18 Mar. 2008

Drowing In A Sea Of Blood

Lord Downer pens a totally misleading Op-Ed about "Toppling Saddam" (not "Invading Iraq"). His four "considerations" are all based on distortion, fantasy and self-delusion:

1. If we hadn't invaded, Saddam would now be more powerful than ever:
"Based on what the UN inspectors had reported, and the analysis of several intelligence agencies, most of the world would have believed that he had survived with weapons of mass destruction. On the basis of what we do know now, he would enthusiastically be rebuilding his WMD capabilities today."
That is total crap. UN inspectors could not find any WMDs, and they reported exactly that. It was Downer and his neocon friends who cherry-picked the intelligence. It was Murdoch and his media friends who helped shape what "most of the world... believed". And the idea that Saddam would be "rebuilding his WMD capabilities today" supposes that the Western world would have just walked away from the problem, which is ridiculous: the UN was all over him, and could easily have maintained the pressure one way or another.

2. No but Saddam really was a terrorist threat:
"Second, a still-more powerful Saddam would have been a major threat to his own people and the Middle East... At a time when moderate Muslims have needed all the help they could get from the West in the struggle against Islamic extremism, there is no doubt an empowered Saddam would have been a major obstacle to successful Arab-Western co-operation."
Yeah, like those "moderate Muslims" are all doing so well after five years of war in Iraq, right? Witness the last Iranian elections. Note how this illusion of a "threat" is built on the first one about "a still-more powerful Saddam". And still the only terrorist connections Downer can point to are an ageing Abu Nidal and payments to the families of Palestine suicide bombers. That's all they ever had, and all they have ever been able to dig up.

3. Everything would be fine by now if the invasion had just been managed a little better:
"Third, there is no doubt the Americans made some mistakes. The most common criticism is that they pursued the de-Baathification policy too zealously... The more serious criticism of the Americans is that they should have sent more troops to Iraq in the first place."
And if the band had just played a different song, the Titanic might never have hit that iceberg. Notice how it's all the fault of US and Iraqi leaders, not us.

4. If foreign troops pull out now, every last Iraqi man, woman and child will die in a spontaneous "genocide":
"A time will come when the Iraqi army and police can handle domestic security alone. At that point there will barely be any need for foreign troops in Iraq."
"Barely"? What does that mean, just enough to guard the oil pipelines?

This is all total crap. Downer compares the invasion of Iraq to genuine humanitarian disasters like Rwanda, the Balkans and Darfur. As if Iraqis under Saddam were all starving to death and killing each other with sticks! He inflates the number of Saddam's victims from 300,000 (the number usually bandied about by wingnuts in 2003) to half a million, presumably trying to maintain parity with the growing post-invasion death toll.

If we had dropped a nuclear bomb on Zimbabwe, would Downer be arguing that "toppling Mugabe was right"? The man has the blood of a million Iraqis on his hands, and all the crocodile tears in the world will not wash it off.

We need a Royal Commission into our government's role in this War Crime, and we need it now.

UPDATE: Now Downer's Saddam Victim Body Count is up to a million!