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View Diary: For The Record, Here's What They Said. (130 comments)

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  •  Untrue. (none)
     No one doubted that there were chemical weapons

    That's false.  Once Saddam Hussein had opened his facilities to inspectors, it was pretty clear that he had nothing left to hide, barring fantastic stories of a huge underground labyrinth in which the weapons were hidden in goblin-guarded caves.  That was plain to anybody who wasn't already dead set on the "Saddam lies, Bush tells the truth" meme.

    The fact, which no Democrat or even liberal seems willing to say for fear of being labeled a Saddam-hugger, is that in this instance, Saddam Hussein told the truth and Bush lied.  Saddam Hussein handed over a manifesto of his weapons stores which included no nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons.  The Bush administration refused to accept it, with or without inspections.  But the manifesto -- which was cited as evidence of Saddam Hussein "stonewalling" -- was evidently true.  We need to admit that even dictators tell the truth sometimes, and that this was so in this case.  Until we can tell the whole truth, even the parts that seem embarrassing, we are going to be mired in the miasma of lies that the Bush Administration has created.  We cannot allow even one lie to stand unchallenged, no matter how much part of the "conventional wisdom" it has become.

    •  Granted (none)
      I misread the article I took the "chemical weapons" quote from.  I'd thought they'd found some in the 2000's, but the quote was from an earlier era.  I also find it hard to believe that all of the weapons were destroyed, simply from the accounts of the quality of the records Saddam had.  I doubt even he knew where all of them were.  But "vast stockpiles" - I doubt it.

      In any case, you raise an excellent point.  The fact that Saddam was the more credible source on this issue should be pushed.  I've always thought that he's a smart guy and could easily have been convinced (bribed) to lead his country to democracy once he realized the alternative was death or imprisonment.  He was running scared in the buildup to this war, and only balked when voluntary exile was demanded - a demand no leader would ever have given in to.

      •  Talk about naive or uninformed (none)

          If you honestly think that Saddam would have willingly shared power, even under threat of annihilation, you are kidding yourself.

          My guess is that you have not done any research into his personal or family history.  Quick summary: Saddam has always been violent, vicious and sociopathic.  Violently abused throughout his childhood, he became a murderer at the age of sixteen (and possibly before).  He succeeded as a killer, interrogator, an enforcer, with little or no capacity for empathy.

          Two things set him apart from your classic psycho thug: instinctive psychology and ability to act like a nice guy.  He had a talent for sniffing-out other peoples' weaknesses; a true expert in creating fear.  At the same time, he could laugh, tell jokes, dance, bounce little kids on his knee, and everything else that can make people smile.

          In particular, I recommend a video title "Uncle Saddam".  It's a documentary about Saddam, made in 2002.  Toward understanding Saddam, "Uncle Saddam" could be considered the cliff notes; a shortcut that covers the key factors of his life.

          In Saddam's part of the world, you become powerful by becoming part of a powerful family or you seize it through violence.  Human rights, power-sharing, democratic institutions -- these things had no meaning to him.  He had no capacity to understand how they worked.

          I don't believe in evil, but I do believe in exterminating those who become sociopaths.  There are some people with little or no capacity for empathy, and who instinctively pursue their goals with violence and murder.  My honest opinion, President Carter should've authorized the killing of Saddam back in 1978.

          Allowing a psycho maniac who worshipped Stalin to seize control of a territory with vast wealth and the most strategic of resources was a colossal error.

          Fortunately for all of us, Saddam turned out to be a moron when it came to geopolitics and war.  He knew how torture and suppress, but not how to conquer.  With smarter choices, Saddam might have conquered Iran, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia; thereby creating a country that could become a global power (the Caliphate).  In many ways, Saddam turned out to be a dud.

          If another leader with his strengths, but not his weaknesses, emerges in the region, a Caliphate could become a real possibility.


        One hand forward with a flower, one hand behind with the dagger.

        by Predator Saint on Thu Jan 13, 2005 at 01:43:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  What about letting weapons inspectors back in? (none)
          What about giving the US records on his weapons programs?  Saddam never had to believe in freedom to have it imposed on his country.  He would have complained, he would have stalled, but he would not risk war with the US.  That much was clear before the US started this war.

          you become powerful by becoming part of a powerful family or you seize it through violence

          This is what I was suggesting.  Give Saddam a choice to join the powerful "family" of despotic US allies, or you will seize his regime through violence.  This is exactly the sort of language Saddam could understand and accept.  

          Admittedly, the best that could have been hoped for was another Saudi Arabia.  Human rights abuses would be stemmed, but not stopped.  A dictator would still rule.  Democracy would have to wait for Saddam to die.  But even in the best of times, how long does it take for a democracy to take root?  The history of democracies seems to be giving the people the framework first, and having them seize the framework for themselves later.

          You've got my attention - you've obviously learned more about Saddam's past than myself.  But I think that the US was fully capable of "speaking Saddam's language" in a long-term plan that would see his regime lose power once he died.  I agree that his assassination decades ago would have been best, but as of five years ago, I believe a well-planned campaign could have lead to a peaceful revolution when he died.  At the very least it would have been better than what we have now.

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