Liberals forget horrors of Saddam’s regime
September 7, 2003
Sue Gray’s recent letter proclaiming that “the Iraqis are worse off now than they were under Hussein” is impressive, for both its audacity and callous disregard of every phony pretense upon which she has ever expressed opposition to the U.S.-led war.
Capitalizing on the selective frustrations, xenophobia and conspiracy theories of uneducated and likely illiterate Iraqis who have just recently been relieved of the terror of a brutal despot for the last three decades, Gray affirms historian Paul Johnson’s observation that left-thinking individuals love their ideology more than people.
The sentiments of those pulled from torture chambers with their teeth knocked out, their limbs amputated or twisted into contorted positions, or other forms of bodily mutilation are simply not worth mentioning. Nor are the heart-wrenching accounts of Iraqis who begged American troops to help them retrieve their long-lost loved from underground dungeons, the only evidence of which came from their own voices echoing in sewer drains.
Nor, for that matter, are the dying pleas of the tens of thousands of unnamed men, women and children who were gassed or summarily shot and collectively dumped into large holes only to be buried by a bulldozer.
To put it mildly, these flailing attempts to characterize Hussein’s regime as preferable to the chaos in the wake of the Iraq war is akin to the claims routinely made by American slaveholders leading up to, during and in the aftermath of the American Civil War – which left Georgia (among the other Southern states) far more devastated than Iraq is today. The same could easily be said of Nazi Germany and imperial Japan, yet few are silly enough to claim that Hitler, Hirohito, slavery and secession were really the way to go.
Sure, a lack of electricity and chlorinated water can be life-threatening. So can bullets, knives, electrodes, machetes, industrial plastic shredders, and the innumerable other means by which Hussein and his gangsters inflicted pain and death on his Iraqi subjects. Not only was the suffering of the latter deliberate Iraqi policy, but Hussein’s victims didn’t have the (recently acquired) luxury of registering their complaints publicly so that they could be plastered on a “peace” Web site.
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When all is said and done, it may well prove that the cultural and religious orientations of the Arabs in Iraq made the U.S. attempt to transform it into a model of Western liberal democracy a waste of lives and money. Yet it is undeniable that the people of Iraq are faced with a historic opportunity.
After having relieved the Iraqis from their totalitarian oppressors, the American taxpayer is now footing a billion dollars a week into the creation of economic and political institutions that (it is hoped) will help prevent the regression of Iraq back into the typical Mid-East despotism. Instead of crying crocodile tears over blackouts and bottled water, perhaps the “Roaring Fork Peace” cabal could prove they really care about peace and human rights by doing something other than lamenting Saddam’s demise.