Monday, February 28, 2005

Eliminate Tenure—Cure Leftimania


In my 2/21/05 blog “On Ward Churchill and Academic Leftimania” ( link here), I described the state of American universities, particularly the social sciences, humanities, and special studies or programs (woman’s studies, ethnic studies, etc.). In effect, they constitute anti-American, socialist, and leftist propaganda factories. I will refer to them all as leftsville.

The academic leftists have one and really only one argument for legislatures, regents, and other outsiders to leave them alone to spew their propaganda, and that is academic freedom. That is, the leftists argue, academics should be free to say unpopular things, to teach what they believe, and to research the unconventional. It is a powerful argument, and we all are for it in these terms. Thus, we have tenure, whose prime purpose is to protect this freedom by making it almost impossible to fire a professor for his beliefs.

But in application, this academic freedom has been destroyed from within. Simply, conservatives, Republicans, libertarians, devoted Christians, or the otherwise politically incorrect will not be hired; or by mischance if they are, they will not get tenure; or if they change their views after they get tenure, they will be not too gently encouraged to find other employment. Thus, we have academic departments with democrats/liberals/communists (called Marxists) outnumbering Republicans/libertarians/conservatives 30 or 40 to 1.

What this means is that students get only views on history, current events, and contentious issues, for within a narrow band of liberal-left-communist beliefs. They are not being educated, but propagandized. And what academic freedom has come to mean in practice is to protect leftsville from attempts to create a true diversity of beliefs, teaching, and research.

What to do?

First, is to inform. Universities depend on public funds, gifts and contributions, and tuition. The more legislators, the wealthy, and parents come to understand that they are paying for the country’s future leaders to be taught how good is the socialist-equalitarian model, including communism for some (you see, what happened in communist countries, with all the democide and other horrors, was “state capitalism,” not true Marxism), and how bad is the United States.

Second is to investigate. There should be outside (inside is almost hopeless) research into this Leftsville—what is being taught and how, the treatment of nonleftist students, favoritism toward leftist ones, and what happens to non-liberal and leftist faculty. Of course, leftsville will go to war against this and the drums of academic freedom will beat mercilessly on everyone’s ears. Stuff them with cotton, and investigate. I think the results will shock the public.

And third, discard tenure. It is the dirty bath water and not the baby. Tenure is precisely the reason leftsville has expanded to envelope the whole university. There are other reasons besides creating a diversity of beliefs to get rid of this protection of leftsville, and that is tenure also protects the deadwood and stupid among them. There is little opportunity for the young, mentally vigorous, and promising scholars to move into this world now made up so many old professors with their yellowing lecture notes, and two or three articles in some left wing magazine or journal.

In the place of tenure, I suggest a five-year contract, renewable every five years. The renewal should be based on a department’s recommendations, evaluation of peers at other universities, and student evaluations. And, I suggest that the university committee making the final decision has administration, faculty, student, and outside members (suggested by the regents or governing board).

This may seem impossible, given tenure’s grip on higher education and the mass of the naïve and innocents outside the universities that are taken in by the academic freedom battle flag. But, all universities have one vulnerability that can win this battle. Money. Hit their funding sources. Weigh in on federal and local tax money. Inform the wealthy of what their endowments are really supporting. Organize boycotts among parents against sending their children to the worse leftsvilles. Encourage business and federal agencies to hire graduating seniors from other universities, and so on. There are so many ways in a democracy like ours to persuade universities that perhaps it is time to rethink tenure, that all it really takes is information, communication, and will.

Link of Note

”Lifetime Tenure in Academia and Government “ (2/18/05) By Gary Aldrich

“. . . in a recent meeting with several hundred students at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, I made the allegation that too many tenured professors proudly declare themselves "Communists" while pushing hard-left agendas on students. They've made it clear that conservative and Christian views are unwelcome in their classrooms.

“I said that students were being blackmailed into silence by professors who hold grade point averages over their heads as punishment for expressing conflicting ideologies.

“I also stated that our students are being brainwashed, while parents are being forced to pay large sums of money for the privilege of watching professors play with their children's young minds.

“Two professors who had infiltrated the meeting rose in protest. Red-faced, they declared me to be a liar and demanded that I prove my ‘outrageous" allegations.’ A young lady in the front row of the packed auditorium bravely raised her hand.

“First timidly, then with increasing firmness, she spoke of several of her Lehigh professors who had expressed hatred for American values and fondness for the likes of Fidel Castro. Following her lead, other students rose to give similar testimony. The angry and now ‘outed’ professors quickly made their exit."

Sunday, February 27, 2005

The World’s Greatest Q&A


I’ve been running a website on the democratic peace since 2001 (links in the sidebar) and over that time have collected tons of questions from visitors to my site about the democratic peace, war, democide, genocide, and so on. I have now collected and organized all the best questions and my answers in a way useful to those interested in the website and this blog. (link here)

I have also added the link and that for my democratic peace bibliography to the sidebar on the left.

The Q&A amounts to about 170 pages single-spaced in hard copy, which is too much for even the dedicated scholar to go through. So, I set up initial links to the topic headings, and from there, the visitor can use his eyeballs or the browser search engine to find something specific.

For example, on the topic “Democracy,” are linked the following Q&A subtopics: “DEMOCRACY: Democracy, Freedom, Alternative Types of Governments, Stability, Specific Governments, Nondemocracies.”

Examples of a few of the Q&As:

Q: What color is freedom to you? Why?
A: White. This is the mixture of all colors, as freedom is the mixture of different beliefs, faiths, and political parties. Its flag would have the primary colors at the edges, all merging with each other and toward a central white circle.

Q: When it comes to totalitarian regimes, how come you like to choose the figures that are on the high side, while you tend to downplay the butcher bill of democratic states?
A: Simply not true. As a study of my many tables would show, I give both highs and lows and then a conservative estimate. Usually this estimate is closer to the low than the high. Overall the democide in this century, my range is 76,543,000 to 359,348,000 murdered, with my much quoted prudent estimate being 169,187,000. Note how much closer to the low than the high this is. Now, as to playing down the “butcher bill” of democratic democide versus totalitarian regimes, your accusation is too general. What specific estimates are too low or too high?

Q: I hear that a Russian submarine sank a ship filled with German refugees fleeing from the East around 1944-45. It is said that many more lives were lost than in any ship sinking before or since. Is this true?
A: The ship was the Wilhelm Gustloff. I estimate 7,700 lives were lost compared to about 1,503 in the sinking of the Titanic.

Q: What shocked you the most about democide?
A: That the Soviet Union, Mao’s China, and communist Vietnam, at least, would order their cadre to kill a certain number of people. They were given a quota of murders they had to reach.

Q: During the Cold War, did not the U.S. intervene in many countries, some democracies such as Chile, Guatemala, and El Salvador, support death squads murdering rebels, and help behind the scenes mass murder, such as in Indonesia?
A: Even if true, none of the events you mention was a war. No collection or list of international wars would include them. They are therefore irrelevant to the proposition that democracies do not make war on each other, and cannot be used as evidence to disprove it. Now, dealing with the events, in each case there appeared to be a communist revolution/overthrow in the making. They should be looked at as part of the Cold War and the American attempt to contain communist expansionism, particularly in Central and South America.

Any problems with this Q&A, please let me know.

Link of Note

“'Realists' have it wrong” (1/31/05) Mark Steyn

The Afghan election worked so well that, there being insufficient bad news out of it, the Western media's doom-mongers pretended it never happened. They'll have a harder job doing that with Iraq, so instead they'll have to play up every roadside bomb and every dead poll worker. But it won't alter the basic reality: that the election may be imperfect but more than good enough.

The election was more than “good enough.” It surpassed the expectations of even the optimists.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Saturday Responses 2/25/05


Regarding my blog on democracies never having a famine, Dean Esmay points to the horror of Mao’s famine in China in the early 1960s. I studied all those in the 20th Century, and they are all sickenly horrible as people slowly starve to death, lose their humanity, turn to eating their pets, the newly dead, and then neighbor children.

In conjunction with drought, insects, and plant disease, often overpopulation is assumed the cause of famine. Look at Dean Esmay’s common sense blog on this (link here). The fundamental cause of famine is not overpopulation, but the lack of freedom in a country. If this is difficult in the abstract, consider where the major famines have occurred: Soviet Union (three famines), communist China, fascist China (4 famines), communist Ethiopia, Khmer rouge Cambodia, socialist Sudan (3 famines), communist North Korea (one continuous famine), war lord Somalia, and on and on, for 42 sovereign nondemocracies and 16 colonies/occupied countries.

Regarding my bibliographic blog, Dean noted that democracies don’t make war on each “tends to shock people when they realize that it is a fundamental truth.”

Yes, except for the intellectual class, which tends to wave the whole idea away as being too simplistic or contrary to history—their favorite exceptions being the Boar War, the War of 1812, Hitler being elected democratically (he was not), and the Civil War. None of those involved two democracies fighting each other.

With regard to my blog on the UN and human rights, Dean commented, “it's time for the left to wake up and notice that the times have changed, the U.N. no longer does anything to cut down on war and repression, and is in fact a snake pit full of repressive regimes--and the U.N. organization does nothing to make them any better.”

Yes, but you see, the left loves the UN, in part I think because it is fundamentally anti-American, and so many of the thug regimes driving it are leftist oriented. I’m almost convinced that given a choice between a socialist thug regime, like Syria, and a free market democracy like Taiwan, the left will choose the former.

Finally, Dean says, “The open question I continue to have is whether the Islamic world is ready for democracy. A lot of people on the left and right would say they are not. I'm hoping they're proven wrong.” He asks, “Have you ever written on that topic, Rudy?”

Not specifically, but were I to do so, I would say the question is malformed. It ought to be: Are Islamic people ready to throw off, or have thrown off for them, their chains—are they ready for the human rights that are theirs be virtue of being human? Looked at in this proper way, the answer is obvious.

The PhAnToM also comes in on this and says that, “People are quick to misinterpret that this [the democratic peace] means that democracies never go to war.”

True, and I always am forced to say. No, democracies have often gone to war, but they don’t against each other. And they have far less severe wars than nondemocracies.

On Ward Churchill, after PhAnToM questions what Churchill might say about retribution by terrorist for American achievements, such as the destruction of the Taliban, he says, “One wonders if there are any Ward Churchill’s in those parts of the world, saying similar things from the opposite side? If there are, their life expectancies probably aren't too long. Bless America for letting the jackasses of the world step upon their soapboxes with impunity. That which they most hate protects them.”

Yes, and it’s this freedom of Churchill’s, compared to what terrorists and thug regimes would do to him for even mild criticism of them, that makes his diatribe self-corrosive.

“Final Historian” asks about the reasons for the democratic peace. “Is it institutional? Cultural?” See the link below. In sum, there are three reasons, each reason moving deeper.

  • One surface explanation, probably the most persuasive and oldest (going back at least to Immanuel Kant), is that where you have representative government, decision makers are restrained from making war by the public will. After all, it is argued, the public does not want to bear the awful human cost of war.

  • A deeper explanation involves two factors: cross-pressures and democratic culture. Democratic structure, the institutions of democratic governance, evolve and create checks and balances on the use of power, and inhibitions due to the political and social diversity that develops. The democratic culture argument is that democracy requires the arts of conciliation and compromise, an attitude of toleration of differences, and a willingness to lose. The development of this democratic culture is what defines democracy as well established; it infuses and orients domestic and foreign relations. When democrats recognize each other as democrats, they see each other as willing to negotiate and compromise, to resolve conflicts peacefully.

  • Beneath institutions and culture, however, is still a deeper and more comprehensive explanation of the democratic peace. This is by social fields and their opposite antifields. A social field is a spontaneous society within which individuals interact. Its key is the freedom of people to pursue their own interests, to create among themselves expectations--a social order--in terms of their wants, capabilities, and wills. The primary mode of power is exchange, its political system is democratic, and this democratic government is but one of many groups and pyramids of power in the social field.

Link of Note

”Why Does Power Kill” Chapter 13 to Power Kills (1997)

By R.R. Rummel

“In review we thus have at one end the social field with its democratic regime. The regime is but one pyramid of power among many in the social field. Behavior among all in the field is patterned by structures of expectations that evolve between individuals and groups, the sum total of which act to check and balance, to cross-cut and cross-pressure, interests, and thus to severely limit the intensity of collective violence, and its spread across society. Moreover, the constant hubbub of individuals and groups adjusting and readjusting to each other as they and their environment change, of social trial and error and social learning, develops an exchange culture, one of negotiation, compromise, and toleration. At the other extreme is the coercive society organized by a regime to achieve some goal. Society is divided into those who give the orders and those who must obey, and all major issues become polarized along this axis. Violence becomes a way of insuring obedience, or achieving the organizational goals, and of restructuring expectations were they to break down. This is an antifield. It is ruled by raw coercion and force; pervasive fear assures obedience.

The most fundamental explanation of the democratic peace, then, is that Freedom promotes nonviolence and Power kills.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

No Famine Ever


There are tons of websites devoted to famine, hunger, and trying to help the starving around the world. Yet, not one of these good people devoted to this great cause realize that there is a solution to famine at hand, which is practical and much desired in itself. What is this miracle? Democracy.

No democracy has ever had a famine.

This, even though democracies have been struck with the awful droughts that would have created millions of deaths under thug regimes, or had famines before they became democratic. I have just put a commentary on this on my web site that goes into more detail than I should here. (link here)

The greatest famines in history have savaged people already suffering under the most repressive regimes, those of the Soviet Union and communist China. Below is a table providing the empirical evidence for this claim.

Why are democracies immune to this greatest of all disasters. Three fundamental reasons. One is that democracieis have a free or semi-free agricultural market that usually produces more than enough food and is resilient in the face of local shortages. Two is that democracies have a free press that almost immediately communicates nationally, and especially to elected legislators and administration leaders, dangerous agricultural conditions in one part of the country or another. And three is that these politicans better do something about it, since their political future depends on the rapidity and success of their response.

There is a saying: “Provide a starving man with fish, and you need to do that everyday; teach him how to fish, and you never have to do it again.” To this we now can add: “Free him, and he soon will provide others with fish.”

Link of Note

Amartya Sen, ”Democracy as a Universal Value” Journal of Democracy 0.3 (1999) 3-17.

Amartya Sen is the winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize for Economics, is Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, and Lamont University Professor Emeritus at Harvard University.

“I have discussed elsewhere the remarkable fact that, in the terrible history of famines in the world, no substantial famine has ever occurred in any independent and democratic country with a relatively free press. We cannot find exceptions to this rule, no matter where we look: the recent famines of Ethiopia, Somalia, or other dictatorial regimes; famines in the Soviet Union in the 1930s; China's 1958-61 famine with the failure of the Great Leap Forward; or earlier still, the famines in Ireland or India under alien rule. China, although it was in many ways doing much better economically than India, still managed (unlike India) to have a famine, indeed the largest recorded famine in world history: Nearly 30 million people died in the famine of 1958-61 . . . .”

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The UN (United Thugs) And Human Rights


The United Nations has become a weapon and a shield for the world's dictators.

Not all dictators are the same. Some are no more than thugs. While hiding behind their guns and goons, they murder their captive citizens, condone torture (and a few even approve slavery and rape), and loot their country's wealth and resources for personal gain, for power, for an ideology, or for a religion. Of the many such thugs, the list would include Saddam Hussein of Iraq, Idi Amin of Uganda, Pol Pot of Cambodia, and recently deposed Charles Taylor of Liberia Now we have such ruling thugs as General Than Shwe of Burma, Fidel Castro of Cuba, General Teodoro Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, Ayatollah Ali Hoseini-Khamenei of Iran, Colonel Muammar al-Qadhafi of Libya, Kim Jong Il of North Korea, King Fahd Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, General Umar al-Bashir of Sudan, Bashar al-Asad of Syria, Saparmurat Niyazov of Turkmenistan, General Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, to mention some of the worst of them. These and the other thugs, along with the more moderate, but sympathetic and collaborative dictators, dominate the UN and now defeat its mission. This is a reluctant conclusion about the UN that I've come to since my early years of strong support.

To many horrified by the Second World War, the Holocaust, and the life devastating atomic bomb, when the United Nations came into being in 1945 they saw it as a global agency of peace, conflict resolution, and human rights, as I did in the 1950s to the 1980s. It is now none of this.

Out of the vast array of facts that make this case, I will select a few. But first, as one who made considerable use of UN reports, studies, and statistical services, such as the Demographic Yearbook and Statistical Yearbook, for my research, the story of the United Nations is not entirely negative. Indeed, some will make the argument that on balance the UN has contributed to the welfare of countries. But, then, one would have to downplay or ignore the political functions of the UN. These are the most important of all, since their purpose is to alleviate, resolve, and prevent the most catastrophic dangers facing humanity--international and internal war in the nuclear age, and mass democide.

Now, in this blog some specifics focused on human rights. Future blogs will focus on other aspects of the UN, and a solution.

The promotion and protection of human rights (the essence of liberal democracy) are essential to create and secure world peace. And the premier UN body charged with doing this is the 53 member UN Commission on Human Rights. Yet, who are its members in 2005? Incredibly, the membership includes some of the worst mass murderers and violators of human rights, including China, Congo, Cuba, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Guinea, Mauritania, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan (yes, Sudan), Swaziland, Togo, and Zimbabwe. The Chairman of the Commission for 2003 was the terrorist state, Libya. And the United States, one of the best exemplars of civil rights and political liberties and foremost proponents of human rights, was kicked off the Commission for the 2002 session.

The current membership of the Commission simply reflects the continual involvement of the very human rights violators that the Commission is supposed to investigate and expose. No wonder, then, that it has been obstructed from criticizing China's human rights violations, discussing slave labor when the former Soviet Union existed, considering the sale of white women and children in Saudi Arabia, investigating the denial of the most basic human rights to women in Asia and Arab countries, and examining the slave trade in Arab countries. Recently, the Commission has voted against "special observation" of Zimbabwe's violations of human rights; and for the upgrading of the human rights status of Sudan, even while its dictatorship was committing genocide against its southern black Christians and in Darfur, carrying on slavery, and approving of systematic rape.

One of the recent outrages concerns Commission member Cuba. Castro had thrown into prison seventy-five dissidents, including journalists and librarians; and it had executed three men who hijacked a ferryboat to escape from this communist hellhole. No matter. The Commission reelected Cuba to another three-year term, "undoubtedly a recognition of the Cuban Revolution's work in human rights in favor of all our people," so Cuba proclaimed,

The Commission also takes overt action against those upsetting its member dictatorships. Cuba and Libya, for example, successfully pressured the body to end its consultative relationship with the free speech organization Reporters Without Borders. It had the nerve to criticize the UN's human rights record, and among its claims were that Cuba is "the world's biggest prison" (not correct--North Korea is) and "that granting the chair to Qadhafi 's [Libyan] regime has been a disgrace to the commission." One of the reforms Reporters Without Borders suggested was to restrict voting by dictatorships. This is, of course, anathema, and the Commission voted 27 to 23 to suspend its relationship with the organization, with virtually all democratic members voting against it.

And so on and on. Thugs at work.

Link of Note

”UN Commission on Human Rights: Where is the reform agenda?” (4/22/04) By Amnesty International

“The UN's main human rights body has demonstrated an incapacity and unwillingness to address serious human rights violations, said Amnesty International today as the 60th session of the UN Commission on Human Rights drew to a close. Despite some positive developments, the working methods of the Commission are in urgent need of reform.”

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The World’s Most Important Bibliography


One of the problems that people have in writing about the democratic peace is understanding what it covers and the best sources for reading about it. Here are the five major empirical propositions of the democratic peace, which is now the basis of American foreign policy.

  • Democracies don’t make war on each other.
  • The more democratic a nation, the less its foreign violence.
  • The more democratic a nation, the less its internal violence.
  • The more democratic a nation, the less it murders its own citizens (democide).
  • Democracy is a method of nonviolence.

These are perhaps the most important propositions in contemporary social science, for they show that we have a solution to war and democide, and a way of minimizing political violence.

But, then, what are the sources? I just put on my website a comprehensive bibliography of pro and con papers, articles, and books on the first and second democratic peace propositions above (link here). These propositions are usually considered the core ideas of the democratic peace, but narrowly define it. The other propositions generalize the democratic peace to domestic violence and have been much less investigated. Eventually, I hope to prepare a separate bibliography on them.

Following are among the most important books on the democratic peace.
Kant, Immanuel. Perpetual Peace. 1795.

Moore, John Norton. Solving The War Puzzle: Beyond The Democratic Peace, Carolina Academic Press, 2004.

Ray, James Lee. Democracy and International Conflict: An Evaluation Of The Democratic Peace Proposition. Columbia, SC: University Of South Carolina Press, 1995.

Rummel, R. J. Power Kills: Democracy As A Method Of Nonviolence. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1997.

Russett, Bruce, Grasping The Democratic Peace: Principles For A Post-Cold War World, Princeton U. Press, 2001.

Weart, Stewart, Never At War: Why Democracies Will Not Fight One Another. Yale U. Press, 1998.

Singer, Max, and Aaron Wildavsky. The Real World Order: Zones Of Peace/Zones Of Turmoil. Chatham, NJ: Chatham House Publishers, 1993.

For an overview, which although outdated is useful for its coverage, see:

Ray, James Lee. “Does Democracy Cause Peace?” Annual Review Of Political Science, Edited By Nelson W. Polsby, 1998 (link here).

Anyone who wants to write an informed commentary on the democratic peace must at least be familiar with these studies.

Link of Note

”Why Democracy” (2/11/05) By Victor Davis Hanson

Hason is a military historian and senior fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution.

“Yet for all its uncertainties and dangers in the Islamic Arab world, there remain some undeniable facts about democracy across time and space that suggest with effort and sacrifice it can both work in the Middle East and will be in the long-term security interests of the United States. So why exactly should we support the daunting task of democratizing the Middle East and how is it possible?”

Monday, February 21, 2005

On Ward Churchill and Academic Leftimania


I have read Ward Churchill’s “’Some People Push Back’ On the Justice of Roosting Chickens,” (link given below). It’s a propaganda piece, and could have been written by Bin Laden with hardly a change in wording.

Churchill has become a popular figure on campus and is often invited to give speeches and talks, and indeed, has even been invited by faculty to speak at the University of Hawaii, from which I retired years ago. In light of this, I want to say a few words about the leftist university climate in which an ignorant fraud, and expressed enemy of the United States like Churchill, can thrive. I’ll focus this on two hallowed academic principles. But first, a word about the leftism of the university.

The university is institutionally diverse, with schools and departments of law, medicine, business, engineering, natural sciences, social sciences, and so forth. Generally, the faculty in business, engineering, natural sciences, mathematics, agriculture, and related, are least on the left, although as I understand the latest polls or surveys, Democrats still dominate in them. However, it is the humanities, social sciences, and law, and such programs as ethnic studies, woman studies, peace studies, and such, that are most dominated by the left. So, when a survey claims that 85 percent of the faculty vote Democrat, and that covers all the way from engineering and the hard sciences to the humanities, then the figure for the humanities and social sciences alone has to be much higher. Indeed, judging from my experience, a conservative or Republican in these fields is extremely rare, say, one out of thirty, or forty faculty. There are more communists (they call themselves Marxists), than either libertarians or conservatives together, and It appears to me that those on the left outnumber the average liberal and moderate Democrat.

Now, as to the two hallowed principles. One is diversity. There is none in political orientation. The left has captured the university and fights to maintain their control. They refuse to hire or give tenure to those perceived conservative or nonsupportive of their ideology. It is done cleverly, you see, by pointing to problems in a candidate’s research or lectures. For example, if a candidate supported Bush’s foreign policy, they would find his research inadequate, insensitive to Iraq deaths, hawkish, nationalistic, and so forth.

This also extends to sending out invitations to speakers. Almost always, these speakers are liberal or left; hardly ever conservative or libertarian, unless certain conservative student groups fight like hell to bring one. And even then, hostile leftist students may so threaten disruption, that the university administration may use this as an excuse to cancel the engagement they didn’t want anyway.

The second hallowed principle, which you hear often in defense of Churchill, is academic freedom. After almost forty years of being in a university as a student and teaching, I have seen the campus go from the existence of a wide range of extensive academic freedom to a narrow band in the social sciences and humanities. I’m retired now, but if I were teaching, I know many things I believe related to my field that I could not say on campus or while teaching. What we have now is a leftist enforced control of speech such that every academic has academic freedom as long as they stick close to the liberal-leftist line.

To put this bluntly, academic freedom is now a charade, a leftiwocky, most often expressed by liberal and leftist faculty and ideological innocents to protect these faculty from outside criticism.

How do they enforce this? If a faculty member does not have tenure, he had better hue the liberal and leftist line if he wants it. If he has tenure, then at least through their control of the department chairmanship and major committees, they can make a conservative or libertarian professor suffer a thousand cuts: worst parking spaces, worst offices, no assistants, no promotions (if possible), no salary increases (if not automatic) or merit increases, heaviest teaching load, assigned largest and most elementary courses, many committee assignments (but never a chairmanship), no travel allowance, no research support, a campaign among leftist students to get others to avoid their classes, and plain old social isolation. It has to be an unusually dedicated faculty member to stick this out. And this is just at the department level. What a dean can do is far worse, such as using leftist student complaints to set up a Star Chamber investigation.

To be clear, I am not saying that liberal of leftist academics are more incompetent, more biased, less intelligent, less productive, or poorer teachers than conservatives or libertarians. I am not saying they all are bad people or academics in some sense. A lot of the good work in my area on international relations, foreign policy, and the democratic peace has come from these academics. I will say this, however. In general, they are less open minded, less tolerant of opposing ideas, less willing to engage them, and more self-righteous.

Something has to be done about the lack of diversity and freedom of speech on campus and, I’m afraid, we simply can’t wait until the passage of several generations of faculty moves universities more towards the center. What should this be? Well, that will take another blog or so.

Link of Note

”’Some People Push Back’ On the Justice of Roosting Chickens” (nd By Ward Churchill)

On the morning of September 11, 2001, a few more chickens – along with some half-million dead Iraqi children – came home to roost in a very big way at the twin towers of New York's World Trade Center. Well, actually, a few of them seem to have nestled in at the Pentagon as well. . . . it may not have been (only) the ghosts of Iraqi children who made their appearance that day. It could as easily have been some or all of their butchered Palestinian cousins.
Or maybe it was some or all of the at least 3.2 million Indochinese who perished as a result of America's sustained and genocidal assault on Southeast Asia (1959-1975), not to mention the millions more who've died because of the sanctions imposed thereafter.

Comment by Colleague Two

Colleague Two is a professor of international law.

The problem with Churchill is not merely that he's a left-wing screwball, but that his whole life has been one big lie. He got a job as a professor pretending to be a "Native American" and that's been proven false. He portrayed himself as a Vietnam war hero and turns out he was a Public Affairs specialist who changed reels on a movie projector.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

If Not Stupid, Then What?


Below I give the link to the most recent libertarian attack by James Ostrowski on the idea of the democratic peace, and response by Colleague. If submitted as a student term paper, it would be graded an F by both of us.

This raises the question as to what it is with the libertarian anti-interventionists that they cannot mount an even reasonable critique of the democratic peace. Is it that they are stupid? No, these are often intelligent people who have mastered a profession in their own right. Ostrowski, for example, is an attorney, and has written Political Class Dismissed. He also has an interesting and useful website at These people have to be taken seriously, and Colleague and I do so.

Then what? At the heart of their problem is that they are unfamiliar with the nuances of international relations, and in particularly, with the research on the democratic peace. In other words, they are largely ignorant of the field and idea on which they write.

Also, there is more to the idea of the democratic peace than just reading books about it. It comes out of the scientific study of international relations and war, so to get the best handle on it, one must have some familiarity also with quantitative methods, particularly statistics (although my approach is generally mathematical). So, for example, using multiple regression, reseachers have found that even holding many possible causes of violence constant, the more democratic a government, the less severe its foreign violence. This statement requires some understanding of the method of multiple regression, the meaning of “holding constant,” and the empirical content of “democracy” and “severe violence.” From one study to the next, these terms are defined by explicit data collections.

I want to be clear on this. I am not saying that the democratic peace is such an esoteric idea that only a specialist can understand and critique it. This is not quantum physics. It is most akin to quantitative economics. I am saying that one must familiarize themselves with the writing in this field to critique it adequately, and there are enough “common sense” reviews and summaries to do this (I will discuss a comprehensive democratic peace bibliography this week— link here).

Because of the technical nature of this research on the democratic peace (within the field of quantitative international relations), even those trained in international relations, such as in national security studies, or diplomacy sometimes misunderstand the work on the democratic peace. But, there are good critiques, and there are those who have become knowledgeable in the research and disagree with it. Not one, however, is a libertarian.

Link of Note

”The Myth of Democratic Peace: Why Democracy Cannot Deliver Peace in the 21st Century” (2/19/05) By James Ostrowski

From Colleague

Colleague is a PH.D, did his dissertation on the democratic peace, and teaches international relations.

Ostrowski's essay was intensely frustrating :

He does not seem to understand the INTER-democraticness that is the core of the theory and empirical findings of no war between democracies.

He critiques "democratic pacifism" as distilled from a variety of sources, sketched out as:

democracies rarely if ever go to war against each other; democracies tend to be more peaceful than dictatorships; democracies tend to have less internal violence; and this tendency toward peacefulness is structural, that is, related to the nature of democracy, not an accident or coincidence.

This sounds like it might be "democratic peace," and includes some of its propositions, but drags in others that really cloud things up, such as "democracies tend to be more peaceful,” and veers off into explanations of WHY the democratic peace is so. Why didn't he undertake to critique the standard five propositions set forth in the very book by Rummel he attacks (Power Kills [link here]). I'd be much more willing to read his research if he walked me through why each of those five propositions were in error.

Some of his statements are flat-out ignorant. He says that the main threat to world peace is not war between two nation-states, but nuclear arms proliferation. Sounds smart, but consider that no democratic states with nukes feel threatened by other democratic states with nukes. And all states feel threatened by non-democratic states with nukes. Regime type matters. His second level of threat is terrorism. Yup. And what democracy is exporting terrorism? What terrorist group espouses democracy? None. Again, regime type matters. His final level of threat is internal ethnic-religious conflict. It sure is a problem, but what is the most reliable possible solution to such conflict -- meaning how can such conflict be kept from breaking out in widespread violence? He cites Afghanistan -- well, is sure seems like the arrival of democracy there (albeit in its infancy) has reduced the murderous type of violence practiced by the dictatorial Taliban. Again, he should repeat after me...Regime Type Matters.

His data is nonsensical and irrelevant.

Example 1: listing "Wars of the Democratic Powers" tells me absolutely nothing about whether democracies fight each other. He seems to have completely missed the very idea of regimes types and dyads. Also, where is the comparison list of "Wars of the Nondemocratic Powers"?

Example 2: listing nuclear powers by type of government tells me nothing. It’s like identifying a rapist and a chef as both having a knife in his hand. So what?

Example 3: "Recent Intrastate Conflicts" makes no mention at all of the severity of the internal conflict, nor of changes in government, nor of what years these conflicts occurred. I have no idea what I'm supposed to understand from this list.

Example 4: the chart of homicide rates that has only one "dictatorship" listed against which to compare many democracies. And that dictatorship -- with the lowest rate on the list -- is tiny little Singapore. What about the 80 some non-democracies in the world? What about the world's most repressive regimes (Burma, China, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Laos, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam....)? What the hell am I supposed to get from this chart?

Example 5: counting deaths of one's own soldiers in war as democide. Conceptually this is like counting beans as steaks. It makes no sense, but even if we were to accept this definition, why only count U.S. war deaths? If what we are after is comparing kinds of governments, then even a modicum of intellectual integrity would call for looking at the own-soldiers deaths of other governments, especially non-democratic ones. Does Ostrowski not do this knowing that it will only show that democracies suffer fewer casualties that non-democracies? Gee, that is one of Rummel's five propositions, unmentioned by Ostrowski.

Example 6: Ostrowski concludes with a nice little chart rank-ordering regimes by their peacefulness. We discover that "self-government" is the most peaceful, followed by "republics" then democracy. Nowhere in any of his data charts could I find ONE example of a "self-government" or a "republic." What the hell are these things -- in the real world where we try to get data to understand reality? The closest example I can think of to his definition of "self-government" is Somalia, where there is indeed no state with final authority, and each person governs himself...except that people also tend to govern anyone else they can wield power over. With nothing to prevent warlords, this isn't exactly what I'd want to hold up as a "peaceful" society.

Lacking any data at all to support his assertions, I can only conclude that the essay is groundless, directionless, unrigorously speculative, lacking definitional integrity, etc. This isn't even high-school level "research."

I'm torn about these libertarians: I have an intense affinity for them because of their love of freedom...but I despair for them for their almost callous lack of scholarship, their arrogance, and their apparent inability to understand even basic points about international politics. For example, Ostrowski's point about counting own-soldier deaths as democide. It has a certain appeal, from the perspective of an anti-statist. But the complete lack of comparative perspective (who kills more of their own soldiers by ordering them off to war?) negates even the possibility of scholarship. And ultimately their "project" fails because it is not practical. Not "impractical" in the sense of too hard to do, but impractical in the sense that it has an inaccurate view of humanity. In the long run, their work does not contribute to making anything better, whether that be understanding ourselves, or achieving peace. So, I keep asking myself every time I read their stuff, or visit their Web sites -- why do I waste my time? Perhaps I hope they will see the light.... so far though, only murky darkness....

Friday, February 18, 2005

Saturday Responses 2/18/05


There were only three comments on my blogs for the week, all on my call for the assassination of Kim Jong Il.

P-dawg writes, “I do not want to live in any country which sponsors assassination, no matter the provocation. It is not nearly the stretch you seem to believe from executing tyrants to executing dissidents. Sponsoring assassination of any person on Earth leads inevitably to assassinating those who disagree with the assassins or their handlers.”

I see. Therefore, Hitler should not have been assassinated, nor Stalin for that matter. Nor should a SWAT team take out a murderer holding hostages. You know, that could lead to executing dissidents and those who disagree with the Chief of Police. Anyway, anyone who would oppose the assassination of a Hitler, Stalin, or Kim have values I don’t share, nor do I think they are shared with the many millions of souls of those poor people these bloody thugs have murdered.

In another comment, P-dawg writes: “How could one carry out a successful assassination and *not* set it as precedent? Again I pose the question: Why is it America's job anyway?”

A precedent? The idea of a precedent is another case where those who live in democracies project on gangs of thugs ideas largely specific to democracy. A “precedent” is most relevant in law, but also works in politics (for example, Senate Democrats warn that making a rule to bypass the filibuster in order to pass Bush’s judicial nominations by a majority vote will set a precedent that Republicans will rue when Democrats are a majority). And in diplomacy among democracies and sometimes with authoritarian regimes, precedents have their place.

But, Kim Jong Il or other thugs like him obey no precedent in doing their dirty work. Consider what his father his father Kim Il Sung did (he died in 1994). He tried to assassinate the President of South Korea in 1968, 1970, and 1983; had his agents blow a South Korean passenger jet out of the air in 1987 murdering over 100 people; and kidnapped Japanese from Japan in the 1970s and 80s as cultural trainers for his spies. Kim Jong Il, in order to satisfy has passion for movies, kidnapped a South Korean director and his actress wife to Korea to create a film industry.

Then there is Saddam Hussein, who ignored all precedent to murder thousands of Kurds in the North of Iraq by poison gas, or to try to assassinate the elder Bush in Kuwait.

Such thugs will do what they will as they have the power to do so. If you have difficulty with this idea, think Stalin, Pol Pot, and Hitler. As they murdered their own people, there was no precedent that restrained them.

As to the second question, why is it America’s job? One, because no other country seems willing to do it. Two, because of the grave danger Kim is to the United States with his growing nuke capability, and the danger his military poses to South Korea. Three, because he has imprisoned all his people in one border to border concentration camp, and is murdering them perhaps by the hundreds of thousands annually, leaving the rest in horrible misery. And four, if he starts a war against South Korea, which cannot be discounted, it would cost upwards of a million lives, when what Kim would do to Seoul is considered.

PhanTom writes that he is “not as sanguine as Rummel on the competency of such black ops. Additionally, if an attempt is made and fails, then that is just like declaring war. What would KJI do?”

Any black ops operation is a risk and involving a risk-gain calculation. In the case of Kim, the daily cost in human lives, and the danger he poses to the United States justifies, in my view, the risk of failure.

As to what he would do if the assassination fails, are we so incompetent at this that he would know who tried to assassinate him? He must realize that he has enemies all around him, not only among his fellow thugs and victims, but also the governments of South Korean, China (to which he is now a risk of another kind), Russia, and Japan, and various groups in them. Surely, we wouldn’t assassinate him with a weapon that has “made in American” stamped on it.

Link of Note

”War Dementia Strikes Again” (2/9/05) Matthew Barganier

R.J. Rummel calls for an end to free speech in America. Why? Cos' he's a freedomist, silly.

Back in November, we ran this eminently unobjectionable piece in which Rummel wrote,
The more power those who rule have, the less libertarian the government, the more likely the rulers will commit genocide and mass murder. ...

Therefore, how do we try to assure "never again"? Foster freedom - reduce power at the center.

Now, at the time Rummel submitted that, I was only aware of his Death by Government, not his fanatical liberventionism (mea culpa, mea culpa). His follow-up piece, however, revealed the bait-and-switch: no longer was he talking about freedom and decentralization, but about his pet "democratic peace" theory. I kept earnestly asking what he could possibly mean, given the incredible bellicosity of the U.S. and other democracies over the last century and a half.

Finally, I just gave up on him.

Well, now he's given up on us. I don't know how libertarianism will ever recover from losing another authoritarian loon. Fly, fly away, Professor, to the ranks of the "freedomists." Maybe if you suggest boiling opponents of the war, you can get a cushy position at a D.C.-area "libertarian" institute. (Hat tip: Anthony Gregory)

Comment on the above by Colleague: Well....speaks for itself. The wacko-libertarians are so marginalizing themselves they are really but a trivial and irrelevant part of the American political scene. This Anthony Gregory fellow seems to be a real light-weight -- a sad commentary on the Independent Institute where he works...

If they had engaged you with ANY substantive arguments, things might be more interesting, but such is not the case...

I used to get angry about all I just find it sad.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Yes, There is Hope—Great Hope


With all the mass murder by thug dictators in such countries as North Korea, Burma, Sudan, Congo, Iran, and the like, with terrorists murdering people wholesale, and with the apparent inability to stop or prevent most of it, the post-World War II exclamation, “Never Again,” seems hopeless. Such is the feeling I get from reading news items on the latest democide (murder by government) and murder bombing, and some of the email I receive. And, I must admit, I have contributed to this pessimism with my country-by-county, year-by-year estimates of the world’s democide. Clearly, as I’ve pointed out, a slow motion nuclear war has taken place, with my conservative estimate of 174,000,000 murdered by governments in the 20th Century.

And it continues into this century.

But, it is not hopeless. We are not faced, nor are our children faced with such democide in perpetuity. We do have the ability to turn “Never Again” into reality for all.

We should recognize some facts. One is that democracies by far have had the least domestic democide, and now with their extensive liberalization, have virtually none. Therefore, democratization (not just electoral democracies, but liberal democratization in terms of civil liberties and political rights) provides the long run hope for the elimination of democide. Second, that the world is progressively becoming more democratic, with from 22 democracies in 1950 to something like 121 democracies today (about 89 of them liberal democracies), gives substance to this hope. A third is that democracies don't make war on each other, and the more democratic government, the less its foreign and domestic violence, AND DEMOCIDE. And fourth, the democratic peace and the fostering of democracies worldwide is now the core organizing principle of American foreign policy.

Already, the growth in the number of democracies has decreased the amount of international war and violence (see my, “Democracies Increase and Ipso Facto, World Violence Declines,” link here). And this will continue. Eventually, at some point in the future, virtually the whole world will be democratic. Then, perhaps, in the presence of the world’s major presidents, and prime ministers, the President of the Global Alliance of Democracies can uncover a statue of Irene, the Greek Goddess of peace, in Geneva, with these words on its base:

“Now, Never Again”

Link of Note

”Ending Slavery” (2/12/05) By Thomas Sowell

To me the most staggering thing about the long history of slavery — which has encompassed the entire world and every race in it — is that nowhere before the 18th century was there any serious question raised about whether slavery was right or wrong. In the late 18th century, that question arose in Western civilization, but nowhere else.

It seems so obvious today that, as Lincoln said, if slavery is not wrong, then nothing is wrong. But no country anywhere believed that three centuries ago.

Many pessimists feel about ending democide as humanists in the 16th and 17th centuries felt about ending slavery. It always has been and always will be. Moreover, while we now see democide as horrible, a black mark on humanity, and what must be stopped, like slavery, this is only a modern view. Historically, democide has been accepted as an inevitable aspect of war, and a necessity of governance.

Sowell’s article is a good reminder of how we once viewed slavery, and how what we once thought was as natural to society as a division of labor, was virtually eliminated in a century.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

What? There actually is Censorship?


There was considerable outrage among bloggers when I called for the censorship of militarily sensitive and secret information during our war on terror. To give you a sample:

“Rummel . . . now suggests destroying the First Amendment and the inalienable right to freedom of speech.” (the link should be to, but for some reason this blog rejects it)

“Last month R.J. Rummel . . . announced that because so many libertarians oppose the Iraq war, he is no longer a libertarian but a ‘freedomist.’ This week we learned one of the differences between the two philosophies: freedomists don't want a free press.” (link here)

“Yet, apparently he doesn't want freedom for the media. That damn media, always getting in the way of the fight for freedom. What happens if the media isn't censored now? Well...” (the link should be to the, but for some reason this blog also rejects it)

Interesting, that so many of those reacting to my call seem unaware of the actual censorship of the media. One would think that the media was able to print or say anything, and I was trying to initiate censorship. No way. As the link below illustrates, free speech is not free, and for publishing certain things the media is punished by the government. I am only trying to sensibly protect our soldiers and pursue our war on terrorism by restricting the media from giving "aid and comfort" to our enemies (part of the Constitution’s definition of treason in Article III, Section 3).

Of interest is why there is a large group of intelligent readers who don’t know or understand that the media is already censored. Could it be that they know this, but it is just that their loose rhetoric belies it. Or, they are just not thinking—not connecting the dots? Or maybe, there sense of proportion and importance is challenged. Well, I’ll leave this to the sociology of knowledge people, and simply say that I would rather preserve military secrets and sensitive information from the enemies of freedom than protect adults and children from seeing a raw, uncovered, naked female mammary gland.

Link of Note

”House Poised to OK Indecency Fine Increase” (2/16/05) By Genaro C. Armas

“A bill with strong bipartisan support would boost the maximum fine for indecency from $32,500 to $500,000 for a company and from $11,000 to $500,000 for an individual entertainer. . . . The Federal Communications Commission . . . has stepped up enforcement of the indecency statute, perhaps most notably with a $550,000 fine against CBS for its 2004 Super Bowl broadcast that included Janet Jackson's breast-baring "wardrobe malfunction." Radio personality Howard Stern also has been a frequent target.

“Fines for indecent programming exceeded $7.7 million last year. Four years ago, FCC . . . fines totaled just $48,000.”

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Assassinate Him


We have no options but one regarding Kim Jong Il, the world’s worst dictator. He runs a border-to-border concentration camp (he will have executed any who try to escape his horrors, as he did to around 70 such escapees China forcibly returned recently—link here). He uses his prisoners as guinea pigs for poison gas and biological weapons, murders whole families that give any hint of opposition, and has and is starving to death millions of his people—perhaps 3,000,000 so far. And he has destroyed the country’s economy, with all the additional suffering that means to those just trying to survive.

All this while he lives luxuriously, and sends his chief to all parts of the world to bring back delicacies for his meals.

And on the backs of his slaves, he has built up a huge military machine, and now claims to have nuclear weapons even as he develops the long range missile capability to deliver them on American targets. Already he has the capability to hit significant cities in all of South Korea and Japan, and Beijing is in range. But if he does have nukes, he is not limited to missile delivery. A crate will do, or a freighter off shore of an American city.

So, what’s being done? South Korea is deep in a policy of appeasement, giving Kim all sorts of aid for nominal return. China has tried to apply pressure with no meaningful results. The Clinton and Bush Administrations have tried various approaches, including providing aid, and drawing so called red-lines in the sand that Kim dare not cross, and when he does, drawing new ones. All our attempts to rein Kim in and help the North Korean people have failed to stop Kim from developing nukes and increasingly advanced missiles, and have not furthered any human rights of his slaves.

Bilateral talks with Kim’s delegates have not worked. Six-way talks involving North Korea, South Korea, U.S., China, Russia, and Japan have gotten no where. Now, Kim refuses to participate anymore. And, commentators keep pointing out that there is no good policy for dealing with him. All carrots he is given are gobbled up while later repudiating his side of the bargain, and sanctions only fall on his helpless slaves. True, we can work economically, fiscally, and politically to end his weapons, drug trade, and counterfeiting (only a maybe on that), but why should that make a difference to his deadly and terrible enslavement of 23 million human beings.

These simple facts trump any options but one: (1) He and his gang fully and rigidly control the country in an absolute totalitarian system that exceeds even that under Stalin. (2) He needs to keep beating the drum about the American military threat to North Korea in order to maintain his absolute control. (3) He has a huge military, and although outmoded in some respects, it seems more than enough to destroy and then occupy Seoul in the opening phases of a war (go here to see his relative military capability), a frightening certainty, even if the North loses once the United States defends South Korea in full force. And he has nukes, so he says, and the United States concurs.

What to do? The one solution no official dare mention. Assassinate him. He is a criminal with more blood on his hands than did Saddam Hussein, and is a worse tyrant. Were Kim captured, he surely would be tried and executed. And with our modern technology, there must be good ways of killing him. If anything, poison one of the rare foods his chief brings back from Thailand, or Burma.

What would be the consequences. Utter chaos among the North’s gangsters as they fight for power. A possible collaspe of the whole criminal edifice. But, in any case, perhaps a new ruling thug more open to negotiation. Surely, Kim’s replacement can’t be worse, can he?

I can’t imagine any objections to such a sensible policy, but maybe these might be thought up by the imaginative:

1. Assassinating a foreign leader is immoral. Kim is not a leader, but a bloody, tyrannical thug who rules through abject fear. As to the immorality, consider this. If there were a serial murder holding hostages, and the police had good reason to believe he would kill some, then certainly they would position snipers to take him out. Why is that moral and it is immoral to assassinate a foreign thug who we know will kill more of his hostages (the North Korean people), possibly by the hundreds of thousands. Moreover, with his nukes, he is now a national security danger to the U.S. and neighboring countries.

2. It is illegal in American Law. There is no criminal law against assassinating foreign thugs. There is the presidential Executive Order 12333 that prohibits state sponsored assassination, but there are ways around it, including secretly contracting it out.

3. It is against international law. Not that I know of. But, lets say it is. Then we have a conflict of laws. For, certainly, Kim has committed vast crimes against humanity that are punishable by the International Criminal Court, and he has denied his slaves fundamental human rights, which is itself against international law.

4. It is not prudent. Assassination Kim would set a precedent, and other thug regimes then might consider assassinating our president. Saddam Hussein did try to assassinate the elder Bush in 1993 when he visited Kuwait. Anyway, to believe that these murderous thugs would only hold back from assassinating an American president if we did not go after them is quite a stretch.

5. The instability thereby created in North Korea would endanger us, and even possibly lead to war. Better the thug we know than the one we don’t. Excuse me. Isn’t the present one already murdering his people galore, starving them to death, and imprisoning them in a border to border concentration camp; isn’t he developing nukes that already threaten us, and will do so more and more as time goes by with him in power. It’s as though we advise the police against shooting the killer holding hostages, some of which we are sure he will kill, because . . . you know, we don’t know what he will do then.

6. It’s not as easy as you think. Try!

Link of Note

U.S Is shaping Plan to pressure North Koreas” (2/14/05) By David E. Sanger

The initial steps are contained in a classified "tool kit" of techniques to pressure North Korea that has been refined in recent weeks by the National Security Council. The new strategies would intensify and coordinate efforts to track and freeze financial transactions that officials say enable the government of Kim Jong Il to profit from counterfeiting, drug trafficking and the sale of missile and other weapons technology.

Yawn. I’ve been reading about our new pressure tactics for over twenty years. As to this one, I don’t think the Roh government of South Korea will go along. Moreover, if Roh perceives Kim to be hurting, he will increase aid to him, deepen his bows, and humbly hope for some concession by Kim. And, as we know, Kim will personally lose nothing by our tactics, but his slaves will suffer further. The real way to get at him is to prevent him from sending his chief around the world to put rare delicacies on his table.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Peace Studies Vs. Peace Research


When I fist started my studies of war and peace as an undergraduate in 1956 there was no peace studies or peace research generally identified as such. There were well known scientists and scholars working on war, international conflict, and peace (I will let war stand for all three related interests), however, such as Lewis Fry Richardson, Quincy Wright, Karl Deutsch, and Harold Guetzkow. In the early 1960s, their work and that of others began to form a critical mass that researches soon identified as peace research (or peace science). I was one of those that promoted this by my MA thesis, Ph.D. dissertation, and subsequent publications on the causes and conditions of war and violence. The idea was to apply to the study of war the scientific method that had been so successful in physics and medicine, conjoined with solid scholarship.

Peace research is now a concentrated field of study, with such excellent researchers and scholars as Bruce Russett, Nils Petter Gleditsch, and J. David Singer, and such rigorous journals as the Journal of conflict Resolution and the Journal of Peace Research. Much of our understanding of war causation and conditions have come out of peace research, as has the modern conception and empirical substantiation of the democratic peace. My web site is a peace research one.

However, peace is a political term, and a favorite among those on the far left. Now, I want to be careful here not to use too broad a brush. There are peace studies organizations, programs, and departments that are doing very good peace research. But they are in a small minority. Of peace studies as whole, however, it has attracted many of the anti-war, peacenik, and leftists who see peace as a flag in the struggle for ideological supremacy, or don’t know any better. Thus, much of what comes out of this group displays ignorance, and deep misunderstanding of war and international relations; or are diatribes and propaganda, largely against the United States. You know the mantras—American imperialism, war for oil, or murder of millions (Johan Galtung, a major organizer and entrepreneur of such peace studies has claimed that the U.S. has murdered six million); inequality the cause of war; capitalist hegemony; 9/11 was terrorists getting even; and so on.

Now, the peace studies industry has overshadowed peace research, as shown by the link below, and few outside of the field know the difference. This is too bad, but what I suppose one should expect, given that peace studies is imbedded in the left-wing academic culture. And I believe it will remain that way until American universities, as least, return to true academic freedom and political diversity of thought.

Link of Note

”Peace Studies' War Against America” (4/30/03) By Greg Yardley

”Peace studies is hardly a mainstream course of study in America, but it just might be the latest academic fad. Over two hundred and fifty colleges and universities in North America offer 'Peace Studies' programs; many allow students to obtain complete graduate or undergraduate 'Peace Studies' degrees. If trends continue, more are on their way. That's unfortunate - from the first major study of Peace Studies programs, a cutting pamphlet by human rights activist Caroline Cox and conservative philosopher Roger Scruton, these programs have been condemned as incoherent, incapable of being a serious topic of study, and loaded with political bias. . . .

“Unfortunately, these Peace Studies courses are nothing more than the academic bastion of the 'blame America first' crowd. America is presented as the aggressor in the Cold War, as a society founded on militarism, colonialism, and oppression, and as a society that sustains itself through racism, sexism, and class conflict. “

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Iraqi Civilians Killed—Revisited


In my 2/7/05 Blog on “How Many Iraqi Civilians Killed,” I commented on the much quoted Lancet sample survey. For near 1,000 households, it compared Iraqi civilian mortality just before the war to that after the American led invasion, and concluded that an excess of over 100,000 deaths have occurred. Tim Lambert added a comment to my blog that linked to his rational response to my assertions (link here). The lancet study is important, and rather then wait until Saturday to respond to all comments, this deserves a special blog.

Rummel claim 1. The pre-invasion statistics were compiled by Saddam's Ministry of Health.

Lambert’s correction: “The pre-invasion statistics were not compiled by Saddam's Ministry of Health. The article is perfectly clear on this.”

Lancet study: “The Coalition Provisional Authority and the Iraqi Ministry of Health have identified the halving of infant mortality as a major objective. In the absence of any surveys, however, they have relied on Ministry of Health records. These data have indicated a decline in young child mortality since February, 2001 . . . . We obtained January, 2003, population estimates for each of Iraq's 18 Governorates from the Ministry of Health. No attempt was made to adjust these numbers for recent displacement or immigration.”

Conclusion: I confounded the above references to the Ministry of Health with the pre-invasion deaths determined by the sample, which were those claimed by each family interviewed. However, then there is Figure 1, which is unreadable except for its description that lists the data as crude mortality per year before and after invasion. For the before, I can only guess that the Ministry of Health’s statistics were used. No source indicated for the figure.

Rummel claim 2. Same as above.

Lambert’s correction: “The survey was not conducted under a bloody tyranny.”

Conclusion: I didn’t say it was, but that a source of its pre-invasion statistics was the bloody tyranny’s Ministry of Health’s statistics. This is partly true, as shown above.

Rummel claim 3: “No tests of significance were applied to any of Lancet's statistical results. Why?”

Lambert’s correction: “This is not true. They frequently give 95% confidence intervals for their results.”

Note: What I was looking for was the significance of the difference in pre- and post-invasion mortality in barely readable Table 2 (I think the problem was going from a hard copy paper to automatic translation into HTML for publication). I must say that the presentation of the statistics is not the best, or clearest to me. I think this is a matter of different traditions in presenting statistical results between medical researchers and social scientists. Anyway, there are confidence intervals of 95 percent on all major survey statistics, except, so far as I could find, on the difference in proportions. This is the most important statistics. Leaving out Falluja, out of 7,438 living during the pre-invasion, 46 died from one cause or another; and after the invasion, for a longer period (17.8 months versus 14.6), it was 142 deaths. As I understand their Table 2, this included 52 violent deaths in Falluja. Now, the study argues that Falluja is nonrepresentative, and should be excluded. Okay, doing so gives us 90 post-invasion deaths. So, I did several tests of the difference in proportions, and found the difference very significant in each case. But, this is due to the very large sample size. (For example, testing the significance of a correlation for a sample size of 1,000 can yield meaninglessly significant correlations accounting for something like .1 percent of the variance.) I’m not comfortable that a difference of 46 vs. 90 deaths should be the basis for proclaiming to the world that over 100,000 excess deaths occurred since the invasion. Would you take a medicine that showed only a .4 percent (100x((90/7868)-(46/7438)) improvement over taking a placebo, especially when there were side effects (in the case of Iraq, the claim of over 100,000 excess deaths provided support to the anti-American left, the terrorists, and the Ted Kennedy Vietnam-all-over-again sayers)?

Conclusion: The study has made much too much of much too little.

Rummel claim 4: I take the Iraqi health ministry figures showing 3,274 deaths
in military and terrorist conflicts in six months and multiply by 3 to get a time periods to the Lancet survey, which would mean about 9,822 civilians killed by comparison to lancet's estimate of over 100,000; 38 percent due to the terrorists versus 4 percent for Lancet. Hmmmm.

Lambert’s correction: “This is, of course, comparing apples with oranges. The Lancet estimate of 100,000 is of excess deaths. As well as deaths in the conflict, it includes the increase in murder, accidents, and disease that followed the invasion. Furthermore, the health ministry numbers are guaranteed to be an underestimate, since not every death will be recorded by Iraqi hospitals.

Conclusion: This is a good correction, technically. But then consider what the Lancet study’s estimate of over 100,000 post-invasion excess deaths really means. As Lambert says, it includes “the increase in murder, accidents and disease.” Therefore, they do not estimate the number killed by the coalition or by the terrorists, a distinction lost in the look-at-how-many-the-U.S.-has killed commentaries. This aside, still out of the 21 among the near 7,868 that died (non-Falluja) violent deaths, 12 were violent deaths not attributed to coalition forces, and two were attributed to anti-coalition forces. That is still very disproportionate and raises questions when the Health Ministry gets 38 percent terrorist killed, even taking into account that not all deaths are hospital recorded.

I assume that Lambert accepts that on which he did not comment. This would be:

1. In the survey, Death certificates were required of death claims in at least 2 out of 30 households, which leaves a lot of room for false claims

2. The survey says: “When violent deaths were attributed to a faction in the conflict or to criminal forces, no further investigation into the death was made to respect the privacy of the family and for the safety of the interviewers.” Then, how did the fear of a family about the interviewers (when life is at stake, can one really trust what an interviewer promises about secrecy) bias the results?

3. There was no attempt to determine if a family supported the terrorists, or was part of the previous tyranny.

4. The survey found that there was no evidence of “widespread wrongdoing on the part of individual soldiers on the ground.” In fact, it found no wrongdoing, that is, what could be violations of the Geneva Conventions. However, again, this is never noted in media reports of the survey.

I don’t want the above comments to distract from the many rigorous aspects of the survey. Again, my compliments to the research team that did it. That there are problems in this first of its kind pre- and post-tyranny sample survey is in the nature of science. We advance by iteration, and I’m sure that the next such study will deal with some of the problems in this one.

Link of Note

From Colleague

“Victor Davis Hanson -- a consummate Realist -- finds 10 reasons to support democracy in the Mid East . . . the first reason is that "It is widely said that democracies rarely attack other democracies." This is, to any Democratic Peace-er. not quite right, and his explanation paragraph is weak—but quibbles aside, I find it encouraging that the "No wars between democracies" finding is inexorably becoming part of at least some of the realist worldview. I also find it discouraging—and makes me angry—that the wacko libertarians are not only skeptical of the democratic peace, but actively hostile to it -- without ANY substantive critique.

Anyway -- the "10 reasons" are packed with goodies -- so don't miss Hanson!”

”Why Democracy?” (2/11/05) By Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is a military historian and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

Democracy was not our first, but rather out last choice in the Middle East. For decades we have promoted Cold War realpolitik and supported thugs whose merit was simply that they were not as bad as a murderous Saddam or Assad (true enough), while the Arab world has gone from kings and dictators to Soviet puppets, Pan-Arabists, Islamists, and theocrats. Democracy in some sense is the last chance. It alone offers constitutional guarantees of free speech, minority rights, and an independent judiciary — a framework, a system, a paradigm in which naturally savage humans, prone to all sorts of awful things, as the 20th century attests, can somehow get along. Given the savagery of the modern Middle East that would say quite a lot.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Saturday Responses


This is in response to the variety of comments on my week’s blogs.

A number of them reflected how upset a number of libertarians (and libertarian blogs and sites, as well) were at my call for censorship of the press regarding wartime secrets. They seem to believe that the press should be free to publish anything, including any secrets about the war, such as names of our spies, troop movements, names of the Iranians helping us, etc. If so, these people are beyond reason.

But, if the commentators wish to censor only such military secrets, then the difference between us is not that great. I’m reminded of the story of the guy on a date that asks his gal if she would sleep with him for a million dollars. After some thought she replies, “I guess so.” So he asks if she would for twenty-five-dollars. “What do you think I am?” she replies angrily. “Well, we settled that,” he says, “we’re just haggling over the price.”

In line with this, some comments imply that I am trying to censor an uncensored press. It is already censored, heavily. What, don’t believe me? Then try publishing frontal nudity, or pornographic pics. Try revealing a woman's breast during a Superbowl half time—again. Try publishing obscenity. Try “hate speech.” Try slander of a private citizen. Try commercial fraud. “Ah, these are nonpolitical,” one might say,“ but in political matters there is free speech.” Sorry, not true. There is the Campaign Finance Reform law that restricts political speech. Overall, we’re just haggling over what is to be censored.

I have no difficulty understanding the left’s position on censorship and nonintervention. They are against it if it favors the U.S. and the free market, and for it for socialist, left wing regimes. But I just don’t understand libertarians on this. I have yet to find a coherent libertarian argument for a free press publishing vital military secrets and for nonintervention, even to save the lives of millions as in Sudan, and as could have been done in Rwanda. It seems to me that this is a mantra that has set in with Rothbard and his followers, and has developed a social life. You know, like, “See, I’m a libertarian too.” If there is a reasoned libertarian argument for it, point me to it.

One commentator concludes sarcastically, “Peace and freedom through war and censorship!” This implies that the press should be free to print any secret, and any thug regime should be free to develop nuclear arms and support, even with nukes, the terrorists' war on us. Again, let me see the reasoning.

On foreign affairs, libertarians are not only appear visceral and irrational, but it seems fair to say that if they had their way sixty-five years ago, the Japanese military would still rule China, South East Asia and the Pacific, while the Nazis would control Europe, Russia, and North Africa. In that world, I doubt that we would have much freedom left. Nor would we in the foreseeable future if the libertarian noninterventionist rules out foreign policy.

The argument another commentator makes is that censorship is only justified if war is formally declared. This is misunderstanding of the consequences of such a declaration. First, Bush did declare war, but not formally, not legally. If Congress did declare war formally, then we enter a new international relations governed by the laws of war. These would require, for example, that nations declare which side they are on, or their neutrality. It would greatly restrict our uses of bases abroad unless the host country also declares war with us. This and other aspects of these laws of war would make the pursuit of war against the terrorists very difficult.

Jesse has an important comment on my 2/9/05 blog. I agree with its substance, reflected in this quote: “It seems to me the idea [that] totalitarian dictatorships have a valid claim of state sovereignty should be questioned, and questioned because they have proved beyond a doubt their human rights record is one of consistently and severely violating the individual sovereignty their ‘citizens’.” Yes, I go further. As I pointed out in my 12/31/05 blog, dictatorships should be made a crime against humanity.

Kartoph asks whether I’m in favor of nuking North Korea. One has to keep in mind that it would mean another Korean War, and it would have to be with full American military involvement again to save South Korea. A million deaths all around is a reasonable estimate. We can do many things diplomatically and through sanctions before that bloody need arises. Moreover, the thug regime may well implode, and there are signs in the wind that it is coming. See my blog “Is the N. Korean Thugdom Collapsing?” of 2/2/05.

Mihalache claims that. “The Bush administration wants to rule the World not for freedom, but for its own concrete gains.” Hardly. Bush’s declaratory foreign policy is in line with the democratic peace, as are his actions. Also, Mihalache says, “If I understand you correctly, you want to turn the US military and its policy making institutions into the World's military and the World's official policy.” The U.S. is the world’s only superpower, and cannot be militarily defeated by any nation or combination of nations. Therefore, it is de facto the world’s military machine. As to the world’s official policy, in the sense that Bush is trying to rally democracies to form an alliance in the pursuit of freeing people from tyranny, he is trying to make freedom the official policy of the democracies. I agree with this. And so must ask, “What is wrong with the nonviolent fostering of freedom?”

James Redford says that, “anyone parrotting [sic]the ‘liberation’ line is either a truly ignorant person or a lying sycophant--the same goes with the other lines, as well.” Sigh. Guess I’m ignorant or a lying sycophant. Probably both. As to the rest of his long and fulsome comment, I fade out when he claims that the FBI bombed the World Trade Center in 1993, or that Hamas is a creature of Israel. Then he writes, “Those who control the U.S. government didn't just know in advance and intentionally let the 9/11 attacks happen as a Hegelian dialectical PsyOp in order to obtain more power and control--they funded, shepherded, trained and protected the terrorists every step of the way. They didn't just intentionally let it happen: they made it happen.” This speaks for itself.

Link of Note

”They Heard It All Here, And That's the Trouble” (6/16/02) By Dennis Puchinsky

In 2002, Dennis Pluchinsky was a senior intelligence analyst with the Diplomatic Security Service in the U.S. Department of State ( don’t know his present position). He was concerned that the media was doing the terrorists intelligence for them. In effect, providing them vital aid. He said:
What also infuriates me is when the media publish follow-up reports noting that security measures or procedures around a specific target or system still have not been implemented. Not only do the media identify potential target vulnerabilities for the terrorists but they also provide our foes with progress reports! . . .
In a war situation, it is not business as usual. Use some common sense. Certainly, if a reporter or academician believes that he or she has discovered a vulnerability or flaw in one of our sectors or systems, it is important to let others know. It seems reasonable to me that a process should be established where such articles are filtered through a government agency such as the proposed Department of Homeland Security. A skeptic would call this censorship; a patriot would call it cooperation. This type of cooperation existed during World War II and believe me, this current war is a "world war" also.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

More of a Threat than Soviet Nukes


Why, it is asked, should we be so afraid of terrorists having nuclear weapons when during most of the Cold War the Soviets had enough nuclear weapons to utterly destroy every major American city, and then some? Surely, the terrorist could not develop such a vast number of nukes. Yes, may be one or two, maybe in the long run even three of four, and certainly they will be a threat, but nothing like the Soviets were, it seems. And since we handled the Soviets, we should be able to deal with terrorist’s nukes. Right?

Wrong. What protected us from a Soviet first strike with their nuclear weapons was the American defense policy of deterrence. That is, if the Soviet’s attacked us, we would massively retaliate with our own nuclear weapons. In the early years of the Cold War, this meant attacking Soviet cities and major military targets. In the waning years of the Cold War, this policy was redefined to mean targets of value to the Soviet rulers, which were not only the most important military targets, but also the Communist Party, the rulers themselves, and their means of control over the nation.

Now, if the terrorists get nukes, how do we deter them? They operate in diffuse gangs, often with the secret help of sympathetic nations or groups within nations (such as a Muslim sub-community). And they are willing to die for their cause, which is often simply killing Americans. If the terrorists are able to hide a small nuclear bomb in a container unloaded in New York, and set it off, the result would be a city destroyed and perhaps half-a million murdered. Now, whom do we retaliate against?

Of course, we will try to track the source of the nuclear bomb, and perhaps find that it was constructed with the secret help of rogue scientists from Russia and Pakistan, with ingredients and parts from N. Korea, France, and China, much of it commercial. You can be sure that if such a bomb is exploded in the U.S., there will not be a clear relationship between the terrorists and any nations, as there was between El Quida and the Taliban of Afghanistan.

In other words, an anti-terrorist-use-of-nukes policy of deterrence will not work. For this reason alone, their getting nukes are more dangerous than when the Soviets had them.

This understood, then what is to be done? What we are doing now. Imprison or kill the terrorists, destroy their infrastructure, warn states that are supporting them about the consequences and apply pressure and sanctions, and prevent supporting states such as Iran from getting nukes themselves. And work at the underlying cause by working to democratize possibly supportive tyrannies. Democracies will never be a danger to us, or support terrorism. Above all, treat global terrorism as the war it is. There is too much at stake not to.

Oh, yes, let “nukes” stand for all weapons of mass destruction, and not a word of the above need be changed.

Link of Note

”N. Korea Announces It Has Nuclear Weapon” (2/10/05) By Sang-Hun Choe

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - North Korea on Thursday announced for the first time that it has nuclear arms and rejected moves to restart disarmament talks anytime soon, saying it needs the weapons as protection against an increasingly hostile United States.

N. Korea was helping Libya develop nuclear weapons, and is reportedly helping Iran. How long before Kim Il-jong decides the way to hit at its greatest enemy, the United States, is by helping the terrorists go nuclear. As for N. Korea itself, too much is made of its lack of reliable and long-range nuclear tipped missiles. Come now, there are many ways to deliver nuclear weapons without a missile (beside which the source of a missile is easy to track). How about exploding one hidden in a freighter off the port of New York?

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Rice’ing Expectations for Freedom


I looked forward to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s much heralded speech before the Science Politique in Paris yesterday. She is an agent of President Bush’s democratic peace foreign policy, but all Secretaries of State put their own signature on foreign policy, and in this speech, she did (transcript here).

I was concerned about the appointment of Rice as Secretary of State. She is a political scientist, as I am, and in reading her speeches and papers, she seemed committed to the national security and foreign policy school of realpolitik (or realism), the major theoretical school opposing, or very skeptical of, the democratic peace (democracies are agents of peace and nonviolence). Its emphasis is on stability, balancing power, and diplomacy—it fears that emphasizing democracy and particularly trying to democratize tyrannies can lead to instability (upsetting the status quo) and war, and in a time of nuclear weapons, that is too dangerous to accept. Or, to put it another way, if major powers are willing to live within the current structure of multilateral agreements and treaties, don’t monkey with it.

Now, it she were a realist, she would have said something like this in her speech:
We face the danger of violent conflict in the Middle East and must work together to resolve the issues at stake through the United Nations and multilateral diplomacy. Poverty, distrust, economic underdevelopment, and the memory of colonialism have created the seedbed for Islamic radicalism and conflict. So, I suggest that France, Germany, Britain, and the United States take the lead in organizing an international conference in Geneva involving us, and among others, Iran, Syria, China, Russia, Egypt, Palestine, and Israel to negotiate the major issues that divide us, and establish a stable structure of treaties and understandings that will assure peace.

In fact, what did she say?
Time and again in our shared history, Americans and Europeans have enjoyed our greatest successes for ourselves and for others when we refuse to accept an unacceptable status quo but instead put our values to work in the service of freedom . . . .

Borders between countries cannot be peaceful if tyrants destroy the peace of their societies from within. States where corruption and chaos and cruelty reign invariably pose threats to their neighbors, threats to their regions, and potential threats to the entire international community. . . .

We on the right side of freedom's divide have an obligation to help those unlucky enough to have been born on the wrong side of that divide. . . .

. . . the fair wind of freedom is at our back. Freedom is spreading from the villages of Afghanistan to the squares in Ukraine, from the streets in the Palestinian territories to the streets of Georgia, to the polling stations of Iraq. . . .

Freedom defines our opportunity and our challenge. It is a challenge that we are determined to meet. . . . .

Freedom unlocks the creativity and drive that produces genuine wealth. Freedom is the key to incorruptible institutions. Freedom is the key to responsive government. . . .
When the president spoke at Whitehall in London, he talked about 60 years of trying to buy stability at the expense of freedom, and getting neither. . . .

In our time, we have an historic opportunity to shape a global balance of power that favors freedom and that will therefore deepen and extend the peace. . . .

If we make the pursuit of global freedom the organizing principle of the 21st century, we will achieve historic global advances -- for justice and prosperity, for liberty and for peace.

1. She called terrorists terrorists, unlike the major media.
2. She threw out stability, and did not emphasize the UN or multilateral diplomacy.
3. The emphasis was on freedom, as it is for Bush.
4. She accepts that promoting freedom promotes peace, and is thus a willing and able engineer of his freedom train.
5. Her signature is in forgetting about the past animosities, and now making promoting freedom a joint enterprise of the European democracies and the United States.

Right on.

Link of Note

”The Path to Peace” (2/7/05) By Johathan Riches

“The Democratic Peace Theory is perhaps the most widely accepted paradigm among international relations theorists. It has been described as "the closest thing we have to an empirical law in international relations." As stated, the theory of the Democratic Peace is relatively straightforward: Democracies do not engage one another in wars, and they are less likely to initiate war against other regimes. The fascinating thing about this "theory" is that historical evidence from the last several centuries suggests that the Democratic Peace is more of a truism than a hypothesis. The implication of the idea that democracies possess innate characteristics that prohibit conflict between them is both hopeful and promising. If true, it would seem that the quickest route to "world peace" is through the spread of democratic states. But first, let us look at the evidence.”

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Censor the Media


One has to be pretty far on the left not to see the media as biased against freeing Iraqi from tyranny. The bad news is generally highlighted, and the good news ignored; U.S. killed is the headline of the day, while the hundreds of terrorist eliminated for once and for all seems to never happen. Obviously, this is an attempt to repeat the glory days of the Vietnam War when the media turned military victory into defeat, and was the Democrat’s backbone in forcing a cowardly withdrawal, leaving millions of South Vietnamese and Cambodians to their own Holocaust.

But, what to do? When Americans are being shot at and killed in the line of duty; when they knowingly put themselves at risk to free a people from tyranny; when the country is at war; and when in the long run ALL Americans are at risk from biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons terrorists and their state supporters might use against us; we cannot afford to have the media freely providing aid and comfort to the enemy. The stakes are too high.

Often, it as though the media does not know which side it is on. They argue that they are “objectively reporting the news” and therefore should not be for one side or another. Thus, you read not about “terrorists” cutting off heads of their hostages, blowing up innocent civilians (and violating the most fundamental clauses of the Geneva Conventions), but “insurgents,” “radicals,” or the latest, “militants” killing hostages. “Killing,” not murdering. Killing is what enemy soldiers do to each other in battle. Murder is the intentional killing of an unarmed civilian. But, have you ever read of the terrorists murdering someone? Not strange that you do not. Why, this would be partisan reporting.

This is war. If the media has its way and we withdraw immediately from Iraq, or even begin staged withdrawals now with a timetable, the terrorists win. With the support of Syria, this is assured. Then, the resulting democide by the victorious terrorists may well come close to that in South Vietnam after we withdrew. And, so heartened by our lack of will, the terrorists throughout the world could only get more state support, including even possible help on nukes from North Korea or China (somehow, it has been forgotten that China is still ruled by its Communist Party, and our enemy).

In both World Wars I and II, the media reports on the war were strictly controlled. They must be again. Just in lives alone that might be saved thereby, it is necessary. How far should this go? I would use the censorship of World War II as criteria. This would mean, for example, that news reports of secret commando operations in Iran, or the employment of a secret weapon, or . . . well, you get the idea.

If the media continues its refusal to support the war, or censor itself (oops, correction, it does censor itself against good news), and no government censorship is applied, then I will predict this. If any American cities are destroyed by nuclear weapons, or there is a terrorist created plague of some deadly disease killing millions of Americans, the possibility of which is one of the reasons we are at war, the media will not only be censored forthwith, but survivors will violently attack reporters, commentators, and the offices of the media they believe to be partly responsible.

Link of Note

”Fourth estate or fifth column?“ (1/29/05) By Thomas Sowell

“Too many in the media today regard the reporting of the Vietnam War as one of their greatest triumphs. It certainly showed the power of the media— but also its irresponsibility. Some in the media today seem determined to recapture those glory days by how they report on events in the Iraq war.”

Monday, February 07, 2005

How Many Iraqi Civilians Killed?


Assessing the Iraq civilian death toll is, as in any war like this, a can of worms. Nonetheless, many organizations have tried, and some of the civilian toll they have come up with follows:

From the BBC review (link here)

  • Unofficial estimates = 10k to >37k
  • Iraq body count = 14k-16k
  • Brookings = 10k-27k
  • UK foreign secretary = >10k
  • Peoples Kifah = >37k
  • Lancet = >100k

If these are all deaths in the war between terrorists and the American coalition, one must ask three questions about the estimates. How many civilians did the terrorists murder? How many civilian deaths were terrorists who fought in civilian clothes, or murder (suicide) bombers. How many were those killed in the crossfire between terrorists and the coalition (the terrorists hid and fought in urban areas, among civilians, and from schools, hospitals, and mosques, again wearing civilian clothes)? And how many were murdered by the coalition?

None of the estimates of death break this down in this way. Most lump all sources of death together to give one estimate or range of estimates of civilian deaths.

Now, lets look at the Lancet estimate (link here). It has become the basis for extensive criticism of the U.S. for its attack on Iraq, and now a mantra of anti-Americans. It is a sample survey study of near 1,000 households that compares Iraqi civilian mortality just before the war to that after the invasion.

The pre-invasion statistics were compiled by Saddam’s Ministry of Health. There are questions one must ask of such a source that the Lancet researchers do inadequently. Did the ministry include murders or massacres by the Iraqi regime, such as in prison. To what degree did it include the deaths of children from the lack of food and medicine due to Hussein’s refusal to use for that purpose the funds the UN set aside from his oil sales. Moreover, the way pre-invasion deaths were defined excludes periods of mass Iraqi deaths, as in the war Hussein launched against Iran in which overall a million were killed, and the mass murder of Kurds in the north and Shiites in the south to repress their rebellions. As a rule of thumb, never accept surveys or statistics produced under a bloody tyranny—what people say or do under such a system is out of fear.

As to the toll during the invasion, the estimate of over 100k is a projection from the near 1,000 households interviewed in randomly selected or matched clusters of 30 households. Death certificates were required of claims of deaths in at least 2 out of 30 households, which leaves a lot of room for false claims.

Note that the survey says: “When violent deaths were attributed to a faction in the conflict or to criminal forces, no further investigation into the death was made to respect the privacy of the family and for the safety of the interviewers.” Then, how did the fear of a family about the interviewees (when life is at stake, can one really trust what an interviewer promises about secrecy) bias the results.

There was no attempt to determine if a family supported the terrorists.

I have considerable difficulty reading their Table 2, but interpret it to be saying that except for Falluja, which was a nonrepresentative case of all out urban warfare, 52 family members among the near 1,000 families died voilent deaths; 12 violent deaths were not attributed to coalition forces . . . and two were attributed to anti-coalition forces.” Two?

No tests of significance were applied to any of Lancet’s statistical results. Why?

What has not been mentioned in the reporting on this study (clearly, an oversight) is that it found:
“. . . household interview data do not show evidence of widespread wrongdoing on the part of individual soldiers on the ground. To the contrary, only three of 61 incidents (5%) involved coalition soldiers (all reported to be American by the respondents) killing Iraqis with small arms fire. In one of the three cases, the 56-year-old man killed might have been a combatant. In a second case, a 72-year-old man was shot at a checkpoint. In the third, an armed guard was mistaken for a combatant and shot during a skirmish. In the latter two cases, American soldiers apologized to the families of the decedents for the killings, indicating a clear understanding of the adverse consequences of their use of force. The remaining 58 killings (all attributed to US forces by interviewees) were caused by helicopter gunships, rockets, or other forms of aerial weaponry.”

I believe this study is a case of applying a rigorous survey approach to faulty assumptions. And to a population in the midst of a war, and living amongst terrorists and their supporters who do violate every clause of the Geneva Conventions while the coalition bends over backwards to follow it, particularly involving civilians.

Conclusion. I highly respect the dedication and attempted objectivity of the group that did the Lancet study. I hope that there are follow up studies that correct some of the serious problems with this one.

Link of Note

”Iraq data 'includes rebel deaths'” (1/30/05)

The BBC's Panorama programme reported coalition and Iraqi security forces were responsible for most civilian conflict deaths in the past six months.

But the health ministry says that its figures were misinterpreted.

The BBC regrets mistakes in its published and broadcast reports," said a BBC spokesman.

The Iraqi figures said that 3,274 people died in conflict situations in the period July-December 2004.

Of these, 2,041 of those were categorised as the result of "military operations" while 1,233 were blamed on "terrorist operations".

But the health ministry says those recorded as dying in military action included people killed by insurgents, not just those killed by troops from the multinational force or Iraqi security bodies.

The deaths recorded included those of militants as well as civilians, officials said.

The statistics also showed that 12,657 people were injured by the continuing violence in the same six months.

The Lancet study covered about 18 months during the invasion. The above statistics cover 6 months. So multiple by 3 to get comparable time periods, which would mean about 9,822 civilians killed by comparison to lancet’s estimate of over 100,000; 38 percent due to the terrorists versus 4 percent for Lancet. Hmmm.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Darfur—400,000+ Not Genocide? But, Damn It, It’s Democide


Now, the Commission of Inquiry on Darfur (link below) concluded that while Sudan’s thug regime committed wholesale mass murder (democide, in my terms) against the non-Arab/African tribes of Darfur, this was not genocide. Many scholars and analysts disagree.

The problem is in the legal meaning of genocide, particularly whether Sudan’s thug regime intended to eliminate in whole or in part these tribes. (See my last blog) Judging by the satisfaction of this requirement by the Holocaust, Turkey’s genocide of the Armenians, and the Hutu genocide of the Tutsi in Rwanda, intentionality in the case of Darfur is ambiguous, and the Commission makes a defensible case.

However, much of the confusion comes from the other meanings of genocide. In its common meaning—to murder people by virtue of their group membership, where the intention is implicit in the systematic murder of group members—most used by scholars of genocide, the murders in Darfur comprise genocide.

Similarly with the general meaning of genocide, where genocide = democide.

There is a role for the legal meaning in that if satisfied, it justifies international intervention (and thus the accusation that the Commission’s Report is biased in trying to protect the Sudan thug regime from intervention dangerous to its survival). However, and underline this, the International Court of Justice also has jurisdiction over crimes against humanity, which do include democide (by other names). And the Commission well shows factually and in detail, that democide has happened, is happening, and will continue to happen.

Lets focus on the democide and leave the question of genocide to the lawyers. Otherwise, we are like the doctors so utterly focused on whether a person has prostate cancer, they tend to ignore the lung cancer eating away at his life.

It’s democide folks. All agree. Over 400,000 killed or murdered. Now, lets stop it.

Links of Note

”Report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur to the United Nations Secretary-General” (1/25/05)

Based on a thorough analysis of the information gathered in the course of its investigations, the Commission established that the Government of the Sudan and the Janjaweed are responsible for serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law amounting to crimes under international law. In particular, the Commission found that Government forces and militias conducted indiscriminate attacks, including killing of civilians, torture, enforced disappearances, destruction of villages, rape and other forms of sexual violence, pillaging and forced displacement, throughout Darfur. These acts were conducted on a widespread and systematic basis, and therefore may amount to crimes against humanity. . . .

The Commission concluded that the Government of the Sudan has not pursued a policy of genocide. Arguably, two elements of genocide might be deduced from the gross violations of human rights perpetrated by Government forces and the militias under their control. These two elements are, first, the actus reus consisting of killing, or causing serious bodily or mental harm, or deliberately inflicting conditions of life likely to bring about physical destruction; and, second, on the basis of a subjective standard, the existence of a protected group being targeted by the authors of criminal conduct. However, the crucial element of genocidal intent appears to be missing, at least as far as the central Government authorities are concerned. . . . The conclusion that no genocidal policy has been pursued and implemented in Darfur by the Government authorities, directly or through the militias under their control, should not be taken in any way as detracting from the gravity of the crimes perpetrated in that region. International offences such as the crimes against humanity and war may be no less serious and heinous than genocide.

”Letting Sudan Get Away with Murder” (2/4/05) By Ben Kiernan

Debate over whether to call the mass murder in Darfur "genocide" is preventing efforts to bring those responsible to justice.

Ben Kiernan is the A. Whitney Griswold Professor of History and Director of the Genocide Studies Program at Yale University.

”Genocide Has Been Occurring in Darfur, U.S. Government Reaffirms”
(2/1/05) By Charles W. Corey

Even though the U.S. government welcomes the work that has been completed by a United Nations commission of inquiry on Darfur, the United States still stands by its own conclusion reached September 2004 that genocide has been occurring in Darfur, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said February 1.

”Report . . . . A critical analysis (Part I) (2/2/05) By Eric Reeves

The report . . . is of immense importance. This report offers us by far the most complete and compelling picture of massive criminality in the Darfur conflict, and establishes beyond any reasonable doubt the vastly disproportional culpability of Khartoum’s regular military forces and its Janjaweed militia allies. . . .

At the same time, the report is badly compromised in its tendentious and poorly reasoned conclusion about the absence of evidence of “genocidal intent” on the part of Khartoum in Darfur. Indeed, so egregiously poor are the legal and factual arguments about the issue of “genocidal intent” that we must conclude this Commission did not feel politically free to make a determination of genocide.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Genocide Vs. Democide


In the coming blog on Monday, I want to comment on the UN report denying genocide in Darfur. But, first I want to clarify the difference between genocide and democide. Often in this blog I use the latter term for murder by government, as do some of my links. But the more popular term is genocide, as in the aforementioned UN report.

What are the differences and similarities between democide and genocide? As defined, elaborated, and qualified in my Death By Government (link here) democide is any murder by officials acting under the authority of the central government. That is, they act according to explicit or implicit government policy or with the implicit or explicit approval of the highest officials. Such was the burying alive of Chinese civilians by Japanese soldiers, the shooting of hostages by German soldiers, or the starving to death of Ukrainians by communist cadre.

Genocide, however, is a confused and confusing concept. It may or may not include government murder, refer to wholly or partially eliminating some group, or involve psychological damage. If it includes government murder, it may mean all such murder or just some. Boiling all this down, genocide can have three different meanings (on this, see my encyclopedia entry here).

One meaning is that defined by international treaty, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. This makes genocide a punishable crime under international law, and defines it as:
any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Note that only the first clause includes outright killing, while the other clauses cover non-killing ways of eliminating a group. I will call this definition the legal meaning of genocide, since it is now part of international law.

Regardless of this definition and doubtlessly influenced by the Holocaust, ordinary usage and that by students of genocide have tended to wholly equate it with the murder and only the murder by government of people because of their nationality, race, ethnicity, or religion. This equating of genocide with the killing of people because of their indelible group membership I will label the common meaning of genocide.

What about government murdering people for other reasons than their indelible group membership? What about government organized death squads eliminating communist sympathizers, simply fulfilling a government death quota (as in the Soviet Union under Stalin), or the murder of those who criticized government policy? None of such murders are genocide according the legal and common meanings. To cover such murders, some students of genocide have stretched its meaning to include all government murder, regardless of group identity. This may be aptly named the generalized meaning of genocide. In this meaning, genocide = democide.

As obvious, the problem with the generalized meaning of genocide is that to fill one void it creates another. For if genocide refers to all government murder, what are we to call the murder of people because of their nationality, race, ethnicity, or religion? It is precisely because of this conceptual problem that the concept of democide is useful.

For understanding and research, the legal view of genocide is too complex and subsumes behavior too different in kind. I argue, therefore, that genocide should ordinarily be understood as the government murder of people because of their indelible group membership (let the international lawyers struggle with the legal meaning), and democide as any murder by government, including this form of genocide.

This understood, governments murdered about 170,000,000 people in the last century, 1900-1987. Around 38,000,000 of that was genocide. For what governments committed what and when, see Tables 16A.1 of my Statistics of Democide (link here).

Link of Note

”20th Century Democide” By R.J. Rummel

A narrative and statistical overview.
Power kills, absolute Power kills absolutely . . . . The more power a government has, the more it can act arbitrarily according to the whims and desires of the elite, the more it will make war on others and murder its foreign and domestic subjects. The more constrained the power of governments, the more it is diffused, checked and balanced, the less it will aggress on others and commit democide. At the extremes of Power, totalitarian communist governments slaughter their people by the tens of millions, while many democracies can barely bring themselves to execute even serial murderers.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Lets Honor America for a Change


In his great “State of the Union” 2005 address (transcript here), President Bush concluded:
Our Nation, working with allies and friends, has also confronted the enemy abroad, with measures that are determined, successful, and continuing. The al-Qaida terror network that attacked our country still has leaders � but many of its top commanders have been removed. There are still governments that sponsor and harbor terrorists � but their number has declined. There are still regimes seeking weapons of mass destruction � but no longer without attention and without consequence. . . . America will stand with the allies of freedom to support democratic movements in the Middle East and beyond, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world. . . . Our aim is to build and preserve a community of free and independent nations, with governments that answer to their citizens, and reflect their own cultures. And because democracies respect their own people and their neighbors, the advance of freedom will lead to peace.

That advance has great momentum in our time � shown by women voting in Afghanistan, and Palestinians choosing a new direction, and the people of Ukraine asserting their democratic rights and electing a president. We are witnessing landmark events in the history of liberty. And in the coming years, we will add to that story. . . . Our generational commitment to the advance of freedom, especially in the Middle East, is now being tested and honored in Iraq. . . . We will succeed because the Iraqi people value their own liberty � as they showed the world last Sunday. Across Iraq, often at great risk, millions of citizens went to the polls and elected 275 men and women to represent them in a new Transitional National Assembly.

The United States is a great country in the cause of peace and freedom, as this speech well shows. Aside from what was mentioned in the speech, consider this history.

In 1999, the United States and its NATO allies saved Kosovo from the ongoing mass murder by the Milosevic regime. It had used its military and paramilitary forces to slaughter about 10,000 Kosovo Albanians and drive out of the country perhaps a million of these poor people. The American and allied intervention also paved the way for Slobodan Milosevic to be indicted by the International War Crimes Tribunal and extradited to The Hague in June 2001 to stand trial.

In the memory of many of us still, the United States and its allies rid the world of the democidal fascist regimes of Japan (over 5 million murdered), Germany (over 21 million), and Italy (over 220 thousand); saved South Korea from the democidal prison-state of North Korea (so far many millions murdered), at least tried to save South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from murderous communist bloodbath (ultimately murdering many millions), secured the world from the democidal horror of Soviet Communism (about 61 million murdered), and finally ended the ideological pretensions of communism.

Over half the world owes its freedom and independence to the United States, even including those that thumb their noses at us, such as France and Germany, and if we just speak of independence, then the independence of all Asian countries is a product of American blood and resources (in the defeat of Japan in World War II), including all of Europe, Russia, and the Arab states, as well as virtually all of Asia.

Surely, those who hate democide and the lack of human rights will note that the United States is the best possible ally in our cause. Indeed, we could characterize the United States (its administrations, its congress, and its people) as a swift and most effective democide and ruling thug cleanser and human rights promoter. And it is doing so with a minimal loss of life.

And throughout history, what country but the United States would have Western Europe and Asia prostrate under its military power in 1945, and yet work to democratize its former enemies, give them independence, provide billions of dollars in economic aid, and then pull out. By comparison, the Soviet Union, the only other world competitor after it recovered from the war, subjected to its total political control those nations it occupied militarily.

What international organizations, international law, and the plethora of intellectual and academic analyses and solutions have been unable to do, the United States with one coalition or another has done. It has often left in its wake democracy or the process of democratization—the only solution to democide and war that we know of and has worked. We all are better for it.

Of course, the US has committed excesses, as I’m sure some readers will write me about. Of course, there is much to criticize. Of course, its foreign policies have not been perfect or always on the side of the angels. Of course, it has domestic problems. It is a country of and by imperfect human beings. But no matter. As we should be proud and happy over firemen that have saved families from a burning home, regardless of their personal imperfections or that some were clumsy, misplaced their axes, and forgot about the families' valuable antiques, we should cheer over what the United States has done.

Take a moment from the major media’s headlines stressing the negatives to give three cheers to this country and its people.

Link of Note

”10 things to celebrate
Why I'm an anti-anti-American”
(6/29/03) Dinesh D'Souza

"To make us love our country," Edmund Burke once said, "our country ought to be lovely." Burke's point is that we should love our country not just because it is ours, but also because it is good. America is far from perfect, and there is lots of room for improvement. In spite of its flaws, however, American life as it is lived today is the best life that our world has to offer. Ultimately America is worthy of our love and sacrifice because, more than any other society, it makes possible the good life, and the life that is good.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Is the N. Korean Thugdom Collapsing?


Bits and pieces of news are leaking out the most disgusting of all thugdoms, North Korea, that may be wishful thinking, deception, or signs of what is to come. Note these items (I report, you decide).

Increasingly, North Koreans are risking death to escape this evil thugdom.

Reportedly, 130 generals have defected to China; also, many officials and cadre below the ministry level are fleeing.

Experts on North Korea and those dealing with it believe that its ruling gang of thugs is on the verge of collaspe

Below is the portrait of Kim Jong-il hanging in a North Korean factory—it was defaced by writing demanding democracy and freedom. If caught, the defacer would face execution.

Tears all around

Japan’s Public Security Intelligence Agency reports that there are signs of instability in North Korea.

South Korea, Japan, China, and the Bush Administration appear to be preparing for the North’s collaspe.

There was a reported assassination attempt against Kim Jong-il’s eldest son in Austria in November, and he is afraid to return home.

Kim’s powerful brother-in-law has been purged and put under house arrest after trying to put his own son in power.

Vice-Marshal Jo Myong-rok, second in power to Kim, has disappeared in person and from any mention in the newspapers since September 17 of last year, even missing an important state function celebrating Kim’s becoming Supreme Commander of the Army.

Kim’s son and heir apparent was reportedly in a palace shoot out with the illegitimate son of Kim Il-sung (former dictator and father of Kim Jong-il).

Reports by exiles say that North Korean agents are “frantically” selling assets to raise cash.

Famine is on the march as government rations supply only nine ounces of food a day, half of the calories required to sustain life, and the cost of ordinary food has soared well beyond the income of the average worker.

And this is a thugdom that already may have some nuclear weapons, and is in the process of deploying ballistic missiles (based on the Soviet R-27—see link below) with a possible range of 1,500-2,500 miles, enough to hit the Aleutian Islands, all of Japan, northern China and Manchuria, including Peiping, and major cities in Russia’s Siberia, and, of course, Russia’s vital port of Vladivostok. Simply put, instability in North Korea combined with its huge military capability, nuclear weapons, and missiles are the word’s most explosive and deadly combination today.

Link of Note

”New North Korean Missiles Could Threaten U.S.” (8/3/04) From Global

Emerging reports indicate that . . . North Korea . . . is developing-- and is in the process of deploying--at least two new ballistic missile systems.

The first is a land-based road-mobile medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM)/intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) with an estimated range of 2,500-4,000km. The second is a companion submarine or ship-mounted ballistic missile system with a range of at least 2,500km. Both systems appear to be based on the decommissioned Soviet R-27 (NATO: SS-N-6) submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).

The R-27 is a single-stage, liquid-propellant SLBM that became operational in the Soviet Navy during 1968. It weighs 14,200kg and is 9.65m in length, with a diameter of 1.5m and a range of 2,500km. The original version carried a single nuclear re-entry vehicle (RV), while the later R-27U carried three RVs, each with a 200kT payload.

Okay, Secretary Rice, to work.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Democide Vs. Other Causes of Death


A question I often get is how all the murder committed by governments, virtually all by criminal dictatorships (sorry, that was redundant—I need only say dictatorships—see “Dictatorships—A Crime Against Humanity” here) compares to other causes of death, such as war and diseases. So, below I present such a comparison chart for the world’s average annual democide rate 1900-1987 to the world’s annual death rate from other causes (this is one of a number of my attempts to visualize the world’s democide toll— link here).

Tears all around

Note that governments murdered more people than all deaths combined due to traffic accidents, war, homicide, and alcohol.

The total murdered by governments over 1900-1987 was 170,000,000; a less systematic update of the toll brings it to 174,000,000 for 1900-1999. Shocking, yes? Now, think about how little is said about democide in textbooks and the media. Even more astounding, isn’t it?

For a chapter long dissection of the meaning and definition of democide, see this link.

And so, democide goes on in North Korea, Sudan, both Congos, China, Laos, Liberia, the Ivory Coast, and dozens and dozens of other dictatorships, mainly not some big episode of murder that would make the news, but as the day-by-day operation of government agencies. In other words, murder is a normal daily operation of these thugdoms.

How do we account for this continuing carnage? In these post-Cold War years, it’s the bloody success of immoral noninterventionism, and obsolete realpolitiks. Stability trumps stopping the murderous thugs, you know.

Link of Note

”Congo death toll up to 3.8m” Guardian Unlimited Special Report (12/10/204)

“Six years of conflict in Congo have claimed 3.8 million lives - half of them children - with most victims killed by disease and famine in the still largely cut-off east, the International Rescue Committee said yesterday.

“More than 31,000 civilians die each month as a result of the conflict despite peace deals, the group said, citing mortality surveys prepared with the aid of on-site medical teams. The association has for years produced the most widely used estimate of deaths in the country.”

Much of this is democide. And it goes on. And on. And on.