

Wow, puts America’s mark on Iraq in pretty stark terms…


Yes well… brought to you by the paper whose editorial position during this same period, facts be damned, is that the USA cannot torture—including cannot specifically torture Iraqis—by definition. So, you know, BIG fuxing shovel full of salt with that one.


Wait… did I drop through some temporal distortion while watching the latest Star Trek episode and we’re now back in 2003?

Because in the timeline I am from, it is 14 years too late for war propaganda.
I’m confused.


Oh, it’s never too late! Second verse - same as the first!


It’s hard enough to say no to my 9 year old…


You got to, before they take over the army and become dictators!


Dozens of suppliers, most in Europe, the United States and Japan, provided the components and know-how Saddam Hussein needed to build an atomic bomb, according to Iraq’s 1996 accounting of its nuclear program. The suppliers include 10 American and 11 British companies. That foreign companies helped Iraq has long been known, and some of them have been identified before, but the Iraqi accounting adds up to the most exhaustive list so far of companies involved.

Most of the sales were legal and often made with the knowledge of governments.

In 1985-90, the U.S. Commerce Department, for example, licensed $1.5 billion in sales to Iraq of American technology with potential military uses.

That foreign companies helped Iraq has long been known, and some of them have been identified before, but the Iraqi accounting adds up to the most exhaustive list so far of companies involved.

Fox News December 17, 2002



Yeah. If starting a war that causes a million Iraqi deaths, give or take, gets you a “justly-deserved” date with a noose, then there’s an amateur portrait painter in Houston who may want to call his lawyer.


You do realize America trained Saddam Hussein and helped him get into power? Where things went sideways is he decided not to be a puppet and then discovered that without Western force backing him up he had to be a real dictator to keep the country welded together. We don’t have to agree with anything he did but it behooves us to understand the backstory and the why of it.


14 years ago is long enough that many may have forgotten what a fiasco the invasion was so you can start all over again trying to make the war look like a good idea. If you want to start new wars you have to make the earlier ones look as good as possible.

Also remember hos Saddam was tried and executed for a, in context, trivial crime, because it was one USA wasn’t involved in.


Yes I am aware of US and British support for Saddam, and the rest of the Gulf family dictatorships. It’s interesting that even mass media like Fox occasionally alluded to the fact. The overwhelming narrative still repeated to this day is that Saddam was a villain that “we” were rescuing the world from. Actual facts are lost to the memory hole, such as when UK Conservative MP Terry Dicks in 1990 said that Farzad Bazoft, an Observer newspaper journalist in Iraq accused of spying by Saddam Hussein ‘deserved to be hanged’ in a statement issued the day before he was executed. This came 2 years after Halabja chemical attack by Saddam that killed 5,000 Kurds. Other Tory MPs came out to denounce Bazoft in solidarity with Saddam.


imprisoned in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison, where he was routinely tortured

The irony is delicious.


It’s also interesting to note what Abu Ghraib is notorious for. Inside Iraq it was probably notorious for what Saddam did to his opponents there. However, there are many dictators, and I don’t know any other dictators favourite torture prison by name, either. Abu Ghraib’s global claim to notoriety comes from what the invading American forces did there.

If I were designing propaganda, I’d make sure to mention Abu Ghraib by name as often as possible in the context of Saddam’s crimes.

So yes, another way in which this works as a propaganda piece. I just don’t know if it was designed as such.


LOL, Love how the news says Saddam was a dictator, not the CIA installed puppet that he was.

Can’t find the source, but the hat and rifle Saddam is using were gifts from Pres. Reagan.


I’m not an American, but a lot of the responses here feel to me like “If anything happens in the world, it is because America decided it is so. Non-Americans are simply toys for America to manipulate at will - they have no agency on their own.”

The amount of American ego bloat necessary to take credit for all the awful things in the world is larger than I am comfortable with.

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Mmm - I am not sure it is ego, more of the sentiment that “nearly everything bad is America’s fault”. At least to some degree. Which is probably a bit hyperbolic, but we should own up that our actions can have bad consequences.