By the Numbers

Good morning. Now that the pleasantries are out of the way, how about this:

SADDAM Hussein’s government may have executed 61,000 Baghdad residents, a number significantly higher than previously believed, according to a survey obtained today by The Associated Press.

The bloodiest massacres of Saddam’s 23-year presidency occurred in Iraq’s Kurdish north and Shi’ite Muslim south, but the Gallup Baghdad Survey data indicates the brutality extended strongly into the capital as well.

The survey, which the polling firm planned to release tomorrow, asked 1178 Baghdad residents in August and September whether a member of their household had been executed by Saddam’s regime. According to Gallup, 6.6 per cent 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. Most are believed to have been buried in mass graves.


I’ll grant that a city-wide poll probably isn’t the best way to tally Saddam’s mass murders. But given the size of Iraq, our relatively few number of soldiers with time enough to look for mass graves, the sheer number of mass graves, and the impossibility of determining which bodies came from which cities. . . well, I don’t know if there’s a better method.

And even if the number is only half that reported, it’s as if every last resident of Eureka, California suddenly up and disappeared. “Disappeared” in the meaning of “taken out and shot.”

Some on the left will tell you either the numbers or wrong or it never really happened or it doesn’t matter to us if it did. Of course, it was another famous leftist who told us that “a million deaths is a statistic.”


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