Saturday, June 14, 2014

More Unintended Consequences

Saddam Hussein was a bad dude, and the world is a better place for his no longer being here.  He used chemical weapons against his own people.  Even by the standards of the Middle East his brutality was astounding.  He had megalomaniac aspirations of empire.  Few mourn his passing.

He was also good at suppressing groups like the Taliban and Al-Quaeda within his borders.  He understood that radical Islam was a huge threat to his own power, so he was willing to use whatever means were necessary to prevent radical Islam from gaining a foothold.  And he succeeded.

This week, we are seeing the military forces of ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, sweep toward Baghdad.  If they are successful, Iraq will join Pakistan and Afghanistan as being governed by religious extremists.  The suffering of every day Iraqis will be horrendous, and yet another country will be a launching point for Islamist terror.  Unless you want to watch the world on fire, this is not a happy development.

Which brings us back to Hussein.  As bad as he was, his one positive was seeing to it that groups like ISIS did not come to power.  If he were still alive and running Iraq, the ISIS sweep across the nation would not be happening.  If ISIS succeeds in turning Iraq into another Islamist hell, no small thanks will be due to President Bush for having removed Hussein from power.  Removing Hussein from power also had the unintended consequence of fairly horrific persecution of Iraqi Christians and Jews, who had lived there in relative peace and safety under Hussein but who have all now been killed or driven out of the country.

None of which is to suggest that Hussein was a good guy.  He wasn't.  Just better than what Bush's war left in his place.

Two hundred years ago, George Washington wisely warned us to avoid foreign entanglements.  Failing to heed his words has brought us, and often much of the rest of the world, misery upon misery.  Sometimes leaving bad enough alone really is the best choice.

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