"Iraq is a terrifying place to live. People are in constant fear of being denounced as opponents of the regime. They are encouraged to report on the activities of family and neighbours. The security services can strike at any time. Arbitrary arrests and killings are commonplace" and continues "These grave violations of human rights are not the work of a number of overzealous individuals but the deliberate policy of the regime. Fear is Saddam’s chosen method for staying in power."
Hundreds of thousands of people were killed in the most brutal way by Saddam's regime. Those who opposed the war were not concerned with the welfare of the Iraqi people; they are only every concerned with their own well-being. The 'stability' option pursued so assiduously by governments around the world, and advanced as the answer to current problems in the Middle East by the Baker-Hamilton Commission, has resulted in the international community turning a blind eye to the truly gruesome actions of dictatorships and thugs not only in that region but in other problematic areas, as well, such as in Africa - in the name of stability. You need to have an irreparably broken moral compass to believe that Iraqis were better off under Saddam than they are now.
2. Abu Ghraib shows we're just as bad as Saddam - There is no excusing the ridiculous and degrading things that went on at Abu Ghraib when the US used it to house captured fighters. In those circumstances where crimes were committed the culprits were brought to justice and punished heavily, a point always overlooked by those trying to make a moral equivalence argument between the Saddam regime and the US. One of the problems with the Left today is that it has not been taught how to think and that it's wrong to make judgements about others which leaves them with no capacity to understand that in every issue of life there are grades of good and bad, and that things simply can't be cast as either black or white. Ask yourself this question - would you have rather been tortured at Abu Ghraib by Saddam or by the US forces stationed there? I do not consider the following to be torture: sleep deprivation, bright lights, being forced to stand on a box with my arms outstretched and wires connected to me (as in the iconic photo), having excrement thrown at me, being forced to make a naked human pyramid or being humiliated by standing naked in front of women. That is not torture. That is degrading and stupid, and is certainly counter-productive from an intelligence gathering point of view. I definitely consider the following to be torture: gouging out of eyes, using electric drills on various parts of the body, high voltage electric shocks to various parts of the body and especially the genitals, beating the soles of a victim's feet until they lose consciousness, and being slowly lowered into an acid bath. All of those were standard fare for the Saddam regime, as documented in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office report. The Iraqi intelligence documents released last year also showed that people were being fed feet first into wood chippers while their captors looked on and laughed. Wood chippers. Can you imagine? On one side we have stupidity and on the other barbarity. If you're not prepared to recognise the difference then I'm afraid you're part of the problem and not part of the solution.
3. The war has caused a million refugees - Again, according to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's report "Between 3 and 4 million Muslim Iraqis have abandoned their homes and sought refuge outside Iraq" and "Many hundreds of thousands of Iraq’s Muslims have been displaced internally. Estimates of 900,000 may be conservative." The war clearly did not cause the refugee problem, though it certainly may have changed the refugees from Shites to Sunnis.
4. We went to war on a lie - "Bush lied, people died" goes the popular chant from the anti-war Left. The 'lie' being referred to was that we went to war because of WMD and because they weren't found they never existed therefore it was a lie. David Kay led the CIA's Iraq Survey Group and was interviewed by the NYT for an article that appeared on January 26, 2004, from which I extract the following (my bold):
'I'm personally convinced that there were not large stockpiles of newly produced weapons of mass destruction,' Dr. Kay said. 'We don't find the people, the documents or the physical plants that you would expect to find if the production was going on. I think they gradually reduced stockpiles throughout the 1990s. Somewhere in the mid-1990s, the large chemical overhang of existing stockpiles was eliminated.' Regarding biological weapons, he said there was evidence that the Iraqis continued research and development 'right up until the end' to improve their ability to produce ricin. 'They were mostly researching better methods for weaponization,' Dr. Kay said.
There have been more than 700 chemical shells discovered since the invasion, supporting Kay's assertion that Saddam was looking to weaponize his chemical capability.
...As a result, virtually everyone in the United States intelligence community during both the Clinton and the current Bush administrations thought Iraq still had the illicit weapons, he said.
If you look at this list of quotes from politicians from both sides of the aisle in the US then you'll find that it's actually the Democrats that hold the strongest pro-WMD opinions. See if you can guess which senior Democrat made the following statements:
"As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I am keenly aware that the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons is an issue of grave importance to all nations. Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process." - December 16, 1998These quotes, all made well before the 2003 invasion and dating back to when Bill Clinton was in office were made by none other than - Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.
"Saddam Hussein certainly has chemical and biological weapons. There's no question about that." - November 17, 2002
"I come to this debate, Mr. Speaker, as one at the end of 10 years in office on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, where stopping the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction was one of my top priorities. I applaud the President on focusing on this issue and on taking the lead to disarm Saddam Hussein. ... Others have talked about this threat that is posed by Saddam Hussein. Yes, he has chemical weapons, he has biological weapons, he is trying to get nuclear weapons." - October 10, 2002.
...And the government became a victim of its own certainty. Dr. Kay said he was convinced that the analysts were not pressed by the Bush administration to make certain their prewar intelligence reports conformed to a White House agenda on Iraq. 'All the analysts I have talked to said they never felt pressured on WMD,' he said. 'Everyone believed that they had WMD' 'The only comment I ever had from the president was to find the truth,' Dr. Kay said. 'I never got any pressure to find a certain outcome.'
Why would analysts need to be pressed by the Bush administration when it's clear that the Clinton administration held the same view? Add into the mix the reality that Iraq held meetings with Niger in order to procure uranium yellow cake, as reported by British intelligence (Joseph Wilson's false claims otherwise have been so totally discredited that even the NYT and Democratic Party don't quote him any more) and you have a situation where any thinking person would assess that Iraq either had, or was procuring, WMD. And that was how it was. If you can't tell the difference between being wrong and telling lies then you're beyond help.
5. The war was illegal - This is one of those issues that tend to split down party lines. However, even the most cursory reading of UN Resolution 1441 (and its many predecessors that Saddam ignored) spells out the things that Iraq was meant to comply with and the consequences of not doing so. People will argue back and forth for years about the legality of the war and unless it's ever tested in an impartial courtroom somewhere that will continue to be the case. To me it's a complete no-brainer and non-issue. Saddam did not comply with this last chance Resolution and suffered the consequences. The US did not need Security Council approval to act unilaterally, as it is incumbent upon all UN members to enforce UN Resolutions.
6. We supported Saddam by supplying him with all of his weapons - US and British companies certainly sold weapons to Iraq. To the moonbat Left that means that we (the Coalition) are responsible for helping keep him in power and, by implication, the brutality of his regime. The fact is that combined US and UK arms sales to Iraq totalled less than 10% of Saddam's arsenal. The 90%+ came from Russia, China and France. As an aside, would anyone like to guess which three nations Saddam had signed criminally profitable agreements with to develop his oil fields once the UN sanctions were lifted? The same three. How uncanny. Which UN Security Council members were agitating the hardest for the removal of the sanctions? China and France? Surely not! The US and UK are not countries that had traditionally strong links with Iraq in the way that countries like Germany did. Thus, it is not surprising to find that they are not the source of Saddam's weapons.
7. The war was all about oil - This one makes it into my famous 10 Signs that you're a Moral Idiot list but it's worth repeating here. "Here's a fact that people don't know - 80% of the United States oil supply comes from itself, Canada and Mexico. Hmmmm. Bet you didn't know that, did you? Now, here's a really big question. I want you to concentrate really hard. Put on your tin foil hat if you think it'll help. If the United States wanted Iraq's oil then...why didn't it just buy it? Would have been much cheaper. Because they're warmongers and wanted it for free, you cry, thus demonstrating the terrific double standard you have that also supports socialist confiscation of western companies' assets such as happened in Chile and Cuba, and is going on in Venezuela today particularly with foreign owned oil companies. If the US wanted the oil then they would have simply taken over the refineries and pipelines, rolled up the oil tankers and pumped away. Would have been much easier. Did that happen?" No it didn't and that's because the war was never about the oil. For France, Russia and China, though, who stood to lose lucrative oil contracts if Saddam was toppled, and senior UN officials that were making millions from the Oil For Food Program, it certainly was all about the oil.
8. Saddam was not involved in terrorism - How it is possible for people to not understand the link between Saddam and terrorism boggles the mind. I guess that the NYT, Guardian, BBC and CNN haven't exactly given the matter much air time. Former Iraqi military officers have described a highly secret terrorist training facility in Iraq known as Salman Pak, where both Iraqis and non-Iraqi Arabs receive training on hijacking planes and trains, planting explosives in cities, sabotage, and assassinations. Iraq provided shelter to many terrorist organisations including the Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization, the Palestine Liberation Front and the Abu Nidal Organization. In 2002 Saddam upped from $10,000 to $25,000 the payments to be made to the families of suicide bombers 'martyred' in Palestine whether they be from Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad or Fatah. You can work out for yourself how many suicide bombers Saddam's $9 million bought. The links to Al Qaeda are very clear and were exposed in the November 16, 2002, edition of Babil, the official paper of the Iraq government, when it identified one Abd-al-Karim Muhammad Aswad as an "intelligence officer," describing him as the "official in charge of regime's contacts with Osama bin Laden's group and currently the regime's representative in Pakistan." A man of this name was indeed the Iraqi ambassador to Pakistan from 1999 until the fall of the regime. In September, 2006, a deputy prime minister of Iraq offered a sharp contradiction of the conventional wisdom that Saddam and Al Qaeda had no connection before the 2003 war, flatly contradicting a recent report from the US Senate's intelligence committee. In a speech in which he challenged the belief of war critics that Iraqis' lives are now worse than under Saddam Hussein, Barham Salih said, "The alliance between the Baathists and jihadists which sustains Al Qaeda in Iraq is not new, contrary to what you may have been told." He went on to say, "I know this at first hand. Some of my friends were murdered by jihadists, by Al Qaeda-affiliated operatives who had been sheltered and assisted by Saddam's regime." Iraq has been on the US list of terrorist supporting nations for over 20 years so it's hardly a new idea made up by the Bush administration to justify the war.
9. More than 650,000 Iraqis have been killed - This lunatic piece of fiction from The Lancet did have one positive side effect - it separated those that have a grip on reality from the barking moonbats who'll believe any rubbish as long as it's anti-US/UK/Australia. I have noticed that those who quote The Lancet as being true also tend to be strong global warming advocates. No surprise there, I guess. Iraq Body Count is a left wing site that, to its credit, is calculating the civilian cost in Iraq using valid means. It's response to The Lancet was devastating:
A new study has been released by the Lancet medical journal estimating over 650,000 excess deaths in Iraq. The Iraqi mortality estimates published in the Lancet in October 2006 imply, among other things, that:
I regularly point out that for The Lancet's study to be correct then the number killed exceed those killed in the Stalingrad campaign in WW2. For those familiar with what went on in that bloody battle it defies credibility that The Lancet is correct, even allowing for the shorter timeline of Stalingrad.
- On average, a thousand Iraqis have been violently killed every single day in the first half of 2006, with less than a tenth of them being noticed by any public surveillance mechanisms;
- Some 800,000 or more Iraqis suffered blast wounds and other serious conflict-related injuries in the past two years, but less than a tenth of them received any kind of hospital treatment;
- Over 7% of the entire adult male population of Iraq has already been killed in violence, with no less than 10% in the worst affected areas covering most of central Iraq;
- Half a million death certificates were received by families which were never officially recorded as having been issued;
- The Coalition has killed far more Iraqis in the last year than in earlier years containing the initial massive "Shock and Awe" invasion and the major assaults on Falluja.
10. Democracy won't work and can't be imposed - I am always surprised by the Left's assertion that democracy won't work in Iraq because it's not in the Arabs' nature or culture. Do they not understand how profoundly racist this position is? It's like saying that slaves weren't ready for freedom or women couldn't handle emancipation. If democracy is not natural for them then how does it come about that the northern, Kurdish region of Iraq (protected from Saddam since Gulf War 1.0 by the US Air Force) is such a terrific success story? The mainstream media provides little coverage of what's going on in northern Iraq because it demonstrates that Iraqis are fully able to prosper when they get the opportunity to do so, and that doesn't fit with the Iraq-as-failure narrative of the media. It is a given that authoritarian states don't abandon power voluntarily so there must have been force used at some point to give us the democracies we have today. This force rarely comes from inside a nation and, thus, it must be imposed by external powers. In just the 20th century we saw democracy imposed in Japan (where it had never existed), South Korea (ditto), Italy and Germany not to mention Panama, Granada, Serbia or Afghanistan. It is a complete lie to say that democracy won't work in Iraq and can't be imposed.