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Holding freedom in low regard

Since personal Iraqi anecdotes are the order of the day, perhaps Sue Gray would like to tell Shalal Aljuburi how much better off he was being cooked alive in fallow Iraqi tanks sitting atop bonfires ” at least until he declared allegiance to the Hussein regime. I’m sure she could put him in his place for his misguided statement: “we [should] build a Statue of Liberty in the middle of Iraq, for appreciation of what the United States did for us.”

I’m sure she’d have some sharp words for Maher Soltan who, as a decade-long victim of the Ba’athist torture chambers, heartlessly declared in the wake of the U.S. overthrow of Hussein: “All Iraqis are looking forward for a bright future for themselves, living in peace with their neighbors and the international society, and having a democratic system.”

Yes, I’m sure Ms. Gray would chide Karim Kadem, another veteran of Ba’athist torture, for his selfish declaration after the overthrow of Basra: “I feel like I have been reborn.”

And while we are on the subject of Iraqi artists, perhaps Sue Gray could help sell some of Shamal Salim’s ” whose works are a haunting tribute to the suffering he endured when (he was “better off,” mind you) at the whim of Hussein’s prison henchmen. http://www.newint.org/issue327/shamal.htm

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Yes, our resident “compassionate soul” of Aspen valley ” always reminding us just how much she cares ” is more concerned with a Sunni who lost a job than the millions of Kurds and Shiites (and Sunnis) who were brutalized, humiliated, oppressed, tortured and murdered at the hands of Saddam Hussein.

Not that any reasonable person can deny that average Sunnis like Amal Alwan ” as a member of Hussein’s preferred demographic ” have suffered from the chaos in the wake of the American-led invasion. As I clearly said in a previous letter, transitions from despotism have historically been difficult, prolonged, and marked by a fair share of uncertainty, discord and social unrest.

Yet, Alwan’s gripe is weak in the historical context of war, and the half-life of the “victim” histrionics may be wearing thin (Iraq’s electricity output and water supply are above pre-war levels).

But the broader question is not anecdotal, but utilitarian: On balance and in the long run, is the average Iraqi “better off” under Hussein ” or under a democratic, sanctions-free, religiously tolerant, liberty-oriented governing body? Putting aside the mindless blather about how that ideal has not been achieved in 10 short months, that this is even debated is mind-boggling.

There is nothing more callous, more heartless, more elitist or more morally bankrupt than an ideology of “peace” that holds principles of human freedom and liberty in such low regard.

Jay Pate

Snowmass Village


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