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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Bring Back Who?

Headline, LA Times Editorial Section:
Jonathan Chait: Bring back Saddam Hussein
Restoring the dictator to power may give Iraqis the jolt of authority they need. Have a better solution?

You know, you really have to be doing some serious crack to write stuff like this. I mean already you've got to know this guy has a serious screw loose, but, hey, let's visit this guy's reasoning for just a minute anyway. I haven't visited the wacky palace in years and I have this morbid curiousity. Okay, here goes the rationale (the italics are Jon-Boy's):

1. Yes, I know. Hussein is a psychotic mass murderer. Under his rule, Iraqis were shot, tortured and lived in constant fear. Bringing the dictator back would sound cruel if it weren't for the fact that all those things are also happening now, probably on a wider scale

Excuse me? Probably on a wider scale. This guy is proposing to bring back Hitler's kid brother because he thinks things may be worse. Let's not do any actual research here. Let's just go by the amount of negative media coverage. After all, a peaceful evening news is much more important than how many people are actually being slaughtered in Iraq.

2. Here is the basic dilemma: The government is run by Shiites, and the security agencies have been overrun by militias and death squads. The government is strong enough to terrorize the Sunnis into rebellion but not strong enough to crush this rebellion.

Okay, so our failure is that we didn't create a government strong enough to CRUSH a rebellion. I am sensing a theme developing here.

3. We may be strong enough to stop large-scale warfare or genocide, but we're not strong enough to stop pervasive chaos.

Oooh, ooh! I get it. Chaos is bad, but nice orderly deliberate mass murder is not so bad.

4. Hussein, however, has a proven record in that department. It may well be possible to reconstitute the Iraqi army and state bureaucracy we disbanded, and if so, that may be the only force capable of imposing order in Iraq

Again the same theme. We must have order above all, even if it means putting the Butcher of Baghdad back in the catbird seat.

5. Chaos and order each have a powerful self-sustaining logic. When people perceive a lack of order, they act in ways that further the disorder.

So, let me make sure I understand this. Chaos and disorder are so bad that we must put Saddam Hussein back in power to scare the bejeebers out of the Iraqis so that they will quit being chaotic and march into the killing fields in an orderly manner.

6. Restoring the expectation of order in Iraq will take some kind of large-scale psychological shock.

Well, Jon-Boy, putting Saddam back in power would certainly accomplish that.

7. The disadvantages of reinstalling Hussein are obvious, but consider some of the upside. He would not allow the country to be dominated by Iran, which is the United States' major regional enemy, a sponsor of terrorism and an instigator of warfare between Lebanon and Israel.

Aha! So Saddam wasn't paying Palestinians to blow themselves up? There weren't terrorist training camps in the desert? He didn't run over a neighboring country to try and steal their oil? He wasn't a problem after all. We were just imagining things.

8. Hussein was extremely difficult to deal with before the war, in large part because he apparently believed that he could defeat any U.S. invasion if it came to that. Now he knows he can't. And he'd probably be amenable because his alternative is death by hanging.

So now that we've whupped up on him, he's going to be a good boy. Oh, yeah, I bet that would really work out well!

9. I know why restoring a brutal tyrant to power is a bad idea. Somebody explain to me why it's worse than all the others.

I don't think it will do any good, but here goes.

a. It would confuse the heck out of the entire Middle East
b. It would demonstrate once and for all to terrorists everywhere that terrorism against the U.S. works
c. It would trade one kind of brutality for another - the only change is that it would be Saddam's problem and not ours.
d. If we ever get out of there on those terms, do you honestly think Saddam will ever be afraid of us again. Who in the world believes the US Congress would ever let a president go back to Iraq if Saddam gets frisky again?

Jon-Boy is the poster boy for the idea that order is more important than freedom. What we need is a big powerful government that can frighten the stupid masses into submission. He believes that even a bad leader, so long as he makes everyone want to behave themselves (even if it's because he's so quick to murder the unruly) is better than chaos and disorder.

There was a similar level of social chaos in Germany in the 20's and 30's. A powerful leader arose to calm things down. And lo and behold, the stupid masses lined up and marched onto the killing fields. The chaos ended.

Do these guys never read their history books?

Just one man's informed opinion.

Tom King

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