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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Are We Really Better Off Without Saddam?

Of course, if you're reading this blog, you probably already know that almost nobody is better off without Saddam. But Jude Wanniski, a former Reaganite, Wall Street Journal editor and coiner of the term "supply-side economics" (i.e., a man with impeccable conservative credentials), explains to Trent Lott why almost nobody is better off without Saddam.
In your "Meet the Press" interview this morning, I noticed you made the obligatory remark that "Of course we are all better off without Saddam Hussein." Practically every politico in every party makes that exact statement on all the talk shows in recent weeks and months. Maybe if I were a politician I would also include it in my litany. Which may be why I've rejected every suggestion that I should be a politician. It is dismaying to me, even disgusting, to see your congressional colleagues prattle on about how Iraqis are better off without Saddam, when more than 100,000 of their sons and daughters would still be alive if we had not gone to war. Are the dead "better off"? Are their families?

It would have been refreshing, Trent, if you had realized by now that after your wings were clipped by the neo-cons, you were a zero in the Senate discussions in the first months of 2003, when your questioning could have made a difference. In your heart, I think you know that all things considered, we are not "better off" without Saddam Hussein. If we could roll back the clock and do it all over again and accepted his invitation to prowl Iraq in perpetuity in search of weapons of mass destruction, we would be a lot better off.
Wanniski's open letter is also interesting in that he provides an explanation as to why Lott lost the job of Senate Majority Leader. Wanniski says that Lott might have objected to proceeding to war with Iraq, whereas the Bushies knew they could count on Frist to rubber-stamp everything they said. Therefore, they jumped at the first opportunity to get rid of Lott--the remark he made at Strom Thurmond's birthday party. As many pointed out at the time, it wasn't the first time that Lott had made similar remarks. It was just the first time he'd made them when the powers that be wanted him out of the way.