Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Measuring National Concern

“That’s a sacrifice we’re willing to make…” –Madeleine Albright, when asked about the estimated 500,000 Iraqi children’s deaths due to sanctions

One of the most widely used and compelling arguments for keeping American troops in Iraq is the notion that without them an all-out civil war would take place, possibly resulting in the deaths of millions of Iraqis. While the deaths of millions of Iraqis would be an undeniably bad thing, let’s take a closer look at the actual impact it would have on the American psyche.

The measurement of national grief is a dynamic science, with standards and metrics continually in flux. Where once we would measure events against Pearl Harbor or the JFK assassination, September 11th changed the bar and it was thought that the 9/11 scale would last well into the next decade. However, since the untimely passing of actress/model Anna Nicole Smith, national grief has been measured by the "Anna".

Admittedly as a grief standard the Anna itself is somewhat unwieldy, so things like widespread deaths of foreigners are measured by the Micro Anna (thousandths of an Anna) and the Nano Anna (millionths of an Anna). Applying the Anna scale retroactively to 1991, when approximately a hundred thousand Shiites were massacred after being prompted by the US to rise against Saddam Hussein, we discover that our national grief amounted to a mere 15 Nano Annas, or fifteen one-millionths of an Anna Nicole Smith. Using this model we can predict that a civil war resulting in two million Iraqi deaths will register somewhere between 300 and 500 Nano Annas, possibly going as high as one Micro Anna if key celebrities are reported to be emotionally affected by the carnage.


Anonymous said...


Thank you for your service!

Anonymous said...

brilliant, again, and as usual!

amy tan is anti-iraq war, early on in her book "saving fish from drowning".

Anonymous said...

No other word better describes this post...Brilliant!

Anonymous said...

"Thinking too much gives you wrinkles"
~Malibu Stacy

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for your clever post.

Almost nothing has been said in the media about the “second” false premise used by the Bush administration to justify the carnage in Iraq. Not the WMD argument discredited years ago, but the “pied piper” argument more recently in vogue, the one that states: We are fighting terrorists over there so we don’t have to fight them over here.

There is no more cowardly, deceitful, and morally degenerate argument than this one. Our government decides to export the war on terrorism and reap havoc upon an oppressed people. Shall we empty our prisons of murderers and serial killers and export them to Paraguay? Shall we ship toxic waste to Waziristan? Or feed the fat rats of Washington to the world’s hungry?

The “pied piper” argument is the vestigial remnant of a failed argument. Because WMDs were never found and links between al Qaeda and Saddam were never proved, our government invents one more rationale to pursue an immoral war, the most dastardly argument of them all.