Friday, May 21, 2004

Do the Math

Newsroom editor's remark tonight (condensed, but essentially accurate): "My hairdresser turned me off today. She said if she were president she would just kill all the Muslims. That explains why people support Bush."

OK, let's follow this. If I want to see Arabs dead, I support the administration and its war in Iraq.

According to Iraq Body Count, the number of civilian casualties in the year since the U.S. attacked Saddam's regime has been between 8,730 and 10,781. Civilian casualties are elusive numbers in the atmosphere over there, and perhaps IBC errs on the anti-war side, but at least they're counting (unlike our government), so let their numbers stand for now.

Because the Human Rights Center in Kadhimiya, Iraq, which is run by Iraqis (not Coalition leaders), combed through the Baathist secret archives and projected that, if the invasion had not happened, Saddam would have killed 70,000 people in that same period.

So, if I want to see a lot of dead Arabs, I'm not getting my money's worth from GWB and friends. They're only one-seventh as effective, at best, as the previous management.

Ah, sic transit gloria. But, nostalgia notwithstanding, it's too late to bring back Saddam, dust off his uniform, and prop him back up. Now we have a choice between Bush and Kerry. And I can't quite figure out what the latter wants to do in Iraq. Sometimes he talks about sending even more U.S. troops over there. But our essential work of killing all the Arabs (as my co-worker sees it) is going so slowly that I hardly think more troops will be an improvement. More of the same? No, please.

However, he also talks sometimes about turning the country over to the United Nations. Now there's a dog that will hunt, you bet!

The U.N. undertook to run Somalia in 1993. Thanks to its best efforts at nation-building, Somalia isn't even a country anymore. They're still waiting for a government. Hah! And we Americans are getting all knotted up about June 30. Give the job to the U.N.: they measure their deadlines in decades.

The U.N. went on a peacekeeping jaunt to Cambodia in 1993, and actually managed to hold an election. The organization touts this as "a model and shining example" of what it can do -- despite the fact that Hun Sen promptly siezed power after losing at the ballot box.

And look what fine work the U.N. does while watching nations melt back into a state of nature. According to the U.N. itself, its peacekeepers in Rwanda stood by as Hutu slaughtered 800,000 Tutsi. In Bosnia in the mid-'90s, the U.N. declared safe areas for Muslims and let them become killing fields. Serbs slaughtered thousands in Srebrenica and thousands more elsewhere. The mass graves still are being excavated. The U.N. troops, so far from helping, became hostages to the Serbs to deter a U.S.-led military action.

No, the facts are inescapable. George Bush is just no damn good at killing Ay-rabs on a grand scale. For that kind of job, better call the blue helmets.

Most of us know which candidate in the U.S. is most eager to give them the chance. I expect even my co-worker's hairdresser could see the logic in that, if I explained it to her. I doubt my editor co-worker could, though.