The end of Father Saddam

Ays of Iraq at a Glance posted this page from a children’s textbook just before the news came through that “Father Saddam” had been captured hiding in a hole.

Update: The capture of Saddam has jolted Salam Pax, now in London, off his high horse.

I want a fully functioning Saddam who will sit on a chair in front of a TV camera for 10 hours everyday and tells us what exactly happened the last 30 years. I do not care about the fair trial thing Amnesty Int. is worried about and I don’r really care much about the fact that the Iraqi judges might not be fullt qualified, we all know he should rot in hell. but what I do care about is that he gets a public trial because I want to hear all the untold stories.

Zeyad’s reaction was interesting too: Humiliation. The man who Iraqis had worshipped and feared for so many years was revealed to be a pathetic old man.

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Comments

  1. PJ/Maryland says:

    Kind of bizarre to see those Dick & Jane type drawings of kids all lauding a photo of Saddam. Maybe they should just re-issue the readers with the recent pictures of Saddam and his beard?

  2. Now that Saddam has been found and is alive and well, we need to apologize to him for killing his sons, knocking down his statue and making him live in a hole in the ground. And he needs to be restored to his rightful place as head of Iraq.

    After all, it turns out he was telling the truth. There are no weapons of mass destruction. Bush, Powell and Rumsfeld, are the ones who lied. They’re the ones who need to step down.

    If Saddam needs to be punished for being a tyrant, just put him in charge of Iraq. After the mess the Americans have made of things, that would be punishment enough.

  3. dave'swife says:

    Robert Wright_
    I am desperately hoping that your comment was some misguided attempt at sarcasm. If not, please move to Paris and vote in their elections.
    Thank you

  4. He’s the president of Iraq. What right does Bush have to remove him? None.

    Bush belongs in a spider hole. He lied.

    Excuse me, but your nationalism is showing.

  5. Mass graves of children who were shot in the head, and who were found still clutching their dolls, mean nothing to some folks.

  6. Richard Heddleson says:

    Is Mr. Wright an educator?

  7. dave'swife says:

    Yes, but only because I pride myself on showing my nationalism every chance I get. The suggestion stands – please move to Paris. You know Paris? That country that doesn’t speak German b/c thousands of Americans showed their nationalism. Then again, maybe that was none of our business. After all, Monsieur Hitler WAS an elected leader. Who were we to get in his way?

  8. Caffeinated Curmudgeon says:

    Richard Heddleson wrote: “Is Mr. Wright an educator?”

    I don’t know. But he’s so good at trolling that they just jump into the boat.

    He didn’t even have to mention the imperialist Americans violating SH’s personal integrity by forcibly shaving his cool new beard and taking away his new pet rats.

    Maybe he teaches literature classes on the effective use of irony.

  9. dave'swife says:

    I was gonna feel a bit embarrassed b/c I had so readily taken the bait. But a bit of thought and a couple shots of peppermint schnapps brought me to the realization that I am not due any embarrassment. I reacted to a jackass who gets his jollies insulting his country. All he gets for his trouble are well written responses from some folks obviously more up on their world events than he.
    So, in the spirit of good comunication between fellow posters, might I suggest Robert Wright.is lonely.com, that you end this hijacking of a good education blog and cart your nonsense over to a good all-things-political-and-military blog, – tacitus.org – where the posters there will engage you in the discourse it appears you are seeking. Anyone over at – lt-smash.us – will happily respond to you. With any luck, Smash himself may even provide a few lines. He’s one of the go-to guys on all things Iraq. Unlike you, he was there. Or you can email my son, the tanker, who helped drive the charge into Baghdad. Or, if all else fails and you want more current news, email my nephew in 4th ID. You know 4th ID, don’t you Robbie? The ones that pulled your sweet-smelling hero out of his hidey hole?
    Can Robbie run with the big dogs? Will Robbie’s witty repartee hold up under the strain? Why not tune in and see Robbie run- in one direction or the other.
    Now back to our previous discussion already in progress. I was wondering why the heavy boy on the end has his pants on backwards and why these precious little girls are wearing the same dresses I wore in 3rd grade? They are cute tho. Small town elementary school, circa 1967.

  10. “Mass graves of children who were shot in the head, and who were found still clutching their dolls, mean nothing to some folks.”

    It didn’t mean all that much to the Republican Party when they were funding that wonderful gang of freedom fighters known as the Contras.

    As for the son and nephew of Dave’s Wife, (what kind of name is that, anyway?), I hope the next war they fight in has to do with the defense of their country and not blind nationalism or the displaced agression of a frustrated president.

  11. Richard Aubrey says:

    You will note, Mr. Wright (what kind of a name is that, anyway, for you?)your heroes in Central America, the FMLN in El Salvador, and the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, couldn’t win an election.
    Lessons learned. It’s why the lefties don’t blather on about free elections in Cuba. Once you give those campesinos the vote, look what happens.

  12. –It didn’t mean all that much to the Republican Party when they were funding that wonderful gang of freedom fighters known as the Contras.–

    And yet Danny Boy couldn’t get elected dog catcher, must less pres and he tried 3x. Go figure.
    Kind of makes one wonder what the Nicaraguans knew, doesn’t it???

  13. The Contras were an ’80’s thing.

    The mass graves were a ’90’s thing.

    And I seem to remember the term “Iran/Contra”, not “Iraq/Contra”. I don’t see allegations of mass graves full of children in Iran.

    Besides, Robert, are you saying that if mass graves full of children are OK with the Republicans, they’re OK with you? Surely not. I usually vote Republican, and I don’t allow the party to set my moral code.

  14. There’s no point in arguing with Robert. His moral compass doesn’t swing true, and we’re not going to fix by posting here.

  15. ..fix it..

    Sheesh!

  16. No Laura, the mass graves are not OK with me. Saddam is a bad man.

    But I don’t believe compassion for innocent children was the reason behind the invasion.

    Republicans didn’t care about it in Nicaragua and I don’t think they really care about it in Iraq.

    The humanitarian argument comes up now only because the WMD argument fell through.

    I’d love to have a country where the leaders care about the humanitarian conditions in other lands. The concerns I hear expressed now sound more like excuses, otherwise, why weren’t they expressed earlier?

  17. Richard Aubrey says:

    Robert, they were.
    One of Bush’s speeches included, among other ways SH could avoid war, (a paraphrase) if the government of Iraq wishes to avoid war it will cease the persecution of its people [some details as to the people].
    There were a number of ways Iraq could have avoided war, including the WMD one.
    WMD was not the only reason and you will recall, probably participated in, the phenomenon of hammering the admin for having so many reasons they couldn’t settle on one.
    Forgot that, did you?
    Nobody else has.
    Why do you think you can get this stuff past the rest of us?
    Hint: Fatigue and boredom keep us from correcting you every time you lie. That may look to you as if we believe you. Wrong.

  18. Just back away slowly.

  19. Andy Freeman says:

    > Saddam is a bad man.

    > But I don’t believe compassion for innocent children was the reason behind the invasion.

    Yet, the invasion has dramatically improved the lives of those children.

    Good intentions were going to let Saddam stay in power until he died, at which time one of his sons would have taken over. End result – decades of horror.

    For all of Bush’s supposed “bad intentions”, Iraq now has a chance for something better.

    There’s a reason why “he meant well” is an insult….

    When supposedly good people, such as Wright, are so tolerant of evil, are they actually good?

  20. Richard, I don’t remember it being that way, but at least you’ve challenged me on the facts–at the beginning of your post.

    Andy, you’re right that a change in the regime will mean a better life for people in Iraq. That’s pretty clear. I just question the cost. Not in money, but in terms of international law and the truth-telling standard we demand of our president.

    In today’s paper I see a letter to the editor (next to mine) saying, “It’s great we’ve got Saddam! Now maybe we can force him to tell us where Osama is hiding!”

    My opinion is this: the rabid, irrational, murderous fanaticism of arab terrorism and oppression is less of a threat to our well-being than the rabid, irrational, murderous fanaticism of Bush and his supporters.

  21. Robert: “My opinion is this: the rabid, irrational, murderous fanaticism of arab terrorism and oppression is less of a threat to our well-being than the rabid, irrational, murderous fanaticism of Bush and his supporters.”

    So, Laura, Andy, Richard, Sandy, and the others, I guess you had best get to the vet and get your overdue rabies shots. But then, I’m irrational, so what do I know?

    Seriously, I rest my case made several posts above.

  22. Richard Aubrey says:

    Robert, remember what I said about not confusing our boredom at reacting to you with your convincing anybody.

  23. Man! I’m sorry I missed this “conversation” (I like bloodshed) but I just got back from the Vet’s. One final comment: What ever level of punishment Saddam gets; it will not be enough!

  24. So, here’s a question.

    If and when there are free elections in Iraq, will the U.S. allow Saddam to be a candidiate?

    In not, is that fair?

    If so, would he win?

    After all, Cheney said when American troops entered Baghdad, there would be wide spread music and dancing in the streets.

    Um, it still doesn’t look like the newsreels of the Paris liberation.

    Roosevelt was popular than Hitler.

    But who’s more popular in Iraq today? Saddam or Bush?

    I’d like to see some good polling data. Fox will tell you one thing and NPR just the opposite.

    Ann Garrels of NPR was on the scene when the statue was toppled and though some applause and cheering was recorded on video, she said that didn’t represent the mood of the majority.

    So, will free and fair elections include Saddam? Or does military intelligence consider that too risky?

  25. Laura wrote: Mass graves of children who were shot in the head, and who were found still clutching their dolls, mean nothing to some folks.

    And evidently, the actions of our foreign-policy Establishment in enabling foreign dictators to create mass graves of children who were shot in the head, mean nothing to some folks.

    How very fitting that this coming Saturday is the 20th anniversary of Rummy visiting Baghdad to offer aid and trade to Saddam Hussein (politics, bedfellows, etc.).

    Laura, I’m gratified to learn that at least you’re clear on the real reason the U.S. military invaded Iraq; it’s too bad the Bush Administration wasn’t able to emulate your single-minded clarity of focus by simply picking one story and sticking to it — a task made far more difficult when one story after another collapses under scrutiny.

    Unvarnished Look at Iraqi Reality
    You Had Better Be Joyful
    Worse than Nebuchadnezzar
    The Capture of Hussein is Good…
    On Saddam
    Saddam: Celebrity Tyrant

  26. Robert Wright.islonely
    no wonder. it’s cause you’re divorced.
    from reality.

    I’m with you Mr Aubrey 🙂

  27. Jon Henke has analyzed the act of Congress that authorized the use of force against Iraq, passed in October, 2002.

    Here are his findings.

    He even includes a link to the authorization, you can check it out for yourself.

  28. Mark, I haven’t gotten around to looking at all your links yet. I probably will.

    Your comment on my clarity may be just a nice way of saying I’m simpleminded about this. Back when Colin Powell made his speech about why we were going to have to invade Iraq, one of my coworkers asked me if I thought he made his case. I told her I didn’t watch his speech, my mind was made up; 100,000 dead Kurds did it for me. That’s before we knew about all the torture and executions and mass graves and such. Frankly, I’ve never cared about whether Hussein had WMDs anymore than I cared how much mustard gas Hitler had stockpiled. That’s just a side issue.

    Robert, do you truly want this bloodthirsty monster – never mind. Forget it.

  29. Mr. Wright –

    Re. Saddam’s candidacy. Even in America, dead people can’t run for office – only vote.

  30. I’m sorry, but this original comment has not received the attention it deserves:

    “If Saddam needs to be punished for being a tyrant, just put him in charge of Iraq. After the mess the Americans have made of things, that would be punishment enough.”

    By analogy (for you English majors) and/or the process of induction (for you MATH majors) it follows that if Shrub needs to be punished for lying about WMD, we should just re-elect him to another term of being in charge of the United States. Constant coping with the continual carping of critics such as Robert Wright, stretching himself to reach a serverely divided electorate, and torturing himself by speaking to the public thru a biased media (a task that clearly pains Shrub severely) should be punishment enough.

    An honorable retirement to a cushy life surround by Secret Service servants, a presidential library, lucrative photo-op (non-speaking) appearances at corporate events, and maybe a chair at some university — all the consequences of a 2004 election loss — would simply reward the incumbant for his lies. He should suffer the consequences of his policies! He should be made to endure the following years just like the rest of us! Right on the front lines of the political controversy, day after day, pummeled by idiotarians, critics of his own party, and worse of all, fickle, sneered at by MODERATES. Like Mr Wright …

  31. Gosh, Pouncer, I have to admit you write better than I do.

    Well done.

  32. Andy Freeman says:

    > My opinion is this: the rabid, irrational, murderous fanaticism of arab terrorism and oppression is less of a threat to our well-being than the rabid, irrational, murderous fanaticism of Bush and his supporters.

    Hmm. Some Arab terrorists killed 3,000 people in NYC a couple of years ago.

    Does Wright have any evidence showing that Bush is a comparable threat?

    Yes, Bush is arguably a threat to non-Americans, but if you’re going to weight them highly, I get to ask why we’re ignoring the non-Americans targetted by the murderous Muslims, as they are both more numerous and more affected than the folk threatened by Bush.

    Of course, it’s possible that Wright doesn’t actually want us to take his comparison seriously.

  33. No, Andy. I’m serious.

    Bush has trampled on the principle that wars should be only for defense.

    There’s the exception that military intervention is sometimes necessary in extraordinary cases such as to stop the genocide in Yugoslavia.

    Iraq doesn’t fall into that category because in Yugoslavia, the genocide was happening in the present and there was widespread international support for the intervention.

    The invasion of Iraq is going to make it a lot easier to cross another border to wage war the next time a president feels like it.

    The world has a lot countries with cruel dictators. I wish it weren’t so. For many years, the U.S. funneled money to them which is one of the reasons our country isn’t as popular in the world as it could be. In fact, it probably sowed the seeds for 9/11.

    Look, it Saddam had WMD and if he had anything to do with 9/11, and if he were planning terrorist acts on Americans, perhaps his ouster would have been justified. But that wasn’t the case.

    The U.S. is now a rogue nation that wages war whenever it feeling like it just because it has the power. When one excuse for a war proves false, another one is fabricated. Dissenters are told to move to France. American nationalism is so blind that over half of the war supporters can’t distinguish between Saddam and Osama. This nationalism is not a love of country and of our noble ideals. It is a nationalism of ignorance and violence and blind self-love that lusts to see the USA kick foreign butt . It’s a deadly Olympics and frankly, I see it more crazy and more dangerous than anti-American Islamic fundamentalism.

  34. Robert,

    “Bush has trampled on the principle that wars should be only for defense.”

    Defense doesn’t mean a “like attack” only when attacked. Preemption is a valid defense as are follow-on attacks of a dissimilar nature.

    “Iraq doesn’t fall into that(genocide) category because in Yugoslavia, the genocide was happening in the present and there was widespread international support for the intervention.”

    Two different issues here. Ask the Kurds about the first, and as to the second; If you (Bush/US) feel you are correct and the cause is just, then support becomes less important.

    “The invasion of Iraq is going to make it a lot easier to cross another border to wage war the next time a president feels like it.”

    And don’t think those who do evil has missed that fact! (ie this is a good thing: The ability and the will to act.)

    “The world has a lot countries with cruel dictators. I wish it weren’t so. For many years, the U.S. funneled money to them which is one of the reasons our country isn’t as popular in the world as it could be. In fact, it probably sowed the seeds for 9/11.”

    This is, in many cases true (setting aside political realities of the times) But your concept seems to be; since we have always done that, to change the way we behave now is wrong.

    “Look, it Saddam had WMD and if he had anything to do with 9/11, and if he were planning terrorist acts on Americans, perhaps his ouster would have been justified. But that wasn’t the case.”

    Wasn’t the case…..hmmm

    “The U.S. is now a rogue nation that wages war whenever it feeling like it just because it has the power.”

    No Robert, The U.S. is the greatest nation on earth. Whereever there is need, we have the right and the obligation to act. That’s what being “great” is all about.

  35. Sorry everyone. Forgot to sign the above

  36. Richard Aubrey says:

    What is with genocide in “the present”?
    Does that mean if the killers are taking a break we have to wait for them to start up again?
    We did not “funnel” money to most dictators. As has been explained tiresomely, keeping up normal relations is not “support”.
    Most of “our” dictators were bad enough, but not as bad as the alternative.
    We buddied up with them as Churchill did with Stalin.
    The difference between US policy in those days and the left’s preferences is that the former was a matter of necessity with noses held. The left chose their tyrants to idolize BECAUSE THEY LIKED THOSE GUYS. Still do.

  37. Andy Freeman says:

    > Look, it Saddam had WMD and if he had anything to do with 9/11, and if he were planning terrorist acts on Americans, perhaps his ouster would have been justified. But that wasn’t the case.

    When that turns out to be the case, will Wright change his tune or move the goal posts?

    For those keeping score, Hussein paid folks to commit terrorist acts on Americans. We also know that he helped in the Twin Towers attack. In other words, we’ve satisfied the first two criteria.

    Hussein USED WMDs, so the only question is what he had at the beginning of 2003.

  38. The reason the genocide against the Kurds stopped is because we were enforcing a no-fly zone. Otherwise the entire region would have ended up like Halabja.

  39. Andy, Laura, Richard, Bill, dave’swife – you are all talking facts, and logically supported conclusions based on those facts. Robert, on the other hand, is talking feelings: Bush is evil, we’re filled with blind self love and, gasp, patriotism, yada, yada, and therefore anything Bush/the U.S. does (protect the Kurds, oust genocidal dictators, etc.) is evil. It’s an alternative reality from what we see as the truth, and I don’t think you’re going to penetrate the antifact shield powered by those feelings.
    Robert, personally I think you’re a victim of BDS (Bush derangement syndrome), wherein a hatred of Bush leads to some awfully strange conclusions.
    I’m sorta breaking my admonition against arguing, so this will be my last post on this.

  40. Andy, if what you say turns out to be facts, sure I’ll change my tune. I still have the flag I put out on my porch on Sept 12th. I’d love to be able to display it again.

    It’s not all that easy to establish what the facts are, however, when NPR and FOX are reporting radically different accounts.

    Take for example these two questions.

    1. Are most Iraqis happy about Saddam’s capture?

    2. Do most Iraqis support the American troops or the Iraqi resistance?

    If you’re sure you know the answer, I wonder how you know.

    FOX will tell you one thing, NPR another.

    Because the facts aren’t as clear as they could be, it seems that political prejudices fill the void.

    If you go to the two Iraqi blog links that Ms. Jacobs lists, you’ll see that the fastest selling CD’s in Baghdad are of anti-American tunes. You’ll also see that even those Iraqis who are opposed to Saddam are outraged at the way the U.S. showed video of Saddam undergoing the medical examination.

    I appreciate the logical, informed responses by Andy, Richard, Bill, Pouncer and especially Laura. I get the feeling you’re not arguing from the position of “My country, right or wrong” all the time.

    A strong emotional leaning to either the right or the left has a way of derailing discourse.

    Somebody wrote in today’s paper, “If Howard Dean had been president, Saddam woud still be the head of Iraq.” You know, that’s probably true. It’s up to each of us to decide if that would have been good or bad. You know how I feel. When Bush goes up for reelection, we’ll know how everybody feels.

  41. Robert, I said I wouldn’t post again, but what the hell. I simply cannot understand your preoccupation with the popularity thing equaling legitimacy. Were most Germans happy with Hitler’s overthrow? Of course not. Did this make it wrong? Of course not. And regardless of whether you listen to Fox or NPR, Iraq’s population is about 25 million. There are no more than a few thousand (at the upper limit) people actively engaged against coalition troops. If the majority actually opposed the overthrow, common sense would tell you there would be more than a tiny fraction of a percent of the country involved. Over 60% of the country is Kurdish or Shiite – do you honestly think they miss Saddam? Also, in an earlier post you compare the reaction in Baghdad to the reaction in Paris in 1944, which is a fallacious comparison. Truer comparisons would be the reaction in two freed countries – France in 1944 and Kuwait in 1991, and in two invaded countries, Germany in 1945 and Iraq in 2003. Lots of celebration in the former two, and not many parades in the latter two, but again no reason not to have done it.
    Just one more point to comment on, since I think others have done a pretty good job on most of your posts – your statement on the US being a rogue state. War was declared on the US in the early ’90s by Islamic terrorists, and that war is not over. We didn’t start it, but that doesn’t make it less real, and we must be proactive, or lose more innocent citizens to 9/11 type attacks. If, in a coalition with 60+ nations, we respond militarily, and you still think that makes us a rogue state, so be it. However, our elected leaders cannot so blithely turn the other cheek, and thus shirk their responsibilities.

  42. Oops, forgot to attribute the above ramble to me.

  43. Jack Tanner says:

    I always have to laugh at fools who blab on the web about how the USA is a murderous tyrrany. Apparently it’s beyond their mental grasp to understand that if they were to have done that in such places like Iraq they’d have been in the crowd at the bottom of the death pit.

  44. Mark Odell says:

    Laura wrote: Your comment on my clarity may be just a nice way of saying I’m simpleminded about this.

    Just to clarify my comment: I chose my words very carefully, and the idea of “simplemindedness” honestly never occurred to me.

    Laura, I’ve said it before on this blog and I’ll say it again: I have no problem with “regime change” in Iraq; the trouble is, it doesn’t stop there.

    Just to drive home the point still further…
    Ain’t They Butch?

    Bill wrote: Whereever there is need, we have the right and the obligation to act. That’s what being “great” is all about.

    No — that’s what being an Empire is all about.

  45. So Jack, you’re saying that since there’s freedom of speech in the United States, that gives our government license to violate the sovereignty of other nations?

    We have a lot to be proud of, but when that pride gets lazy and engenders arrogance, it can cause a lot of damage.

  46. Mark, your links go to opinions. That’s fine. Even though I think the opinions I hold are 100% right on the money (of course, else I’d change them, and I don’t feel compelled to have opinions about everything) I fully believe it’s necessary to have a range of opinions about issues involving important things like what we’re doing with our military because movements that start out in the right direction have a way of lurching over a cliff after a while. We’ve seen that in other parts of the world, and it’s tolerating and contemplating contrary viewpoints that has kept us more or less safe.

    So paranoia about where trends are carrying us, even though I think it’s misplaced, doesn’t bother me as much as equating true evil with a politician one doesn’t happen to like.

    I’d like to think the regime change won’t stop in Iraq. The hope I’ve seen expressed by our administration is that the surrounding Arab countries will be pressured from within to develop more open, democratic societies and we won’t have to do anything about it. This could happen.

    As to Robert’s possible change of heart should he be proven wrong, perhaps he read Nicholas Kristof’s epiphany back in June. Kristof was and I guess is no fan of Bush or the war, and he went there to find Iraqis who suffered under Hussein but hate America too. He was man enough to admit that his preconceived ideas were wrong. Here’s a quote:

    “So, facts got in the way of my plans for this column. But sometimes that’s a good thing. I do think it’s important for doves like myself to encounter Saddam’s victims like Mr. Abid Ali and their joy at being freed. Iraq today is a mess, but it’s a complex, deeply nuanced mess, etched in shades of gray.”

    It’s a great article. The Man with No Ear

  47. Andy Freeman says:

    > American nationalism is so blind that over half of the war supporters can’t distinguish between Saddam and Osama.

    So?

    I don’t have to know the difference between John Gotti and Joseph Bonano to know that certain criminal organizations are bad.

    I’m far more concerned about folks who tolerate mass murder.

    And, since you asked. I don’t really give a damn what the Iraqis think. Why? Because they tolerate evil; their judgement isn’t all that good. I won’t be surprised if they blow this chance at civil society. (America isn’t the only country that gets the govt that it deserves.)

    That being said, I think that giving them the chance is worth quite a lot.

  48. Mark, Mark, Mark.

    Good liberal tactic: Take my comment in isolation and bend the meaning.

    My comment was in response to:

    “The U.S. is now a rogue nation that wages war whenever it feeling like it just because it has the power.”

    No Robert, The U.S. is the greatest nation on earth. Whereever there is need, we have the right and the obligation to act. That’s what being “great” is all about.

    you see the difference? An Empire would act as Robert’s example, but that’s not why/how we acted….We have a higher calling. We have a duty and obligation above and beyond ourselves. That higher calling is what makes us great. This is a concept you either understand or you do not. There is no “explaining it.”

  49. Well, I find this all increasingly interesting and I appreciate people taking the time to offer their views.

    Too much to respond to.

    A thanks to Laura.

    And, gulp, they were some frightening admissions here that speak for themselves.

    And a thank you to Doug for his recent post–but one comment about that.

    The U.S. military didn’t invade Germany to liberate Germans from tyranny. And I think it’s interesting to note that after the Allies took Berlin, there was no resistance to Allied occupation. Not one bomb, not one sniper, not one casualty. The same in Japan. This is a well documented fact, not just my opinion.

    I’ve traveled outside the U.S. a great deal and I tell you, when people in other countries hear Americans talk about how they have a “higher calling,” it makes them feel a little uncomfortable.

    And Andy, that’s an interesting point about going after Gotti but getting Bonano. The result is fine, but it concerns me what it does about the process.

  50. ooops. well, now I’ve done it. last post was from me.

  51. “I didn’t watch his speech, my mind was made up” Gee, Laura, are you saying that you attitude about the war was based on what had happened up to that point, rather than the sound bites thrown around just before the first strike? No wonder Robert can’t understand your point of view.

    Cut the man some slack. Imagine how much time it take to not only travel the world but also to seek and actually find folks who’ve met and heart Americans who “talk about how they have a ‘higher calling.”‘ Can’t expect him to have time left over for, you know, reading and listening and weighing evidence.

  52. Andy Freeman says:

    > And I think it’s interesting to note that after the Allies took Berlin, there was no resistance to Allied occupation. Not one bomb, not one sniper, not one casualty. The same in Japan. This is a well documented fact, not just my opinion.

    Huh? Wright is fantasizing here. The above is not “documented fact”, it’s false. I don’t know about Germany, but “Werewolf” units were active in Germany for quite a while.

    I note that we nuked Japan, twice. And, we defeated it militarily outside the home islands. And, the war on Japan did not try to minimize damage.

    THe second isn’t possible with Iraq.

    > And Andy, that’s an interesting point about going after Gotti but getting Bonano.

    THat wasn’t the point. The point was that if your goal is to go after bad people, some distinctions don’t matter.

    The American people appear to have decided that mid-east nutjobs are a problem.

    I am still waiting for Wright to support his claim that Bush is a greater danger than either one.

  53. So most other commenters’ initial reaction to Mr. Wright’s post is to assume that he is trolling.

    Such is the esteem in which the anti-war left is held.

  54. Richard Aubrey says:

    Mr. Wright hasn’t helped any, Floyd, has he?
    It’s an interesting tactic, but not original.
    Fire off a lie in half a sentence which takes four sentences to refute. The right will get tired first.
    VICTORY!

  55. Andy Freeman says:

    > The result is fine, but it concerns me what it does about the process.

    What’s so good about a process that is so tolerant of evil?

    Me – I judge means and processes by their ends.

    How does Wright judge means and processes?

  56. Andy, I’m going to wincingly play devil’s advocate here, just for the heck of it. Now don’t go telling me I agree with Robert, because I don’t.

    Here’s the problem with judging processes by their end.

    Suppose that the police burst into your house because it looks funny somehow, and find you quietly smoking a joint and minding your own business. Now I don’t smoke pot and I never have and don’t really want to (very often) and I’m not suggesting you do either, but bear with me here. Suppose they then arrest you for possession of a controlled substance and you are subsequently convicted and sentenced to jail. This would be a violation of your 4th Amendment protection against illegal searches and seizures, but by golly, the law against having a little marijuana would have been upheld.

    I’d rather see you, as an inoffensive pot smoker, have the conviction overturned, than to drive another nail into the coffin of one of our precious civil liberties. Here is an example of the process actually being more important than the end.

    I don’t think the analogy holds for the Iraq conflict, though, I still think we were and are right in what we do there.

  57. Andy Freeman says:

    I’m not arguing that an acceptable process has to do the right thing in every case.

    I’m arguing that a process that rarely does the right thing is a bad idea, regardless of the intentions or goodness of its advocates.

    And, I’m not arguing that acceptable processes should be blamed for problems due to their interaction with independent bad processes.

  58. Mark Odell says:

    Robert Wright wrote: I appreciate the logical, informed responses by Andy, Richard, Bill, Pouncer and especially Laura. I get the feeling you’re not arguing from the position of “My country, right or wrong” all the time.

    [JOKE]
    What, no mention of me over here on the antiwar Right? I feel slighted ;-).
    [/JOKE]

    Laura wrote: Mark, your links go to opinions. That’s fine.

    “Damn with faint praise” ?

    I’d like to think the regime change won’t stop in Iraq. The hope I’ve seen expressed by our administration is that the surrounding Arab countries will be pressured from within to develop more open, democratic societies and we won’t have to do anything about it. This could happen.

    No, the idea of “simplemindedness” is definitely not occurring to me.

    Andy Freeman wrote: I don’t have to know the difference between John Gotti and Joseph Bonano to know that certain criminal organizations are bad.

    Right, let’s not bicker and argue about who killed who….

    And, since you asked. I don’t really give a damn what the Iraqis think.

    No, of course you don’t.

    I won’t be surprised if they blow this chance at civil society.

    And if they do (according to your lights), then what?

    Bill wrote: Good liberal tactic:

    Since I’m not and have never claimed to be a liberal (“good”, or otherwise) by anyone’s definition, I really wouldn’t know.

    Take my comment in isolation and bend the meaning.

    “Bend” it, or merely illuminate it?

    you see the difference? An Empire would act as Robert’s example, but that’s not why/how we acted….We have a higher calling. We have a duty and obligation above and beyond ourselves. That higher calling is what makes us great. This is a concept you either understand or you do not.

    Oh, I understand this concept all too well — and I fundamentally disagree with it.

  59. Andy Freeman says:

    >>I won’t be surprised if they blow this chance at civil society.

    > And if they do (according to your lights), then what?

    It depends.

    If they end up with something like Jordan or Egypt, they’re not free by western standards, but they’re far better off than they were under Hussein.

    They might not do that well, but as long as they’re not a threat to the region, my primary goal is satisfied.

  60. Here’s a Washington Post article dated December 20 about the kind of thing we’d like to see happening in the Middle East.

    Libya Vows to Give Up Banned Weapons

    Mark, I was damning with faint praise. I am more interested in your opinions than in the opinions of anybody you might link to, unless they have some special knowledge.

  61. I am confused by something, those that are “socially progressive” consider a known and well documented murderer to be executed by injecting that murderer with an overdose of sedatives to be “cruel and unusual punishment”. The same “socially progressive” people will applaud the incarceration of a parent that spanks an unruly child in Wal-Mart. Why are evil dictators allowed to kill thousands if not millions of people and “socially progressive” people are not phased by it? I am quite confused by this…

  62. Art, you’ve got a lot of company in the query. Perhaps a lot of the double standard (of the useful idiots, in Stalin’s phrase) is due to the social engineering aspect. That is, maybe they are blinded by the prospect of a greater good, even at the expense of much suffering. Think Duranty’s (non)reporting of Stalin’s mass starvations. OTOH, an individual is automatically suspect when it comes to exercising authority, whether it be a parent in Walmart, or a cop in a shoot out – they are often presumed to be abusing their authority by this same socially progressive group. That’s why it takes a village to raise a child, not just mere parents, in the words of one of our “progressive betters.”