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Thursday, July 03, 2003

Wolf Blitzer, Pravda Reporter:
Some would argue going into Liberia is to stop a humanitarian crisis. There is plenty of evidence in postwar Iraq of atrocities on the part of the Saddam Hussein regime to say that's just what was accomplished there, even if the WMD are so far MIA.

Seemingly everyone, including me, stipulates that Saddam was a very bad guy. But were people actually being killed, wounded or arrested faster a year ago, or five months ago, than they are now? Were children dying at a faster rate before combat started on March 19 than they have been since? Maybe--I don't know. But except for some pictures of some skulls, I haven't seen a lot of specific evidence of how bad things actually were when Saddam was in charge, especially in recent years. There are tallies like this which give totals around one million people who were killed by Saddam, but they include 500,000 soldiers killed in the war with Iran (in which the Reagan administration was arming both sides), as well as people killed by US bombs in the Gulf War and by sanctions. The supression of the Shiite uprising at the end of the Gulf War was certainly brutal, but it was done under the watchful eye and with the tacit approval of the Bush I/Powell/Cheney administration.

So, not to defend Saddam's actions, but my question is: were lots of Iraqis being killed or tortured by Saddam's regime in 2002? How many, and where is the evidence? You can't claim to be stopping a humanitarian crisis unless you show that the killing and arrests were on-going (and unless you've actually stopped the killing and arrests, which clearly we haven't). Skulls from twelve years ago don't cut it--they are evidence to be used at Saddam's trial, but you can only use the "stopping a humanitarian crisis" argument if the crisis was ongoing. Of course, that wasn't there reason for the war until all their other reasons proved to be BS. Just because Saddam had been a tyrant doesn't necessarily mean that there was an ongoing humanitarian crisis. There probably was, but I'm sure not going to take the Bushies', or Wolf Blitzer's, word on it.