November 6, 2006


Saddam: a tribute (David Cox, November 6, 2006, The Guardian)

Living under tyranny may not be ideal, but it is not impossible. In the Soviet Union, life took on a character of its own, in which the human spirit managed to flourish in spite of the political constraints. The literature generated in those conditions can still inspire us. Today, many former Soviet citizens feel no more free under the yoke of global capitalism than they did before, and some would like to see the return of Stalinism. The people of China seem in no rush to jettison a regime that holds out the prospect of prosperity at the expense only of liberty.

Even in Britain, our supposed attachment to our supposed freedom turns out to be tenuous. We seem content to toss aside ancient liberties in the face of a dubious war on terror, and we live, cheerily enough, under a regime of surveillance that the KGB might have envied.

Saddam offered his people a harsh deal. Yet, their lives were at risk only if they chose to challenge his authority. Now, they die because of the sect to which they happen to belong. Soon, their country may fall prey to a savage civil war. If that happens, the Iranians will doubtless intervene, along, perhaps, with Turkey and Israel. No one can predict where that might lead, but the outcome is unlikely to be positive for peace, prosperity, justice or, indeed, human rights.

If Saddam were still in power, he would have stopped this happening. Iraq's dissidents would have paid a price, but the rest of us would be a lot better off. As he goes to meet the hangman, the world has cause to rue his demise.

Some folks are so terrified by freedom they'd prefer total security even under a genocidal long, that is, as they're safe in the Anglosphere and calling for "others" to forsake freedom.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 6, 2006 4:38 PM

"In the Soviet Union, life took on a character of its own, in which the human spirit managed to flourish in spite of the political constraints. The literature generated in those conditions can still inspire us."

David Cox, whoever he is, doesn't deserve to live on the same planet as Solzhenitsyn, let alone to read his works or sickeningly claim to be "inspired" by them.

Posted by: b at November 6, 2006 5:01 PM

For lifes sake, do not loose your reason to live.

Posted by: The Social Pathologist at November 6, 2006 5:09 PM

What's so bad about tyrrany, repression, secret police, mass murders . . . it's not nearly as bad as global capitalism!

Sheesh. Wotta maroon!

Posted by: Mike Morley at November 6, 2006 5:13 PM

Bush offered Saddam a harsh deal. Yet, his life was at risk only if he chose to challenge the US authority by remaining a dictator murdering his people.

Posted by: ic at November 6, 2006 6:05 PM

"some would like to see the return of Stalinism"

Sure I would like that! With me in the role of "KGB interrogator" and Mr. Cox in the role of "dissident who got arrested at 2 a.m. and was never told who denounced him".

He´d get all the romantic suffering he could imagine and then some.

Posted by: wf at November 6, 2006 6:26 PM

'..under a regime of surveillance that the KGB might have envied.'

.. but probably wouldn't actually envy 'cause you can't, you know , just kill people who are, um, troublesome...

Posted by: Jonofatlanta at November 6, 2006 7:25 PM

It's really very simple: this fellow just doesn't want to have to show any moral courage. He doesn't want to even see.

Just leave him alone, behind the protection of the rough men. Don't bother him with moral calculus - it's too threatening. Too difficult.

He reminds me of the genius who carried the sign at the pre-war rally in London: "Peace in Our Time".

Posted by: jim hamlen at November 6, 2006 9:00 PM

Jim, I think in this case it goes beyond not wanting to see. He is clearly making his peace with fascism.

Posted by: wf at November 7, 2006 6:46 AM

Well this speaks for itself. Springfield has been taken over -- "conquered",if you will by a master race of giant space ants. It is difficult to tell from this vantage points whether they will consume the captive Springfieldians or merely enslave them. One thing is for certain,there is no stopping them; they will soon be here! And I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords. I'd like to remind them that as a trusted Springfield personality, I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground sugar caves.

Kent Brockman -- The Simpsons

Posted by: John at November 7, 2006 7:07 AM

Granted most folks shouldn't be held to the logical conclusions of every visceral thought, but for those who have thought about it and insist the war was a mistake, what other conclusion follows?

Posted by: Peter B at November 7, 2006 8:37 AM