Saddam Hussein

There is not much positive to write about either Saddam Hussein or the American invasion of Iraq.

In his October 11 column, Andrew Coyne lamented North Korea’s nuclear test, but suggested that it would have been even worse had Saddam Hussein still been in power.

On October 13, the National Post ran the following letter from yours truly under the headline “No, Andrew, it could have been better”:

Andrew Coyne worries that western nations will “abandon Afghanistan to the Taliban, and Iraq to al-Qaeda”, but claims that “It could be worse. Just imagine if Saddam Hussein was still in power.”  If Hussein were still in power, much greater American resources would have been available to rebuild Afghanistan, al-Qaeda would not be in Iraq, and North Korea and Iran would be pursuing their nuclear ambitions with considerably less vigour.

2 comments

  • Absolutely. A few years ago Krugman wrote a piece “Games Nations Play” arguing that the Iraq invasion gave a strong incentive to both Iran and North Korea to accelerate any nuclear plans they had in mind. He’s been proven right.

  • I’m curious about Hussein-omics. It is pretty clear that the Iraq war has killed hundreds of thousands, decimated infrastructure, undermined goods and services from both the market and government. Even if the war stopped tomorrow, and a peace could be imposed from above, it would take a generation for Iraq to recover its economic standing of the Hussein era.

    And remember there were major economic sanctions on Iraq for a decade plus before Bush War II. These sanctions, not to mention two wars, killed more innocent people than Hussein ever did.

    Yes, Suddam Hussein was a brutal guy, prone to genocide, secret police round-ups and all that. But it seems to me that if you go back to the 1980s, Iraqis had a decent standard of living. Unlike Saudi Arabia, Hussein used oil profits to provide a better economy for Iraqis (unless you happened to be Kurdish) and as a secular leader he kept together the religious factions that we now see exploding.

    A socialist utopia, no. Better than 2006, definitely yes. If the seeds of a democratic movement could have been nourished, a transition away from Hussein, along the lines of the dictatorships in Latin America, would have been a better course, though less profitable for the US oil industry.

    Consider Brazil or Argentina, with tens of throusands dead during the 1970-80s dictatorship period. Would it have been better for the US (who supported these regimes, as it did Hussein) to have bombed the crap out of those countries and then tried to establish a new democratic order?

    Am I going way out on a limb in saying this?

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