January 14, 2004


Germany’s Berliner Morgenpost notes progress in Iraq. David Kaspar posts an English translation:

Business is booming especially with no taxes to pay. Office furniture is currently in high demand as new companies are being established all over ... There are modest loans from the occupational authority for those seeking to start a small business ... In Baghdad the internet cafes are shooting out of the ground like mushrooms. Even in distant small towns you find some.

It’s staggering that “repression of free speech” under the hated Bush junta should have become such a persistent theme in Western media while the explosion of free speech in Iraq post Saddam is almost ignored. More chilling is this Iraqi translator’s account, in the same story, of life under the former resident of Spider Hole Street:

I have seen recordings of how the Fedayeen were trained. Small children would be executed in front of them to harden their hearts. Dogs would be set on old people and criminals with the same purpose. Saddam paid them good money, which is why they served Saddam.

The only people who are against the Americans now are those who were rich before. Now they know that they can’t sit at home and get wealthy. They will have to work and they don’t like it. They lost the power and authority. It is very dangerous.

What would I say to the American people? You have to be proud of your sons. You have to be proud of your army. They are fighters for freedom.

Consider again the people the anti-war left was defending: lazy rich murdering bastards.

Posted by Tim Blair at January 14, 2004 12:26 AM

The Left of the past justified the atrocities of Lenin and Mao, Stalin and Castro, with the observation that those who were being "punished" were, in fact, merely the rich. Rich, in fact, who had made their money plundering the poor, the landless, the peasantry, etc.

Why, now, has the Left decided to abandon them in Iraq? Shouldn't the Left, in fact, stand FOR regime change in places like Iraq and elsewhere?

Posted by: Dean at January 14, 2004 at 01:23 AM

Most of us were already damn proud of our sons and daughters for the job they did and are doing.

Thanks for posting the link to the translation.

Posted by: Chrees at January 14, 2004 at 05:53 AM

The only people the Left are interested in is the US government. On every topic they define themselves in opposition to it. In short, they're followers, not leaders.

Posted by: Quentin George at January 14, 2004 at 06:28 AM

"Consider again the people the anti-war left was defending: lazy rich murdering bastards."

If Michael Moore doesn't defend himself, who else will?

Posted by: timks at January 14, 2004 at 07:13 AM

Well, I dunno. It's quite possible that the tinfoil-hat Left believes mass murder to be hard work...

Posted by: b-psycho at January 14, 2004 at 07:22 AM

"Consider again the people the anti-war left was defending: lazy rich murdering bastards. "

Yes, but those lazy rich murdering bastards--and those rich lazy people who went along with Hussein's murderous ways-- speak English, and (as John Burns of the NYTIMES pointed out) are often the ones interviewed and working for the lazy US press.

The rest of us get our news from blogs and relatives in Iraa, so know the lies of the press. Heck, what else is new about those of us who have the "s" factor, i.e. are stupid enough to back the war.

Posted by: tioedong at January 14, 2004 at 08:32 AM

The North Korean govt. trains soldiers in the same manner as Saddam did the Fadayeen with a twist:some prisoners are let loose and the soldiers hunt them down.

Mugabe trains his `youth scouts' in similar fashion to the training of the Fadayeen.

Dean is spot on.Good post Tim.

Posted by: d at January 14, 2004 at 08:35 AM

Timks: "If Michael Moore doesn't defend himself, who else will?"
D'oh! The coastguard?. . . Homer Simpson.

Posted by: slatts at January 14, 2004 at 12:05 PM

Pick a Service,
Pick a challenge,
set youself apart!
North Korea! Mugabe! Taliban! Fedayeen!
What a great way, it's a great way...to start!!!

Posted by: Jerry at January 14, 2004 at 12:30 PM

One can be proud of a job well-done, yet still wonder if the job was worth doing.
Pro-warriors are not comparing apples with apples when they cite improvements from pre- to post-war Iraq, in respect of economic prosperity and political liberty.
Economicly, things are getting better, but are still well below the level that they were pre-sanctions Gulf War I (1990). So the correct bench mark for comparison is not Iraq without Saddam, but Iraq without UN sanctions.
Even under sanctions, Iraqis were poor, but mostly had jobs. Now, material conditions in Iraq are still worse than before the war, owing to massive dislocation-caused unemployment:

As much as 50 percent of the work force remains unemployed.
As Iraqis will tell you, salaries were paltry and the work was vapid in Saddam Hussein's controlled economy, but at least jobs were reliable. For many, the new plague of unemployment has come to symbolize not just economic disarray, but a fundamental gap between American promises and Iraqi reality.

This is already creating political problems for the coalition, as evinced by this report:
Clashes Rise in Southern Iraq: Jobless Protesters Confront Ukrainian Troops and Local Police
Politically, is true that Hussein was a brutal dictator. But during the nineties, when he was "in the box" under US military and UN political supervision, the scale of SH's atrocities was much lower, ~1-2,000 per annum. It would take at least 10 years of Hussein-free civil peace before Iraq could show a net humanitarian surplus on the death toll from 2003 war/liberation - assuming no Lebanon or Algiers-type situation emerged.
The pro-war party is going to have to muster evidence of more substantial gains than internet cafes springing up in order to justify the war's costs:

Posted by: Jack Strocchi at January 14, 2004 at 09:55 PM

Nor has the Iraqi security situation much improved of late. Even with Saddam's captue, Krugman reports that:

More Americans were killed and wounded in the four weeks after Saddam's capture than in the four weeks before.

The Gulf War has not improved global security, going by this report put out by the US Army War College:
The Bush administration's doctrinaire view of the war on terror, which lumped together regimes like Saddam Hussein's and al-Qaida as a single undifferentiated threat, led the US on a dangerous "detour" into an unnecessary war, according to an unusually strong critique from the US army war college.
"The global war on terrorism as presently defined and conducted is strategically unfocused, promises much more than it can deliver, and threatens to dissipate US military and other resources in an endless and hopeless search for absolute security,".

The Gulf security situation will have to drasticly improve before the the pro-war party can, in good faith, quell it's nagging doubts about the wisdom of this venture.

Posted by: Jack Strocchi at January 14, 2004 at 10:04 PM

Jeez. Jack's right. Doing the right thing is just too damn hard and expensive when you really take action. I am officially leaving the pro-war side and joining Jack's "pro-do nothing except whine about lefty causes (not that we'll do anything about them except whine, either) while the murderous bastards annihilate, mutilate, staple, bend and fold anyone they feel like, bring back Saddam to power, let any thug who can seize power do anything he/she wants to the people stupid enough to be born and stay within the borders he/she claims to govern" side. I hope I'm welcome, because I'm still getting the hang of saying the right think instead of doing the right thing.

Also, I want to do away with AIDS treatments and vaccines in general because I've had my shots and don't expect to get AIDS and all that stuff is way expensive and people are still getting AIDS and diseases.

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at January 15, 2004 at 02:33 AM