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    new boss worse than the......, 2005-06-28 11:38:07 | Main | Imagine a terrorist network w..., 2005-06-29 08:11:39

    new boss worse than...:

    I just can't imagine it being much worse. Two years of a weakened Baath regime - which, had certain people been at all interested in weakening further, could have been made much weaker without invasion - looks far preferable to the current state of affairs.

    Despite arguments by conservatives attempting to depict Iraq's former regime as Islamist or otherwise "non-secular" - sometimes going so far as to define "secular" in terms of purely Western formation and redefine Baathism as a religion unto itself - one has to say it, at the very least, enforced a far more secular system than is now possible under the rule of local religious zealots. E.g., following the education system, Basra has fallsen under the pall of fundamentalist law. C.f. 'the madrassa myth' this might not be entirely negative unless you don't like Islam, or in my case organized religions in general. But in terms of liberty, freedom, and civil war the formation of Islamist militia microstates isn't something you'd exactly be hoping for. Iraqi women, alcoholics, and barbers are now being beaten for infractions of Islamist law for the sorts of things Saddam's regime protected, whereas before you'd be tortured or put to death for being suspected of opposing his regime. You can toss that up as some balance of winners and losers, and I don't particularly care for the winners.

    On the same tack, as Henley says:

    Our vast expenditure of lives, money and ammunition has aimed, in practice, to distribute the authority for thieving among a more representative demographic profile, seemingly toward a bright future in which all steal from all. Or say, representatives of every group steal from the rank and file of every other. The inherent instability of such an arrangement should be obvious to anyone who remembers the scenes in Goodfellas dealing with the aftermath of the Lufthansa heist, or ever reflected on the plausibility of the old saw about honor among thieves. Somebody is going to try to corner all that lovely loot for themselves. Iraq will become a more ethnically fractious version of Hosni Mubarak’s Eqypt, whose most famous gift to the world has been Mohammad Atta and his friends.

    The pre-invasion status quo offered, at least, successful but underfunded social programs via Iraq's oil revenue, curtailing the degree of Saddam's kleptocracy. It was insufficient to meet needs, and gave far too much power to the Baathist state, but it was at least something to meet everyday needs. Whatever one might say about black market sales winked at by the USG and the relatively minor oil for food scandal, at least back then the only people being robbed were Iraqis. Now Americans are getting mugged, too, and the humanitarian program, as necessary now as it was before, was dismantled, it's 8 billion funnelled to the Iraq Development Fund, which just went to fund the new kleptocracy, with little or nothing to show for it.


:: posted by buermann @ 2005-06-28 16:34:03 CST | link





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