Speaking of brain impairment, check out Jonah Goldberg’s latest column.
I THINK ALL intelligent, patriotic and informed people can agree: It would be great if the U.S. could find an Iraqi Augusto Pinochet. In fact, an Iraqi Pinochet would be even better than an Iraqi Castro.
Both propositions strike me as so self-evident as to require no explanation.
I thought that Iraq had an Iraqi Augusto Pinochet. His name was Saddam Hussein. We deposed him, allegedly for being brutal and gassing his own people and such. But if Pinochet is our model, then the brutality part was not the real problem. I guess we deposed Saddam Hussein because he was bad for business. Or maybe he wasn’t Latino.
Anyway, Goldberg doesn’t want Saddam Hussein back …
But these days, there’s a newfound love for precisely this sort of realpolitik. Consider Jonathan Chait, who recently floated a Swiftian proposal
I thought Chait’s column was stupid, but “Swiftian” is a key word here.
that we put Saddam Hussein back in power in Iraq because, given his track record of maintaining stability and recognizing how terrible things could get in Iraq, Hussein might actually represent the least-bad option. Even discounting his sarcasm, this was morally myopic.
But it seems to me, if you can contemplate reinstalling a Hussein, you’d count yourself lucky to have a Pinochet.
Yes, child, but you’re (note example of sarcasm) a bleeping idiot. Your argument is that Pinochet didn’t kill as many people as Castro; therefore, he wasn’t so bad. Moral relativism, sir?
Apparently the Right has been playing this Castro v. Pinochet game for the past several days. Hey, I can play that game, too — Mao killed a lot more people than Hitler; therefore, Hitler wasn’t so bad. So would Iraq be better off with Hitler? Hitler killed a lot more people than Saddam Hussein, after all. I guess Saddam Hussein want so bad, by Goldberg’s reasoning.
The BooMan explains it all, with sarcasm:
See, contrary to your prejudices, all serious, patriotic, and informed conservative thought revolves around nuance. You see, Pinochet displaced a duly elected official and imposed a brutal dictatorship. Saddam replaced a brutal dictatorship with an even more brutal dictatorship. Therefore, Saddam is worse and unfit for a restoration. That would be morally myopic. But if we could find a guy just a little less brutal and a lot more business friendly, then that would be excellent. …
… But what if unfrozen-reanimated-Iraqi-Pinochet-man found that he couldn’t stabilize Iraq without being every bit the son-of-a-bitch Saddam was? Well? Shit, I guess putting Saddam back in power wouldn’t have been that myopic after all.
I mean, if numbers are all that matters, according to this chart Augusto Pinochet was responsible for more deaths than our old nemesis, the late Al Zarqawi. I guess that means Al Zarqawi wasn’t so bad.