Friday, August 19, 2005

You know, maybe they WERE better off under Saddam.

So many times, after you point out the military clusterfuck that is Operation Iraqi Liberation (or "OIL"), the knee-jerk reaction from East Wankerville is something like, "Oh, yeah? So maybe you think they were better off under Saddam, huh? Huh?" What an inspiring slogan: "The United States occupation -- still better than Saddam."

But inspired by an excerpt from Matthew Good over here:

In March of this year the United Nations reported that more than a quarter of Iraq’s children were chronically undernourished. The malnutrition rate in kids under five has almost doubled since the invasion, reaching 8% by the end of 2004.

I think it's time to actually think the previously unthinkable -- maybe the Iraqis really were better off under Saddam. It's not hard to come up with at least a few examples:

  • They still had reliable electricity and water service.
  • They still had numerous buildings that were actually standing.
  • Women still had some rights.
  • They weren't being blown up by suicide bombers or shot by Coalition forces on a regular basis.
  • The Iraqis still, at least theoretically, controlled their own country.
The above is just a start. Please, by all means, jump right in and add to the list. I suspect it won't be hard.

P.S.: And how long do you think it will be before the first accusation of, "Oh, man, did you read that CC is a big admirer of Saddam Hussein?" Give it time -- you know it's coming.

: Let me rephrase the above to make my point a little more carefully.

I'm not saying that the Iraqis were clearly better off under Saddam. I'm suggesting that one can no longer arrogantly dismiss criticism of Operation Chimpy Clusterfuck by saying, "Well, at least they're better off than they were under Hussein."

Maybe they really are -- given the current living conditions, it's kind of hard to tell. It's just that that knee-jerk response is no longer the "slam dunk" argument winner it used to be, is it?


Anonymous said...

The way I see it is that Iraqi is still a mess it's just a different kind of a mess and one that is far more unstable so in that regards it's worse.

Bush solved the Saddam problem by creating the Insugent problem which will be solved with the Civil War problem which will be solved by either a new Saddam problem or a new Iran problem.

You'd have to be a blind brain dead moron not to see the flaw with this sort of problem solving.

Or a Bush voter.

Lindsay Stewart said...

well at least under the coalition forces they've taken pictures and videos in the rape rooms and torture chambers. that's better, right?

Anonymous said...

The new mess is much more likely to get you killed just for living quietly and minding your own business--which is probably what most Iraqies want to do.

It's just another kind of imperialism...except you get to vote once in a while.

Anonymous said...

Women had more than some rights. They were educated, often worked professionally outside the home, etc. The educational system was the best in the Arab world, with a literacy rate that puts the U.S. to shame. Now they don't even have books. The government, though run by a thug, was a secular one, unemcumbered by religious fanaticism. Is it too much to think that the Iraqis would have taken care of Saddam in their own time, in their own interest?

Anonymous said...


You know, I *always* wanted to write something like that? ;)

Seriosuly though, I agree with Catherine. I know a few Arab expats who are studying in Qu├ębec who say the exact same thing about their education system. Yes, Saddam was a thug, and so were his sons, and there were serious human rights issues, but I also always felt that auto-determination for the Iraqis was the best option instead of Western culture interference.

I don't think the Iraqis were "better off" with Saddam. I just think it's more of the same.

Cori said...

Also, the argument was never very good to begin with, seeing as how the Reagan and Bush I administrations backed Saddam throughout the '80's, sold him the chemical weapons that he used on the Kurds (and Reagan even said that it was the Iranians who did it), and looked the other way for most of his mass killings.

So, it seems that Saint Reagan and Bush Sr. didn't have a problem with all of Saddam's brutality. Bush I just didn't want him in Kuwait.

Junker said...

Wow, don't know if I want to jump into this one. I'll take the easy ones, but only because its late.

Re PRETTY SHAVED APE: Please clarify for me how the college pranks of a few sicko soldiers at Abu Ghraid stack up to this

or this

Which leads me too CASE; is the above what you term so tenderly ‘serious human rights ISSUES’?

Re Catherine: You site education alone as the reason why women were better off under Saddam? Is that the single gauge by which we measure their progress? What of women in government? What of a constitution guaranteeing their rights? What of women in the military, allowed to fight against their nations enemies for freedom? Is there a truer symbol of gender equality then that?

Another thought, should we have let Germans take care of Hitler, Italians Mussolini, Yugoslavians Milosevic? I know there are still plenty of other ruthless dictators running around out there, but knocking off Saddam, for ANY reason, works for me.

Which leads me directly to Dave’s comment. I’ve tackled this one many times, I should have a saved copy of my answer so I can simply copy and paste it :)

The logic is your comment is flawed. You site hypocrisy in US actions which removed Saddam now, yet support him in the past. Forgetting about different times, administrations, era’s, etc, your point still doesn’t stand, and the hypocrisy abides with you.

If you didn’t support US relations with Iraq in the past, then should you not now support Bush II’s war, which could be seen as righting the wrongs of the past? Where exactly do you stand? With supporting Saddam, or removing him? Maybe the coveted third option, which played out through the 90’s. UN sanctions, with middle men getting rich, and Iraqi’s starving.

Ok, that was a turkey shoot, now lets move on to Hermit. To play number games, one could compare simply the numbers 25,000 and 300,000. Or, 25,000 and 1,000,000. Keep in mind, the 25,000 is rather suspect. My blogging cohort touched on those fuzzy numbers here:

If you are interested in the bigger numbers, those created by Saddam, have a look here for a little refresher:

A final reply, to Wheaton. The authorization for war, approved by the House and Senate no less, specifically outlined a number of different reasons for approving the war. Not in their entirety, they include violation of UN resolutions, continuing hostility towards the US, ‘brutal repression’ of Iraqi civilians, failure to repay Kuwait, failure to release prisoners from the 1st gulf war, continued aid to terrorists, etc, etc, etc.

Don’t take my word on this, I can’t give you a direct link, but follow the link here and ye eye’s shalt be opened(provided you take off the blinders first).

Just knocked over that first domino [in this argument], and rest fell like a house of cards….checkmate. - Zapp Braniggan :)

Junker said...

Sorry, I don't think my last link, the one about the authorization for war worked.

Try this one. If that doesn't work, go here and search for this term: "Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002". Make sure to select the year 2002 in your search.