OPINION

The Saddam excuse

If American warmongering ahead of an Iraqi conflict has had any effect, it has made the world forget that Saddam Hussein is a cruel and relentless dictator, stained with the blood of his political and religious opponents – producing a few unsophisticated weapons of mass destruction but aiming to produce more and «smarter» weapons. He undoubtedly used some weapons from his existing arsenal in the murderous 1980-88 conflict with Iraq – but at that time the Ayatollah Khomeini was the nuisance and the «civilized world» thought they’d let them thrash it out between themselves. Few believe that Hussein is in a position to threaten the USA and Europe, but he is a real threat to the volatile region of the Middle East. Consequently, Saddam’s regime must be disarmed – and if possible dismantled – to give the Iraqi people a chance to carve out a fairer system. There are no clear and indisputable principles for a war with Iraq – neither in the USA nor in Europe – and this is what confuses the issue and leads us to believe that the problem is neither Saddam Hussein, nor his dictatorial regime, nor the weapons of mass destruction he is allegedly harboring. All Arab regimes are basically dictatorships and many have very good ties with the USA. There is one very dangerous regime in the region whose possession of weapons of mass destruction – much more sophisticated than Saddam’s – has been proven. But this has not hindered its relationship with the USA.