Tuesday, November 29, 2005


From a long ago post, I received a comment from an individual asking me the proverbial question: Aren't we better off without Saddam in power? Slate:
The LAT and NYT both—finally—front the rise of what appear to be Shiite death squads operating as part of Iraqi government forces. The LAT says U.S. military advisers now agree that the term "death squads" is apt. "There are such groups operating—yes, this is correct," said the inspector general for Iraq's Interior Ministry. There has been evidence mounting for months that government-affiliated units have been executing Sunnis, but there's been little coverage and plenty of official denial. (TP suspects the lack of coverage has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with the media's tendency to stick with what's hot. Until the other week the conduct of Iraqi forces didn't qualify.)

One human rights group told the NYT that 700 Sunni civilians have been killed or disappeared over the last four months. "There is no question that bodies are turning up," said an investigator for the group. "Quite a few have been handcuffed and shot in the back of the head. The stories are pretty much consistent across the board, both in the manner that the men are being abducted and in who they say is taking them." Knight Ridder has a similar story, with sources talking about more secret jails where detainees are tortured.
Laura Rosen has information that deaths squads may be a sanctioned Pentagon plan.

Can anyone offer a single metric of any significance that shows that Iraq is a better place without Saddam? For the life of me, I can't. And if that's so, what does that say about the current Iraqi leaders and the United States? I'm sick of hearing politicians and pundits repeat this mantra over and over again.

Is it just possible that Saddam rose to power as a natural outgrowth of the population? There was always fear of civil war in Iraq, even when Saddam was our buddy. Bush 1 didn't want to remove Saddam precisely for these same reasons. Iraq is a bundle of tensions that are the result of the artificial boundaries drawn in the colonial days. It's been a pile of ethnic/tribal dung for some time.....we just now stepped in it up to our ankles.

I suspect that to admit this openly is to have a national depression. Because if it's true that Iraq is not better off, the last vestige of a rational reason to invade Iraq is gone.


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