Jewish World Review Dec. 24, 2002 / 19 Teves, 5763

Jack Kelly

Jack Kelly
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A moral dilemma: Support a vicious fascist dictator or the poor and downtrodden?


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | What is most curious, and most despicable, about the antiwar Left is its penchant for supporting vicious fascist dictators over the poor and downtrodden masses yearning for freedom.

Covert polling done by the Brussels-based International Crisis Group (ICG) indicates Iraqis largely would welcome a U.S. attack if it led to the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, a British newspaper reported Dec. 17.

"Although they are suspicious of the Iraqi opposition abroad, a majority of Iraqis from all social classes say they see a U.S. strike leading to a change of regime as the only way they can lead normal lives after over twenty years of war, sanctions and economic misery," reported the Independent, the most left-wing of British dailies.

The ICG conducted dozens of covert interviews in Baghdad, the northern city of Mosul, and the religious center of Najaf in southern Iraq in September and October. The Independent offered a sampling of what the ICG researchers were told:

"What we want is simply a dose of stability," said a student a Mosul university. "We have suffered enough due to our leaders' mistakes." "We do not particularly want a U.S. military strike, but we do want political change," said an architect in Baghdad. "We are even ready to live under international tutelage. We have nothing to lose, and it cannot be worse than our current condition."

"Nobody believes in this country anymore," said a student in Baghdad. "Everyone wants to either leave it, forget it, or change identity and begin a new life."

The Independent said the ICG survey was especially significant because of the risks Iraqis took to express their opinions to researchers. It is a sign, the newspaper said, that "the repressive apparatus of the government is losing its grip."

A report by another British newspaper suggested that a U.S. attack would be more likely to spark a popular uprising against Saddam than resistance to U.S. forces.

"In the streets of Saddam City, Baghdad's poorest slum, where squalid streets are dotted with heaps of rubbish, it is possible to sense the threat from within that faces Iraq's ruling clique," wrote David Blair of the Daily Telegraph Dec. 17.

Saddam City is populated almost entirely by Shi'a Muslims, who - though 60 percent of Iraq's population - have been treated much worse by the ruling Sunni clique than blacks were treated in the segregated American South. Thousands rioted in Saddam City in 1999 after Saddam's agents murdered Iraq's leading Shi'a cleric. There were also massive riots in other cities with Shi'a majorities. Saddam had to dispatch his SS, the Republican Guard, to quell them.

If the Americans invade, the most that Saddam can hope for is that the downtrodden Shi'a will sit on their hands, Blair said, while noting that "the human material for any insurrection in the capital certainly runs into the hundreds of thousands."

"If an American-led war begins and word spreads that Saddam's moment of maximum weakness has arrived, the response of the Shi'a masses cannot be predicted," Blair said. "They may choose to lie low and let foreign forces topple the regime. But they may also remember that the glittering domes of Saddam's palaces are only a few miles away."

More is known about Saddam Hussein's viciousness and depravity than has been known about any sitting ruler in history. We did not learn of the full extent of Hitler's crimes until after the Nazi regime had been overthrown. We did not learn the extent of Stalin's crimes until long after he was dead. To defend Saddam today is like defending Hitler after the existence of the ovens at Aushwitz had been revealed. Yet people who style themselves "progressives" continue to side with the oppressor over his victims.

The antiwar Left has made many factually idiotic arguments against ousting Saddam Hussein. But the moral idiocy of these "progressives" is more pronounced.

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© 2002, Jack Kelly