Saddam Nostalgia by James Taranto WSJ 12/04/06
In [a] BBC interview, [Kofi] Annan agreed when it was suggested that some Iraqis believe life is worse now than it was under Saddam Hussein's regime.
"I think they are right in the sense of the average Iraqi's [read sunni baathist] life," Annan said. "If I were an average Iraqi [sunni baathist] obviously I would make the same comparison, that they had a dictator who was brutal but they had their streets, they could go out, their kids could go to school and come back home without a mother or father worrying, 'Am I going to see my child again?' . . ."
Iraq today certainly has its problems, here, from the U.S. State Department, is a reminder of what is not going on in Iraq today:
Saddam Hussein is the first world leader in modern times to have brutally used chemical weapons against his own people. His goals were to systematically terrorize and exterminate the Kurdish population in northern Iraq, to silence his critics, and to test the effectiveness of his chemical and biological weapons. Hussein launched chemical attacks against 40 Kurdish villages and thousands of innocent civilians in 1987-88, using them as testing grounds. The worst of these attacks devastated the city of Halabja on March 16, 1988.
5,000 civilians, many of them women, children, and the elderly, died within hours of the attack. 10,000 more were blinded, maimed, disfigured, or otherwise severely and irreversibly debilitated.
And here's a report from PBS of how Saddam responded to the Shiite uprising in 1991:
Saddam's Republican Guard fought the resistance in Karbala. Civilians and rebels fled the city. On the roads leading out, Iraqi army helicopter crews poured kerosene on the refugees, then set them on fire. . . . There were mass executions of civilians, some of whom were tied to tanks and used as human shields. In Karbala, some of Shiite Islam's holiest shrines were destroyed. Others were used as centers for murder, torture and rape. In Najaf, residential areas were bombed, and hospital staff and patients were murdered.
Let's just repeat Annan's description of Iraq under Saddam:
They had a dictator who was brutal but they had their streets, they could go out, their kids could go to school and come back home without a mother or father worrying, "Am I going to see my child again?"
Annan isn't just claiming that Saddam, though brutal, made the trains run on time. He is saying that Saddam actually looked out for the safety of the Iraqi people, the very people his regime was gassing, setting ablaze, tying to tanks, torturing and raping. Is Annan just ignorant, or is he depraved? We suppose it could be a little of both.