March 18, 2004

The Turtle Bay Mentality

"As for the argument that war was the only way to remove Saddam Hussein, no human being lasts for ever. Saddam was very weakened. I have spoken to officials from his former regime who said at the end other senior officials, including Tariq Aziz (Saddam's foreign minister) and General Ali Hassan al-Majid (Chemical Ali), were running the country in the last 12 months....Yes Iraqis suffered under this man, but people in Iraq are not suffering any less in their daily life now, what order there was - even under a dictator - is gone. Whatever we see now is no fundamental improvement..."

Hans von Sponeck, former UN humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, expressing a degree of nostalgie for the "order" that prevailed during the Saddam era.

Note: In fairness, I believe the quasi-anarchic conditions that exist in parts of Iraq are, of course, a major shortcoming of the occupation (see much of the content of my posts below).

But I recoil at barely disguised sentiments that intimate it was all better under Saddam.

The vast majority of Iraqis would disagree--even if Mr. von Sponeck feels contrary--and despite the random violence that continues, tragically, in Iraq.

For one, 300,000 plus individuals haven't been systematically murdered by a craven dictator since the coalition took control. Nor are Kurdish Hirosimas, to use Samantha Power's phrase, underway.

I'd say that constitutes some modest improvement, no?

Posted by Gregory at March 18, 2004 05:26 PM
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