Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Saddam is enjoying what he denied his victims

Amir Taheri in The Times:

'What is at stake is more than the fate of a despot and his entourage. Iraq and, beyond it the Arab world, where the remnants of pan-Arabism regard Saddam Hussein as their champion, need a prolonged, dispassionate, and judicially impeccable lesson in history and political ethics.
According to Khalil al-Dulaimi, who heads Saddam’s team of Arab lawyers, the fallen despot intends to cast himself in the role of “the defender of pan-Arab values”. This should be welcomed by the judges, for it would allow the exercise to assume a greater role: putting on trial the military-security model of statehood that has been the most popular in the Arab world since the Egyptian coup d’état of 1952. Far from being an aberration, Saddam Hussein was an archetypal figure of the modern Arab despotic regimes based on the military and the security services. His kind of despotism was imposed on a dozen Arab nations at different times and is still in power in Libya, Syria and Sudan. In its 50 years of existence, this form of government has provoked ten large wars, including the longest of the last century: the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88 that stole more than a million lives.'

Taheri's short piece is shocking in it preciseness, in the broad perspective on the devastation Arab dictators brought upon their nations.

'In the three decades that Saddam dominated Iraq he had almost $200 billion in oil revenues not only to finance three large-scale wars and kill hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, but also to buy influence in the West. Part of that investment may be bearing fruit as the chorus of his admirers, led by the French, raises its voice.'

In The Washington Post Anne Apppebaum writes:

'But if his Sunni countrymen learn what he did to Shiites and Kurds, if the Shiites and Kurds learn what he did to Sunnis, if Iraqis come to realize that his system of totalitarian terror damaged them all, and if others in the Middle East learn that dictatorships can be overthrown, then the trial will have served its purpose. That, and not an arbitrary standard of international law, is how the success of this unusual tribunal should be measured.'

Ralph Peter's column (free subscription needed) in The New York Post should be quoted here in full, which I can't do, but I am quoting a large chunk:

'Iraq may yet fail as a unified state. Violence will continue. But what's frustrating is the determination of so many in our media to convince the American people that Iraq's a hopeless mess. It's an example of vanity, selfishness and spite virtually without precedent in the history of journalism.
The greatest tragedy imaginable for our "mainstream media" would be to have to admit that President Bush was right about Iraq.
A startling number of editors and opinion columnists have been wrong about every development in Iraq (and Afghanistan). First, they predicted a bloody, protracted war against Saddam's military. Then they predicted civil war. They insisted that Iraq's first elections would fail amid a bloodbath. Then they declared that Iraq's elected delegates would not be able to agree on a draft constitution. Next, they thundered that Iraq's Sunni Arabs wouldn't vote.
Most recently, the sages of the opinion pages declared that the proposed constitution would be defeated at the polls by the Sunni Arabs. All along they've displayed a breathtaking empathy with the Islamist terrorists who slaughter the innocent, giving Abu Musab al-Zarqawi a pass while attacking our president and mocking the achievements of our troops.
A herd mentality has taken over the editorial boards. Ignoring all evidence to the contrary, columnists write about our inevitable "retreat" from Iraq, declaring that "everyone knows" our policies have no chance of success.
That isn't journalism. It's wishful thinking on the part of those who need Iraq to fail to preserve their credibility.
We are dealing with parasitical creatures who, never having done anything practical themselves, insist that the bravery and sacrifice of others has no meaning. Their egos have grown so enormous that they would sacrifice the future of Iraq's 26 million human beings just so they could write "I told you so." And, of course, the greatest military experts are those who never served a day in uniform.'

Please read Peters' full story.

The U.S. lead coalition is not only in the middle of a war against the 'so-called' insurgents, but also in the middle of a fight for the TV-screens and the hearts and minds of Western audiences. Vietnam is often mentioned by the peaceniks, and of course there is no similarity between both wars. The mythology surrounding the Vietnam War has left all kinds of distortions in the collective memories of Western audiences. And the mythology always stops at the departure of the Americans from Vietnam. The reign of terror that stopped any human devolpment in the whole of Sout Eastern Asia for decades is never part of the left-wing mythology.

The Left is suddenly in the grip of International Law, which Bush seems to have damaged. The Left has never been a champion of International Law. International law was of course no argument for the Left to oppose the invasions of the North Vietnamese in the South. The Left did not oppose whatever the Northern Stalinists aimed for. For decades the Left had been looking for ways to appease the Soviets, who de facto controlled half of Europe. International Law? Has that ever been a Leftist argument during the civil wars in Central America?
Well, now it is.

The Left, still led by the Radical Chique of the Vietnam era, needs the idea that a Socialist Utopia is Man's destination while it enjoys the wealth and liberties of Capitalism.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., one of the spokesmen of the environmental movement in the US, prefers to travel in private planes, in limo's, and has no problem of maintaining several houses, each one big enough to give shelter to many families. For me, he is a symbol of the hypocrisy of large parts of the Left in the US. Never go where your mouth is.
Here, in Berkeley, where I am staying until the end of the year, on the bumpers of big SUV's I see stickers condeming a war about oil.
Do you see G.I.'s stealing Iraq's oil? Has the price of oil dropped dramatically since the war?
It is a war to change the systems that kept the Arabs in a state of confusion, poverty and resentment.

If the present media would have been reporting D-Day, Europe would have been a Nazi continent.

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