micah holmquist's irregular thoughts and links

Welcome to the musings and notes of a Cadillac, Michigan based writer named Micah Holmquist, who is bothered by his own sarcasm.

Please send him email at micahth@chartermi.net.

Holmquist's full archives are listed here.

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Sites Holmquist trys, and often fails, to go no more than a couple of days without visiting (some of which Holmquist regularly swipes links from without attribution)

Aljazeera.Net English
AlterNet (War on Iraq)
Alternative Press Review
Always Low Prices -- Always
Another Irani online
antiwar.com (blog)
Asia Times Online
Axis of Logic
Baghdad Burning (riverbend)
BBC News
blogdex.net ("track this weblog")
The Christian Science Monitor (Daily Update)
Common Dreams
Daily Rotten
Democracy Now
The Drudge Report
Eat the Press (Harry Shearer, The Huffington Post)
Empire Notes (Rahul Mahajan)
frontpagemag.com (HorowitzWatch)
Guardian Unlimited
The Independent
Information Clearing House
Informed Comment (Juan Cole)
Iranians for Peace

Iraq Dispatches (Dahr Jamail)
Iraqi Democrats Against Occupation
Iraq Occupation and Resistance Report (Psychoanalysts for Peace and Justice)
Mr. Show and Other Comedy
The Narco News Bulletin (blog)
The New York Times
Occupation Watch
Political Theory Daily Review
Press Action
Project Syndicate
Raed in the Middle (Raed Jarrar)
The Simpsons Archive
Simpsons Collector Sector
Technorati ("search for mth.blogspot.com")
United States Central Command
U.S. Embassy Baghdad, Iraq
War Report (Project on Defense Alternatives)
The Washington Post
Wildfire (Jo Wilding)
wood s lot
www.mnftiu.cc (David Rees)

Blogs that for one reason or another Holmquist would like to read on at least something of a regular basis (always in development)

Thivai Abhor
As'ad AbuKhalil
Ken Adrian
Christopher Allbritton
Douglas Anders
Mark W. Anderson
Aziz Ansari
Atomic Archive
James Benjamin
Elton Beard
Charlie Bertsch
alister black
Blame India Watch
Blog Left: Critical Interventions Warblog / war blog
Igor Boog
Martin Butler
Chris Campbell
James M. Capozzola
Avedon Carol
Elaine Cassel
cats blog
Jeff Chang
Margaret Cho
Citizens Of Upright Moral Character
Louis CK
Les Dabney
Natalie Davis
Scoobie Davis
The Day Job
Jodi Dean
Dominic Duval
Steve Earle
Daniel Ellsberg
Tom Engelhardt
Lisa English
Barbara Flaska
Brian Flemming
Joe Foster
Yoshie Furuhashi
Al Giordano
Rob Goodspeed
Grand Puba
Guardian Unlimited Weblog
Pete Guither
The Hairy Eyeball
Ray Hanania
Mark Hand
Hector Rottweiller Jr's Web Log Jim Henley Arvin Hill Hit & Run (Reason) Hugo Clark Humphrey Indri The Iraqi Agora Dru Oja Jay Jeff Lynne d Johnson Dallas Jones Julia Kane Blues Benjamin Kepple Ken Layne Phil Leggiere Brian Linse Adam Magazine Majority Report Radio Marc Maron Josh Marshall Jeralyn Merritt J.R. Mooneyham Michael Scott Moore Bob Morris Bob Mould Mr. Show and Tell Muslims For Nader/Camejo David Neiwert NewPages Weblog Aimee Nezhukumatathil Sean O'Brien Patton Oswalt The Panda's Thumb Randy Paul Rodger A. Payne Ian Penman politx Neal Pollack Greg Proops Pro-War.com Pure Polemics Seyed Razavi Rayne Simon Reynolds richardpryor.com Clay Richards Mike Rogers Yuval Rubinstein
Steven Rubio
Saragon Noah Shachtman Court Schuett The Simpsons Archive Amardeep Singh Sam Smith Soundbitten Jack Sparks Ian Spiers Morgan Spurlock Stand Down: The Left-Right Blog Opposing an Invasion of Iraq Aaron Stark Morgaine Swann Tapped (The American Prospect) tex Matthew Tobey Annie Tomlin Tom Tomorrow The University Without Condition Jesse Walker Warblogger Watch Diane Warth The Watchful Babbler The Weblog we have brains Matt Welch
Alex Whalen
Jon Wiener
Lizz Winstead
James Wolcott
Wooster Collective
Mickey Z

Monday, November 18, 2002
Might Makes Right

The British group Medact caused a stir last week when it released a report, “Collateral Damage: The Health and Environmental Costs of War on Iraq,” that detailed what war by the United States and its allies against Iraq had done to that country since 1990 and what could happen if the U.S. escalates that war in the near future. The group looks at the deaths caused not only by actual combat but also from the health and economic problems that war might bring.

Much of the attention comes from the report saying that up to 500,000 Iraqis could die if the war is escalated. While the report does say that, it should be pointed out that this is the high end of what the group predicts. The report goes through numerous scenarios and looks at past actions and causalities totals to come up with various estimates on how many people would die in a conventional war, a conventional war followed by a conventional civil or regional war and a nuclear war. The numbers aren’t pretty as Medact says between 375,000 and 3,900,000 could die if nuclear weapons are used and a civil war breaks out.

Any estimates of this kind are bound to be rough and end up as less than perfectly accurate. And Medact is a group that is open about being generally anti-war, although they make it clear they do not believe Iraq has the right to make weapons of mass destruction. Still this study is important, well researched and should be read by those interested in this topic. (And if you live in the U.S., you should be interested in it.)

Howard Fienberg of Tech Central Station has written a response to the study that is interesting only in what it reveals about many hawks. Fienberg doesn’t dispute any of the study’s finding other than to say they are wrong for unstated reasons and instead argues that Saddam Hussein deserves all of the blame for what has happened and will happen:

...If Iraqis' ill health, poverty and environment are merely the results of "war" and "sanctions," then it becomes the United States' fault, since they imposed these twin boogeymen on Iraq. But what if the boogeymen were just resulting from the actions of one person (whose last name does not end in Bush). Well, that would be too simple, wouldn't it?

And yet, it is that simple. Sadaam [sic] Hussein invaded Kuwait and prompted the Gulf War. He set the oil wells of Kuwait ablaze. He invited sanctions by continuing to build weapons of mass destruction and foiling the efforts of weapons inspectors. He frittered away money on himself and his military, which could have been spent to rebuild and improve his country and his people. He paid cash rewards to suicide bombers who killed innocent Israelis.

First of all, none of the things Fienberg says Saddam did to deserve what has happened and what will happen is qualitatively different from the U.S. and its allies current and past have done at some point or another. The U.S. hasn’t attacked most of its allies who commit similar actions and no country has ever treated the U.S. like the U.S. treats Iraq. Unless Fienberg believes the U.S. deserved to have its economy shattered for taking over Puerto Rico and building weapons of mass destruction, he is being hypocritical.

More importantly, the basic message of this argument is that Saddam did some bad things so the U.S. is justified in doing whatever it has done, is doing and will do against Iraq. This is the same type of mindset that says the U.S. has a right to start overthrowing any government that could plausibly at some point in the future if not the present pose a threat to the U.S. because a few thousand Americans died in terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Yeah it’s the same mindset that President George W. Bush is using to justify the building of a new empire.

This outlook doesn’t make any sense at all. There is nothing unique about U.S. suffering. Haiti has suffered greatly at the hands of U.S. and French military actions at various points in the last hundred or so years. (Haiti is hardly unique in being on receiving end of the U.S. military.) It would be ridiculous if Haiti started attacking Canada because they feared Canada could attack Haiti. Iraq might be a slightly larger threat to the U.S. than Canada is to Haiti but that is only because the U.S. has spent over 12 years making enemies by bombing and sanctioning Iraq. The U.S. is allowed to do this while Haiti isn’t because the U.S. is a much greater military power.

There is a phrase for this – might makes right.