What a moron, take 2

We’ve all been treated to a fair amount of ignorant writing about Iraq over the past four years. But this has got to be near the top of the ‘stupid’ list:

Jonathan Chait: Bring back Saddam Hussein
Restoring the dictator to power may give Iraqis the jolt of authority they need. Have a better solution?

That is the new “stupidest thing I’ve ever heard”. Here’s a taste of Chait’s wisdom:

Yes, I know. Hussein is a psychotic mass murderer. Under his rule, Iraqis were shot, tortured and lived in constant fear. Bringing the dictator back would sound cruel if it weren’t for the fact that all those things are also happening now, probably on a wider scale.

The earlier “What a moron” post today was one thing. I believe that the creator of the image and the guy who re-posted it both knew it was a joke (even if they apparently didn’t understand why their joke didn’t work) and jokes, even stupid jokes, are one thing.

I believe that this Chait guy really believes what he writes. That is another thing altogether.


  1. I’m a bigger moron because I think he’s right. Saddam has pretty well shown he knows what it takes to get things done in that dung heap of a country and he’s not a flaming islamofacist. In retrospect, I cannot believe we went after Iraq instead of Iran, which is the real destabilizing force in the Middle East – well, outside of our good buddies Saudi Arabia, of course. I say, walk him up to the gallows, put the noose around his neck, make him promise to be our friend, then reinstate him as president.

  2. Dfens: The problem isn’t that Saddam couldn’t keep order, the problem is that Saddam’s type of order isn’t what we’re all about. One of the main reasons we went into Iraq in the first place is because Saddam’s type of order was harming the world as we know it and the world as we’d like it to be.

  3. The problem is the choice of reinstating Saddam may not be ours. Releasing Saddam to Sunni insurgents may be the only bargaining chip we have left to get our troops out alive. Anybody who still thinks there’s not a big price to pay for this utter folly is in for a big surprise.

  4. What you say is true, but what we are replacing it with is worse. The way I see it, the best option we have is to put him back in power, apologize to the Iraqis saying we thought they wanted Saddam out, but we were wrong. We could say we were mislead by Iranian spies. We could prop his government up for a while so he could consolidate power, turning a blind eye to the atrocities he would commit. The end result would be an ally in the Middle East rather than a new base of operations for Al Quaeda.

  5. Releasing Saddam to Sunni insurgents may be the only bargaining chip we have left to get our troops out alive. Please elaborate. I guess I don’t have the slightest clue what you’re talking about.

  6. I don’t think we have to retreat with our tails tucked. There is more than one way we can leave with our heads held high. One way is to cause such severe retaliatory damage to anyone who attacks that they give us concessions to leave. Clearly since we have fought this war like pussies to date, that seems an unlikely option. The other option is to put Saddam back in power letting him know that if he ever screws with us again we will come back and finish the job of killing him. Clearly his experiences to date have put the fear of God in him. This option only seems unlikely due to the fact it would take someone with some common sense to implement and I don’t believe anyone in the White House right now has that sense. So maybe the ‘retreat and defeat’ scenario is the most likely, but it is certainly not the only option.

  7. Um, I think the soldiers could all leave, alive, tomorrow. The problem is what might happen to the average Iraqi as a result. Maybe nothing bad would happen. Maybe something very bad would happen. I don’t know. We could easily keep order the way Saddam did. We could easy be as ruthless as he was, while not actually being quite so sadistic. Obviously we don’t want to do that. We want them to be able to have a ‘normal’ government. Eventually they’ll either succeed, or we’ll give up and (a) leave or (b) become much more ruthless. But I don’t think we’ll ever let someone like Saddam get back into power voluntarily again. I certainly hope not. How was it better when he was in charge? More people died, even if there was an appearance of order. Of course, we never really knew what exactly was going on there back then anyway, the press weren’t reporting on it. In fact we know they purposefully repressed reports of bad things Saddam did. At least now people can have freedom. They have to put up with some random violence, but it’s no worse than the organized violence under Saddam. Back then anyone could be randomly killed too. It just wasn’t so public. They’d disappear in the middle of the night and never be heard from again.

  8. Freedom is for the free. They aren’t free. They will never be free. The first thing they do with their ‘freedom’ is start a civil war. That’s not what free people do. We have our own interests to look out for. We would do a lot better to look out for those interests and let others look out for their own.

  9. Our interests overlap though. We want a stable ME and less terrorism. So do most of them. The problem is the few people who want neither of those. They’re a problem for both of us. We might as well work together for a solution, since it’s in our mutual benefit surely? I agree that many Iraqis have shown that they don’t deserve freedom. But many others have not done anything wrong and we should help them try to be free, as long as it’s also in our interests to do so. Which I think it is, as long as Islamic terrorism is a threat to us.

  10. I must admit that I’ve had the same idea. I wouldn’t expect Saddam to become our ally though, don’t forget, we killed his two sons, with extreme unction.

  11. Nicolas: I agree that many Iraqis have shown that they don’t deserve freedom. Yes, and many Americans (and Australians, I imagine) do the same. That doesn’t mean that I don’t insist on freedom for all. As for Dfens’ We could prop his government up for a while so he could consolidate power, turning a blind eye to the atrocities he would commit., if that’s what we’re going to do let’s just do it with the new government. To an extent, I think we’re doing it already.

  12. Murdoc, absolutely. Many people here don’t deserve what they have. But it’s better that we all have freedom, than only some or none. Freedom means the freedom to be an idiot, too, unfortunately. I still think the payoff will be worth it if we stick around and finish this. Assuming it can be finished. The situation is really too complex to be able to tell at this point. I do think it’s a question of who has the most patience, though. We have the ability to outlast them. Let’s not freak out unnecessarily and throw the game at this early stage.

  13. Saddam’s biggest problem is that we’ve killed so many of his relatives. That’s a person’s power base in countries like that. He might be able to make up for it by ‘driving the infidels out of Iraq,’ which is how he’d have to spin it. He might not love us, but he’d know we both could and would kill him, which would be enough. At least someone over there would have that on their mind.

  14. I think you underestimate his defiance. He knew you could kill him before, yet he still defied you. What makes you think he will change his behavior?

  15. IMO – At this time, the issue in Iraq is not the insurgency, but rather the the private armies running around. (AKA Mahidi Army et al) The insurgency vs the US is winding down, and now the Suni’s are in more of a survival/revenge mode against the death squads. Right now Muqtada al-Sadr is going for the dictatorship position. He is undermining the government and since the government is dependent on him for support – they are unwilling or unable to control him. What needs to happen. 1. Setup a wireless countrywide ATM system to pay the soldiers. This would enable Iraqi army to keep its troops on a full-time basis, instead of heading home every few weeks. 2. Muqtada al-Sadr needs to be neutralized. Not killed but discredited and denouced by other influencial clerics. The best thing that comes to mind, is publicly airing his links to Iran. 3. Double the pay of the Iraqi troops and have them serve in districts no closer then 100 miles of their hometown. 4. Issue tracable ammo to Iraqi units. Along the lines of the tags used with explosives 5. Group accountability. If there is evidence of death squad activity.(due to the ammo trace) The entire company should be punished and split up. 6. Set up wireless automatic camera systems – linked to a gun shot dector. They would need to be concealed of course, but they could help get a lay of the land, and ID the bad guys. 7. Hang Sadam. Things were not better under him. The killings just were not as public under him.

  16. Agree a lot with Dfens. Guess Churchill was quoted as saying something about the size of the crap the Sykes-Picot treaty provoked. Unstable ‘countries’, difficult for external imperial powers to manage effectively given the lack of internal cohesion; Oh, and Murdoc, ‘Dfens: The problem isn’t that Saddam couldn’t keep order, the problem is that Saddam’s type of order isn’t what we’re all about. ‘ C-

  17. Ianiv: I’m not totally naive. I know you cannot ‘impose’ freedom on anyone. But I think it’s a rather small (though very vocal and very very violent) minority of Iraqis who truly don’t want freedom. To clarify my position on the Saddam thing, let me put it this way: A) Saddam’s order isn’t what we’re all about. B) We prefer a free and peaceful Iraq. C) We will go to great lengths to help the Iraqis make ‘B’ a reality. D) If ‘C’ doesn’t work and harsh rule with an iron fist is the only remaining option, it will be our fist and it won’t be administered by Saddam. and probably E) It won’t take long for Free Kurdistan to become a leading regional power.

  18. a) With you all the way, may he burn in hell where he belongs b) No doubt about it, just not sure if there is such a thing as ‘Iraq’. Maybe what we mean when we say that is ‘the geographic area that now contains Iraq’. c) No doubt. God bless America, Poland, Australia, the UK, Canada, Japan. No irony here. At all 😉 d) This will cost a lot of money. Empires got ruined this way. Wouldn-

  19. I only think ‘E’ if ‘D’ comes to pass. If (down the road) we throw up our hands and say ‘okay…we give!’ then I can see partitioning as a real option. In that case, we let the Kurds run their own affairs (officially so) and we’d have a decent ally-like nation in the area. I really hope it doesn’t come to that. FWIW, it’s going to be many years before we know if this is actually working or not. Folks who think ‘this has gone on long enough’ don’t seem to understand that.

  20. Day one: The US announces the partion of Iraq. Day one: Israel and the Palestinians fight each other. Day thee: The Kurds announce the creation of an independent state. Day four: Turkey, Syrua & Iran invades to stop the creation of Kurdistan. Day five: Iran is ‘invited’ to help protect the Shia Iraq. Day six: Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states announce that they will support Suni Iraq. ‘Peace Keeping’ units from Saudi, gulf states and Jordan move into western Iraq. Day seven: Israel and the Palestinians fight each other. Hamas joins in the fun. Day eight: Europe demands that the US do something to end the wars in the middle-east. Day nine: No matter what the US does, Europe complains that the action is unilateral and contrary to international law. … Day one thousand four hundred and twenty: Day one: Israel and the Palestinians fight each other. Day one thousand four hundred and twenty one: An asteriod closes in on earth, and threatens to destroy the middle-east. Day one thousand four hundred and twenty two: Nobody in the middle-east notices as they are too busy killing each other. Europe demands that the US do something about the asteroid. Day one thousand four hundred and twenty three No matter what the US does, Europe complains that the action is unilateral and contrary to international law.

  21. Nicholas, there is a difference between knowing intellectually that the US could kill you and knowing it deep down in your heart. You put Saddam’s neck in a noose and his head in a bag, and give him about 20 very, very long seconds to think about things. I have no doubt it would change his outlook on the US, no matter how defiant he might be when he steps onto that platform. Wars are won by making people believe that you have both the will and the means to kill them. We don’t have the will, and are working on getting rid of the means. Any more ‘reform’ of our military like the kind we’ve seen for the last 30 years and we will be as big a bunch of pussies as the French.