Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

Assad Unimpressed By Iraq Body Count

with 6 comments

Syria flagDamascus, Syria (AP) – Nearly three years into an uprising against his rule, Syrian President Basher Assad remains disdainful of the number of people killed in neighboring Iraq, having achieved a body count in less than three years that rivals what the Iraqi insurgents have needed ten year to accomplish.

UN estimates put the number of dead in Syria at about 110,000, while the number of casualties in the ongoing Iraq insurgency only reached that level sometime in 2012, according to conservative estimates. That means it took about nine years for the sectarian violence in Iraq to attain what Assad’s forces, Hezbollah, and the amalgam of rebel groups have done only since mid-2011.

“While the achievement here is not on the level of a Pol Pot, or with the sustained intensity of Hutu-Tutsi genocide in Rwanda, the Assad regime has shown it is no bloodshed slouch. Its commitment to indiscriminate killing can be seen as a statement to Syria’s neighbor to the southeast,” said John Rambo of the Brookings Institute. “Syria has only 20 million people and Iraq has more than 32 million, but in a fraction of the time, Syria has caused mayhem at similar levels in a third of the time.”

Proponents of Iraq’s various warring factions point to an asymmetry in the comparison, emphasizing that whereas in Syria, the violence is in many ways a classic civil war, albeit with guerrilla tactics and sporadic acts of bona fide terrorism, in Iraq almost all of the killings involve terrorism as opposed to sustained battles between organized forces. That disparity, they note, accounts for the slower rate of killings in Iraq.

“We are genuinely doing the best anyone can, given the circumstances,” said Moqta Al-Sadr, leader of a prominent Shiite faction. “When American and Western forces were still here, we could focus on engagements with actual troops, but even then, it was not a real confrontation between armies.” The post-Saddam-Hussein insurgency has been characterized from the beginning by car bombings, shootings and other trademarks of terrorism, rather than by battles of attrition that claim hundreds of lives over days and weeks.

Still others are unimpressed by Assad’s achievements. “In terms of percentage of the population, Assad has certainly made a mark,” noted Richard Cheney, a former US Secretary of Defense who has also studied the Iraq theater. “Aside from the casualty mark, which represents a full two-hundredth of Syria’s population, the conflict has also uprooted about a twentieth of Syria’s people. But in terms of sheer numbers, it’s kind of pathetic in comparison to, say, American campaigns in East Asia and Germany.”

Others, in turn, laugh at such American assertions of bloodshedding prowess. “The US has always enjoyed technological superiority,” noted military historian Adolf Hitler. “But it takes a serious commitment to decimate an entire continent while committing genocide,” he said, referring to German achievements between 1939 and 1945.

The German claims were in turn laughed at by historians Mao Zedong and Joseph Stalin, who noted Chinese and Soviet achievements, respectively, in causing the deaths of tens of millions of their own citizens through disastrous domestic and agricultural policies. “The USSR and the People’s Republic accomplished through manifestly non-military means what Assad could never hope to do,” wrote Stalin in an e-mail. “Soviet policies in the 1920’s and 30’s, and Chinese practices in the decades following WWII, caused more deaths than the entire current populations of Syria and Iraq combined.”

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Written by Thag

December 10, 2013 at 4:50 pm

6 Responses

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  1. It’s nice to hear Hitler chime in.

    You should really go write for Stephen Colbert or something. This stuff is hilarious.

    Trent Lewin

    December 10, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    • *Sigh:* I do wish he’d contact me already. I don’t know what he’s waiting for.

      Thag

      December 10, 2013 at 8:33 pm

      • For you to mail him some samples of your work, perhaps? Possibly to stand in front of a screen and read one of these out as though you’re doing the news?

        I hear Jon Stewart is quite a lark too.

        Trent Lewin

        December 10, 2013 at 9:44 pm

        • I’ve been told I resemble Mr. Colbert, and find Mr. Stewart highly entertaining, but rather doubt any such direct approach would ever reach either one

          I did once submit some links to an address at The Onion, but they specifically discourage outside writers:

          The Onion Hires Random, Untested Dude from Internet as Writer

          Managing Editor attributes move to collective drunkenness, frat-prank mentality

          Chicago, IL (AP) – America’s Finest News Source shocked the media world today with its hiring of David Swidler, an otherwise unknown entity on satirical commentary. Currently the idiot behind the WordPress blog Mightier than the Pen, Swidler will contribute material to The Onion’s web site and print editions.

          Whereas The Onion normally conducts a careful selection process to engage writers, Managing Editor Kyle Ryan explained that in this case, the editorial staff was immediately convinced by Swidler’s ability to come close to imitating The Onion’s style and tone without actually resorting to provable plagiarism. Also, says Ryan, “We were totally plastered. [Editorial Coordinator Ben] Berkley was throwing this kick-ass party in his office, as he does basically every other day, and a bunch of us were into our third or fourth margaritas. We decided to pull one over on [Head Writer] Seth [Reiss], and did a quick Google search for ‘rotting llama carcass.'”

          Swidler fancies himself the first person ever to use that phrase on the internet, claiming to do so in 2005, and it appears several times on his blog. The random search led the Onion staffers to a trove of Swidler’s imbecilic, puerile offerings. “It was perfect,” concurred Berkley. “Just like our stuff. I was looking at some of his recent pieces, and I thought, ‘You know, this could work.’ Even if the higher-ups took this seriously, we could live with this clown on staff. Besides, he’s halfway across the world, and we wouldn’t have to be physically in his presence. That would just be awkward.”

          “He’s got this one article called, ‘Obama Announces, Fine, He’s Really a Muslim,’ that I almost swore came from us,’ added Ryan. “Hell, maybe it did, but who’s got time to check?”

          Swidler, who goes by the screen name Thag on his blog, looks forward to developing material for The Onion. “It’s nice to be able to help them out,” he said in an interview. “They have some serious potential, and could make it big some day. It’s gratifying to be able to give a leg up to others, and I know what it’s like to try to put out this stuff day after day. I’m up to two hundred subscribers right now – so if I can get The Onion up to even half that number, I’ll consider this venture a success.”

          A press time, Swidler was clicking Refresh on his browser repeatedly, wondering aloud why his site has received only twelve visitors today.

          Thag

          December 10, 2013 at 9:53 pm

      • Tell me you didn’t just come up with that. Or tell me you did, whatever, it doesn’t matter. It was good. And sad. And true. And funny. I’m so confused.

        Trent Lewin

        December 11, 2013 at 4:09 am

        • No, I wrote it sometime in 2012, and got a fail-send response…

          Thag

          December 11, 2013 at 7:16 am


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