Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

More of Saddam’s Terror

If there’s anyone left with any doubts about Saddam Hussein’s reign of terror, let him see this story from the New York Times. It’s by Eason Jordan, CNN’s chief news executive, and it details all the atrocities CNN knew about, but kept quiet for fear of what would happen to Iraqis who worked for the network if the news got out.

I just hope that all the stories we’ve already heard do not make us too jaded to appreciate what Jordan has to say. This, truly, was an evil regime.

Discussions - 28 Comments

Mr. Moser may be hard-pressed to believe this, but I agree with his comments 100%. (It’s a pretty awful story as well.) One would be extremely hard-pressed to find ANY American - differences in how to solve the problem aside - who does not believe that Saddam is an evil man.

As for the last comment: "This, truly, was an evil regime," I again agree 100%. For the sake of the future, let us never forget how Saddam came into power, or who put him there 20+ years ago.

That Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was a Soviet client state should never be forgotten. Agreed.

Actually I do disagree. CNN could have taken their employees out of there and told the world. But they did not. they kept silence and even lied about it when asked ( by NPR I believe). why? They wanted to keep their exclusive access to Baghdad. Its truly cold from my vantage point.

I agree with Mr. Maxwell, CNN fumbled morally. One of the things that should be considered as the dust settles is the role of the press. In specific we should take a hard look at "objectivity". Certainly this isn’t priority number 1, but from my vantage point there seems to be more "press" issues in this war than anything else.

That Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was a Soviet client state should never be forgotten. Agreed.

Revisit your history, Mr. Whited. Perhaps you’ve missed seeing the picture of Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam Hussein in 1983.

Ah, yes, the power of the American handshake. FDR shook Stalin’s hand at Yalta, and the USSR was a devoted servant of US interests for the next fifty years. Nixon shook Mao’s hand in Beijing, and we all know how compliant the Chinese have been ever since.

All it took was one hearty grasp from Rummy’s meaty paw, and suddenly Saddam was entranced: "Must...invade...Iran." "Must...gas...Kurds." "America commands...I obey." For the love of God, somebody stop Rumsfeld before he shakes hands again!

As Mr. Moser knows quite well, the involvement of the United States in putting Saddam Hussein and the Ba’ath Party into power FAR EXCEEDS a simple handshake between Rumsfeld and Hussein.

That image has been seen in newspapers, television and other forms of media in recent weeks (and was cited by me in my previous post) because it is a fine illustration of the hypocrisy of the current war in Iraq. Conservatives like Mr. Moser - in their impassioned defense of this unjust war - would like to pretend that we didn’t put that tyrant there in the first place.

Mr. Little,

Those American-made T-72s sure came back to bite us in the arse, didn’t they?

Oh wait -- those weren’t American made!

Mr. Rumsfeld explained that meeting to Russert a few weeks ago:

Whether or not you accept his explanation is your decision, of course, but the implications of that meeting are not as self-evident as you suggest.

In any case, Iraq most assuredly was a Soviet client by that point in time. Rood’s recent essay makes that clear enough, and explores the strategic background:

Jim Dunnigan’s strategy page also explores some of those points:

Good stuff all.

I think I agree with Mr Little, at least to a certain extent. The US made some mistakes in foreign policy in the past. But it seems as if by calling the war unjust he is arguing against righting those mistakes. From my meager knowledge it seems as if an A-moral Kissinger type calculus is to blame for a lot of these past mistakes.

I am perhaps wrongly interested in theory, but it would seem to me to be worthwhile to show a connection between doing the right/ethical thing and prudence. All in all I would argue that the type of diplomacy in place when Saddam Hussein was "put" into power was different in kind, and not just in degree from the type of policy that is seeking to remove him from power. It is thus somewhat of an equivocation to declare that there is any meaningfull sense in which one could declare that it is the same "they"/(policy?). There is no continuity in aim, not to mention the fact that the facts have changed.

What needs to be asked, and I think the current administration is wrestling with the question, is to what extent can we see that our past errors in moral equivocation, come back to bite us. In other words, to what extent is morality actually prudent long term?This current Bush Administration has a lot of people who learned from the first one, and I believe that as a result there is even a great deal of difference between the foreign policy of this administration and that of the last Bush Administration. This in my opinion is a good thing.

To see an administration that dares to defy the UN (hold it to its own standards) is actually a great thing, perhaps if the past US governments/policies had held themselves to moral standards we would not have made the mistakes we did. In my mind our past errors are reasons for our current policy not strikes against it.

How can Mr. Little complain that Donald Rumsfield (someone who is doing all he can to right previous wrongs, in accordance with the policy of this administration) shook hands with Saddam, and still support a UN that would have a Conference on Human Rights in Lybia?

In so far as his arguments are aimmed at showing the dangers of moral equivocation, Mr. Little cannot in all seriousness support the UN, or oppose the principled use of force which was this war.

With regard to Mr. Whited’s comment, a look at the documents recently released by the National Security Archive reveal that the United States provided Hussein with support in spite of the fact that Iraq harbored known terrorists, had long-range nuclear aspirations that would "probably" include "an eventual nuclear weapon capability," abused the human rights of its citizens, and possessed and used chemical weapons on its own people and the people or Iran. Mr. Whited could track these documents down and read them for himself with minimal effort.

As far as Mr. Lewis’ comments go, he makes some find points, and it’s refreshing to see somebody sway away from the idea that the US can do no wrong. That said, it needs to be pointed out that the argument that the pro-war crowd has relied upon (that is, once their arguments about disarmament, WMD and regime change fell through) is that the US has the moral right to invade Iraq. I would suggest that the US forfeitted any moral right the moment we put a murderous tyrant into power, knowing quite well at the time that he was a murderous tyrant.

Boy Mr. Little it must really smart to have been on the wrong side ( and in such a small minority too - and continuing to shrink). the steam seems to be coming out of both temples!

So if I understand you correctly, once a mistake is made you never correct it?

Get a grip, we may correct a error or two again in the future. So how, pray tell, did we err in North Korea, swami?

Mr. Little’s logic seems to suggest that virtually any other country would have been perfectly justified in invading Iraq. According to him, the United States in particular has forfeited its moral authority by merit of having put him in power (leaving aside the fact that this has not been established; it has only been shown that the U.S. sent arms and aid to Saddam Hussein [as did the Soviets] during his war against Iran).

Please explain to me how this is not an anti-American argument.

Nonsense. All I said was that proponents of going to war, having exhausted every possible reason, have relied heavily (in some cases, exclusively) on the "it’s our moral right to invade Iraq" argument. The US forfeitted it’s "moral right" when it put an evil man into power in the first place, knowing full well what he was capable of, and inclined to do.

If your best defense to this argument is to slander me as "anti-American," be my guest.

For the record, it was Mr. Little’s argument--that the United States bears particular moral culpability for Saddam, and hence has no right to remove him--that I labeled anti-American. As I do not know him personally, I am not in a position to say whether or not he himself is.

NO answer I see on the question on whether we erred in our past dealing with North Korea.

Of course that was mostly recently handled under the watchful eye of President Clinton with a personal assist from former President Carter. I am guessing here that you are much more inclined to accept that mistakes are sometimes made in foreign policy matters when it comes from your side of the aisle.

That makes is so much better. It’s good to know that any statement which doesn’t fall into line with your own political view is anti-American. Thank you for your gratiousness, Mr. Moser.

Carter, eh?

Wasn’t he president when Saddam came to power in 1979? Wasn’t he the one the so badly butchered the Iranian hostage crisis that led to his own defeat and the trun of Iran from friend to hated enemy of the U.S.?

Iraq as the enemy of my enemy may not have been a friend, but since when in our history has that ever stopped us from supporting them when such was deemed in our best interests to do so ("Uncle Joe" Stalin comes to mind)? Surely Mr. Little can recognize the pickle here? And surely he can recognize that hindsight is quite an easy moral tale to twist and turn.

In the final analysis, it appears to me that Mr. Little, along with his Democratic party, are just a tad jealous and bitter. Jealous because Gore isn’t the one leading this nation right now, and bitter because Gore isn’t the one, not because of Bush, but because of sad legacy of Bill Clinton.

The issue of North Korea because it is not relevant to this discussion. To compare N. Korea to Iraq is to compare apples to oranges. If Mr. Maxwell has nothing substantive to the conversation, he should just say so instead of trying to change the topic as quickly as possible.

To address Mr. Lamb’s comment, it doesn’t matter WHO was President at the time. We AS A NATION are held accountable for our actions, regardless of who was in the office at the time. Do you honestly think that Republicans CAN or WOULD say they shouldn’t be held responsible because a Democrat was in office at the time? All of that said, it is worth noting that the events to which I referred took place in 1983. Carter was long gone, my friend.

As far as his comment regarding Gore goes, it typifies the Conservative response when all else fails --- "Those anti-war people are just angry because their candidate didn’t get elected." Wow. Powerful. It has all the zest of "I know you are but what am I?"

Your ranting comments seem more typical to me of the only Democrat response now - the filibuster. Just keep talking, reading off a script, heck read from comic books if you have to. But dont answer the question.

"Carter was long gone" Oh for that to be the truth! but he just like our most recent former president does go but keeps sticking his nose in were it doesn’t belong. Feckless or unethical, when we need these traits we sure know where to turn.

I’m curious Mr. Maxwell... do you keep posting because you feel that you have something substantive to offer, or simply for the childish satisfaction of getting the last word in? Since you’ve tossed everything but the kitchen sink into this blog in an effort to evade the real issues, I suspect that it is a case of the latter. That being the case, perhaps you should cease wasting everyone’s time, including your own. Your meaningless ranting suggests the image of a wild-eyed madman pounding away on his keyboard in an "I’ll show them" display of childishness. Your ridiculous manifestos have amounted to little more than a bunch of meaningless rhetoric. And if I want that, I’ll turn on The O’Reilly Factor.

Thanks to the actions of Mr. Moser, Mr. Lamb, Mr. Maxwell and myself, this blog has devolved into a forum for name-calling and absurdity. I don’t think any of us wants that, and I doubt that the Ashbrook folks are too thrilled either. I’d like to propose that we all take a step back and try to engage in a more civilized dialogue.

You might be well served to spend a little time watching Fox News, it might just penetrate the fog you are in. Your condenscending comments beyond that do not rate a response and none further will be forthcoming.

I stand by my statement fervently, a mistake made can be and should be corrected. We may well correct some mistakes made in the future.

Strap on your seatbelt, Mr. Little, you’re in for a bumpy ride. You are about to witness the Senate falling further into "enemy" hands and another 4 years of a president you obviously loathe. How will you spin his easy victory this time?

So much for a "more civilized dialogue."

It’s very sad to me that you found it necessary to go the route of making this a partisan issue (incidentally, it’s worth noting that you have NO IDEA who I voted for in 2000), because I think there was a lot of potential in this discussion topic. I think you do a tremendous disservice to other Conservatives on this board when you attempt to reduce the anti-war movement as a bunch of bitter Gore lovers (which you and I both know isn’t the case --- Gore won the popular vote in 2000, so it reasons that if all Gore voters were anti-war (as you suggest), the majority of the US population would be anti-war. And as others on this board have stated numerous times, that just isn’t the case.) In short, your claims reflect poorly on you, and poorly on them.

What you seem to assume that all voters for Gore are bitter. Not the case at all. Most have realized the the mistake they made and have corrected it as poll after poll shows. No but a significant part of the Democratic party is both rabidly antiwar and anti Bush anything. Look at the polls that put Republican support of the war at 95% and independents around 75%.

Most educated people do not bring up the popular vote argument because, as they learned in their 7th grade governmnet class, we have a system designed by our forefathers to allocate Electoral college votes by State. It makes winning a State by as little as 1 vote significant since the winner gets all of the Electoral college votes allocated for that State.

Several Presidents have been elected with less than a majority of the vote. Fact is that Bill Clinton got less than a majority too.

Don’t worry about the poor reflection on me, I am happy to have my opinion and the right to express it. Your condenscension again amazes me.

Welcome back to the conversation, Mr. Maxwell.

My comment regarding Gore supporters being anti-war supporters was merely intended to demonstrate to you the implication of the faulty logic you employed previously in this discussion. I’m not making any observations/judgements regarding our Electoral system, and I say this in the kindest way possible when I tell you that I’m not quite sure why you opted to go down that road in your last post. Anyway, since you apparently now accept the fact that all Gore supporters are not anti-war, then I will assume that you have chosen to abandon your previous argument that anti-war supporters are just angry because the presidency has fallen into "enemy" hands, as you put it.

Going back, it seems to me that your original contribution to this discussion had something to with the CNN’s moral obligation with regard to the incident involving its employees in Iraq. As far as I know, I haven’t made any statement in favor of/against what you argued, so I will assume that that, too, is a dead issue.

This leaves only one area where you and I disagree. And that area would be the argument that I raised regarding the involvement of the United States (specifically, via the CIA) in putting Saddam Hussein into power, and assisting him after he was put into power? Do you have anything to offer along these lines?

You are quite able to read so I know that you read my previous input. But I’ll type real slow so you can get it all this time.

Suppose your conjecture is right. We made a mistake. We corrected that mistake. Good for us.

We will likely correct other mistakes. How will you respond, with history or with support for our founding values being reinforced?

I did not get the memo that appointed you moderator for what can and can not be posted here. If you want to post it so we can all see your assumption of the power of moderator, perhaps we can learn to genuflect. Otherwise expect me to try to ignore your pomposity and if you have anything relevant to say I most certainly will post, either in concurrence or opposition.

Dont bother to respond I am through with you for now.

I do not claim to be the moderator of this blog, nor have I - at any point - attempted to dictate to Mr. Maxwell what he may/may not comment on. I’m not altogether sure how he arrives at the idea that I did.

With regard to Mr. Maxwell’s other comment, I’m glad to see him address the question that I posed head-on (sort of) and offer a tangible response. It seems that we can come to the conclusion that Mr. Maxwell and I agree that the it was a bad thing (or, as Mr. Maxwell terms it, a "mistake") for the US to put an evil tyrant into power, and give him the support necessary in the early 80’s to keep him in power. I’m a little awed by the fact that it took us 28 posts to agree on this issue, but am happy to see that we’ve arrived to the same conclusion nonetheless.

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