Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Spinning (in) the mass graves 

Watch the left dance and sing as it tries to knock the last untouched pillar - the moral and humanitarian one - supporting the case for war in Iraq:

"We now know that the public was misled over Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. But have we also been misled over the even more emotive issue of Iraq's mass graves," writes
Brendan O'Neill in the "Guardian". This, because according to another "Guardian" story:

"Downing Street has admitted to The Observer that repeated claims by Tony Blair that '400,000 bodies had been found in Iraqi mass graves' is untrue, and only about 5,000 corpses have so far been uncovered."
The doyen of the Australian leftie commentariat, Philip Adams, is already celebrating:

"Yes, that's 5000 too many, but 395,000 short of Blair's body count. Of course, the other 395,000 might turn up, like those missing weapons. But to say that they've already been discovered is just the latest in the litany of lies. Yes, Saddam gassed the Kurds. Yes, an unknown number of Iraqi citizens were tortured and slaughtered."
But, as always, there's more indignation over Bush's and Blair's "lies" then over Saddam gassing all those Kurds and torturing and slaughtering an "unknown number of Iraqis." By that stage we're not too far off arguments that maybe Saddam wasn't quite that bad, after all. Look at him now, the poor soul, stuck "in solitary confinement tending a garden, writing poetry and reading the Quran," all "depressed and demoralized." He might have been a bit naughty in the past, but Bush/Blair were worse/just as bad/nearly as bad/not good either - take your pick, depending how far you lean to the left. Saddam - he was a son-of-a-bitch, but he was our, anti-American son-of-a-bitch.

But what's with those mass graves?

Both the "Guardian" piece and Philip Adams acknowledge the fact that only 55 out of 270 previously identified mass graves have been examined. Even based on the current ratio of 5,000 bodies from 55 graves, the other 215 should give us another 20,000 corpses. But that, of course, would be just guessing, or "lying" as the left would have it. Never mind that half a century on we still don't know exactly how many people Stalin had murdered. Estimates vary from about 50,000 on the Holocaust denying far left, all the way to 50 million plus according to other calculations. We've got a far better idea about Hitler's toll but only because Nazis were so meticulous at record keeping.

Were we all overzealous, and God forbid, unkind towards Saddam, to suggest that somewhere between 300 and 400 thousand Iraqis lie buried around the country? Just as with Stalin, we don't know the exact number of victims, but the estimates vary from tens to hundreds of thousands. All those bodies have to buried somewhere.

In the end, arithmetic is no substitute for moral judgment. But this won't stop the left from trying to downplay the "genocide" angle. Beside, as we all know, if there were human rights abuses in Saddam's Iraq, the United States is complicit. As O'Neill writes:

"Saddam's brutal attacks on the Kurds in the 1980s occurred as part of the Iran-Iraq war, during which the Reagan administration supported and armed his regime. When that war ended in 1988 Saddam sought to consolidate his rule at home; in the Anfal campaign he sent forces to quell the Kurdish uprising in the north (supported by the Iranians), again with US consent. The massacre of the Shias in 1991 took place after they were encouraged by the first Bush administration to rebel following the first Gulf war, and then abandoned to their fate."
Or Adams:

"[M]ost of these deaths - including the massacre of the Kurds - occurred when Saddam was one of Washington's best friends in the Middle East, being armed and encouraged in his war on Iraq."
That's actually Iran, but never mind. The objective assessment of the Saddam-US relationship during the 1980s is beyond the scope of this post, but even assuming that Reagan and Bush Sr were Saddam's best buddies, how is it possibly any worse than Roosevelt cosying up to Stalin? I can't think of many on the left damning FDR for his close relationship and cooperation with the worst genocidal maniac in history, just as I can't think of many on the left excusing Stalin's crimes because at that time he was "one of Washington's best friends", "being armed and encouraged in his war" on Nazi Germany. Double standards? Yes. Unexpected? Sadly no.

Evil, in many ways is more than sum of its parts. Arguing that Saddam didn't in the end have any (recent) WMD and/or didn't have connections to international terrorism and/or didn't kill as many people as we thought will not make him any more appealing a person. Just as Hitler without the Holocaust would still stand condemned and Stalin without the collectivisation would still be a criminal, there is simply too much filth clinging to Saddam for him to be washed clean by the left's crocodile tears.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?