Iraqi Bloggers Roundup

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Happy New Year and Farewell

by littlewhy

Iraqi Bloggers Roundup is closing. This blog was created by Torchbearer; he later invited me (littlewhy) and Louise to contribute posts as he couldn't update here very often. About two months ago Torch went silent. He hasn't reappeared and for this reason Louise and I have agreed to let the blog lapse.

I've certainly enjoyed it here. As my most popular posts were the Obscure Iraqi Blog posts, I'll continue to write those and post them over at my blog Winter Soldier. Please drop by there.

Perhaps this blog will return someday if Torchbearer comes back. I do hope that he's okay.

Here's hoping 2005 is a better year all around, especially for Iraqis and coalition soldiers.

Fare you well,

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

All quiet on the blog front?

Something is happening on Iraqi blogs since the November 2 election. The comments pages have shrivelled to a fraction of their former size. Except for a few whimpers by a handful of sore losers, the raucous debate about the election has subsided. One would think a discussion about what is happening in Iraq may pick up a bit more than it has, but even the Iraqi bloggers haven't been as prolific as they once were about grizzly events happening on the home front.

Are those grizzly events no longer happening or is our main stream media just tiring of reporting the same old thing. Could it be that the theory that a second term for an American president means the beginning of "kick ass" season is correct? Indeed, yesterday's post by Mohammed at ITM was very positive about the results of "kick ass" season so soon after it got underway. Or was this signage just a good PR campaign? In any case, it's a useful tool, IMHO, in combatting terror and bringing peace to that country.

It seems the only substantive debate in the past few weeks has been about the, by now infamous, Lancet report concerning the number of war dead in Iraq. This debate took place largely outside of Iraqi bloggers' websites, but was certainly relevant and worth following.

It is an issue I am sure will be fleshed out eventually, after other science and research specialists publish their responses. The nub of the debate so far, seems to rest on the validity of the particular type of research methodology for the question that was under study. Lancet, after all, is (was?) a very prestigious medical science journal and if its article passed the peer review process, the demolition of its thesis will also have to be subjected to peer review. If, in the end, Lancet's methodology doesn’t pass the test, the journal's reputation will suffer a severe blow.

The British government has committed itself to careful study of the research and no doubt both peer review and the British government's analysis, will bring the best experts in the field of research methodology to bear in the process.

I'm neither a social nor a medical scientist. Nor am I an expert on research methodology, so I have no idea how to evaluate it. However, I did find the fact that the publisher refers to the Iraq war as democratic imperialism to be an intriguing insight into the publisher’s mindset. A rather politicized statement for the publisher of a scientific journal, I must say.

And I also took note of some critics’ claims that the paper was rushed to publication here (scroll down to the bottom paragraph) and here, so that it would hit the news only days before the election.

Whatever the death roll of the Iraq war turns out to be is a question that may never be completely settled. Sixty years on, as this site and this one and this demonstrate, the total death toll of World War II is still under debate and, of course, is magnitudes higher than the toll, so far, in Iraq, even if the Lancet report is to be believed, and so is the death toll of Iraqis and neighbouring peoples that can be pinned on Saddam Hussein. War kills, just like dictatorships do. Innocents die in both situations.

It is only what happens in the decades afterward, that determines whether or not the sacrifice was in vain. The real question is - will it bring Saddam Hussein's death machine to an end, and perhaps, the death machines of other brutal dictators in the world? I am still witnessing evidence almost on a daily basis that it will.

As I was composing this entry to our shared blog, with my television on, right beside me, I was also listening to a documentary about young people in Iran who published a newpaper which had been shut down by the ruling theocracy, only to defy their censors and open again. In one part of the show, there is a clip in which the editors are discussing what pictures to show of Saddam Hussein on the day he appeared in court to hear the charges against him. One of the young editors said: "A picture of the Iraqi dictator in chains is something Iranian's would love to see."

This, folks, is how tyrany is defeated and democracy spreads. Regretably, at the beginning of the 21st century, it still requires the sacrifice of lives and the bravery of those young people in Iran, who, God willing, will not meet the same fate as countless numbers before them did. The war in Iraq has bolstered the democracy movement in neighbouring Iran and, no doubt, in many other parts of the Muslim world. Is it worth the ultimate sacrifice of so many lives? Only those whose countries are struggling for freedom can call that one. Patronizing editors of medical science journals should shut up, stick to medical science and let the oppressed peoples of the world find their voice so they can speak for themselves.

Louise - the Iraqi blog addict