The criticism of our invasion and occupation of Iraq has been tempered by the caveat: “But the world is better off with Saddam gone.”
The evidence overwhelmingly shows the opposite. Iraqis were better off with Saddam. Saddam’s neighbors were better off with Saddam. The world was better off with Saddam. And the US and our national security? Better off with Saddam.
Let’s take the Iraqis. Over 100,000 dead. More dying everyday from bombings…by us and by the particulars in the civil war we unleashed. Up to 30 Iraqis per day are kidnapped, their families extorted for ransom. We’ve incarcerated thousands of Iraqis, most without charges and many have been tortured…some tortured to death. We’ve even used Saddam’s most infamous prison camp for his political enemies—Abu Ghraib. Their economy is in shambles. And we’ve privatized much of it…even selling off their farming sector to US multinationals. So, what remains of their economy is not even their own. Oil production and revenues are down, way down, from the highly regulated Oil for Food period.
We’ve used a vicious chemical weapon—white phosphorous—to incinerate insurgents and innocents alike. We’ve spread even more depleted uranium around that ravaged country. The decade of birth defects that we left behind after the first Gulf War will only grow and persist. We’ve bombed the infrastructure into rubble. Yes, a great opportunity for Bechtel and Halliburton, but a day to day struggle for electricity and water. The rights of women, so strong under Saddam’s anti-Shia reign, is in full reverse, particularly in the south…where women are being forced to wear veils.
- Saddam killed his own people. We’ve done that.
- Saddam jailed and tortured his own people. We’ve done that.
- Saddam used chemical weapons on his own people. We’ve done that.
- Saddam lorded over one of the most Westernized states in the Middle East, with a thriving, educated middle-class population…friendly to the US and willing to buy large amounts of weaponry from US defense companies…and willing to attack Iran at our behest. We haven’t done that.
Now Iran is all over Iraq, with a thriving Shia political movement in the South. A ready-made ally. We enabled that. Saddam’s Iraq had been a bulwark against the influence of Iran. No more. Saddam’s animus toward Iran was almost as great as his animus towards Al Qaeda and the Saudi Wahhabis who helped to make it. Iraq was a terrorist-free zone for decades. Okay, he harbored a couple Palestinian terrorists…paid a few suicide bombers’ families. But so did Saudi Arabia. The Saudis did more, paid more, than Saddam ever did. The plight of the Palestinians is a part of every Arab nation’s thinking. But not Al Qaeda…which was the special friend of the Saudis and the Pakistanis. Not Saddam.
Saddam’s place in the center of the Middle East…fully contained, WMD-poor, militarily neutered, unfriendly to Al Qaeda…was a lynch-pin of stability for the region and the world. Like containment during the Cold War, but better. Saddam’s lack of power to affect the region was complete. We had him in a national prison, and his oil was flowing out. The day to day lives of Iraqis were far better. They had water, electricity…and no car bombs. The imprisonment and executions of his regime are found in most of our Arab allies. Saddam’s crimes were no greater than those of our sycophants. No surprising, since he was Poppy’s sycophant for years, the CIA’s friend when he came to power…and our ally against Iran.
So, the America people are caught up in a war against “terror.”
Afghanistan was the incubator, thanks to the Pakistanis and the Saudis and our own CIA. Now, we’ve created a new incubator. With Saddam gone, Iraq has become the new Afghanistan. If you are worried about “Them,” you should be outraged that we turned Iraq from a bulwark to an incubator. And then there is the oil. The invasion and occupation of Iraq has gamed the oil market, driving up prices and hitting the average American in the wallet.
Sure, Saddam was tyrant.
And the Saudi Royal family? Or the military dictatorship of Pakistan? Or the dysfunctional democracy cum authoritarian regime called Egypt? How about our new friend Libya? Or the Central Asian “Stans” we’ve got bases in?
The argument that Saddam was a dictator and therefore had to go and, therefore, the world is better off…Iraqis are better off…is utter and complete bullshit.
But the facile Democrats don’t say it. Pundits don’t say it. Why? They are afraid. They are afraid of “cozying up to a dictator,” to advocating Saddam. You mean, like the Reagan and Bush the First Administrations did? C’mon people, wake up!
Wake up and see the reality that the Iraqis face…the death squads and the poverty and the criminality and the civil war and the torture and the radiation. And look at the geopolitics. Look, and say it.
There, I’ve said it.
Here I sit, waiting for the bolt of lighting…the recriminations…or the FBI.Tweet