Sunday, September 25, 2016

Civil casualties in Aleppo are sad but negligible

I just listened to a rant by Samantha Power, the current U.S. ambassador to the U.N.

Well, what a hateful woman – when it comes to anything that has a relationship with Russia. She has nothing to do with the America that we used to love and that was inspiring us. One of the reasons I would love Trump to win is that he could end this absolutely insane anti-Russian hysteria in the U.S. Among other things, he could help to fire this particular insufferable female talking head.

But it's not just Samantha Power. Boris Johnson talks about Russian war crimes in Syria while The Telegraph shocks us with the Aleppo horror. From that paper, you may learn what has actually happened.

In a hugely intense bombing of the anti-Assad forces in Aleppo, an operation masterminded by the Kremlin and Assad, "dozens" of civilians have been killed. That's sad. (Media close to the Kremlin dispute even these dozens of death but let me assume that these sad reports are true.) But is that unexpected? Is that a lot?

Aleppo is a huge city that had over 2 million inhabitants according to the 2004 census – even though the recent-era population of the rebel-occupied Eastern portion of Aleppo was estimated to be as low as 250,000. Who controls it now? If you look at the map of Syria, Iraq, and ISIS, you will see that Aleppo – near the Northwestern corner of Syria – is controlled by the light green "Syrian opposition" and the white "al-Nusra front", a subsidiary of Al Qaeda (recently, they declared themselves independent).

See also this more fresh zoomable map.

Who are these people? Al Qaeda is the organization that organized the 9/11 attacks, among other things. Let me assume that you don't need its full history to have an opinion about them. What about the Syrian opposition? They're supported by the Obama administration – clearly because they're against Assad i.e. they are proxy units against Russia – but are they nice people and are they friends of the Western values we hold dear? A first observation is "probably not so much" because they seem to co-exist with Al Nusra in a friendly way – in the region around Aleppo in particular.

Also, the U.S. troops could have learned an answer last week when the "allied rebels" turned against the U.S. troops. (I wanted to pick a recent example – be sure that I've recorded many others in recent years.)

There exist more brutal answers to the question who are the "moderate rebels in Aleppo". Warning, the following video is drastic:

They beheaded a 12-year-old boy, after they psychologically and otherwise tortured him. Sure, lots of "Allahu Akbar" was heard around. Apologies but all the adult men in this video deserve death penalty (see their self-confident postures with exactly these men from August to see that it hasn't happened yet) – if there is a huge concentration of these men somewhere, chemical weapons are absolutely OK to deal with them – and if Samantha Power has deliberately supported this scum, she needs to spend the rest of her life in prison. Given Obama's links to these animals, it's a sign of his being a pile of immoral cr*p that he hasn't at least returned the damn Nobel peace prize.

Hat tip: Mark Sleboda

The situation has been confusing for me and I believed all kinds of "possible stories" about the "moderate opposition groups" etc. I just don't buy any of this stuff anymore. The only reasonably moderate peaceful force in Syria is Assad and his self-declared allies. If someone violently opposes Assad even now, in 2016, something is really, lethally wrong with him. It seems absolutely clear to me that by now, after the years of violence, the situation must have polarized itself to two camps and the people who are actually opposing the radical Islamism must have noticed that they're existentially threatened by all the pro-Allah groups and regardless of all his real or hypothetical flaws, Assad is their only real ally – the much lesser evil, to say the least (perhaps you may compare him to Stalin in the Second World War). And yes, I think that one could argue that he is a pretty nice guy – not another Stalin.

OK, at any rate, the Assad government decided to retake Aleppo because it's a pretty important Syrian city. Bombing is a part of it. It's not easy – well, it's not really possible – to do it "flawlessly" so that only the evil men get killed or damaged while all the innocent civilians survive. How many civil casualties should we be prepared for or tolerate? Is there some precedent or operations that may be considered analogous?

Well, I have one candidate. The American-British bombing of Dresden in February 1945 – which may be rather analogous to the current Syrian-Russian bombing of Aleppo. It was an East German city whose power had to be tamed. However, the population of Dresden was just some 650,000 people (it's just 500,000 or so now) – roughly by a factor of 3 smaller than Aleppo.

How many people died during the American-British operation? Well, it was cruel. Between 23,000 and 25,000 inhabitants died. The city was largely flattened and burned out. Most of the casualties were almost certainly civilians. OK, assume that Aleppo is a three times larger city and you could predict that an American-British bombing campaign of Aleppo would produce 70,000 civilian casualties. Even if I divide it by a factor of 8 (because the Aleppo population shrank in recent years), I still get numbers of order 10,000.

And now, some American and British journalists, politicians, and (not so diplomatic) diplomats are trying to condemn the whole nation of Russia – and the Syrian government – because of dozens of casualties? They's smaller by damn three orders of magnitude than the Dresden-based estimate. What the hell are you talking about, Power, Johnson, The Telegraph, and others? It's damn obvious that your criticism has nothing to do with the small number of casualties. You actually don't want these Islamists to be defeated. Maybe you actively want a regime that beheads everyone who doubts Allah or a particular sectarian flavor of Him or Her or It or how to call this evil medieval junk.

The casualties are sad but not surprising. There's been a war in Syria for some 5 years and the U.S. has really helped to ignite it. The war will end, the Islamists – which includes the ISIS, Al Nusra, and many other groups – will be defeated, and a certain number of innocent civilians will have been killed by that moment, too. That's what's happening in wars. The U.S. government is obviously co-responsible for these deaths because it helped to support those who wanted to remove Assad by violent methods. So Boris, Samantha, and others, why don't you use the opportunity to shut your mouth?

Everyone who lives on territories controlled by Al Nusra, ISIS, and similar criminal organizations is facing a significantly increased risk of death. These are not legitimate representatives of any country or the acceptably measured opinions of any populace. Everyone who finds it OK to live with Al Nusra and similar groups is partly guilty – to some extent, he is co-operating with the lethal organized crime – so a certain percentage of these "civilian" deaths is really well-deserved. I can't tell you particular names but I am sure that this moral verdict is true statistically.

So if you're a fair person who doesn't like killing of civilians, just move into a safer place. And I don't mean Germany where you can get lots of money for free. I mean a different place in Syria where you may live a safer life. Or other countries in the region who will help you. Or try to fight against Al Nusra if you really want to walk the walk and show that you agree that this filth doesn't govern the people in a legitimate way and shouldn't govern them at all.

ISIS, Al Nusra, and others will simply be eradicated at some point. We're living in the 21st century and lots of people in the region and the world who realize this fact are being threatened by these violent savages who have teleported here from the 7th century – and much of the 21st century world simply wants to return these zombies to their graves because they and the threats they pose to others simply don't make any sense in the modern world which has many tools to deal with them. You don't want to be eradicated with them. Please ignore hateful rants by Samantha Power and similar individuals who really don't have a clue, who have already screwed a lot of stuff in Syria and much of the Middle East, and who have caused tens of thousands of deaths over there, and who won't be allowed to influence the solution that will emerge from the so far continuing messy situation on a sunny day in the future.

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