[eDebate] ans Korcok

Ryan Bach solistus
Sun Aug 5 21:32:02 CDT 2007

I'm going to ignore my own sage advice and respond to this.  I'll stick to the line by line lest MK accuse me of ignoring something.

>>i'm not saying you are the single worst judge ever, but you are a damn good reason for MPJ/strikes.

The feeling is mutual.  Luckily, I am a debater (i.e., the people who are "supposed" to be belligerent and argumentative) and you are a director of forensics (i.e., the people who are supposed to be good examples and teach sound argumentation to student debaters).  I'll take the fact that you are reduced to ad homs in your very first line of response as a complement, so thank you.

>>just because you are a punk kid that calls himself the 5th International of Democratic Socialism doesn't absolve you from at least trying not to be an ideological drudge. talk about "fractal wrongness"...

Huh?  When did I mention socialism?  Oh, right, I forgot that everyone to the left of PNAC is a socialist now.

>>RB: "Iraq is better off now than they would be if we had not invaded."
>>MK: WOO!!!! you got the resolution sorta right... that's better than Lewis has managed...

Cool.  It's nice that you can't even agree on the topic of the debate without slipping in an attack on someone.  Your maturity must be a beacon to your squad.  Or are we touching on a soft spot in your ideological world view?

>>RB: "MK has one offensive claim: that there has been a net decrease in deaths in Iraq thanks to the invasion."
>>MK: yeah... 1 offensive claim... the liberation has saved about 100,000 human lives NET. that's the one offensive claim ...

Thanks for reminding me of your impact.  Are you saying you have multiple arguments?  Is it really necessary to get defensive about the number of arguments you are making?

>>RB: "JL has defence on this with the sanctions argument."
>>MK: unh hunh... and what "defence" is that? is there a single piece of evidence about sanctions OTHER than the card Lewis had that said the sanctions bad study was a piece of shit manufactured by Saddam Hussein? is there a single attempt to quantify how many of the 100,000 lives saved were just from the sanctions being lifted? is there an answer to "the liberation lifted the sanctions so they count for liberation?"
oh and have i mentioned that you are a crappy judge?

It's really annoying that you answer the first sentence of an argument and ridicule it for not going in depth, when precisely the discussion you are asking for is on the next line.

>>RB: "MK claims the stats are bullshit, but neither side has convincing evidence that provides a mechanism for improved life expectancy or decreased child mortality."
>>MK: when did i claim "the stats are bullshit"? it sounds like you can't do math so are making shit up.

Dude, the argument YOU JUST MADE is that the stats study was "a piece of shit manufactured by Saddam Hussein."  I think "the stats are bullshit" is a pretty fair summary of this argument.  This is like arguing with the Bush Administration; you won't even admit to saying what you JUST SAID.

>>lots of the stats are not contested, including 36,000 iraqi infants alive that would be dead if the 2002 infant mortality rate had held, about 80,000 Iraqi adults alive who would be dead if the 2002 death rate had held, and life expectancy up 2 years per person since 2002. also, the IraqBodyCount stats are uncontested, which conclude that 72,000 Iraqis have died in fighting over the last 4 1/2 years. also, there is no objection to my estimate that Saddam and Sons murdered about 50,000
Iraqis a year. also not contested is Lewis's evidence that 3 million Iraqi children died from 1992-2003 was a lie by Saddam to make sanctions look much worse than they were... i accepted that the total was actually about 800,000 which means that there were almost ZERO excess child mortality deaths due to sanctions.

>>I contest only 1 stat. that is the Lancet claim that 655,000 Iraqis have been killed in the liberation. I explain how and why that crazy number was generated and point folks to a discussion of it. Lewis grants the criticism.

Yes, you contested the stats that JL provided.  No shit, you're not contesting your own stats.  The argument is about root cause and significance.  I'm gonna stop slipping into this ad hom absurdity, because I don't think there's any confusion here to clear up.  You contest the Lancet stats and JL's claims about the sanctions being primarily responsible.

>>Lewis never asked for a "mechanism for imporved life expectancy" which is why I didn't provide one. why is that an important part of your decision-making when it isn't ever an issue in the "debate"? And Lewis probably didn't ask for a MECHANISM because it is obvious even to him: Saddam and Sons were vicious butchers who murdered 50,000 Iraqis a year to keep power - when the US liberated Iraq they stopped the vicious murders - true there is still plenty of killing going on but it is MUCH MUCH less than that committed by Saddam's Baathists.

What do Saddam's murders have to do with infant mortality?  I highly doubt he was executing enough infants to skew the birthing statistics.  In fact, I think it's pretty silly to say that Saddam's political killings are the primary determining factor for life expectancy.  It influenced the stats, sure, but it did not determine them.  I am asking you why you think infant mortality is steadily declining.  Saddam's political killings have not been a factor for at least a couple years, and I want to know what mechanism you credit these gains to.  As to why it's relevant to my evaluation, well, when there's a dispute over the facts I need a standard by which to evaluate, and looking for the mechanism of change is the logical choice.  You are arguing that the sanctions were not a significant factor in infant mortality and life expectancy at birth.  JL is arguing that they were.  You attacked his sources, but provided none of your own.  I know why JL is claiming that sanctions are the mechanism of action (medical supplies couldn't get in before, they can now).  I don't understand what your argument is.  Now you seem to be saying Saddam's political killings are responsible.  You have no evidence of a link between Saddam's political murders and infant mortality, so if I grant you 100% of your source indict then NEITHER of you has any conclusive evidence.  That leaves me to look to which seems more reasonable, and as it stands, lifting sanctions on medical equipment seems a hell of a lot more likely to affect life expectancy and infant mortality stats than political killings.

>>RB: "Call me a crazy leftist, but it seems like lifting sanctions on medical equipment would have a more direct, positive effect on health care than military action. I challenge MK to provide a more credible mechanism."

>>MK: no, you call yourself a crazy leftist at your blog. "5th International Democratic Socialist" I believe is what you call yourself. isn't that like a Nazi or something?
>>Why the hell is the "judge" challenging me to provide "a more credible mechanism"? Wasn't that the debater's job? I am beginning to suspect that this critic is an interventionist moron... a crazy leftist interventionist moron unable to judge fairly...

So, you found a blog of mine from years ago with a tongue-in-cheek ironic theme and title (a weblog as a socialist International?  You seriously took that premise literally?) and use that as a lens to evaluate my statements.  Great.  And no, Democratic Socialism is the majority political affiliation in many (I won't say most because I don't feel like looking up the numbers) developed democracies.  Believe it or not, most countries' political spectrums haven't been jacked way to the right like the US'.  But ignorance is fun, right?

I'm asking you for a more credible mechanism because your answer to "sanctions on medical equipment lead to higher infant mortality" offered no counter-explanation.  You claimed that the invasion was to credit for the gains, not the sanctions, but you didn't explain how a military invasion relates at all to infant mortality.  You have no internal link.  Your statistical arguments don't address the cause of the change; all you have proven is that infant mortality rates have decreased since 2002.  That is consistent with JL's argument.  You have a source indict and a non-competitive argument.  THAT is why I wanted a mechanism.  You provided one now: Saddam's political killings.  I've answered that above.

>>HEY JUDGE!!! lookeee there on yer flow at the part where i make the argument "the liberation lifted the sanctions so that should count as a plus for the intervention" and you will notice no answer... 

Right, which is why I said: "But let's give MK the benefit of the doubt and disregard the "lift sanctions" CP."  Personally, I think the sanctions argument is pretty devastating, but to be fair to the debate that occurred I went past that and looked to other parts of the debate.  Also, to be fair, JL presented lifting sanctions and looking into possibilities for anti-Saddam movements in Iraq as an alternative to your defence of the invasion.  This is another reason to look beyond the sanctions arg; true or false, neither of you is willing to defend the sanctions.

>>now look at the part the says NO EVIDENCE what the effect of sanctions was on child mortality, life span, or the death rate and lookeee... Lewis had no answer there either... finally, look at the part where the only evidence about sanctions he presented was a card that said the studies which said sanctions raised child mortality were crap because they were manipulated by Saddam...

I already addressed this.  You have no evidence on what DID cause those changes in statistics, only evidence that those statistics changed.  Even if the study JL used was crap, the sanctions story is still a lot more convincing than your (new) argument that Saddam's political killings are responsible.

>>and yah... the more credible "mechanism" is getting rid of the worst dictator of the late 20th century, a man that murdered about 750,000 Iraqis in the last 15 years of his rule. or do you not think that getting rid of murderous dictators is a good thing? I guess not, you have to watch the backs of fellow commies like Mao, Stalin, and Pol Pot, who collectively murdered 100 million + of their own citizens...

I'm asking for the mechanism at work causing a drop in infant mortality rates.  Your wonderful interventionist rhetoric is not related to infant mortality rates.  Nobody is saying Saddam was good.  I'll ignore your asinine comment about my "fellow commies."

>>oh and have i mentioned that you are a crappy judge?

Yes, you mentioned that.

>>RB: "But let's give MK the benefit of the doubt and disregard the "lift sanctions" CP.'
>>MK: yeah, don't do me any favors. there was no "lift sanctions" CP. there was a "lift sanctions and fund a coup" CP that went nowhere. and there was no answer to my mocking of "lift sanctions but leave Saddam and Sons in power" CP because that eats my argument that says Saddam and Sons would have likely kept murdering their 50 thousand Iraqis a year quota, which comes to about 225,000 dead Iraqis so far. Since, say 100,000 Iraqis have been killed during the liberation, that means the CP is behind by about 125,000 human lives.

That's a gross misrepresentation of what occurred.  JL's advocacy was to lift sanctions and investigate opportunities to remove Saddam.  The thing about removing a dictator in a potentially very unstable region is that it's not easy.  "Pick a random day and invade" didn't work out so well.  We could have used the CIA, special forces, funding coups or a variety of other means.  The point is that blowing the shit out of the whole country and dismantling every structure in sight is a terrible way to accomplish the goal of removing Saddam. 

>>crappy, crappy, crappy...

Ad hom, ad hom, ad hom.  Do you have assistant coaches to teach your students?  I hope they don't debate like this.

>>RB: "Let's even, for the sake of argument, grant him the dubious child mortality and life expectancy stats."
>>MK: have i mentioned that you are a really, really, shitty judge? what is "dubious" about them? except that they are based on "numbers" and "math" and "thinking" which is BAD? even if you think you can quibble with them, Lewis sure as shit didn't present any reasons to think of them as "dubious"...

Calm the fuck down.  Perhaps I overcontracted that sentence; the stats are fine, it's your interpretation that was dubious.  I would apologise for the mistake, but apologising to a stream of ad homs seems sorta pointless. 

>>RB: "JL has a pretty devastating argument, to which MK's only response is irrelevant. The sectarian violence going on in Iraq today was clearly not happening in pre-war Iraq, and is a pretty huge standard of living decrease."
>>MK: you are a stark raving lunatic, too. Saddam and Sons headed the ruling Baathist Party, an arm of the Sunni minority. They butchered about 750,000 almost exclusively Kurd and Shia Iraqis over the last 15 years of rule. What ISN'T "sectarian" about that? DO YOU THINK ENTIRE VILLAGES WIPED OUT BY POISON GAS LOWERS THEIR STANDARD OF LIVING?

If you would stop with the ad homs, you might be able to follow an argument.  As JL pointed out, Saddam's violence had littler to nothing to do with sectarian religious strife.  It was for political purposes.  If it were politically advantageous to massacre a Sunni village, Saddam would have done it.  In fact, plenty of Sunnis died under Saddam as well.  The point is that the current sectarian insurgency did not exist prior to the invasion and exists now.  If you can't even acknowledge this fact, you are far too delusional to be attempting a discussion with.

>>what sort of idiot just turns off their brain and pretends that Saddam Hussein's Iraq was some sort of peaceful little place? oh, i know... the same sort of idiot that calls himself a Nazi and pretends the Nazis didn't murder 20 million people or that calls himself a communist and pretends that Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot are just misunderstood...

I find it pretty insulting that you not only call me a Nazi, but claim I call myself one.  Stop with the straw men.  Opposing the war and supporting Pol Pot are pretty fucking far apart.  Again, nobody is saying Saddam's rule was good; the argument is whether the situation we've created is even worse.

>>RB: "MK responds with something about responsibility and killing the terrorists. This is not relevant to the debate."
>>MK: wow, that's putrid... My response was "you are stark raving crazy" followed by the explanation that Saddam and Sons were sunnis who butchered hundreds of thousands of Kurds and Shia... what is wrong inside your head?

I was referring to your comments like this one: "the LA Times and others last week estimated about 50,000 total Iraqi casualties since March 2003, the vast majority because of terrorist attacks but lets use the far left's drunken concept of causality/blame and put the whole thing on us."  I'm saying the "concept of causality/blame" is not relevant when the question is not about responsibility but about how good or bad the situation in Iraq is.  You are bringing up other arguments which have been dealt with elsewhere and acting like they were never addressed. 

>>RB: "The question is not whether the US or AQ in Iraq are more responsible (honestly, are you setting the argumentative bar that low for yourself?); it's whether or not Iraq is better off now. I don't give a shit who you BLAME for the violence; the violence is occurring, and that's bad."MK: this is stupid. the total number of people dead from the sectarian violence is about 72,000 over the last 4 1/2 years (see Lewis's source, IraqBodyCount). that is a lot less than would be dead by our best estimate of how many would have been butchered by Saddam and Sons (~225,000). even raising the 72,000 estimate to a generaous 100,000 dead Iraqis leaves 125,000 Iraqis alive who would have otherwise been butchered by Saddam and Sons.

>>also, since you "don't give a shit who you BLAME" then I choose YOU. not terrorists, not the US, not religious extremists, not anyone except fucking Ryan Bach, teenage commie twerp. you murdered about 72,000 Iraqis over the last 4 1/2 years, asshole. since you don't care who is blamed...

>>oh and have i mentioned that you are a crappy judge?

Okay, I guess I was wrong.  I do care; in fact, I'm DELIGHTED that you made that statement.  It was pretty clear that there was more at play here in your psyche than a discussion of foreign policy, but overtly stating that you blame me over the actual perpetrators of violence is all the evidence I need.  Oh, if only this were a psychoanalysis debate.  

>>RB: "To give further benefit of the doubt to MK, let's assume that child mortality and life expectancy stats outweigh terrorist violence daily throughout the country."
>>MK: wow, the benefit of the doubt is rolling in now!!! don't need it, though... the child mortality, life expectancy, and death rates DO outweigh the terrorist violence. we know that because the death rate has been dropping since 2002... that means fewer people have been dying in Iraq from ALL causes taken together... that is what a "death rate" for a country is...

I know what death rate means.  The debate is not about whether the death rate is higher or lower; it's about whether the situation is better or worse.  I'm not sure which is worse between Saddam era violent repression and the current chaotic bloodbath.  Personally, I think it's downright offensive to say we can "objectively" determine this by looking at body counts.  Things like the abject terror of ALL Iraqis today (most Iraqis did not live in constant fear of political execution; many now live with the all too real constant threat of sectarian violence) or the destruction of sacred sites also affect how good/bad the overall situation is.  Since there would be no way to do this impact analysis fairly as a 'judge' (as an individual I've made my view pretty clear), I looked further on in the debate.

>>why is this so hard for both you and Lewis to comprehend? there are 100s of different causes of death in Iraq: heart attacks, car accidents, lung cancer, terrorist car bombings, etc. taken together, all those causes of death yield a DEATH RATE per 1,000 population for a given year. it is much lower for 2007 than it was 2002. that means that even though there may be a lot more car bombings now, that is offset by a lot fewer extermination of Kurdish villages by nerve gas... and we know that because the overall death rate has been dropping...

Why do you think people who disagree with you don't understand the facts?  I KNOW WHAT A DEATH RATE IS.  I don't consider it the end-all, be-all of the quality of life of a country.

>>RB: "I find that hard to stomach, personally; why should we look at mortality rates for one age group only, and why does the number doctors tell people they will live to outweigh actual human deaths?"
>>MK: unh... JUDGE? you have forgotten that there DEATH RATE statistic... that is for all age groups... that doesn't depend on medical estimates of lifespan... that just counts the dead bodies... and there are a lot less dead bodies in 2006 and 2007 than there were in 2000, 2001, 2002...

I was referring to your other argument about infant mortality.  Stop pretending my on-point answers are inapplicable answers to different arguments.  It's not very convincing.  Also, your explanation of death rate is simply false.  There has certainly been no attempt to count all, or even a representative sample (whatever that would mean in this context) of the dead bodies in Iraq.  Death rates are official numbers based on official reports of deaths, and are not necessarily perfectly accurate.  I won't even get into the debate about the accuracy of the death rate statistic in a country where 60% of even the capital is not fully under our control.

>>i cite child mortality because many groups consider that a good marker for the overall functioning of a society...

Right.  I am not in those groups, thus my personal aside.  This didn't factor into my argumentation; it was an aside.

>>RB: "It still doesn't matter to the debate, though, because: JL has MORE offence that MK is flat out conceding. I refer, of course, to the argument about water, electricity, etc. A third of the country is homeless and foodless, and the vast majority of the population lacks consistent access to food, water and electricity. I can't recall whether MK's response was that he was uninterested or that JL is an idiot, but unless I missed an entire post there was no on point rebuttal to this evidenced claim. This is what we call an easy way out, folks. I "pull the trigger" on the lack of infrastructure throughout pretty much the entire country. This is a situation that is clearly much worse, and outweighs child mortality and life expectancy stats pretty handily (I'm pretty sure the THIRD OF THE POPULATION living in homeless destitution will have health problems that, on average, outweigh a 1.9 year life expectancy increase)."

>>MK: wow, have i mentioned that you are a shitty judge? take all those problems together, add up all their effects, and let's weigh how bad that is. neither of us has a calculus that we will agree to: you will magnify the horrors for ideological reasons, turning zits into catastrophic tragedies and i will point out that you are a teenage drama queen. i know one way to weigh those things: if they kill people that's bad, much worse than causing inconvenience or hardship or angst, a dead friend or mother does not compare with a street with trash on it. if those things kill children that's even worse, because losing a child devastates a life much more thoroughly than losing a parent, even. And lifespan is a measure of all of it, including prevalence of disease, violence, health care, happiness, and all of what goes into life.

First of all, your ad homs aren't even accurate.  I'm 20.  Not that it matters.  Also, that's some nice projection there.  We won't agree, because *I* will magnify horrors for ideological reasons?  Obviously, if you can reduce your idea to a statistic that makes it objective and non-ideological, right?  Please.

I don't accept your framework.  As I said, death is not the only relevant consideration.  I consider an entire population living in terror of the very real possibility of death or violence to be worse than a population not living in terror but suffering a slightly higher death rate, for example.  

Also, quit fucking trivialising a third of the country being homeless and without food or water, or a lack of basic utility services to most of the population.  JL and I have not been belittling the significance of Saddam's killings.  Your desire to be right should not trump your sense of human decency.

Also, to look at your precious life expectancy stat: I'm not going to bother looking for your source, but I know that most western sources, including the CIA World Factbook (which I believe was mentioned at some point), determine that number by assuming that current mortality rates for each age group stay the same.  The humanitarian crisis / third of the population homeless evidence is pretty explicit that this problem has been snowballing since '03 and is getting progressively worse.  If I look in your framework, I'm left to determine whether or not this situation will outweigh the 1.9 year gain your stats show so far.  If the situation doesn't improve fast, a third of the population having essentially no sanitation, medical care, nutrition, shelter, etc. will almost certainly cause that number to drop by more than 1.9 years.

>>take all those things i don't care about together, and look at what effect they have on the number of deaths of adults and children and how many years of life people might lose. I do that and you know what? yeah, 36,000 living children, 80,000 living adults, 2 more years of life.

See above.  Even if we accept your ethically disturbing thesis that death outweighs everything else by so much that we shouldn't even look to it, it's not clear there's a net gain.

Sorry, I'm not a utilitarian and I don't think death toll is all that matters.  Are you saying that a population with no food, water or electricity is not a relevant factor?

>>but that you vote on an amalgam of random, unimpacted junk is just bullshit.

No.  I vote on unanswered and dismissed arguments about A THIRD OF THE POPULATION BEING HOMELESS.  You are saying that Iraq is better off now that a third of the population is homeless and most people don't have running water or electricity because the life expectancy at birth has gone up by just shy of 2 years.  This is assuming I grant you 100% of your other arguments (e.g., that I don't accredit all the progress made to lifting sanctions).


>>RB: "Now, to stop giving MK all this benefit of the doubt and throw in my own responses:"

>>MK: those are stupid. shouldn't you be researching for the new topic or playing with your GI Joes or something?
oh and have i mentioned that you are a crappy judge?

So I guess you concede that this war was managed horribly, that our military budget is excessive and being wasted, that the invasion created what is now the largest terrorist threat in the world and that it was incorrect to invade Iraq according to your own framework?

Oh, no, you answered those arguments.  With a couple ad homs.  Well done, sir.

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