Iraq in much better hands now
February 17, 2004
It fascinates me how week after week Sue Gray can pen letters to the editorial page weeping crocodile tears for the state of Iraq since the onset of the U.S. occupation.
I regret to say that I cannot be persuaded that those who sat so silent during the decades-long U.N. sanctions regime and Clintonian cruise missile attacks suddenly found a great big place in their heart for Iraqis in March 2003 ” directly on the heels of upsetting the otherwise brutal status quo.
It just “saddens” Ms. Gray to know that so many people out there don’t recognize that invading Iraq, ousting its despotic leadership responsible for the death and suffering of untold millions, lifting the sanctions, opening Iraq to world trade, forgiving its foreign debt, spending billions of dollars to rebuild its economy and setting it on the road to Constitutional democracy is “a far worse act of terrorism than 9-11.” Why? Because Bush isn’t Midas and Iraq is not a thriving metropolis inside of a few months.
Sorry Sue. There is never a costless obverse in routing tyranny. We don’t live in a world where people can dance around trees in flower fields, holding hands and singing proletarian verse as butterflies dance about their heads. Iraq was not like that before Hussein. Iraq was not like that during Hussein. Iraq will not be like that after Hussein.
Transitions from despotism to freedom have always been rocky and prolonged. Many blacks were left penniless and homeless after the wanton Northern destruction of the South in the wake of the American Civil War. People who have the audacity to claim that, of the moment, they were “better off” under slavery because they had “a job” and a roof over their head are ” and deserve to be ” laughed out of a room. The same could be said of imperial Japan and Nazi Germany, who (even as former democracies) still took upward of a decade to recover from the aftershocks of war.
Of course, Ms. Gray probably has fooled herself into thinking that she’s on the right side of morality and justice, rather than being a delusional yes-man of the antiwar cult who’s found a sense of religious purpose in the cause celebre du jour ” the political, historical and regional implications of which is little understood, if even considered.
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Hence the preference for anecdotes about “dear friends” who lament the fact that it was safer to walk on the streets of Baghdad when Hussein’s henchmen were publicly putting the hands of petty thieves on chopping blocks and throwing political dissidents off of three-story rooftops.
There are some legitimate and principled reasons to have opposed the war in Iraq. The “well-being” of the Iraqis under the boot of Saddam is most assuredly not one of them.