Proudly presenting a new article by Jeffrey Gedmin in WELT, in which he quotes Davids Medienkritik. Many thanks!
Poor Saddam Hussein
Column in Die Welt, 10.01.2006 / By Jeffrey Gedmin
I’m not sure what’s worse, those who supported the Iraq war but then abandoned the Iraqi people once things proved difficult or those, both from pro-war and anti-war camps, who now engage in an unseemly competition to prove who is the most appalled by Saddam Hussein’s execution. The decision to remove Saddam from power was correct. And I do not lose one wink of sleep over the Iraqis dictator’s hanging.
I can think of at least seven reasons which, in combination, made a compelling argument for war. First, 9/11, which Saddam Hussein publicly praised. Second, the widely held conviction that Saddam was developing an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. Third, the belief that Al Qaeda was in contact with Saddam’s men, a view which has since been proven correct. Fourth, Moscow had urged us to launch pre-emptive strikes against terrorist training camps in Afghanistan at least a year before September 11th. Fifth, oil. Sixth, Saddam supported terrorism. The Iraqi dictator rewarded the families of Palestinian suicide bombers with $25,000 and a commemorative plaque. Seventh, Iraq’s repulsive human rights record, ghastly even by the low standards of the region. Last spring, an Iraqi delegation shocked participants at an Aspen conference when, after two days of berating the Bush administration for its arrogance and incompetence, they agreed that ending Saddam’s blood soaked rule had been the right thing to do. They live in Baghdad.
I have my confessions. I never imagined how bloody these first years would be. I did not foresee the insurgency. That we found no stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction is an enormous embarrassment. Of course, Anti-war groups thought Saddam had these weapons, too. Some argued against intervention because Saddam would strike Israel again, this time, they argued, with chemical weapons. Jürgen Trittin of the Greens, who claims to have known everything, was certain back then we’d have tens of
thousands of refugees once the war began. Like Der Spiegel, he insisted that all Bush wanted was oil. Now anti-Americans lambast Bush for having been naïve and too idealistic about democracy in Iraq.
Then there is Saddam’s hanging. Some want to use Saddam’s execution to underscore how barbaric America loves the death penalty. It’s a little more complicated. Twelve U.S. states plus Washington D.C. have banned capital punishment. Several EU countries would likely re-introduce capital punishment if asked in a referendum. Majorities in France, Britain, Spain and Germany favoured Saddam’s execution, as David’s Medienkritik points out (www.medienkritik.typepad.com).
But never mind. We lead busy lives and choose our causes for outrage. I’ve chosen mine. Wearing fur and the demise of Iraq’s ex-President didn’t make the list. Besides, we have more important things to talk about. This week the President is expected to announce the deployment of 20,000-30,000 additional U.S. troops in Iraq. I have not heard of a convincing alternative. At any rate, the democrats’ suggestion to withdraw the troops cannot be taken seriously.