We've finally got some numbers I was after for a long time - the number of people killed in the initial invasion of Iraq. It's roughly what I expected - bloody low:

"Iraqi civilian dead during the invasion were under a thousand, and military and paramilitary dead were believed to be about 8,000".

So the liberation of 27 million people from slavery was held up by what (1000) is less than the road toll of Australia's population of 25 million (1500). In other words, Iraqis can ban cars for a year and have their population restored.

If you want, you can say that some of the 8000 Iraqi soldiers who died protecting a dictator were innocent also, being forced to do so. Personally I think they should have turned their guns on their "comrades" and actually died defending their countrymen from Saddam. Regardless, even if they were innocent, which is stretching the definition, they at least died for their country, which is what soldiers do. They died so that their country could be free.

The US is in no way responsible for Iraqis killing Iraqis since. Autonomous Iraqis are having their "revolution". That's what happens in revolutions. America just made that revolution possible.

Anyway, this sets an incredible low for toppling a dictator. It can be rolled with near-zero loss of life. We do need to do our best to let the country being liberated that we are genuinely there to liberate them, not to conquer them and steal something from them. And that is where countries like Australia make their most valuable contribution. Simply by being there. The US will shoulder the main burden (there's no-one else able to, unfortunately), but countries like Australia and Denmark provide the confidence that this is really a liberation, so that the loss of life will be minimal.

We don't know what the numbers will be for Iran, but if they're anything like a year's worth of road toll, it will be a serious crime to NOT liberate them because of some pretence at caring about innocent civilians while a population is being murdered, mutilated, tortured and raped.

Let's see, let's see. It's nearly time for it to be strategic to act. I had expected the Iraqis to be in charge of security by the end of the year, but it looks like it will be sometime next year instead. I think time has run out, and we need to move on now. Bush has talked about withdrawing troops soon. If he has troops to withdraw, then he has troops for an expeditionary force into Iran. The bulk of the troops in Iraq don't need to be used unless something unexpected happens. As such, it should be within the US's current ability to wage war in both Iraq and Iran, without any serious consequence. So that means we should hit Iran pretty much right now. That would mean that Australian troops get to participate, which would be wonderful. Maybe a quick victory in Iran, in and out, will even see Howard get reelected. He's got nothing to lose anyway. Our country is on its way to extreme immorality otherwise.

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