Agam's Gecko
Wednesday, January 03, 2007

he handwringing and sadness over Saddam's execution appears to be gaining momentum in the sinistro-sphere and certain sectors of the pop media, matched only by Palestinian rage over the loss of their favourite "Greatest Arab Leader." Paging through the (mainly) sorrowful news photos of related events, one finds Palestinian mourners and ragers to be more plentifully represented than Tikritis. Their deep affection for the ex-dictator is somewhat understandable though, since he had been so generous in bankrolling Palestinian terror attacks in Israel for many years.

But I wonder what the western "Progressive Left's" source of sadness is. What did Saddam ever do for them? I mean outside of inspiring the most jarring about-turn in recent political history, which nobody seems the least bit embarrassed about. The old adage, "My enemy's enemy is my friend," can make for some strange bedfellows, especially when one is convinced that a guy called 'Dubya' is the evilest man on the planet. At least there are some consistent people on that side of the spectrum, like British Labour MP Ann Clwyd, who campaigned against Saddam's barbarity for many years, and who refused to extoll his "softer, more sensitive side" even after George Bush got involved.

Goldstein has an eloquent examination of the mourning of Saddam phenomenon, which I can't justifiably quote from here, as it's too packed with supporting links and needs a full reading. Do peruse the comments too, as quite a few sinistro-spherians descend therein with many pearls of not-quite-wisdom. The usual hackneyed arguments are brought out -- America itself provided Saddam's WMD, and before that, America itself put Saddam into power -- and other goodies. Also some new ones, such as that the timing of the execution was designed to draw attention away from John Edwards' "victorious Presidential campaign announcement." Funny stuff indeed.

But I must quote a little bit from the ever-readable PW commenter Ric Locke, at the point of getting fed up with such nonsense. (The direct link to the comment doesn't function right, but it's on comment page 2, 12/31, 10:32 am.)
What’s truly amusing is the doublethink. The United States did, for years, support various dictators, including Saddam, in the name of Realpolitik. The goal was to frustrate them by playing them off against one another. The pseudoLeft expended much breath and untold quantities of ink deriding the practice, often making good points.

Then, in 2002, George Bush specifically stated that this was a wrong system—that it did not achieve its stated goals, was therefore morally indefensible, and would not be continued. At that point the pseudoLeft and cryptoStalinists like kb executed a bootlegger’s turn not equaled by the stuntmen on The Dukes of Hazard, instantaneously flopping to the position that only Realpolitik was good and decent. Saddam maintained a tight, “well-run tyranny” and should have been tolerated and supported on that ground.
I don't understand why people refuse to get this. Progressives had for years been railing against Saddam's depradations, and as soon as GWB gets involved, suddenly the tyrant is providing needed stability for the region. Frankly, I think this phenomenon (and much else) can be traced mainly to their pathological sour grapes attitude over the "stolen election" of 2000 -- BDS -- for which a sure-fire cure is only expected in early 2009.

On the subject of who exactly supported Saddam, take a gander at this comparative graph for Iraq's weapons importations 1973-2002. Notice where the peaceful members of the Security Council -- determined to avoid war at any price -- are sitting in the scheme of things.

The new icon
It's not unheard of for mass murdering tyrants to be awarded progressive hero status. Red Ken Livingstone is planning mass celebrations in London to mark Fidel's anniversary as the dictator of Cuba, and Hugo Chavez, the revolutionary heir-apparent will almost surely attend. (I also read somewhere that the 300th anniversary of the creation of Great Britain is coming up, with nothing special planned.) A Lumberjack blogger notes that he has a feeling where this is all headed. A new, easily silkscreened icon for the 21st century! Poor, courageous Saddam -- man of the people! Wai Tim Blair

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