Sunday, December 31, 2006

Saddam Hussein: hanged - II









David Seaton's News Links

Here to end the year are some pungent comments from Niall Ferguson on the late Mr. Hussein and some of his former friends. DS
Abstract: In George W Bush he faced an antagonist very different in temper from the elder President Bush; a leader persuaded by his advisers that Saddam's overthrow was desirable in three ways: as retaliation for the terrorist attacks of 9/11 (though Iraqi complicity was conspicuous by its absence); as pre-emption before Saddam acquired weapons of mass destruction (though the evidence for their existence was woefully thin); and as proof of the superiority of democracy over dictatorship (though history offered no evidence that democracy could be imposed at gunpoint in the Middle East). Saddam had been Bush-whacked once; to suffer the same fate twice was worse than carelessness. Rather than confess that his WMD programmes had been abandoned in the 1990s, he continued to bluff, apparently ruling out the possibility that Bush Jnr was hell-bent on invading Iraq, with or without UN backing.(...) Today, of course, we can look back and understand Saddam's miscalculation better. In Saddam's eyes, as in the eyes of Bush Snr, the lesson of history was that the alternative to Saddam was civil war, not democracy. The US had stopped short of regime change in 1991 and had cynically left the Shias and Kurds to face Saddam's wrath, having initially urged them to rise up in revolt. All that has happened since 2003 has vindicated those who argued that, without Saddam's iron fist, Iraq would disintegrate, not democratise. The dictator's nemesis proved to be a president so naive that he did not even know the difference between Sunni and Shia. In the same spirit, we may ask ourselves this New Year's Eve: who is the bigger criminal: he who tyrannises a people, or he who first bankrolls the tyrant — and then replaces his tyranny with anarchy. For Saddam's career would have taken a very different course had he not, at vital times, received support as well as opposition from the United States. He was given training by the CIA in Egypt following the abortive coup of 1959. Though Iraq appeared to be drifting into the Soviet orbit in the early 1970s, Saddam won favour in Washington for purging the Iraqi Communists. After 1979, he received copious quantities of arms and aid to prosecute his war of aggression against Ayatollah Khomeini's Iran. READ IT ALL

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