Tragedy, Farce, and Worse


"But no one has yet explained why precisely the American people should celebrate what is so obviously a victory of Shiite ultras bent on establishing a fundamentalist regime.

Sure, it's fun to dance in the streets, but the Republicans might take a second look at who their partners are.

The "Islamo-fascists" that the pundit class warns us about are the group that wins if Saddam is killed. His execution virtually guarantees further civil war and American deaths.

Further, it unleashes the Shiite death-squads against the Sunni minority, as never before, and inspires the Sunnis to step up extreme suicidal tactics, while leaving the few Christians and handful of Jews remaining in Iraq to the mercy of their sworn enemies.

And this is supposed to be good news?

One can only rub one's eyes in disbelief at the disconnect between the rhetoric and the reality.

The Bush administration and its apologists have used talk of democracy and freedom to justify their war on Iraq, and raise the specter of fanatical Islamic extremists as the great bogeyman of the moment.

And yet what does US policy in Iraq amount to? Handing over the central state to sectarians and executing the man they hate precisely because he did not make Islamic law the civil code of Iraq. (...)

Iraq invaded Iran in 1980 with US approval. Reagan removed Iraq from its list of known terrorist countries. The US shipped weapons and the Department of Defense provided intelligence to assist Iraq. A 1983 National Security Directive said that the US would do everything possible to prevent Iran from winning. In 1983, Rumsfeld even met with Saddam to assure him of US support. The CIA supported Iraq's mustard gas attacks on Iran.

In other words, the government that now says that Saddam has to be killed for his crimes is the very same government that supported him while he was committing those crimes. There ought to be a word more poignant than hypocrisy to describe such a case as this.

If you want to make the best case for the US's support of Saddam in the 1980s, it would observe that despite his brutal methods of political control, he remained the only non-theocratic and relatively liberally minded dictator in the region. The country was booming commercially, it had religious liberty – Christians and Jews lived there peacefully and securely whereas they were not safe in neighboring states – and there were separate codes governing religious and secular life.

Hop forward all these years, and we see the US orchestrating the killing of Saddam in the name of making the region safe for democracy"
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