Thursday, December 01, 2005

Iraq again
It's been a while since I've posted on the Iraq war, or the Global War On Terror (GWOT). But mostly that's because I haven't had anything new to say about it since I last posted. I still think it was and is the right and justified thing to do. I'm taking this break from my normally scheduled silence on the matter to note two things.

One: I am so glad that Bush is finally strongly articulating the reasons to stay & work in Iraq. I happened to be in the car on the way to San Antonio during his speech yesterday, so I got to hear it live and in its entirety. It was a good speech. I was actually moved to tears a couple of times in it. (Though my general level of fatigue and the caffiene coursing through my veins probably contributed to my emotional state.)

Two: No, seriously, there is absolutely no moral equivalence between what we've done and are doing in Iraq, even with all the mistakes we've made along the way, and what Iraq was like under Saddam's reign. This point was brought home to me, again, by this article by John Leo. Leo writes about John Burns, "the great NYTimes reporter" who savages the Western Media in being complicit in Saddam's terror and oppression of his own people.
Burns, who has covered China, the Soviet Union, Afghanistan and Bosnia, says the terror of Saddam Hussein's Iraq was unmatched anywhere in the world, except perhaps by North Korea today. Iraq was a vast slaughterhouse, he says, but most Western reporters worked hard to keep the news from getting out because they were afraid of losing access or getting expelled from Iraq. The monstrous savagery of life under Saddam -- the vast tortures and up to a million dead -- was "the essential truth that was untold by the vast majority of correspondents," he writes.
He says of Iraq: "We now know that this place was a lot more terrible than even people like me had thought. They (reporters) rationalized it away."

Though President Bush chose to make weapons of mass destruction his principal argument against Saddam, Burns writes, "this war could have been justified any time on the basis of human rights alone. This was a grotesque charnel house, and also a genuine threat to us. We had the power to end it and we did end it."

Even if as many as 5,000 Iraqis died in the war, Burns writes, that's fewer than would have died if Saddam's killing machine had gone on as usual during the six-week period of battle. The war should have been justified on this basis, he says, "but you'd never have known it by reading most of the coverage of the war by those correspondents."

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