May 15, 2007

… But Saddam Hussein Was In Power


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The NYT comes that close to a stunning admission in this Sunday’s Week In Review.

It is woven between this photo and its caption, atop an otherwise run-of-the-mill analysis about Bush’s need to produce results in Iraq by September.  The caption reads:

THE LOOK OF NORMALCY?  In 2002, Baghdad bustled but Saddam Hussein was in power.

Whatever you want to say about repression and corruption, the picture is striking in its normalcy.  People don’t seem to be partitioning the sidewalks, dodging flaming cars or rushing for the border, and this woman seems the reflection of a more mundane coming-and-going.

What the Times flirts with expressing here is the trump card repudiation of the Administration’s rationalization for war — that, with evidence you can see it with your own eyes, Iraq was better off under Saddam.

All those years expended, lives expended, dollars expended and all there is left to show for it is that “but” in the caption?  What an incredible phrase.  As if the fact the Iraqis had a real life, save for the fact they had to endure Saddam, now turns into a minor qualification.

(image: Oleg Nikishin/Getty Images.  2002. Baghdad.

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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