A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library. ~Shelby Foote

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Saddam: 90lb Weakling?

That is the impression I took from a recent post over at tc's blog. The post is interesting and well-written, but the analogy is... bizarre.

Here's the gist (and yes, thoughts of the War in Iraq are what brought this story to tc's mind): Loner kid with harelip is being picked on by jocks (tc joining in to try and be popular). Loner kid finally fights back, whacks tc in the nose. tc freaks and starts strangling the kid. tc feels bad for the rest of his life for picking on this poor kid, and then makes a comparison of our attack on Iraq. Concluding with this: "I don't think that beating up on somebody who didn't deserve it is something that we will be able to proud of."

Now, more than likely tc didn't mean the whole thing as a direct analogy, but nonetheless it leaves the impression that Saddam (or perhaps al-Qaeda. Maybe both-- doesn't really matter) was that harelipped kid-- a poor, sad soul who had been picked on and terrorized by America and the West for a long time and finally just lashed out in fear and pain. He didn't deserve the retribution the US brought down on his head.

It's Ward Churchill repackaged-- we had it coming for how we treated Muslim countries in the past. And our reaction to 9/11, the terrorist sects of Islam, and the absolute intransigence of Saddam was "beating up someone who didn't deserve it." Saddam has somehow become the victim, we the bad guys.

I generally disagree with tc's views, but I usually give him credit for having a credible reason for believing as he does-- but this I just can't wrap my head around. Argue that Iraq was the wrong target, argue that the WMD threat was exaggerated, argue that nation building is an inherently impossible task, argue that the post-invasion planning was woefully inadequate-- but don't try to convince me that Saddam was just a poor old soul trying to run his country who was ruthlessly and unprovokedly attacked by the imperialist warmongers of the Bush Administration.

The man was a ruthless dictator who murdered hundres of thousands of his fellow countrymen. He regularly and consistently had his armed forces take pot shots at US and British fighter planes enforcing the UN "no fly" zones. He regularly and consistently misdirected and lied to the UN weapons inspectors. He stole BILLIONS of dollars meant to help the Iraqi men, women and children.

There have been worse monster than Saddam Hussein in history, but not all that many.


Close, but not quite. I knew the analogy was strained. Basic ally, I wasn't talking about Hussein, I was talking about Iraq.

Not really saying Saddam didn't have it coming. (To digress, since it was America who installed him in the first place, against the wishes of the Iraqi people, I do feel it's credible to ask, just who is to blame? Hussein would not have been an Iraqi despot if not for American intervention in the first place. You'd hope that we could at least keep the strings straight on our own damn puppets...)

But it's the blind lashing out against someone who hadn't actually harmed America. There is no link between Al-Qaeda and Hussein, at least not prior to our invasion, and prior to the Al-Qaeda attack, precious little concern about the plight of the Iraqi people could be discerned amongst the American populace. Certainly not enough to support a full blown military operation.

The man was a ruthless dictator, I'll give you that. But I would maintain that he was not the world beating monster you portray him as. Here's a meager example: Recently, the winner (and all the runners up) in the Miss Iraq beauty pageant refused to accept the award because they've received death threats. Now, as bad as Hussein was, he had no love for the religious zealots, and this didn't happen.

Not saying we're not better off without him, that's the common way conservatives turn this debate into a big strawfight. Saddam's not a victim, and I never wanted to claim he is. He's apuppet who decided to strike out on his own, and the neo-cons who installed have been eager to teach him a lesson ever since.

I'm saying, in the runup to war, we struck out at the wrong person.

There are all sorts of tinpot dictators all over the world, and many of them are or have been worse than Saddam. Papa Doc, Charles Taylor, Marcos, Khomeini - remember when Khadafy was the next incarnation of Hitler?

What I am saying, is I wish more conservatives, and Americans of all stripes, could get just as concerned about the subjects of these people as they were driven to do in Iraq.

And I just came over to let you know that Texas rescinded it's drunk-diving in drunken dives.

Just going to let you know that apparently blog ranting does have an effect.

Ha! No, not really, it was the wholesale ridicule. So it's SNARK that works, not reason. Good to know.

MADD was the only group to support the idea. They have officially now become as loopy as PETA>
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