Margaret Hassan Killed

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Al-Jazeera says it has received a tape showing the murder of hostage Margaret Hassan, the British CARE worker missing since October 19.

No group has taken responsibility for this appalling act. Whole story here.

Back in May, when Islamist psychopaths beheaded Nick Berg, Reason's Charles Paul Freund looked at the "age of comparative atrocity." It's a piece that is sadly still all too relevant.

NEXT: The Because-We-Said-So Skies

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  1. Rest In Peace

  2. Inexplicable.

  3. Also, I thought Hassan was naturalized Iraqi citizen.

  4. She was a British national who also was a naturalized Iraqi citizen according to this article:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A44176-2004Oct19.html

  5. Motherf*ckers don’t understand us very well if they think this is going to get them anything.

  6. Maybe this should be a wakeup call to understand why they hate us so much.

  7. Democratic Underground,

    Who is the “us?” She wasn’t an American after all.

  8. “Maybe this should be a wakeup call to understand why they hate us so much.”

    Classic! Do us a favor and stay underground.

  9. I think the person posting as “Democratic Underground” is, in fact, parodying the kind of outlook thought to be found at the Democratic Underground website, rather than posting his/her own actual opinion. (Look at the e-mail link.)

  10. Thank you Stevo, I was about to point out the same thing.

    You’re so right, joe, this ain’t gettin’ ’em anywhere. I don’t believe the Iraq war was/is right, but I’d go over there and fight. Unfortunately, they won’t take me.

  11. People should refer to themselves as they please; however, considering that Stevo Threadkiller hasn’t killed a thread for some time, I think he should change his name back.

  12. Stop feeding the troll.

  13. Don’t think I’m going soft now.

    If Bush hadn’t launched his REALLY BIG PLAN THAT COULNDN’T POSSIBLY GO WRONG, Ms. Hassan would be giving out food to kids.

  14. Joe,

    The problem with that reasoning, if you opposed the war, is that you could just as easily argue that had it not been for the war, Saddam’s torture chambers and instruments of mass murder would still be in operation. Maybe Ms. Hassan would still be feeding children, but I imagine there’d be a lot less of them to feed today if Saddam were still in power.

    (Not that this is a reason why the war was/is good – just that speculation about what might have been easily cuts both ways as far as arguments go).

  15. Hopefully this disgusting act of barbarism will wake up a few of those in the Arab world that have been cheerleading the taking and killing of hostages. It probably won’t, but I can hope. Margaret Hassan was not only completely inoffensive, totally unassociated in any way with the war, but was committed to doing nothing more than helping Iraqi children. Along with opposing the war, she even opposed sanctions when Saddam was in power. I wonder if any of the usual Arab clerics who justify the murder of civilians will actually break ranks and condemn her killing. Given that some even regarded the murder of children at Beslan as legitimate, I won’t hold my breath.

  16. Moon God-
    Since our government isn’t keeping track of civiian Iraqi casualties or allowing others on the scene to do so, and since all other reports are basically dismissed, how many Iraqis do YOU think should die before you decide that, in the overall scheme of things, the amount of misery in Iraq caused by the invasion is equal to or greater than the amount of misery that would have remained in Iraq had Hussein stayed in power?

    Whether or not it’s fair to count the killings Hussein did while he was still officially On Our Side is another debate entirely.

  17. how many Iraqis do YOU think should die before you decide that, in the overall scheme of things, the amount of misery in Iraq caused by the invasion is equal to or greater than the amount of misery that would have remained in Iraq had Hussein stayed in power?

    The upper range of credible estimates is around 16,000 so far, which includes both civilians and fighters. Hussein killed an average of 12,000 or so Iraqi civilians per year during his reign, and it’s been over a year and a half since he was deposed, so around 20,000 or so deaths were avoided that way. The overall result is a net decrease in Iraqi deaths.

    So the answer to your question is: things could go on like this *forever* and the result, in terms of Iraqi dead, would still be better than it would have been under Hussein.

    Whether or not it’s fair to count the killings Hussein did while he was still officially On Our Side is another debate entirely.

    Could you name a single reason why it wouldn’t be fair to count them?

  18. “Hussein killed an average of 12,000 or so Iraqi civilians per year during his reign”

    An excellent reason to debilitate his military machine, and secure sanctuaries for persecuted minorities. I supported the No Fly Zones, Operation Desert Fox, and other actions towards these ends for exactly the cold calculus you describe – they killed people, but prevented the killing of even more. But that was already complete a decade before the invasion began.

    The status quo ante, during 2001 and 2002, saw the killing of far fewer people than 2003 and 2004.

  19. People should refer to themselves as they please; however, considering that Stevo Threadkiller hasn’t killed a thread for some time, I think he should change his name back.

    I feel there are too many Steves around here for me to revert to simply “Stevo” again, but I’ll switch to another surname-de-post when I think of one.

  20. I vote for Stevo Darkly.

  21. It is sad that Freedom Fighters would do something like that to make a point.

  22. The status quo ante, during 2001 and 2002, saw the killing of far fewer people than 2003 and 2004.

    Maybe, but this begs the question of who was killed, and why. It would be very difficult to argue that any of the victims of the Baathists during 2001-2002 deserved what they got, not to mention the numerous victims of the ‘insurgency’ since the invasion.

    The same can’t be said for the deaths of the guilty (Baathists, fedayeen, misc. terrorists and scum) killed by the coalition. I don’t think their deaths should be counted at all, unless we want to work in a tally that counts their deaths as a good thing. One ought, for example, give the US a credit for the discounted future murders by this crowd, if one wants to go all quantitative/utilitarian.

    I have yet to see a tally that backs out the victims of the bad guys and gives an accurate count of the civilians killed by the coalition. Even that number would be incomplete, as it wouldn’t take into account the moral dimension – the coalition’s civilian victims were for the most part accidents, unintended victims. The Baathist/insurgent victims were anything but, and to my mind that makes all the difference.

    There really is no strong moral case to be made against this war, even (or especially) on utilitarian grounds.

  23. This is like some nightmare out of Apocalypse Now, where Kurtz talks about the Viet Cong going into a village to hack off the arms of children who were innoculated by westerners.

    These animals are so blinded by hatred that they are deliberately cutting off medicine and food to their own kids. Unbelivable.

  24. RC, even if you accept the low end estimate of Iraqi civilian deaths – 10-20,000, that figure is still higher than what was going in Iraq before the invasion.

    And yes, I’m counting those people killed by the insurgents. The terrorist campaign to kill civilians, policemen, and Iraqi National Guard recruits is a consequence of our invasion.

  25. OPUS-
    “It is sad that Freedom Fighters would do something like that to make a point.”

    Your joking, right? These clowns don’t want freedom, they want to impose sharia. Islamo-fascists


  26. The upper range of credible estimates is around 16,000 so far, which includes both civilians and fighters.

    A study published on October 29th in the Lancet, a British medical journal, suggests the death toll is quite a lot higher than the newspaper reports suggest. The centre of its estimated range of death tolls?the most probable number according to the data collected and the statistics used?is almost 100,000. And even though the limits of that range are very wide, from 8,000 to 194,000, the study concludes with 90% certainty that more than 40,000 Iraqis have died. The Economist

    Saddam killing people is horrible.

    Americans killing people is unbearable.

  27. And yes, I’m counting those people killed by the insurgents. The terrorist campaign to kill civilians, policemen, and Iraqi National Guard recruits is a consequence of our invasion.

    The deliberate targeting of civilians, even cops, by insurgents is not the moral responsibility of the United States. That is a tactical decision that the terrorists have made; saying that it is a “consequence” of our liberation of Iraq evades the critical question of moral responsibility.

    Your, dare I say, simplisme body count is almost completely useless as a tool for evaluating policy or events.

    C’mon, joe, admit it. People who deliberately target civilians to achieve political ends are terrorists. The killings they achieve are their responsibility, not the responsibility of their enemies. Therefore, we are not responsible for the criminal, illegal, immoral actions of our opponents.

  28. “The deliberate targeting of civilians, even cops, by insurgents is not the moral responsibility of the United States.”

    Creating the conditions in which this could occur is the responsibility of the United States. If I kick in your front door, even for a very good reason, I have a responsibility to secure it. If I do not, I bear responsibility for the subsequent looting.

    This does not in any way absolve the looters themselves of responsibility, or even diminish their responsibility, any more than having an accomplice in a murder absolves one or the other murderers of their guilt.

    “Your, dare I say, simplisme body count is almost completely useless as a tool for evaluating policy or events.” That’s odd. The comparison of body counts is YOUR technique, one YOU introducted into the conversation in your 8:27PM post from last night. Now that the metric looks bad for you, you decide that it’s worthless. Cute.

  29. “The upper range of credible estimates is around 16,000 so far, which includes both civilians and fighters.”

    A study published on October 29th in the Lancet, a British medical journal, suggests the death toll is quite a lot higher than the newspaper reports suggest.

    Thus my use of the word “credible”. The Lancet study has been completely debunked.

    And yes, I’m counting those people killed by the insurgents. The terrorist campaign to kill civilians, policemen, and Iraqi National Guard recruits is a consequence of our invasion

    You should get a job in a rape crisis center, joe: “Well, miss, if you hadn’t gone into that part of town you wouldn’t have been raped”. People who aren’t moral idiots recognize that the blame for the murder falls on the murderer — not on the people the murderer hates. The fact that various fascists and islamists want to kick us out of Iraq doesn’t make us responsible for their atrocities.

    It also never ceases to amuse me when you people trace causality back only until the point at which the blame can be pinned on the United States. As if other people only react to us, and we operate in a bubble.

    Let’s say the insurgents were a “consequence” of our invasion — that, the moment we invaded, the people who had been butchering the Iraqis stopped doing so, and a new crop of butchers stepped up to the plate. Well, what of it? Our invasion was a consequence of Hussein’s WMD progams, acts of genocide and aggression, and sponsorship of terrorism. Had he not devoted substantial resources to developing chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, shown a willingness to use WMDs on civilians, aided and abetted terrorists, and invaded his neighbors, we no more have invaded Iraq than we would Kuwait. So, sure, maybe the insurgents are the fault of the invasion, but the invasion is the fault of Hussein. And Hussein himself is the fault of Russian and French support in the 1970s, and Iraq itself is the fault of the Brits. And Muhammed needs his share of the blame somewhere in there too. But this is all moot. The insurgents get the blame for the civilians they murder. They didn’t have to murder them.

    It’s also a bit ridiculous to imply that Hussein was pretty much done killing. Hussein regularly dabbled in genocide until the United States started waging an undeclared war against him in the early 90s. Waging that undeclared war cost us dearly — among other things, it was the primary cause of bin Laden’s decision to launch the 9/11 attacks. Why should we have continued to take that risk when we could permanently solve the problem by invading?

  30. Dan,

    “Our invasion was a consequence of Hussein’s WMD progams, acts of genocide and aggression, and sponsorship of terrorism.”

    The programs, it turns out, existed to such a small degree that no actual WMD’s had been created. We supported him and rewarded him when he committed his acts of genocide. He hadn’t been “aggressive” since our State Department told him we didn’t really care what he did with Kuwait in the summer of ’90. As far as sponsoring terrorism, until we take responsibility for doing the same, how can we be taken seriously when we protest it?

  31. Dan,

    Nothing I said absolves the insurgents of responsibility for their murders. In fact, I explicityly stated that recognizing our responsibility for creating the conditions that made those murders possible does not reduce their guilt.

    So you’ve got nothing on the “kicking in the front door” example? The idea of accomplises not mitigating each others guilt?

    Nope, you’ve got “insurgents are bad, mmm-kay.”

    About what we all expect.

    “It’s also a bit ridiculous to imply that Hussein was pretty much done killing. Hussein regularly dabbled in genocide until the United States started waging an undeclared war against him in the early 90s.” You mean a decade + before our invasion?

    “Waging that undeclared war cost us dearly — among other things, it was the primary cause of bin Laden’s decision to launch the 9/11 attacks.” No, it wasn’t. You yourself have refuted this in the past. What a dishonest sack of shit.

    “Why should we have continued to take that risk when we could permanently solve the problem by invading?” Yep, all solved. People pissed off by the sanctions regime sure do love us, now that we’ve killed X0,000 Iraqi civilians in a shooting war, have an army engaging in combat in the Arab heartland against a Muslim insurgency, and create images of atrocities that get shown on the nightly news every other day. Problem solved.

  32. The silence of Islamic leaders around the world is deafening. Where’s the voices of these retarded “mullahs” condemning atrocious acts like the killing of Margaret Hassan? These people that shot an innocent woman in the back of the head are demonic. My view of Islam has substantially deteriorated after seeing that the majority of Islamic leaders around the world are silent in the wake of such devilish acts. Chalk up another senseless and cowardly act in the name of good old Islam. What kind of fucked up religion promotes this sort of “jihad”?

  33. The Lancet study has been completely debunked.

    By whom?

    Dr Roberts [Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, in Baltimore] points out that press reports are a “passive-surveillance system”. Reporters do not actively go out to many random areas and see if anyone has been killed in a violent attack, but wait for reports to come in. And, Dr Roberts says, passive-surveillance systems tend to undercount mortality. For instance, when he was head of health policy for the International Rescue Committee in the Congo, in 2001, he found that only 7% of meningitis deaths in an outbreak were recorded by the IRC’s passive system.

    The study is not perfect. But then it does not claim to be. The way forward is to duplicate the Lancet study independently, and at a larger scale. Josef Stalin once claimed that a single death is a tragedy, but a million deaths a mere statistic. Such cynicism should not be allowed to prevail, especially in a conflict in which many more lives are at stake. Iraq seems to be a case where more statistics are sorely needed. (The Economist)

    Thus my use of the word “credible”.

    “Credible” is in the eye of the believer.

    Nan Laird, a professor of biostatistics at the Harvard School of Public Health, who was not involved with the study, says that she believes both the analysis and the data-gathering techniques used by Dr Roberts to be sound. … Arthur Dempster, also a professor of statistics at Harvard, though in a different department from Dr Laird, agrees that the methodology in both design and analysis is at the standard professional level. However, he raises the concern that because violence can be very localised, a sample of 33 clusters really might be too small to be representative.

    As of yesterday, ~10,000 American soldiers had been reported killed or wounded (1,207 killed). It doesn’t take a particularly energetic leap of faith to conclude that people in the line of fire who do not have big guns, wear body armour, and have access to quick and effective medical treatment are being wounded and are dying in much much greater numbers.

    Some people, having defended US policy, just do not want to believe the US to be responsible for so much horror and US policy to be a morally bankrupt failure. “Credible” is in the eye of the believer.

    Our invasion was a consequence of Hussein’s WMD progams, acts of genocide and aggression, and sponsorship of terrorism.

    It’s like a mantra. Say it often enough, and it gradually becomes credible.

    The insurgents get the blame for the civilians they murder. They didn’t have to murder them.

    I agree. Everybody’s wrong here.

    The insurgents get the blame for the civilians they murder. They didn’t have to murder them.

    The Americans get the blame for the civilians they murder. They didn’t have to murder them.

  34. Saw the heads off all the Islamic clerics that endorse hostage taking. Put them in boxes and mail them to Al-Fuckzeera.

  35. http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/4CBA1458-4085-45A4-B4AA-789098B66818.htm

    http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/6D0244BF-A784-4C17-AEB1-8E977E446546.htm

    I don’t think they’re applauding it. But, yeah, they could do with a little more condemning. The truth of the matter is, there is a double standard. The Arab media, generally, will take anything they can as a sign of American malfeasance, while letting terrorists of the hook.
    And I agree with that %100, though for different reasons.
    I agree, because we are better. We shouldn’t even be arguing over who has killed more civilians. We shouldn’t even be in the same ballpark as Hussein or Zarqawi. One innocent civilian casualty is one too many, by the American standard, and it is a tragedy.
    I am not an idiot; I am a realist, and I understand that war is immoral, and that in war, good men are sometimes forced to do bad things. That does not mean that we should lower our standards, however, but that we should strive harder to reach them.
    We must not only be stronger than our enemies, but more ethical, more precise, and more compassionate. If we’re not, then we’re not fighting for anything.

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