What would it take?

Let's see... What do we know for sure about this guy Saddam? His first, entry-level job was assassin. His work was satisfactory and he advanced steadily in his Ba'th party. After a decade of violent swings (including exile and imprisonment for Saddam), the party took over Iraq and Saddam became Vice President. Under President Bakr (who was elected), Iraq experienced a decade of rising standards of living, improved health care and improved infrastructure. When his boss resigned in 1979, Saddam took over Iraq. Six days later he set the tone for his administration by having 20 party members executed for "conspiracy".

Soon afterward, he invaded Iran. The conflict was long and bloody and millions (including many thousands of civilians) died. Saddam even used weapons of mass destruction during the conflict. The unsuccessful war bankrupted the country and poverty soared. In 1990, he invaded and raped Kuwait; again killing thousands of civilians in the process. Foreigners in Kuwait, including Americans, were rounded up, beaten, imprisoned and killed. The country was bashed and looted. When the US forced him out, Saddam set the oil wells on fire and flooded the sea with oil; doing massive harm to the environment. He used is own people as human shields and he used humanitarian facilities (such as hospitals) as military facilities.

At the end of the first Gulf War, Saddam signed a cease fire that allowed him to stay in power, but only if he disarmed and then proved his disarmament to UN inspectors (the burden of proof was always on him, not the inspectors). Various populations of his people tried to rise up against him, and he put down the revolts with all means at his disposal, including chemical weapons. More than a hundred thousand more civilians were killed.

His regime stays in power by the daily use of murder and torture. Under the "oil for food" program of the UN, Iraq was allowed to sell oil to buy food, but not weapons. Saddam diverted much of the money, however, to military uses and to build dozens of fabulous palaces for himself and his supporters. Despite these billions of dollars of oil money coming into the country each year, about 60,000 Iraqis, mostly children and the elderly, die of deprivation. That's sixty thousand, every year.

It's interesting to note that this UPI story didn't get much play:


From the story:

A group of American anti-war demonstrators who came to Iraq with Japanese human shield volunteers made it across the border today with 14 hours of uncensored video, all shot without Iraqi government minders present. Kenneth Joseph, a young American pastor with the Assyrian Church of the East, told UPI the trip "had shocked me back to reality."
Evidently, the Iraqi's told the human shields a thing or two that caused them to rethink their positions. Some of the Iraqi's told them that they would commit suicide if the bombing didn't start soon. They were "willing to see their homes demolished to gain their freedom from Saddam's bloody tyranny". They told stories of "slow torture and killing" that made the young pastor physically ill. This isn't coming from slanted media reports or government propaganda, this is from human shield volunteers who found reality in Iraq.

After all of this, George Bush is the one condemned when he labels Saddam "evil".

You have to wonder then, what would it take for the peace-lovers in America to think Saddam was evil? It's not like those who condemn Bush for the war aren't capable of labeling things evil. Despite the modern trend toward moral relativism, moral condemnation is actually thriving. These are the same people, by and large, who will call a corporate CEO - who hasn't even killed anyone - evil at the drop of a hat. They will call a politician who disagrees with their environmental stance evil every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Just not Saddam. If George Bush just destroyed one massive wetlands area (as Saddam has done) they would call for the death penalty. They're perfectly willing to use the "evil" label, just not on Saddam, not seriously.

I think for most of them the problem is that, if they're willing to concede that Saddam is truly evil (and all that such a label entails), then the war has justification. If you admit he's as evil as he obviously is, then removing him from power is the duty of every good-minded world citizen. These people hate George Bush, however, with such passion that they don't really care how bad Saddam is for the Iraqi people. They will oppose anything Bush tries to do with intense fervor, regardless of its morality. Even peace is completely secondary to their hatred of Bush. If you're one of these people, ask yourself, "what do I hate more, war or George Bush?" The answer will tell you if you're in the group I'm talking about.

I'm willing to forgive the peace-niks of most other nations. Many of them don't have access to good information. A state-run Egyptian newspaper, for example, told its readers that the US was deliberately dropping tainted, genetically modified food on the Afghan people, so that they would get sick and die when they ate it. When that's the information you have to go on, you've got to hate the US with a passion. All we can do is work toward opening up their societies; doing good works won't help if they never hear about them.

Americans, however, have no such excuse. They have access to the truth, even if they have to do some work to sort it out of the many different biases. To be confronted with such evil and desire to appease, delay, "inspect" or simply do nothing is to shirk your duty as a world citizen. None of these actions help the Iraqi people.

I don't really care about Saddam's weapons of mass destruction or his designs on neighboring countries. These are bad things, but nothing compared to his abuse of his own people. Even the 3,000 deaths at the World Trade Center pale by comparison. I care that the Iraqi people get their basic human rights and the freedom to choose a life of their own. I would risk my life to get that for myself, I have to think that they would do the same.

Clearly, Saddam isn't just mainstream evil. He's one of the Evil All Stars, he's going to get a place in the Evil Hall of Fame. His picture will be just down the isle from Hitler and Stalin, across from Pol Pot. People reading this as history many years from now will see him in the same light that we now see the other Evil All Stars: they'll be amazed that he was allowed to go so long unchecked.

What would it take for most American war protesters to admit that Saddam is evil enough to be forcibly removed from power? Evidently, it would take each of them being sent to Iraq to hear it from the source. It's sad that their hatred of the President has pushed them to that extreme.

Once we're done with Saddam, let's go after the next most evil dictator, until we run out of them.