Friday, April 11, 2003

On Saddam et al:

There has been a fair bit of talk (one example here), about how the fall of the Hussein regime means that the wariness with which the left has viewed the enterprise and their continuing concerns are somehow wrong, because of the relief that Iraqis have demonstrated that Saddam is gone.

I personally see that as a deliberate miscasting of the views of myself (and many others) who have been against this. The problem has been and continues to be not the removal of Saddam himself, but the repercussions and side effects of that act. Everybody knew the United States was going to win, and expected that this moment would arise. The problem is not what's going on now, but what follows. The questions still remain: What will the United States do with Iraq? How will it control it? Will the Iraqis initial happiness that Saddam is gone turn into anger at American rule? Will the country dissolve into chaos? What will be the effects on the region, on the world, and on multilateralism and the concept of sovereignty? To say that these questions are invalidated or solved because because the dictator got overthrown is tendentious nonsense.

Am I happy that Saddam is gone? To the extent that it helps the Iraqi people, certainly. Do I believe that it may end up doing more harm than good? Quite possibly. Do I think that this moment justifies the U.S. conquering and then building a new system of mandates in the Middle East? I've read a little bit too much history for that.

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