Saturday, October 30, 2004

The other October Surprises 

Every news outlet out there is reporting on this week's "Lancet" study, which estimates that 100,000 Iraqi civilians might have died as a result of the Coalition invasion and subsequently. Not quite an October Surprise but yet another piece of bad news from Iraq that will be used mercilessly for the next few days to bludgeon the Bush Administration.

I'm not a statistician, so there's a challenge for some folks among you who are good with numbers to see whether the study holds water from a scientific point of view. I will only add that I'm somewhat suspicious not just because the study's authors make no bones about their political agenda, but also because the number is six times the maximum estimate by the fiercely anti-war Iraqi Body Count project, which relies on counting the actual casualties instead of statistical extrapolation. As an aside, I'm currently reading John Keegan's history of the Second World War, and one number has jumped out at me about an hour ago: 600,000 German civilians are estimated to have died as a result of the Allied bombing campaign. This campaign went on for five years and involved fleets of heavy bombers dropping a staggering amount of explosives onto densely populated German cities. The number of 100,000 dead simply doesn't ring true based on what we know about the Coalition tactics as well as the weaponry used.

Update: The first demolition of the Lancet study at Chicago Boyz (via Instapundit).

Then there is the new Osama tape.

Can John Kerry please take off that fake beard?

And no, I'm not engaging in an exercise of moral equivalence between Kerry and bin Laden. Far from it - I have no doubt that John Kerry is as sincere as George Bush when he says he wants to see al Qaeda destroyed.

But for goodness' sake, why does the new and improved Osama sound like he's reading a Democratic Party script, mixed with a fair dose of soft left op-ed commentary? How do you react to quotes such as these?
"I am telling you security is an important pillar of human life. And free people don't let go of their security contrary to Bush's claims that we hate freedom... [W]e fought you because we are free people, we don't sleep on our oppression. We want to regain the freedom of our Muslim nation as you spill our security, we spill your security..."
Doesn't this sound like Michael Moore's "Iraqi insurgents are Minutemen" claptrap? And doesn't Osama know how to play on the liberal guilt, the victim culture and the cult of the oppressed? Sadly, I'm sure many will continue to fall for the "we're all freedom lovers" line, forgetting all about the Taliban/Wahabbi theocracy oppressing women, stoning homosexuals and beheading infidels.
"I am so surprised by you. Although we are in the fourth year after the events of sept 11, Bush is still practicing distortion and misleading on you, and obscuring the main reasons and therefore the reasons are still existing to repeat what happened before..."
The first part of the paragraph is pure Kerry.
"I will be honest with you on the moment when the decision was taken to understand. We never thought of hitting the towers. But after we were so fed up, and we saw the oppression of the American Israeli coalition on our people in Palestine and Lebanon, it came to my mind and the incidents that really touched me directly goes back to 1982 and the following incidents... In these hard moments, it occurred to me so many meanings I can't explain but it resulted in a general feeling of rejecting oppression and gave me a hard determination to punish the oppressors..."
What is this, a freakin' Oprah interview? Anyone's got a tissue for OBL?
"We didn't find difficulty dealing with Bush and his administration due to the similarity of his regime and the regimes in our countries. Whish half of them are ruled by military and the other half by sons of kings and presidents and our experience with them is long."
Hello, Michael Moore, again.
"Before Bush and his administration would pay attention and we never thought that the high commander of the US armies would leave 50 thousand of his citizens in both towers to face the horrors by themselves when they most needed him because it seemed to distract his attention from listening to the girl telling him about her goat butting was more important than paying attention to airplanes butting the towers which gave us three times the time to execute the operation."
Another Democrat talking point/left-wing blog fodder - dumb Bush who just kept reading a book to schoolchildren while his country was under attack. And fancy the gall of Osama in telling us that Bush is incompetent in protecting his country from terrorism. If that was really the case, surely Osama would be happy to keep him as a President?

Who the hell is writing Osama's scripts nowadays? It sure is a long way from his old "jihad and brimstone" rhetoric. Unbelievable.

Update: Powerline makes the same point.

Update II: INDC Journal has so much more:
"In addition, the infidel George Bush is outsourcing America's future with tax cuts to the wealthy. Where are the 1.6 million jobs? The infidel Bush is the first infidel since the infidel Herbert Hoover to lose jobs! Awake from your slumber, America! The infidel John Kerry has a plan. You can do better, Insha'Allah!"

"Let me tell you, I spoke to the infidel Christopher Reeve a week ago, and if the infidel John Kerry is elected President, Insha'Allah, the infidel Christopher Reeve will walk again!"

"The infidel Mary Cheney is a lesbian."
Pure gold.


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