Iraq is difficult, unstable, unpredictable and may require our direct presence for another ten years. Does this mean failure? Many say so and rail and scoff about our efforts there daily. But then, if you’re honest, something like this puts it all in perspective:
- Saddam Hussein’s government may have executed 61,000 Baghdad residents, a number significantly higher than previously believed, according to a survey obtained Monday by The Associated Press.
….The survey, which the polling firm planned to release on Tuesday, asked 1,178 Baghdad residents in August and September whether a member of their household had been executed by Saddam’s regime. According to Gallup, 6.6 percent said yes.
The polling firm took metropolitan Baghdad’s population – 6.39 million – and average household size – 6.9 people – to calculate that 61,000 people were executed during Saddam’s rule. Past estimates were in the low tens of thousands. Most are believed to have been buried in mass graves.
The U.S.-led occupation authority in Iraq has said that at least 300,000 people are buried in mass graves in Iraq. Human rights officials put the number closer to 500,000, and some Iraqi political parties estimate more than 1 million were executed.
….Richard Burkholder, who headed Gallup’s Baghdad team, said the numbers in Baghdad could be high for two reasons: People may have understood “household” to be broader than just the people living at their address; and some families may have moved to the capital from other areas since the executions occurred.
“Anecdotal accounts start to support it, but they don’t get you to 60,000,” he said in a telephone interview from Princeton, N.J.
Even reducing the numbers slightly because of those possibilities, however, Burkholder said the number of executions the data suggest is higher than previously estimated, in the low tens of thousands.
The deadliest atrocity associated with Saddam’s government was the scorched-earth campaign known as the “Anfal,” in which the government killed an estimated 180,000 Kurds in Iraq’s far north. Many were buried in mass graves far from home in the southern desert.
Another 60,000 people are believed to have been killed when Saddam violently suppressed rebellions by Shiite Muslims in the south and Kurds in the north at the close of the 1991 Gulf War. [AP]
This was an evil, vile, diabolic regime that ruled by terror, torture and murder, was a danger to its citizens, its neighbors, and the world at large. The world is a better place without it – removing it was the right thing to do for Iraq, the region, the West, and the earth. 60,000 murdered in one city, as a matter of course, not even part of a regular old eradicaton campaign as with the Kurds, confims the banality of evil entrenched in the Baathist regime. Ghosts don’t lie.