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Regarding casualties in Iraq [08 Nov 2004|07:39pm]

But if you adjust the numbers to reflect those realities, and if the Army and Marine combat troops killed civilians at the same rate as their comrades in the NEJM study, then US ground combat forces would have been responsible for the deaths of an absolute minimum of 13,881 noncombatants since March 2003. And that figure omits all civilian deaths caused by the Air Force and by noncombat Army and Marine forces.

Needless to say, this figure is a suggestive estimate, not a definitive number. And a third caveat is necessary. Iraq was also a very deadly place for many civilians under the reign of Saddam Hussein. The Iraqi dictator killed an estimated 300,000 people during his twenty-four-year reign, an average of 12,500 people a year. In other words, the NEJM survey suggests that US military power may now be more hazardous to the health of Iraqi civilians than the dictatorship it destroyed.

--- Jefferson Morley, The Nation, 15 November 2004

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My weekend [08 Nov 2004|10:57pm]
A quick rundown of my weekend.

  • I saw Team America: World Police. I was ready to laugh,
    and I did laugh a lot, but then I felt real dirty afterwards. Even
    during the movie, the longer it went, the less funny I thought it
    was. It's just too nihilistic for my tastes. It doesn't come down on
    any side of the US hegemony good or bad debate (although at the
    beginning it seems to be squarely in the anti- camp). It mocks
    everything mercilessly, but in the end, there is no point to the
    mocking. The send-up of all the stars in Hollywood is very funny at
    first, but quickly becomes less funny when I realize how big a part of
    the movie's "plot" this send-up actually is. I might write more
    thoughts about this in the future; but bottom line---don't feel like
    you are missing out if you decide to wait for the video of this

  • Went to a dinner with friends after the movie, and had a good
    time. Sweet Chili in Arlington has some pretty tasty Thai

  • Grocery shopping on Sunday, I turned my least favorite
    corner---the one by the meat counter. My stomach always turns, but
    it's usually over pretty fast. This time, as I entered the next aisle,
    a stranger called me over and asked me to smell his package. Wait,
    that didn't come out right. What I mean is, he held up this package
    and said, "I have a cold, can you smell this?" I could only see the
    bottom of the package, which was plain and white and wrapped in
    plastic. I said sure. I quickly realized that it was some kind of
    meat, took a whiff, and shrugged my shoulders. "Is it bad?" he
    asked. "Couldn't tell ya, I have no idea what bad meat smells like," I
    replied. This is mostly true. S pointed out that the meat counter
    really stank, like "bad chicken," and that this was probably the
    source of the issue. We went back to selecting a bag of chips, and the
    man wandered off, muttering something about how he doesn't usually eat
    meat either. Does that count as my good deed for the day?

  • Watched the Patriots beat the Rams. Go Pats. They run some crazy
    plays. Having the receiver (who, by the way, also checks in on defense
    to cover other receivers) wander inconspicuously over to the far
    sideline, where he caught a pass in the end zone thrown by---the
    kicker---was brilliant.

  • Successfully ran the cable from my computer to my stereo in the
    living room, 50 feet away, under the floor. So I can finally listen to
    CDs on my stereo again, in addition to being able to play the MP3s and
    such off the computer. My trusty CD player of 14 years died several
    months ago, and we have been left with only a very grouchy "ghetto
    blaster" to play CDs ever since. Since the computer is on the
    internets, I can use my phone as a remote control. Next step is to
    write the little interface program so that S can control it from her
    laptop and play CDs when I'm not around.

  • Signed up for http://www.nanowrimo.org. Write a novel in the month
    of November, 50,000 words. Better get to work on that.

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