Something comedian and “fake” anchorman Jon Stewart of “The Daily Show” said the other night got me thinking. He was interviewing the author of a book about freedom and the Middle East, and Jon asked, “Is part of the problem with Iraq that they don’t have a good story to go with their liberation? In America, we have stories of a ragtag militia fighting the British and creating a Constitution–I mean, would we as Americans be like we are, would we have been happy if the French had come over and gotten rid of the British and wrote our Constitution for us?” To paraphrase. And I think he really hit on something there I hadn’t thought of.
The guest agreed somewhat, and mentioned the obvious: Of course Iraq, in the middle of a region where anti-Americanism is so strong, would have resentment about the big and powerful Americans coming to liberate them, no matter how morally justified. Then the U.S. goes and gets some expatriated Iraqis living in the U.K. and tells Iraq “OK, here are the people who are going to run your country, now.” No matter how much longer it was going to take, it would have been preferable to have the liberation run by the U.N. where more appropriate and Iraq centered plans and goals would have been utilized.
You know (if you’ve read my blogs, that is *g*) that I have no love for the Bush administration but thought the war in Iraq was just and proper and long overdue…and now I’m not so sure. I mean, on the one hand, there’s no denying Hussain’s murderous barbarism. He’s responsible for the murder of thousands of his own people, attempts at genocide of the Shi’ites and Kurds, torture, brutality, raping and pillaging the Iraqi economy for his own goals…there’s no denying Iraq is a better place without Saddam, regardless of whether the region or U.S. or the world is safer. But when you really consider it from the other point of view, the obvious kind of hits you upside the head. What if back in the 18th century we had despised the French, and then they took it upon themselves to come over here and wage war on our land to get rid of King George (well, Cornwallis at least,) and then stuck around in order to gather up some of our crops for themselves and tell us how to form our new government. There’s no doubt that Saddam Hussain is a thousand times worse than 18th century British Empire, but could we have waited the months it would have taken for the U.N. to have gotten around to doing something?
We know NOW that we could have. There are no WMD, there’s little to no ties of AlQueda and Iraq. Neither the U.S. or any other countries were at any risk from Saddam; the only people at risk were the country’s own citizens. I’m thinking, maybe we SHOULD have waited, done nothing until the Iraqi people got fed up enough with the tyrant to run him, his army, the elite Red Guard out…of…OK, so like I was saying in a previous blog it’s pretty impossible this day and age to overthrow a government unless you have the military help you in a coup, especially in a country where you got tortured, or if you’re lucky just simply shot, for saying a single negative comment about the ruler. So, the Iraqi people had nearly no chance of getting rid of Hussain on their own, but they’d certainly be more receptive to a world-wide organized endeavor. Perhaps a lot would have ended the same: the same military maneuvers, the same fighting insurgents and former Baathists, but the political and commercial programs and rebuilding certainly look less like the Bush administration raping and pillaging their economy.