05 July 2007

This Modern World

Tom Tomorrow, as usual, says it far better than I ever could...


  1. Dear Dr. Shadowfax:

    I believe that one of the most important skills a doctor must possess -- more important than handholding at the bedside or uttering soothing words in the face of adverse developments -- is critical thinking, the better to distinguish stuff that needs soothing words from conditions that require treatment.

    Yet you seem to swallow that flawed Lancet-published study without protest?

    Here [http://www.rhul.ac.uk/Economics/Research/conflict-analysis/iraq-mortality/] is one of the many debunkings. Afterwards, there is nothing left of that study but a set of pompous attitudes.

    Felix kasza.

  2. Felix,

    I actually didn't read the study you refer to (I presume you refer to the one estimating the number of Iraqi civilian deaths at 600K). I heard a story about it on NPR and its methods seemed imprecise, but that doesn't matter. Because the actual number of dead civilians is: A LOT

    Say it how you like, and put a number to it if you want to try.

    But an awful lot of innocent people have died due to the delusional nation-building dreams of our boy king.

  3. I volunteer in a free clinic and It is sooo annoying when I have to wait for the patients to take off their diamond rings and wipe the pate from off their hands before I fingerstick them to check their out-of-control glucose.

  4. Great comic !!!!! 10/10

  5. Dear Dr. Shadowfax:

    We'll gloss over loaded terms like "boy king" -- they only detract from the point you are trying to make -- and concentrate on what I believe is your argument: Since the US removed Saddam Hussein, civilians -- lots -- died and keep dying. And its the fault of the President (and his enablers, of course, like Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Edwards) and his dreams of empire.

    Is this a reasonable summary?

    If so, I would respond that you seem to regard the people that would die every day in Saddam Hussein's gaols as non-civilians. What are they, serfs maybe, to be counted as an economic loss if that?

    Oh, and one might also wish to note that most of those dead civilians are actually killed by religious fanatics. Not by the evil US troops, murdering and pillaging their way through the helpless populace.

    As for the empire: Which empire? In the same vein, I still remember the angry shouts of "No blood for oil!"; I live car-free by choice, but even I am aware of gas prices.

    So could we please dispense with the hollow rhetoric and start looking at facts?

    Thank you,
    Felix Kasza.

    P.S.: I am no friend of the President either. I am just worried about what might replace him; with the current field of contenders, all I know is that it will surely be someone whose concept of morals would make an alley cat shriek in shame.

  6. Felix,

    First of all, I appreciate your thoughtful comments.

    Yes, Saddam was a bad man, and people died under his regime. It is, however, indisputable that the civilian death rate is orders of magnitude higher for the last four years. This includes death due to coalition military forces, deaths due to loss of public health infrastructure, and deaths due to the civil war. I do not think it is unreasonable to consider these deaths to be a result of the decision to invade.

    Sadly, it can no longer be said that "things may be bad, but it's better than under Saddam."

    As for "empire-building," please note that was not what I said. I said "nation-building." I apologize if my verbal shorthand is confusing. The delusion which inspired the invasion was the neoconservative dream that we could oust Saddam, have elections, and the flower of democracy would spread across the Islamic world. It was a lovely idea, but sadly flawed on many levels. I believe that Bush's naive trust of Cheney and the neocon hawks' fantasy is the cause of all this death and suffering.

  7. Felix,

    And yes, I too share disappointment in Sen Clinton, as well as the Democratic leadership and members of the media, all of whom allowed themselves to be demagogued into supporting or at least enabling this war.

    Edwards at least has had the courage to admit it was a mistake. It may be political posturing or an honest admission of error -- I don't know or care. I give him credit for being able to say what Bush and Clinton cannot: "I was wrong."

    Maybe it is naive of me, but I do hope that a President Obama or Edwards might bring moral principle back to the oval office. They certainly hold more promise than any of the other contenders (D or R).

  8. Dear Dr. Shadowfax,

    credit where credit is due: To hear you supporting a candidate who channels dead children in a courtroom to turn your (collectively) money into his is surprising and speaks for the strength of your convictions.

    Unrelated to that, I am not quite certain whether I understood your point regarding civilian deaths from other than direct violence (lack of infrastructure).

    The infamous blackouts in Baghdad, for instance, happened (and sometimes still happen) because generating capacity has been redistributed from the previous model ("everything goes to where Saddam is") to one where the rest of the country is not in a permanent state of darkness. Not to mention that in just about every measure, including education, sanitation, electricity, and so on, post-2005 Iraq is in better shape than pre-2003 Iraq.

    I further, still less-related news, I wondered, at the beginning of our discussion, whether I should, for want of a better label, declare myself a conservative. I still might, except that the conservatives make it so darned difficult .... :)


  9. re: healthcare reform, I'm afraid what we'll get is what you mention two posts down, the gov't cutting reimbursement to providers.

    San Fran and Massachusetts are expirementing with reforms. I hope other states/cities/regions do too. Let's find out what actually works before we make huge changes and break the whole thing. I don't hear a lot of kvetching about France's system? What do they do?


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