|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
It is impolitic to say it, (and probably suicidal) but in a very real sense, the answer to the question "is the world better off without Saddam in power?" is no.
9/11 did change everything. It meant that we could not afford to go around willy nilly experimenting with Wilsonian democracy schemes in the mid-east without further endangering Americans by ramping up terrorist recruiting. It meant we needed to be smart and cunning, not blustering loudly with half baked information or "liberating people" without considering the consequences. It meant that creating another failed state crawling with lawless terrorists was the most dangerous thing we could do. But, that is exactly what we did.
Clearly, if we had left Saddam in power and used the excuse of 9/11 to get inspectors back in, we would probably have made more progress against the fight against the Islamic radicals who pose the greatest threat to us. At the very least we wouldn't have been creating more terrorists every single day with our corrupt mismanagement of the occupation.
Saddam was not an imminent or even near term threat. We knew it then and we certainly know it now. If one had asked the American people in the fall of 2002 if they thought it was worth it to "liberate" Iraq if it made Americans less safe, I think we know what the answer would be. We are a good people but we aren't that good. Sadly, it appears that we will have to have that fact demonstrated before many people will understand that this is precisely what we just did.
And those poor schmucks who are over there fighting and dying for this misbegotten war need to believe that they are doing a good deed for their fellow man and protecting their own. I understand that. But, their commander in chief has made a series of terrible, terrible errors and he is setting them up for death right now by manipulating the situation on the ground in order to get elected here at home. It just gets worse and worse.
Two-faced Bush can pretend and lie and prevaricate and mislead all he wants. But, the facts are what they are. He sent American soldiers to die for no good reason. It has resulted in a large number of unnecessary Iraqi deaths in the process and it is creating Anti-American terrorists much faster than they can even kill themselves.