Jim Henley has lost it

..or at least temporarily so, with his latest posting damning all of his political enemies to hell for the crime of not having succeeded ultimately and utterly.

As Perry from Samizdata points out, the quiet rate of one solider dead per day is quite less than the 42 people murdered per day in the US in 2002. Granted, Iraq's population is 24 million (as of July 2002, per the CIA world factbook) and the US population in July 2002 is roughly 280 million, then adjusting for population differences, the soldier death rate in Iraq (if one accepts Jim's figures) is equivalent to a US death rate of 11.7 people killed per day.

In other words, keeping with Jim's simplistic tone, couldn't one say that US soldiers are currently facing a 72% lower risk for murder in Iraq than if they were in the US? Hmmm.

Jim claims that we can be sure of the following: that "the men and women of 3ID, like the rest of us, were lied to on the way to war. They expected a quick victory, a hero's welcome in Iraq and a quick rotation home." I believe our soldiers did get a quick victory (less than a month of heavy combat operations), they DID get a measure of heroic welcome from some Iraqis (or are the fuzzy-wuzzies defined by their lowest, most anti-american denominator?). The third supposed expectation, of a quick trip back home, is hard to justify even pre-war, as every indication was that the US policy was to go in and stay (and indeed, I distinctly remember Bush saying that we're going to be in there for the long haul, for "as long as it takes." How this can reasonably be construed as a promise for a quick rotation home, I don't know). Why we should consider a miscalculation on an individual soldier's part a tragedy, I have no idea.

However, Jim sees the sky falling down, claims only one partial fulfillment of the three "lies", and then proceeds down a rather hysterical (in the non-humorous sense) path where along with the vicious circle of death and mayhem that dogs and cats will indeed sleep together in the mass hysteria to follow.

This is the kind of paranoid rantings I associated with the insane Clinton haters of the 90s, not a rational libertarian such as Jim. I sincerely hope that he can "get over it", soon.

(and as a post-script, the money quote from Perry's response):

One does not have to support the way the US is going about running (or not) Iraq to nevertheless admit that the war itself was a triumph not just for the allies but for the Iraqi people. So to borrow Jim Henley's tone, damn to hell all the 'cowardly' paleo-libertarians and their socialist confreres who really did not care what Saddam Hussain's regime was doing to the people in Iraq and who still feel no remorse that all the horrors of Ba'athism would still be happening in Iraq today if they had gotten their way.


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I recall reading over 12

I recall reading over 12 months ago a post by Jim giving his take on what the U.S. should/not do vis the MEast. It went a bit like this:

Pull out of the Middle East. Lift the sanctions. End the no-fly zones. The Iraqi people will just have to put up with the consequences so long as it means we don't violate the sacred libertarian core value of non-initiation of force.

Jim went on to say, pretty much in plain English, that however vicious Saddam was, he was not our problem, the rest of the world can go and drop dead, all very regrettable, etc.

More charitably, I think Jim and others like Julian Sanchez of CATO think that whatever the western powers do vis MEast, it will make problems worse. They embrace the "glass is always half-empty" school of foreign policy. Mind you, they have some grounds for feeling that way.

It is almost as if embracing the case for pre-emption is like losing virginity.

I have to question some of

I have to question some of your statistical work there; the relevant measure in the homicide/death rate among U.S. service personnel in Iraq is the number of troops (around 140,000) in Iraq-- not the Iraqi population. On that measure, as troops in Iraq represent around 1/2000 of the U.S. population (that seems a lot-- but this is a big deployment), to have only 1/42 or so of their homicide rate seems VERY significant to me.

Another measure, of course, might be the rate that U.S. service people die every day ANYWAY in training or transportation accidents as compared with in Iraq now-- and I don't have the data on that.

I will say that in the event of a prolonged occupation (which seems almost a certainty), if the occupation force casualties dramatically exceed the conquering force casualties, there will doubtless be a political price paid by someone.

Yeah, I knew I was gonna get

Yeah, I knew I was gonna get it for trying to do 'statistics' on the fly (or without a license). You are correct in that I think the proper comparison is with US army death rates pre-war vs. post-war (leaving out during-war) and see if Iraq is more, less, or roughly equivalent to the danger in the US.

I would not be surprised if there is a statistically significant increase in threat over there, but I would be surprised if it was outrageously higher. I still don't think that a 1 soldier a day rate is worth damnation.

Although, I understand now that the 3rd ID was indeed promised (shortly after the war) that they'd be rotated home, and then got the rug pulled out from under them, and that's a big shame; the 4th ID is better equipped and fresh, they (and other troops) ought to do the job. Our troops that have seen combat should be rotated out, and the (usual Army) garrison troops thrown in to occupy the place.