Like the Krays but hate Saddam? • 16 September 2007 • The SnowBlog
Like the Krays but hate Saddam?
(For newcomers, the deadly green 'P' warns of politics. Eeek. Gasp.) Apparently once the IMF had got the strip-mining of the Russian economy underway following the collapse of the USSR, and living standards had plummeted compared to the bad old days of communism, some unsettlingly large fraction of the Russian people thought that what the country needed to get it back on track was a man like Stalin. Despite the fact he killed more people than Hitler.
And law and order fans in England sometimes mention the Krays (=post-War East London gangsters) in appreciative tones. Yes, they were murdering crooks, but it was safe for women to walk the streets at night on their manor. Allegedly.
I mention all this because of the irony of Iraq. Saddam Hussein was exactly the sort of leader the law-and-order types who support Bush would thoroughly approve of. Look at what the U.S. is doing to its own citizens right now. Spying on them, locking them up without trial, even getting up its nerve to torture them. But we're not supposed to panic, because if you're decent folk who haven't done anything wrong then you're not in any danger. (Though how you prove you did nothing wrong now that Habeas Corpus is gone I have no idea.) And it was the same under Saddam. If you did as you were told and kept your mouth shut, Iraq was probably the most liberal and (to our eyes) agreeable of places to live in the Middle East. Women could wear jeans as they drove their cars to their University classes. When they graduated, they could nip off to the States to do a Masters degree if they could afford it. They could be atheists if they wanted to be too. Saddam had no time for Islamic law.
It's a very different situation somewhere like Saudi Arabia - a fascist state we feel no need to attack. In fact, heck, we value their business. Even if it is mainly weapons that they buy from us. What am I saying, the UK is the second biggest arms dealer in the world. We're delighted to sell them weapons.
But back to Saddam-era Iraq. Now, I'll admit it wasn't all good. It's true that if you stepped out of line you might quickly find yourself in a basement somewhere having your **** pulled off with a ***** (supply your own delicate region/garden implement). And as such, I'd have been against it. But those are also the kind of policies the U.S. is inching towards. And if that's what it takes to keep America safe these days, what was wrong with Saddam doing it? Yes, if you want ironies, I can't help thinking that Saddam's Iraq is just the sort of place the Neo-Cons would like to turn America into.
Ta, to commenter Neil for helping me with my spelling on this post.