Saturday, December 30, 2006
End of Saddam Hussein, Not the Mess In Iraq
The execution by hanging of Saddam Hussein caused jubilation among those who suffered during his rule. They have reason to rejoice. What does it mean for Iraq and the Iraqis, the the rest of us, the world ? There is no sign that the sectarian violence raging in Iraq is going to end any time soon. We were in bed with Saddam Hussein when he served our needs, just as we have over the years supported other corrupt, murderous dictators and juntas in different parts of the world. That has not changed; we still have some goons as our friends.
Dangerous in Death
Saturday, December 30, 2006
By the spring of 2003, the Bush Team had drilled into Americans that it was Saddam Hussein who made Iraq dangerous.
And not just Iraq. President Bush, along with Vice President Dick Cheney, then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell and others in the Bush administration insisted that Saddam Hussein and his stockpiled weapons of mass destruction made the entire Persian Gulf region - in fact, the entire world - a terribly dangerous place.
The solution was simple. Remove Hussein, remove the danger. It was so obvious and so necessary to America's safety that deposing Hussein was, President Bush indicated, not just his constitutional duty but a moral obligation.
But long before Iraq hanged Hussein, it had become clear that U.S. misconceptions about Hussein and Iraq would prove to be much more dangerous than the man himself.
The idea that Hussein's brutality was all that stood between Iraqis and freedom was naive. Nearly 3,000 U.S. military deaths later, we understand that Hussein's brutality restrained others with intentions and capabilities just as brutal.
Removing Hussein freed innocent, oppressed Iraqis. But it freed other forces as well. And President Bush had no plan to protect innocent Iraqis from sectarian factions who now are violently determined to take Hussein's place.
President Bush also failed to understand that, far from striking a blow in the war on terror, removing Hussein would hand international terrorists a new platform from which to attack Americans and a recruiting tool for their cause.
Philosophers can debate whether Saddam Hussein's execution provides a measure of justice in a country he ruled so unjustly. But the grim, practical question is whether Saddam Hussein's execution will create yet another surge in the bloodbath his removal unleashed.
When President Bush invaded Iraq in 2003, most Americans would not have believed that Saddam Hussein's death would be cause for anything other than celebration. Now, we know that, for Iraq, it will take much more than Hussein's execution to justify a celebration. Today, Americans know a great deal more about what makes Iraq dangerous. It will be time to celebrate when our leaders show that they know what to do about it.