Friday, July 08, 2016
Life was BETTER under Saddam Hussein: Iraqis say
Of course it was. At least there was peace then. You could buy bread with ease and not have your house blown up. It's the same story throughout the Middle East these days and it is surely evidence that democracy does not take root there. For nearly all of human history, people have been ruled by tyrants -- usually called kings or emperors -- and people have evolved ways of thinking and feeling that suit that. As all the studies show, politics is highly heritable genetically, so that should be no surprise.
It is only the people of Northern Europe (including Britain and its derivative societies) who appear to have democratic instincts and it is indeed a deep instinct. ALL of North Western Europe has a long history of irrepressible democracy. Episodes of tyranny such as Cromwell and Hitler have been very short-lived.
And, as far as I know, there has never been a pure democracy anywhere, though Switzerland and Iceland come close. The normal Northern European arrangement has been a king plus a parliament of some kind. And some kings -- such as Sweden's Gustavus Adolphus -- ruled with very little to check their power. So it has been a long struggle, even for the Northern European nations, to assert fully their democratic instincts. And it is a battle far from over, with powerful elites still determined to control the masses as far as they can.
Democracy did appear in Southern Europe for a time -- in the shape of Athens and Rome -- but they were very limited democracies with only a minority allowed to vote and they did not in any case last.
But what about Russia? They are as Northern as can be and look just like other Northern Europeans. Yet they are hardly known for democracy. One needs to know a little about Russia's different history to understand what happened there. From the 13th to the 15th century Russia was under the control of the Mongol khanates, which permitted no democratic input from Russians. They were as imperial as can be. And that was a critical period in Russian development.
So by the time the Khans ebbed away, Russians were well inured to tyranny. And the kings of Muscovy used that to commence and continue territorial expansion -- an amazing expansion that took centuries but which ended up with Russia spreading right across the Eurasian continent, as it does to this day. Americans talk about how the West was won -- but the East that Russians won was at least four times bigger than the American West. And that program of unending expansion continued into the 20th century with the takeover of the Baltic countries etc. So Russia has long been a country at war and wartime politics everywhere tend to permit a greater degree of tyranny than would otherwise be permitted.
But hey! Wait a minute! What about Japan? There was nothing democratic about the Tokugawa Shogunate and the Meji restoration was not democratic either. Yet Japan today is impeccably democratic. Does that not show that you don't have to have democratic genes? It does not. What it shows is that the key personality trait underlying democracy is consideration of others. Japanese are VERY considerate of one-another. Those Japanese wearing surgical masks on the street and in lecture halls are doing so in order not to give their cold or flu to others.
And the Northern Europeans who had to battle unforgiving winters needed to be respecting of others too. The climate was such a deadly enemy that you could afford to have no other enemies. They did of course have enemies among outsiders but in their own societies, enmity had to be avoided -- by everyone considering one-another
So forcing democracy on the Middle Easterners, with their vast contempt for one another -- think ISIS -- was a deadly mistake
Iraqis whose lives were destroyed by the 2003 invasion of their country today accused Tony Blair and George Bush of being the architects of their downfall - and called them 'the devil'.
The former Prime Minister's reputation lies in tatters after today's Chilcot's damning report into the Iraq debacle found he toppled tyrant Saddam Hussein with no firm evidence he had weapons of mass destruction.
And today people on the streets of Erbil in northern Iraq celebrated as the report finally tore apart the so-called flawed invasion that killed 179 British troops and their countrymen and women.
'They removed Saddam Hussein, but they didn't think about the consequences of doing so,' said shopkeeper Selman Hussein.
The businessman, who briefly fled to Europe and lived in Belgium, said Mr Blair had been irresponsible when he claimed he could not have known how difficult the post-invasion situation would be.
In the report emails from the ex-Labour PM to then US-president George Bush showed unwavering loyalty as he was determined to take military action to topple Saddam.
"Under Saddam we were happier, it was much better. Now, it is Sunni-Shiite and Kurds. Everybody is fighting, now there are bombs everyday. Before we had a strong president. His name was Saddam" -- Selman Hussein, shopkeeper
But the shopkeeper went on: 'They did not plan for the future. We are now living in a destroyed country, Tony Blair did not make anything good for Iraq,' he said.
'Under Saddam we were happier, it was much better. Now, it is Sunni-Shiite and Kurds. Everybody is fighting, now there are bombs everyday. Before we had a strong president. His name was Saddam,' he said.
Selman, also believes Mr Blair twisted intelligence about the threat posed by Saddam to justify the war that led to the deaths of 179 British soldiers and left hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead. 'He said Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. What weapons? They lied,' he added.
Iraq's Christian community, who have be persecuted heavily in post Saddam, agree with Chilcott's findings that Blair should have more fully explored alternatives to military action that cost lives.
'They did not plan for the future. They just invaded and then destroyed this country,' Albert, 36, a Christian from Baghdad told MailOnline. 'Tony Blair and George Bush they destroyed this country, they are the devil,' he added.
Albert now works in Erbil because he is unable to go back to Baghdad, added: 'I have only one thing I want to ask those who invaded Iraq: If they can manage to repair this country back to they way it was before, I will forgive them, but until then I will not.'
Those Christians who held high positions under Saddam's ruling Ba'ath Party look back fondly on their country under his dictatorship. 'Before 2003 it was safe, in Saddam's time it was good, now there is no security,' Albert, who was too frightened to give his surname, explained.
'Before I could drive from Basra to Baghdad to Mosul. Now that is impossible,' he added.
But Iraq is not entirely hostile to the humbled PM, who today said he expressed more sorrow, regret, and apology than we may ever know or can believe in a grovelling apology to the report's findings.
For those in the Kurdish community said life without the tyrant Saddam, who is believed to have murdered up to 280,000 of their people during the repression of the 1991 rebellion, is better.
'At the beginning we were happy. The American and the British came to liberate us from Saddam, and we thought the new situation would be much better,' Doctor, Mathum Falluh stated.
But Mathum, 68, a university lecturer, from Sulaymaniyah, still said his country was better before the 2003 invasion.
'It has become a 100 per cent worse than before Saddam was gone, because of the killing, slaughtering [and] murdering now,' he said.
The father-of-four said the invasion has led to the political breakup of Iraq, which has created a violent vacuum in fighting for power.
'People like me thought Britain and the US came to save us. But, they supported a bad leader in Nouri Kamil Mohammed Hasan al-Maliki when they supported him a Prime Minister,' he said.
How The Elites Have A Monopoly On Political Power
Writing at National Review, historian Victor Davis Hanson weighs in on the Clinton prosecution that wasn't. It's a great look at what our country has become- a place where there's one set of rules for the powerful, and one set of rules for the rest of us:
In Merced or Dayton, if an insurance agent, eager to help his wife facing indictment, barged into a restaurant where the local DA is known to lunch, he would almost certainly be told to get the hell out.
But among the Washington elite, the scenario is apparently quite different. The two parties, in supposedly serendipitous fashion, just happen to touch down at the same time on the Phoenix corporate tarmac, with their private planes pulling up nose to nose. Then the attorney general of the United States and her husband, in secrecy enforced by federal security details, welcome the ex-president onto her government plane. Afterward, and only when caught, the prosecutor and the husband of the person under investigation assure the world that they talked about everything except Hillary Clinton’s possible indictment, Loretta Lynch’s past appointment by Bill Clinton and likely judicial future, or the general quandary of 2016.
There has been a lot of talk since Brexit and the rise of Donald Trump of the corrosive power and influence of the “elite” and the “establishment.” But to quote Butch Cassidy to the Sundance Kid, “Who are those guys?”
In the case of the ancient Romans or of the traditional British ruling classes, land, birth, education, money, government service, and cultural notoriety were among the ingredients that made one an establishmentarian. But our modern American elite is a bit different.
Residence, either in the Boston–Washington, D.C., or the San Francisco–Los Angeles corridor, often is a requisite. Celebrity and public exposure count — e.g., access to traditional television outlets (as opposed to hoi polloi Internet blogging). So does education — again, most often a coastal-corridor thing: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Berkeley, Stanford, etc.
Hanson's whole piece is great, and worth the read(here). The Founders built a nation of laws, not men, where a system of checks and balances would hold governemnt accountable to the people. They never envisioned today's post New Deal system, a system that exists to enrich and empower a class of corporate and political consultants and disconnected academics, all of whom operate with little or no accountability in service of a massively bloated regulatory administrative state.
Time for U.S. to Exit Entangling Alliances
Will the American public take a lesson from British voters and reconsider their official commitments to European allies—namely, U.S. participation in NATO? Whatever the impulses behind Donald Trump’s call for pulling out of various military alliances, according to Independent Institute Senior Fellow Ivan Eland the time is ripe for rethinking Pax Americana.
Part of the justification for a U.S. withdrawal from NATO is financial. “The United States accounts for three-quarters of the defense spending of NATO countries, and it is very unlikely that those allies—all much closer to zones of conflict than is the United States—will be defending the superpower rather than vice versa,” Eland writes. The same is true with respect to America’s allies in East Asia: the U.S. foots most of the bill but gets little if anything in return—not even open markets for U.S. trade and investment.
An even greater justification for reducing military commitments involves the alleged purpose of the alliances: national security. The United States is surrounded by two oceans and two friendly nations, and enjoys the world’s largest defensive capability. Yet military entanglements in Europe, East Asia, and the Middle East risk drawing the United States into armed conflicts large and small. The U.S. government’s alliances threaten America’s financial soundness and national security. “Perhaps an Amerexit from them is in order,” Eland concludes.
Wrong policies have consequences
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Posted by JR at 12:22 AM