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Saddam is Dead

| 37 Comments

Arabiyah reports that the execution of Saddam has occurred, after the first call to prayer and a little while before the sun rises in Baghdad.

No official confirmation by the Iraqi government yet and no word on the 2 co-defendents also sentenced to death.

UPDATE: The Iraqi state-run TV service Iraqiya confirms Saddam's execution. Al Arabiya reports that the co-defendents, Saddam's half-brother Barzan al-Tikriti (who headed the secret police) and Awad Hamed Al-Bander (chief judge under Saddam) have also now been executed. Al Arabiya also reports that the executions were held at a location outside the Green Zone.

UPDATE: WOC commenter Beard asks "Why not keep him alive in prison?" and "Is the mission over now?" My response is summarized in the comment thread here.

37 Comments

[Sorry I didn't link the Sousa URL above. Please delete #2].

Appropriate music though.

"This aggression will not stand" - Walter Sobchak

okay, the original comment #2 is deleted

Aww. He seemed like such a nice man.

I blame the West.

A.L. (kidding)

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manner of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

- For Whom the Bell Tolls
by John Donne

Thus, the death of Saddam Hussein impoverishes all of us.

Or perhaps that's all bosh.

Anyway, we'll have to get by as best we can.

LT. WITTON: You're only doing this to avenge Captain Hunt.

MORANT: You're goddamn right, boy. It won't bring him back, but it's the next best thing.

Breaker Morant

I'm not going to mourn him. The world is better off without him. But does hanging this guy make it all worth while?

Has the mission been accomplished now, so we can all go home, or do we have to stay until everything we broke has been fixed?

In another context, I was thinking of the 1983 film, War Games, where the conclusion is, "Sometimes the only way to win is not to play the game." Seems pretty applicable, even though that movie was about nuclear war, and here we've grabbed the tar baby of terrorism.

But does hanging this guy make it all worth while?

Address your earnest inquiry to the Iraqis, Beard. They hung the son of a bitch, we didn't.

Furthermore, War Games totally sucked. This is what you're drawing life lessons from?

You know, Beard - it's funny. I'd always thought the 'tar baby of terrorism' had grabbed us...

A.L.

Any record of last words? I, for some reason, think of Monty Python:

Saddam: "It's a fair cop, but society is to blame."

Attending IP Officer: "Don't talk to the camera."

Why not keep him alive in prison? And is the mission done now?

It's worth remembering what the mission really was. It centered on Saddam and his actions but has always been about much more than this man alone.

It certainly is true that Saddam's actions were a serious threat to the US and to the West in general as well as to his people. Whether or not there were WMD materials smuggled into Syria during the long long buildup to the invasion in 2003 (as the Israelis have publicly stated, backed by degraded / lo-res photographic evidence) it is clear from thousands of captured documents that he not only was harboring terror training camps (both for Palestinians and for Ansar al Islam) and financially subsidizing terror, he also was actively attempting to reconstitute WMD programs (and seems to have thought he had them in better shape than we've found).

Nor do we have documents only. When our special forces and the Peshmerga overran the Ansar camps early on, they found crude chemical weaponsmaking capability and a "cookbook" whose recipe for ricin (for instance) links it directly to Baghdad. That recipe also matched the version of ricin found in apartments in both Paris and Britain during raids that also broke up terror plots in both those countries, plots that were linked to Ansar (in Paris and probably in Britain as well).

Old news, you might say. Why not keep Saddam alive and in prison for the rest of his life? What harm could it do?

Apart from the central point that the elected Iraqi government tried, sentenced and executed him, please note that the Baathists continued to hope he could be restored to power. His daughter in Jordan, using the billions of dollars smuggled out before the invasion, has been funding the Baathist side of the insurgency from the beginning and clearly hoped to restore him to power -- and if not him, than another from his inner circle. Sunnis in the Anbar province openly proposed that the US restore him in exchange for their attacking Iran.

Another factor is the massive bribery of public officials, journalists and NGO leaders that Saddam carried on via the oil for food program (and in other ways as well). The UN proved to be hugely corrupt, starting with Anan and flowing downward. Large sectors of the press, officials from Russia through Europe to most Middle Eastern countries and even in Canada took his bribes. Are you quite certain he would have stayed in prison long if left alive?

This needed to end. Will the current funding price of thousands of dollars per IED planted continue? For a while, probably. But with him gone Iraqis must now come to grips with a future of their own making. That will not be easy for them -- over 80% of all Iraqis never knew any government except his prior to 2003. Now, one way or another, they cannot avoid making their own governmental plans going forward.

The mission has never been only about Saddam, however. It has been about the dangerous role Iraq was playing under his control and about the need to find ways to create responsible representative governments in the Muslim world. And ultimately about integrating the vast, ill-educated, badly-governed and increasingly aggressive and threatening swath of Muslim countries into the international economic and political network. In an age when barely illiterate tribesmen are being both taught how to make and use mass destruction weapons AND successfully sent off to do just that, we no longer have the luxury of acting as if the poverty, ignorance and tyranny of much of the Muslim world is not our concern. Not when nuclear and other WMD capabilities are being promulgated by the likes of Saddam's Iraq and the Land of the (muslim) Pure (i.e. Pakistan).

You might remember that Saddam was given the option of leaving Iraq and going into exile. He refused, and we then and only then invaded. The option was real - note that Saddam's daughter has not met with any 'accident' while in exile in Jordan despite her open funding and support of the murderous insurgency. Had Saddam chosen exile we probably would not have gone over the Kuwaiti border at all. And had the State department and their allies in the CIA not sabotaged the plan via leaks and public protests, it's quite likely that a Shia and Kurdish coalition would have taken power quickly in the country, enabled (but probably not led) by Chalabi.

As for what we broke, it is true that the war has damaged the country badly. How much of that was our damage, how much was due to both the Baathist and the Islamacists, and how much to Saddam's rule is hard to say. But certainly the army officers and contractors I've spoken to were appalled at the state of the infrastructure that wasn't war-damaged. Much was held together with a variety of desperate jury-rigs - the power system was on its very last legs before we invaded, for instance , far worse than even the abysmal norm in the region. The agriculture sector was badly damaged by Saddam's atavistic attacks on the Shias as well, not to mention the environmental destruction caused by draining the wetlands that were home to the small (but Shia) 'swamp Arab' tribes. As is often the case under dictator tyrants, Iraq was pouring billions into oil bribes and WMD programs while the country was tottering on the edge of implosion, well before we crossed the border in 2003. If they can form a stable country, their oil wealth might instead be poured into schools, industries and a prosperous and peaceful future for all their people.

A person that massacres the population of his country to achieve or keep the power should be, after a fair trial, executed by that same people.

Either in Iraq or in Spain.

That is what I think.

Brings to mind another Python quote: "It's only a flesh wound"

It couldn't have happened to a worse guy.

Beard -- you are right on one thing (Saddam is a sideshow and always was). Wrong in everything else.

Muslims cannot exist as Muslims with an ever shrinking world making the point that Islam fails and modernity succeeds. The US drives modernity and globalization.

Thus the Muslim response: we'll kill enough of you until you surrender and convert to Islam or DIE.

THAT is the message of Muslims. You may decide to convert and live as a Muslim. Or if you like your life as it is then you must fight.

Zawahari's mentor Qutb, Zawahari himself, Osama, the Muslim Brotherhood, all were correct that globalization and modernity will destroy Islam in it's superstitious tribalism and ignorance. [Muslims in Britain refuse to wash their hands in UK hospitals, because the disinfectant contains alcohol.]

If that's the life you aspire to, well you're welcome to it. The rest of us will fight until Islam in one form or another has been destroyed.

Hate to break it to you: the Cold War is over and War Games is about as relevant as Ishtar to understanding the situation.

The one positive about Saddam's hanging: a brutal dicator who thumbed his nose at the US for decades and played footsie with Al Qaeda, Abu Nidal, Ramzi Yusef, various other 1993 WTC plotters and 9/11 figures is now dead.

The "international community" did not protect him. Neither did his army (the best in the ME). Neither did the Chinese, Russians, or French (our enemies and allied to the Muslims). This is a good thing, as it deters behavior like Saddam (safe havens for terrorists who kill Americans).

I'm not weeping for Saddam either but let's not confuse his execution with some improvement in the security of the United States. Comment 13 is a precis of the Protocols of the Elders of Saddam and about as accurate.

  1. The Ansar al Islam camp was located in the Kurdish region of Iraq, outside Saddam's effective control.
  2. We haven't found a shred of evidence of WMD being moved to Syria.
  3. Support for Palestinian terrorists is just as high (maybe even higher!) in post-Saddam Iraq, and re-establishing warm relations with Palestinian terrorists is probably one of the few things every Iraqi faction would support.

After we strip away the pretend-accomplishments, we must ask: Can it really be that our strategery was such a blunder, that it has cost so much for so little? Yes, it can. The next generation will probably look on the Iraq War in the same category as the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and Operation Barbarossa.

We'll see what history says about all this in a few decades, Andrew. In the meanwhile, your Protocols statement is quite telling .... about you. Re: your 3 assertions above,

(1) The Ansar camps were indeed mainly in the north/eastern area of the Kurdish territories. That says exactly nothing about the ability of Saddam to approve transfer of materials and know-how to people who are quite capable of moving beyond the camps themselves.

(2) We haven't looked. More to the point, we didn't look in the Bekkaa valley when the allegations were made. Subsequent shipments of large covered containers to Sudan may have made any current search moot. And yes, I realize this means we may never find evidence one way or the other. it's part of a bigger pattern: the whole kid glove, stretched out, give-detailed-notice-before-action way of doing things in this war which I would call ridiculous if it weren't also so disastrous for us. Ranks right up there with the UK's decision to notify Islamacist imams (known to preach sedition) before any anti-terror raids in Britain.

(3) On what basis do you assert this? I assure you that the Kurdish Iraqis I know (and I'm not talking about ex-pats) would spit at the thought of "re-establishing warm relations with Palestinian terrorists". For one thing, your phrase suggests that the Palestinians were welcomed by Iraqis, whereas the evidence is quite the opposite: Saddam seized property and otherwise favored the Palestinians over his own people, many of whom have scarcely forgotten or forgiven. Of course, if by "Iraqis" you mean "Sunni Arabs who did quite well under Saddam" then no doubt there is a bit of nostalgia there for the good old days.

Content, Andrew. Content behind your assertions. Surely you can do better than that Protocols bit.

I'm looking forward to the day when I can link to my heart's content without getting stuck in a moderation queue. And I will concede that I forgot about the Kurds when I suggested that support of anti-Israel terrorism was a rare point of agreement among Iraqi factions. Why this is good news in terms of Iraq's future—that the Kurds don't even agree on Israel/Palestine issues—escapes me. We have Maliki, Sistani, and Sunni leaders all condemning Israel and sympathizing with Hezbollah. I suppose even Ahmad Chalabi has stopped babbling about warm relations between Israel and Iraq, now that his bank account is enriched by millions from his time at the Oil Ministry.

As for the other claims, I have lost my capacity to be shocked by the absurdly low bar for quality of anti-Saddam evidence. We most certainly did search for evidence that WMD were exported from Iraq to Syria (leaving, amazingly, no trace of their former location nor the personnel who worked on them).
U.S. investigators hunting for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq have found no evidence that such material was moved to Syria for safekeeping before the war, according to a final report of the investigation released yesterday.
Likewise
But intelligence and congressional officials say they have not seen any information — never "a piece," said one — indicating that WMD or significant amounts of components and equipment were transferred from Iraq to neighboring Syria, Jordan or elsewhere.
Against that, we pit various unfalsifiable rumors with, quite literally, nothing but some interested party's hearsay speculative say-so. And much of this gets passed around by people whose other information, e.g., the fabricated Al Qaeda camp at Salman Pak that wasn't, has been tossed on the garbage with, yes, drivel like the Protocols.

It's funny. Andrew Lazarus and many more claim they don't support the Saddam Hussein's of the world, yet they viciously oppose all those who oppose the Saddam Hussein's of the world. At the same time they tout the idea of fake but accurate and consult Wikipedia, proven to be less than accurate, as a tome of great significant. One would fear that their policy interests are not influenced by reason, morality or fact.

Andrew unquestioningly accepts indirect quotes from unidentified "intelligence and congressional officials" while ignoring the attributed quote from Duelfer in the same article that affirms large quantities of materials were transferred to Syria. Duelfer makes clear the fact that he could not PROVE the identity of the materials so transferred -- which is not surprising, given their destination and the long lag time.

While clearly there is a gap between intel reports prior to the war and what we found in Iraq, Andrew conveniently fails to acknowledge detailed facts we do have regarding WMD programs under Saddam: nuclear parts buried in key officials' gardens, attested documents with official signatures, buried drums of nerve and mustard agents.

This war was politicized and distorted long before we crossed the Kuwaiti border. The left assumes that was done by the right. The right has a long litany of examples of that distortion from the left.

And in the meanwhile, the situation has been deliberately muddied to the point where "proof" will never be had. In that situation, I'll rely on the first-hand reports I've had from people who were there in the early days of the war, people who are apolitical and known to me to have integrity. But if Andrew prefers to rely on media reports attributed to unnammed officials of an unnamed political party, who can gainsay him?

Judge him, clearly. But not gainsay him.

When I despair, I remember that all through history
the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall.

Think of it - always.

-M. Gandhi

#9 from Beard: "Has the mission been accomplished now, so we can all go home, or do we have to stay until everything we broke has been fixed?"

In my opinion the mission was accomplished when Saddam was dragged from his spider-hole, since the rest was up to the Iraqis.

The execution of Saddam Hussien underlines that the mission is long done. There remain in Iraq no tasks that ought to be done by Americans and not by Iraqis.

Iraqis blame us for anything and everything, no matter who broke what, and they will continue to do so no matter how long we hang around trying to fix and replace stuff faster than they can break or steal it.

They want us gone within a year, and they approve of attacks on our soldiers. We should give them what they want, that is our speedy departure, and since they want us dead it's fine by me if our speedy departure leads to more of them being dead.

(It's more than fine. I look on wars in which Muslims focus on killing each other, distracting them from plotting to kill us, as necessary to our security. We should not get in the way of such fortunate events.)

Mission accomplished. Let's go.

Of course, at the time that Saddam committed the crimes for which he was hanged, he was a friend of the United States. And I wonder what corvan would say if I suggested his refusal to invade Zimbabwe and hang Robert Mugabe means he's really just an immoral supporter of the Zimbabwean dictator. Even when the Bushbots have the facts right, the logic is illogical.

But usually the facts aren't right. You want the Duelfer Report? Here.
Based on the evidence available at present, ISG judged that it was unlikely that an official transfer of WMD material from Iraq to Syria took place. However, ISG was unable to rule out unofficial movement of limited WMD-related materials.
On your standards of evidence, I could argue from the fact that you can't rule out that an unofficial limited number of Jews perhaps didn't go to work at the WTC on 9/11 into a Jewish conspiracy. Seriously. You're taking skepticism (but not complete disproof) about even unofficial limited WMD transfers and turning it into complete faith in massive transfers of Saddam's entire WMD program, something which is completely preposterous. And your other examples are just as distorted. The buried centrifuge from before the Gulf War?
But for the Bush administration, things quickly began to go wrong with the Obeidi story. True, Obeidi said he’d buried the centrifuge equipment, as he’d been ordered to do in 1991 by Saddam’s son Qusay Hussein and son-in-law Hussein Kamel. But he also insisted to the CIA that, in effect, that was that: Saddam had never reconstituted his centrifuge program afterward, in large part because of the Iraqi tyrant’s fear of being discovered under the U.N. sanctions-and-inspections regime. If true, this was a terribly inconvenient fact for the Bush administration, after months in which Secretary of State Colin Powell and other senior officials had alleged that aluminum tubes imported from 11 countries were intended for just such a centrifuge program. Obeidi denied that and added that he would have known about any attempts to restart the program. He also told the CIA that, as the International Atomic Energy Agency and many technical experts have said, the aluminum tubes were intended for rockets, not uranium enrichment or a nuclear-weapons program. And he stuck by his story, despite persistent questioning by CIA investigators who still believed he was not telling the full truth. Soon, not only was Obeidi no longer a marquee name for the Bush team, he was incommunicado. Whisked off to a safe house in Kuwait, with no access to phones or the Internet, he waited in vain for what he thought had been offered to him: asylum in the United States and green cards granting permanent residency to him and his eight-member family.
Nerve and mustard agents? Forgotten, off-inventory stuff that had degraded significantly. "Attested signatures"—yeah, right.

I'm serious, Molon. Those whose mania is anti-Semitism have similar—maybe even betterevidence than this.

Andrew J. Lazarus:
Of course, at the time that Saddam committed the crimes for which he was hanged, he was a friend of the United States.

Why don't you just go all the way and call him our closest ally, Andrew? That would be only slightly more inaccurate. He was neither a friend or an ally, he was a tool against the Ayatollahs.

But then, liberals of your ilk are convinced that every bad person on earth is somehow a product of US foreign policy. I remember seeing Jesse Jackson claim that Hitler was once an ally of the United States, and of course nobody dared to contradict him.

Let's suppose he was our friend. Does that mean that his crimes were not real crimes, or does it mean that we're just as much to blame for them as he was? I'm sure you mean the latter, but both claims are equally false.

Andrew Lazarus,

For a shot period of time America thought Saddam a lesser evil as compared to the Mullahs. I assume at that time you despised him.
However, now that it has been proved that Saddam had been seeking nuclear weapons prior to Gulf war One, that he had been paying suicide bombers to kill Israeli women and children, that he had sought the assassination of a United States president, that he had, with a little help from Kofi Annan turned the UN into one of the biggest organized crime syndicates in the history of man and that he, through his secret police, had been responsible for the deaths of hundreds upon hundreds of thousands and the torture of many more he has become your cause celeb. And your cause has not been to depose him, charge him with crimes or execute him.
You claim he was once America's staunchest ally. I don't believe it, but even if I granted you that I still could not help but notice that now you are his.
I suspect that if the United States made any move to threaten Robert Mugabe's office you might become his ally as well, or even perhaps the ally of the mullahs in Iran should history blow the Untied States in their direction. I hope you have a chance to prove me wrong on both of those assumptions. I bet you hope you don't.

"You know, Beard - it's funny. I'd always thought the 'tar baby of terrorism' had grabbed us..." A.L. [#11]

Yah, it's an imperfect metaphor and I got snared by the delightful alliteration of the phrase.

But there we were, chasing the bad guys in Afghanistan, with support from the vast majority of the world, including much of the Islamic world, when we got seduced by the irresistable temptation of global hegemony through the 21st century and beyond. The plum was Iraq: filled with oil, geopolitically placed so our dominance there would take Iran and Syria by the short hairs, and ruled by a UN-certified Bad Guy.

So, we took the fruit from the tree --- it was hanging oh, so low! --- and ate, and we were cast out of our dream garden. They cheered our troops, but only for a very little while, and then we discovered we had embraced the tar baby. No matter how hard we tried, we couldn't put it down.

I doubt this was OBL's plan, but we couldn't have given him a better gift if we'd tried. We've become the poster-demon for recruiting Islamic fundamentalists. OBL gets to skim the cream (scum?) off that group to get dedicated terrorists for the GWoT (on his side, the "o" stands for "of").

So, here is where we stand: we didn't get the oil; we didn't get the geopolitical dominance over the region; we didn't get leverage over Iran and Syria; we didn't get the shining light to stand against fundamentalist extremism; we didn't get the guys who blew up the WTC; and we certainly aren't getting global hegemony; but at least we got Saddam.

At least it wasn't a shut-out.

We are facing genuine, dangerous enemies. Do you suspect that maybe, we're fighting the wrong war, in the wrong way, with the wrong weapons?

When you say chasing the bad guys out of Afghanistan with the support of the world you don't mean the American left do you Beard? Because, honestly now, the Afghan war didn't become the good war until the American left figured they could use it to support the insurgency in Iraq. Hell, I frankly wonder why the Administration has resisted attacking Iran. Sure it might be a strategic blunder of enormous consequence, but the left would probably be willing to give the effort in Iraq some love so long as they could use it to support the mullahs.
And if you don't believe the left was down on the Afghan action consult Ted Rall and Michael Moore.

Corvan: There's somebody against everything. Would it make sense to hold the entire Right responsible for Ann Coulter's foolishness? (Not a bad idea, come to think of it! Why don't you disavow her?)

Beard,

So Ted Rall and Michael Moore are foolish and shouldn't be listened to, and Afghanistan is a good action that should receive the left's complete and loyal support? Have you had that conversation with any one on the left? Because I don't see anyone in the Democratic party, other than the apostates, distancing themselves from Mr. Moore. For that reason I really doubt that the left would have anything save contempt for the action in Afghanistan and the soldiers that fight there (Ted Rall remembered Pat Tilman so kindly) if they could not use it as a weapon against democracy in Iraq. Likewise, I figure that if the administration decided military action was necessary to stop Iran from building nuclear weapons the left would suddenly become very supportive of the action in Iraq and lament the use of force in Iran as a distraction from the real war on terror, which they all know is the war on George Bush, Richard Cheney, Haliburton and Donald Rumsfeld.
I guess that's a round about way of saying I don't believe the left's sudden misty eyed fondness for the soldiers in Afghanistan is genuine any more than I think they really believe that American soldiers in Iraq should be prosecuted for the use of white phosphorous, depleted uranium or indiscriminate air strikes. Each set of talking points is merely a means to an end...the delivery of Iraq to someone other than GWB, Dick Cheney and Haliburton, who the left belives are the real terrorists.

Sorry Corvan, you're committing at least two of the rhetorical bogosities that often afflict these discussions. First is the assumption that there is a unified "Left" (or "Right" for that matter), so that if you dig up something bizarre that someone on the Left has said, then everyone on the Left can be criticized for taking exactly that position. Second, and almost as common, is to "restate" the position you are arguing against into the straw man you want, rather than addressing the actual point.

If you want to treat the discussion as a search for truth by combining insights from different perspectives, or even as an attempt to change minds, then you have to start by making sure you actually understand and are addressing what the other person says.

So, let me model this.

My understanding of your post [#31] is that you believe that the Left is primarily motivated by their hatred and opposition to GWB, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al, and that they will support or oppose any particular action depending on what makes life more difficult for those folks.

Am I correct?

[If I am, this is remarkably like how the extreme Right treated Bill Clinton. They were furious because he co-opted many of their issues and reaped huge political and practical success from them. But let's not get distracted.]

My personal position is summarized by the last paragraph of my post [#28]. I believe that many others on Left feel the same way, though probably not all. The track record of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al, suggests that they are committed to a particular world-view that I believe is doomed to failure against the real threats we face. Since those guys have shown they can't be changed, they must be removed from power, in order for the country to meet the real threat in a useful way.

There are undoubtedly things that could have been done better in Afghanistan, but at least there, we were hunting OBL, who had actually committed a horrible crime against the USA. The Iraq war seems (to me) to be motivated as I described in [#28]. They thought it was a target of opportunity. They were wrong. And we are screwed. If we attack Iran, I believe we will be in even deeper trouble.

I'm not saying that Iran isn't a problem. It is. Iran with nukes is a scary prospect. But attacking them pre-emptively will have terrible consequences for the USA and for the world.

If you want to respond seriously to my argument, fine. I'm happy to discuss and perhaps learn from people I disagree with. But don't just build straw men so you can set them on fire.

Corvan, I am trying to point out to you that the specific crimes so heinous Saddam was executed for them didn't keep Rumsfeld from visiting him with warm greetings from the United States. OK, you can make the argument that we found him (like Stalin in WW2) an ally in extremity against the even more criminal Iranian mullahs. Where this argument falls apart is that Saddam was still a bulwark against Islamic fanaticism, even in his crippled state of 2002. If this role were so important, we shouldn't have deposed him, much less executed him. (The extremely minimal strategic results of this war in reality are why Molon Labe has to conjure up all those scary threats we have averted, which unfortunately for his argument are imaginary.)

The sad truth is that historians will be busy for generations trying to understand why the W Administration diverted attention and resources from Afghanistan to Iraq. In Spring of 2003 we had Al Qaeda on the run. Now the Islamic terrorists have us stuck in place.

"The sad truth is that historians will be busy for generations trying to understand why the W Administration diverted attention and resources from Afghanistan to Iraq."

Because the administration viewed rogue states as a key enabler of the Islamsists, and because Saddam's regime was at the top of the list of rogue states. It would have been nigh impossible to make an international case against, say, Iran, with Saddam still tooling around Baghdad. If international consensus concering rogue regimes was going to mean anything, and if the administration wanted to maximize its chances of NOT going to war with a half dozen nations, then Saddam had to go.

Okay historians, there's your answer. Now get to work on something important and not so partisan, okay? Stop goofing off staring at your belly buttons.

Beard,

You would have done well to read Andrew J. Lazarus's posts before you wrote your last. They seem to give lie to your argument, unless of course Andrew J has joined the Christian Coalition while no one was looking.
Your position boiled down to its essentials is that no one on the left actually represents the left. Of course that's beyond silly, as Andrew J Lazarus makes so very clear.
There is a reason it seems as though the left despises GWB (an admittedly very imperfect president but no Saddam Hussein or Bushitler for that matter) more than it does Islamic Fascists. Because it does.
I mean no disrespect when I say this, but seriously you would do better if you spent more time confronting the bilge pouring out of the Daily Kos, and Charlie Rangel and John Kerry and Michael Moore and Ted Rall and less time pretending they weren't representatives of the left. It makes you appear rather dishonest, rather like the left's new found enthusiasm for Afghanistan.
And of course your reaction to any potential conflict with Iran is more laughable still. Of course you would object to any action that might stop the mullah's from obtaining nuclear weapons. the same way you have objected strenuously to any effort to remove Saddam Hussein, a terrorist enabler from power. The same way your most important objective, as stated in your own post is to remove Bush and Cheney from power.
Frankly, Beard I'm not trying to convince you of anything. Your arguments prove that you are beyond hope or reason. I only try to point out to those who haven't decided that they had rather see terrorists in control of the middle east than Rethuglicans that you are filled to over flowing with deadly, self serving nonsense.
In that regard you claim I've built straw men. Not true, I've merely pointed out that your positions are made of straw.

Andrew, why can't the left admit that:

1. It is often necessary to make bargains or accords with the devil (as, the USSR during WW2, or the Mujahedin during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, or Saddam pre-Gulf-War)?

2. Just because grounds once existed for supporting the devil, they need not exist indefinitely?

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  • Chris M: Thanks for the great post, Joe ... linked it on read more
  • Joe Katzman: Collect them all! Though the French would be upset about read more
  • Glen Wishard: Now all the Saudis need is a division's worth of read more
  • mark buehner: Its one thing to accept the Iranians as an ally read more
  • J Aguilar: Saudis were around here (Spain) a year ago trying the read more
  • Fred: Good point, brutality didn't work terribly well for the Russians read more
  • mark buehner: Certainly plausible but there are plenty of examples of that read more
  • Fred: They have no need to project power but have the read more
  • mark buehner: Good stuff here. The only caveat is that a nuclear read more
  • Ian C.: OK... Here's the problem. Perceived relevance. When it was 'Weapons read more
  • Marcus Vitruvius: Chris, If there were some way to do all these read more
  • Chris M: Marcus Vitruvius, I'm surprised by your comments. You're quite right, read more
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