Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
In theory, as Idiot Savant diaried recently, first, do no harm.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 2nd, 2006 at 06:09:45 AM EST
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I'm not so sure I agree with the "do no harm" theory. If somebody gets control of a government and starts doing bad things, at what point is intervention required? Perhaps an example is to compare Hitler and Stalin. Both were terrible dictators and killed millions of people, but in Hitler's case the world cooperated to shut him down, while in Stalin's case the world let it ride. Is that latter model the one we wish to follow? Just let a dictator murder people, because it is too hard for us to agree about the right way to do something about it?

I suppose one can say that yes, the best strategy is to allow each country to run its own internal affairs however it likes, and not worry about what goes on inside. But then one must not listen to whining about the civilian populations of Darfur or North Korea or where-ever--just let them rot.

by asdf on Thu Nov 2nd, 2006 at 10:32:07 AM EST
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I think the theory is that saving people from a dictator by killing more of them than he ever did or could and making life even worse than he did isn't a winning scheme. Intervening to make the situation worse is not helpful and if you can't think of an intervention that won't do that then maybe you shouldn't intervene.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Nov 2nd, 2006 at 10:39:33 AM EST
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Well, using the current war in Iraq as a model, my understanding is that Saddam Hussein was responsible for upwards of 1.5 million deaths during the Iran-Iraq war (depends on who you think "started" it, but Iraq invaded first), and then there are couple of hundred thousand more in the Gulf war, and a few tens of thousands of Iraqis in internal issues after that. So if the U.S. has "only" been responsible for 600,000 casualties, then we're ahead of the game, correct?

There must be a better way to decide this sort of thing...

by asdf on Thu Nov 2nd, 2006 at 09:29:01 PM EST
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So if the U.S. has "only" been responsible for 600,000 casualties, then we're ahead of the game, correct?

In fact, correct. Even counting all Iraq/Iran-War casualties for Saddam and using a high number for domestic casualties, 2 million over 25 years is a lower rate than 0.6 million over 2.5 years. Furthermore, it is not right to count absolute numbers: the real comparison is between Saddam in a contained state (e.g. since the summer of 1991) and US occupation. And 0.6 million is really the number of excess deaths, the death rate above what it was just before the US invasion.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Nov 3rd, 2006 at 04:03:08 AM EST
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