A letter by yours truly in response this article on Salon.com by Nir Rosen, 'Did the invasion make things worse in Iraq?'
This recital of examples of Saddam's day to day methods for squelching any form of dissent (a law against re-selling a car built before 1978?!?!) begs a big question. What was the U.S. - the beacon of freedom and human rights in the world at the time - doing throughout the 1980's when his despotic ways were becoming apperant? The answer should be that we were loudly denouncing Saddam's actions and working to align world opinion and actions against him. Sadly this is not the case. No, our foreign policy apparatus was holding it's collective nose and cozying up to this thug. This was for 2 reasons: 1.) He was at war with Iran and we were still smarting from the Iran hostage crisis. Saddam was no less ruthless than the Ayatollahs, but at least he never tweaked our nose in front of the whole world. and - 2.) Oil. Specifically petro-politics. The oil shocks of 1973 and 1979, got the attention of many a myopic policy wonk who started proposing foreign policy solutions straight out of "The Prince" or in many cases, straight from the boardgame "Risk".
Saddam was only our friend because he was the enemy of our enemy. Throughout history, this has resulted in many problems almost all of the time. The blood-thirsty attack dog will eventually turn on the master. Another example of this from the same era, is a certain tall, bearded, former CIA friend and pupil now residing and making home videos in the mountains somewhere between Pakistan and Afghanistan. This hipocracy, though ignored by our own main stream media, is VERY obvious to many people in many other regions (e.g. "The Arab Street"). Still wondering why we're so hated by so many?