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Monday, May 18, 2015

Paul Krugman, "Errors and Lies": Saddam's Genocidal War Against the Kurds Was Also a Crime

Last Monday, Megyn Kelly asked Jeb Bush whether he would have invaded Iraq in 2003 "knowing what we know now." Jeb Bush responded in the affirmative, setting off a media firestorm and subsequent claims by Jeb that he misunderstood the question. In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Errors and Lies," Paul Krugman also seizes upon this controversy and concludes:

"But truth matters, and not just because those who refuse to learn from history are doomed in some general sense to repeat it. The campaign of lies that took us into Iraq was recent enough that it’s still important to hold the guilty individuals accountable. Never mind Jeb Bush’s verbal stumbles. Think, instead, about his foreign-policy team, led by people who were directly involved in concocting a false case for war.

So let’s get the Iraq story right. Yes, from a national point of view the invasion was a mistake. But (with apologies to Talleyrand) it was worse than a mistake, it was a crime."

Again, to set the record straight: I opposed the 2003 Iraq War, inasmuch as I anticipated that it would destroy the Sunni/Shiite equilibrium in the Middle East, i.e. without Saddam in Iraq, the mullahs in Iran would run amuck. Also, even then, I was more concerned with Iran's nascent nuclear weapons development program than I was with Saddam's alleged arsenal of weapons of mass destruction.

On the other hand, there is something missing from Krugman's opinion piece. As reported almost a decade ago by ABC News in an article entitled "List of Saddam's Crimes Is Long":

"Saddam Hussein was hanged for ordering the deaths of 148 Shiite men and boys in the village of Dujail after an assassination attempt there in 1982. But by the standards of his brutal rule, the Dujail killings were a relatively minor crime.

The exact number of deaths attributable to Saddam Hussein may never be known, but estimates range as high as half a million. There is evidence of more than 250 mass graves dating to his rule."

The ABC News article proceeds to list the genocidal crimes committed by Saddam against Iraq's Kurds and Shiites, including the use of chemical weapons against Kurdish civilians during the 1988 Al-Anfal Campaign.

Or stated otherwise, Saddam was a monster, who deserved to die. However, as proven by subsequent events, e.g., the rise of ISIL, and the inability of Sunni and Shiite Muslims to live together in peace, Saddam's execution did nothing to end the never ending cycle of savagery in a monstrous Muslim Middle East.

Yes, George W. Bush's 2003 invasion of Iraq was a grotesque mistake. However, if Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds could have thereafter lived together in a model of democracy and tolerance - something that I did not believe was possible and still do not believe is possible - maybe, just maybe, the war might today be viewed differently.

1 comment:

  1. As long as it looks like a Jeb-Hillary contest, the chatterers will stick with Iraq2003, instead of the future.

    Jeb really should have known this question was coming. Heck, the USA is still metaphorically fighting the Vietnam War in every election since it ended so badly.

    After 16 years of W&O, America is soooo broken, especially the debt/economy morass, the rest of the world will never be the same.

    Not even close to a 'fine mess'.

    Ramadi just fell to ISIS. What do you think Iraq's going to be like by November, 2016?

    Good thing we can look forward to Nicole Kidman's biopic of Gertrude Bell, "Queen of the Desert", to bring the whole Iraq debate into overdrive...with a few violent protests to spice it up.

    Maybe we should let Hollywood fight all future proxy wars...