We Destabilized Iraq
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Sometimes, when you replace a dictator, you get something worse.
He was a killer, but he had been our killer, our friend.
I lost relations with people dear to me over this.
I had what would be considered at the time a Murphy's Law opinion. Anything that can go wrong sometimes eventually will.
In 2003 I said our invasion of Iraq was wrong, that there was a less costly way to deal with the situation rather than an over-the-top invasion that might get thousands of people killed (it did and it is). Back then I called Saddam Hussein in front of acquaintances, a 'stabilizing influence.'
These hawkish acquaintances flew into a rage at a restaurant and made an ugly scene at me in front of diners trying to have a pleasant meal. I was stupid enough to think I had the right to an opinion without being heckled and shouted down. My opinions often have that kind of impact on the type of people who have their mind made up and refuse to consider the possibility of other alternatives.
In other words, people who believe what they want to believe or 'The world is whatever I say it is.'
I never said Saddam Hussein was a good man. He was a killer, but he had been our killer, our friend. My rightist acquaintances never protested when we were supplying, equipping and encouraging Saddam to think that he had us (the US) in his hip pocket, leading him to think he could invade Kuwait and become an oil Napoleon of the Middle East.
I tried to use a historical context to this guy shouting at me over and over in the restaurant, 'How can you say that?' My calling Saddam a stabilizing influence. He was so worked up he wouldn't let me explain that in a cynical world, sometimes, not every time, but sometimes, when you take out a dictator, something even worse fills the void.
There are historical examples.
Czar Nicholas II of Russia, despite the fact that Nicholas was a loyal ally of Britain and France in World War I. Nicholas's hasty invasion of East Prussia, after his allies screamed for help, led to a disastrous defeat of Russian forces at the Battle of Tannenberg, but saved France, Britain and the war because the Germans had to strip critically-needed divisions from their attack on the Western Front and send them East to counter the Russian threat (these German troops arrived too late for the battle).
Nicholas saved England and France from defeat.
At great cost to himself.
How did his allies repay his loyalty? They rejoiced when he was overthrown. They refused to provide sanctuary for him and his family (they were later murdered). Nicholas was after all an autocrat, a dictator, a bad man, unlike the noble democracies and their governments.
France and England had no way of understanding what would follow Nicholas, the Bolsheviks and Joseph Stalin.
This guy who was yelling at me didn't know history.
We took out Saddam Hussein because George Bush and Dick Cheney made the decision years before the Iraq War and falsely claimed in order to sell the war to the American people that Saddam had an A bomb and was going to use it on us. Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction and was precariously clinging to power. Bush and Cheney also lied that Saddam was involved in the 9-11 attacks.
Al-Qaeda considered Saddam an enemy, a 'reactionary.'
At the time, I was more in favor of an economic blockade of Saddam and condemnation through the United Nations and/or supporting dissident elements in the country rather than a more costly invasion.
We took Saddam out and created a void to fill by more extremists elements which is happening right now. I will get yelled at again and called a traitor again but we, the United States, helped create the deteriorating situation we see in Iraq right now.
Murphy's Law. War sometimes causes more problems than it solves. It doesn't always work out happy ever after. The overthrow of Saddam Hussein caused the influences of Al-Qaeda and the newly-morphed terrorist groups to move in. All they had to do was wait until we left. Another beneficiary is Iran.
Remember the 'Surge,' the now largely-forgotten 2007 plan to flood Iraq with American troops and win lasting victory in the region. I predicted then too that the surge is like an ocean tide, it comes in and then it goes out.
The bad guys knew this too.
The very title our military morons picked, 'The surge,' showed that their grasp of reality was flawed. A surge is only temporary.
The tide now has definitely gone out.
Would the Middle East be a happy place with Saddam still clinging to power? Not likely. He might have been assassinated by his own people, or ousted like the dictators in Egypt and Libya in the so-called 'Arab Spring.' However, it would have been without the deaths of American troops and thousands of innocents who were killed in the war because they were in the wrong place.
It's becoming pretty clear that what is happening now is worse.
I don't consider myself an intellectual. I don't consider myself smarter than anyone else, or a smug, I-told-you-so kind of person. But the seeming (to others), stupidity of my outlandishly disloyal and subversive opinions, have often been proven in the end to be right.
Isn't that bizarre?
John Sammon, : John Sammon is a writer whose experience includes newspaper reporting, magazine writing, personality profiles, interviews, celebrity interviews (Clint Eastwood), historical pieces, investigative and crime. He was selected “Most Valuable Reporter” for California’s oldest continually operating newspaper, and covered the weekend crime beat for a daily newspaper in Nevada. If you beat your wife on Friday, he wrote about it and got you in deep trouble on Saturday. He covered business,... (more...)