Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Monday, February 05, 2007

Iraq imploding
It's a headline I could have written a hundred times since the US invaded Iraq in 2003, but the scale of destruction and death at the present time is simply brutal. Sectarian violence has claimed more than 1000 lives in the past 7 days. Sunni-Shia battles, culminating in the truck bomb in a Shiite market this weekend that claimed 135 lives, are nothing less than all-out civil war.

This has come about from a classic power-vacuum after the fall of Saddam Hussein, piqued by a bitter insurgency into the country from Islamic fighters. It's a nightmare situation for all yIraqi's - except those power-hungry thugs who benefit from it.

Assigning blame is a catch-22. Saddam Hussein was brutal, make no doubt. He ran an oppressive and reprehensible regime that used brutality as a hallmark, torturing, maiming and killing at will. As an individual, it is undoubtedly better that he has been dealt with. However, the act is defined by the consequence. Would the same have happened if Saddam was deposed from within, or by another power? Most likely there would still have been power struggles, but probably not with the same scale and breadth than as it is now, stirred by a deep hatred of the invading US forces. But would other countries have acted against Saddam alone, and was there anyone within that could defeat his brutality? It is doubtful.

So it leads us to the question; With all that we know now, which is the worse scenario - living with Saddam, or deposing him with the current consequence? As much as I despised Saddam Hussein, it's difficult to reconcile the impact he had on the Iraqi people with the outright internal destruction of the Iraqi population that is currently taking place. What do you think?