This week, TV and the internet are saturated with talk about the Saddam Hussein trial.
Now, Saddam Hussein is an evil man (there is no other adjective that you can use to describe him). It is not hard to find literally thousands of Iraqis who can testify truthfully about the horrors of his prisons (and those thousands are just the survivors) so the conclusion is pretty much a given-- he will be found guilty, and that will be a just verdict.
What we see coming from the right, however, is an argument that goes like this: Saddam was bad, so therefore we can't be faulted for a war that removed him.
There are several fallacies with this line of thought. The first is that the war was sold as necessary, not to get rid of Mr. Hussein (at best, the whole 'regime change' argument was thrown in as a secondary justification) but because he had WMD, which was not only not true, but recently more and more evidence has been accumulating (some of which I have blogged on) that many in the White House knew that the intelligence reports on WMD were faulty, and simply cherry picked those reports that buttressed their position. But regardless of this, the White House never claimed that simply getting rid of Saddam was enough justification for invasion. So those who claim that it was now, are rewriting history. And the acid test is this: there is a brutal dictator with secret prisons, where torture is practiced, and who is guilty of many of the same crimes as Saddam, and he is only ninety miles from the United States. But (aside from a few neighborhoods in Miami) you won't find anyone advocating that we go invade Cuba just to get rid of Mr. Castro. Of course, Mr. Castro does not have oil, and no one except John Bolton (on one of his more delusional days) has suggested that Mr. Castro possesses any WMD or has any intention to develop them. So the whole argument that a brutal dictator is reason enough for an invasion is not supported by reality.
And on top of that, the worst of Saddam's crimes occurred before the first Gulf War, and if gassing the Kurds and Iranians didn't justify attacking him in 1988 when it occurred (and when the Reagan White House simply excused the first use of gas in warfare since WWI because at that time Saddam was 'our buddy'), it is hard to say that it justified attacking him fifteen years later. In that context, it was a convenient excuse, nothing more.
Further, Saddam has been out of power for two and a half years now. It has been two full years since American soldiers pulled him out of a 'spiderhole.' So, if that was the reason we were there, why are we still there?
Oh, yeah. It is now to fight his former supporters, as well as the terrorists who predictably flooded the country to fight us. As has been noted in a number of quarters, our presence is now fueling the insurgency as much as it is fighting it.