Saturday, September 02, 2006

Do Iraq War opponents support using torture to promote stability?

Over at NLS, there was a discussion of a democrat event where Webb spoke about his opposition to the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. He also opposed going to Baghdad during the first Gulf war, because removing Saddam would make Iran and Syria too powerful (at least that's the gist of the comments in that thread):

Jim Webb testified before the FIRST Gulf War that marching into Baghdad would cause many problems, including the increase of power to Iran and Syria (Whaddayaknow? Turns out he was right!)

I responded in a comment, which I re-work here.

Assuming what people say about Webb here is true, Webb was essentially saying he was opposed to removing the brutal dictator and killer of his own people Saddam Hussein from power, because having Saddam Hussein in power was a good check on Iran and Syria.

In other words, coddling a brutal dictator because that brutal dictator oppressed his own people, keeping them in line, and also did our bidding by proxy by keeping other of our opponents in line.

Yes, he may have been right -- in the same way that Carter was WRONG to allow the Shah to be deposed, because while the Shah was hated he was keeping the radical elements of his country in check, just like Saddam was in Iraq.

At some point we have to decide if we really believe people should be free, even if that means free to hate us, to choose a way of life we find dispicable, and to even be friends with our enemies, or if we want to support brutal dictators who nominally serve our interests through methods we would never tolerate of ourselves.

If Iraq ends up being allied with Iran, it will be because a majority of the people of Iraq, now freed from torture and murder at the hands of Saddam, actually WANT to be allied with Iran. That would be very BAD for the United States, but do the democrats now stand for oppressing people in order to further our own selfish interests?

Or is Webb saying that the world was better off with the Shia and the Kurds being tortured, murdered, and oppressed, so it was OK and we shouldn't have done anything to stop it?
Does he feel the same way about genocide in other countries? Which genocides are better for the world and therefore acceptable to Jim Webb?

Do you think Webb would support those who call for the abolition of Israel, on the grounds that imposing freedom and democracy in the Jewish state caused much consternation and unrest in the Middle east that might be assauged if those people were removed? After all, it's hard to imagine the people who oppose Iraq today arguing that the imposition of a Jewish state in 1948 didn't lead to upheaval in the middle east that was FAR GREATER than what we see right now in Iraq -- including multiple regional WARS, and decades of occupation, and thousands upon thousands of terror attacks, murders, etc.

Now, I don't think Webb would support that, but the people who do support it argue from the same position of "stability" and "power" in the region that Webb apparently used to argue against the removal of Saddam.

And I'm probably in the minority as to my love for freedom at a cost. But nobody really deals with the consequences of the thought process of "we shouldn't have taken out Saddam, because it destabilized the region". If you say that, you are saying that Saddam was a stabilizing influence. You must then understand HOW he was a stabilizing influence, and justify support for the actions he took to stabilize the region (which included using WMD against the Kurds and Iran).

You can't oppose his tyranny, but then oppose removing him because his tyranny served our purposes. I argue now that Iraq was a crap shoot, but our direct intervention to free the Shia from oppression was the best shot we had at getting them to be on our side.

Some day, the majority Shia in Iraq were going to get out from under the oppression of Saddam and the Sunnis, probably violently. They were going to own the country. The only questions were WHEN that would happen, and whether they would ally with US, or with Iran. They may still go with Iran, but it is certain that if they had to free themselves from oppression with us either not helping, or actively opposing them (like they saw after the first gulf war), there was ZERO chance they would be with us.

The simple fact is that a lot of people don't like the western world, and us in particular, and that might just be the way it is no matter what we do, but that's no reason to support brutal dictators who oppress people through torture and murder and rape.

Now, I opposed the war in Iraq, precisely because I was afraid of what a free people in a weakened Iraq would mean for the stability of our world. That was a selfish position, I liked not being at war, and not worrying about threats to oil markets, or having people upset with us, much more than I worried about a nation of people being tortured and beaten and murdered and raped.

Sometimes, you find that stray hurt animal, you fix it up, nurse it back to health, and when you are done it attacks you. When it does, you probably wonder why you didn't just ignore it, or kill it, but then you remember that regardless of what that creature's nature was, your intent was to care for it regardless.


walrus said...

Just in case you forgot, we live in America, a sovereign nation. Our politicians have an obligation to the people of America.

Jim Webb has no obligation to the people of Iraq if he is elected. Nor do any of us.

The fact is, a stable Iraq is much better for the United States than the incredibly unstable Iraq that currently exists. Whether it's better or not for the Iraqi people is irrelevant; we aren't Iraqis and our politicians have to answer to us, not them.

So, Jim Webb is right to support whatever Iraq is best for America, and in this case, it would be Saddam's Iraq as opposed to the deathsquad's Iraq that currently exists.

Jon Henke said...

Charles, would you mind sending me an email?


walrus said...

Damnit, charles, STAY ON MESSAGE!!!