I would first like to start this off with a few caveats that I will necessarily need to toss out before people accuse me of being ignorant on the issue for not bringing these facts up beforehand.
No, I don’t think the US is correct in every foreign policy decision.
No, I don’t think the US should’ve supported Hussein during the Iran-Iraq War.
No, I don’t think that the way the war was sold was perfect.
No, the United States did not conduct the Iraq War in the most efficient or intelligent way.
Okay, now that we’ve cut away a lot of the riff-raff, that being the people who will inevitably lob these irrelevant points at me, we can move on. It is my experience that the topic which most people are the most ill-informed about it is the topic of foreign policy. I’ve heard people actually call the Kurds a separate entity from Sunni or Shia Muslims *cough* Secular Talk *cough*. Which they aren’t, Kurds are a majority Sunni population. Anyway, onto the arguments I will be addressing. I am going to lay out my opposing position as fairly as I possibly can and argue against them as powerfully as I can at this very moment.
“Yes, Saddam Hussein was a bad guy, but he stabilized the region and so removing him was a mistake.”
This argument is the one that genuinely makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever. The people who argue it must be ignorant of Saddam’s crimes, or are ignoring them for the sake of maintaining a shaky argument. I would honestly like to know what people who say this define as “stability.” Here are a few of the actions perpetrated by this leader who supposedly stabilized the region:
- Committed genocide on the Kurdish population with chemical weapons killing ~180,000 of them
- Went to war with Iran which caused millions of deaths (including both countries)
- Annexed Kuwait over a border dispute
- Blew up oil fields in Kuwait before accepting defeat by US.
- Ordered the slaughter of innocent civilians in a city because of an assassination attempt by a small band of Shia militants
- Destroyed the ecosystem of the Marsh Arabs in retaliation for an attempted uprising. 250,000 people in the area dwindled to 30,000 (unsure whether mainly due to migration or starvation)
- Overall oppression of his people in Big Brother capacity. Suppressing of freedom of expression, reported 100% approval rating (obviously false), killed people for not supporting him, etc.
Now, allow me to give another caveat, yes some of these atrocities occurred while Iraq had the US’s support. To the extent that undermines my case is to the extent that alcohol makes you less drunk. My argument does not rise and fall with US support of various things. My argument is the removal of Saddam Hussein, so if you cannot stay on topic I suggest you find someone else to argue with. If you can argue that the above seven examples are examples of stability than you are deluding yourself. Saddam did not stabilize the region. He made it just as unstable, if not more unstable, than ISIS is currently. He’s annexed countries, went to war with other countries, and committed genocide within his reign. Simply saying, “Oh, well he killed ISIS people too,” is an incredibly stupid point. Yes, genocidal dictators kill bad people sometimes, they also mostly kill innocent people.
I could make the same argument with Hitler to be perfectly honest. Sure Hitler killed the Jews, sure he was attempting to take over Europe, yeah all of that bad stuff happened. However, defeating Hitler was what assisted Stalin gaining the influence that he had, so Hitler should’ve remained in power. Hitler also killed the Communists, right? Hitler “kept a lid on things.” Plus have you seen what he did for the German economy? How does that not sound like the most idiotic, backwards, fascism apologia this side of the Tigris? It does to me, and the Saddam argument should sound that way to you.
If you think that if a little bit of ethnic cleansing here and there should be excusable because of some vague aspect of “stability,” then I put forth that you are severely misguided in your thinking.
Also, final point to those who say “Saddam ran a secular state.”
So did Stalin. “Secular” is not a synonym for fair/stable/good/righteous.