The over-the-top BBC has discovered a new phenomenon in Iraq: nostalgia for the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. Correspondent Jeremy Bowen posts this report:
“There was a time when Baghdad was a normal city. Well, normal by the standards of an Arab dictatorship that seemed to have enough oil to make its dreams come true. To come here, you bought a ticket and stepped aboard an airliner. At Saddam International Airport taxis waited to take you to your hotel.
“The dictatorship was always close by. But it was easy, as a foreigner, to ignore it. The streets in the centre of town were clean. Cars were new. The roads were smooth. People were friendly.
“A bizarre Saddam Hussein nostalgia has gripped some people. What they say is that if you did not want to threaten the regime, it would leave you alone. In return it delivered safe streets.” As far as you can tell from this article, the nostalgia exists mainly among BBC reporters, who are annoyed at being inconvenienced by the toppling of Saddam’s regime.
On the bright side, looting is down: “Out and out looting is now unusual, partly because the old regime’s rich pickings have long gone – and partly because the Americans and the British are much better organised. It is still early days, but they are making progress in imposing law and order, without which nothing else will get better. But they were badly caught out by the way everything collapsed here.” Yes, liberating countries and establishing new forms of government is normally so easy.
Speaking of being “caught out,” the photo below wasn’t taken in Baghdad. It shows “anti-globalization” protesters looting a gas station in Switzerland. The Swiss authorities apparently weren’t prepared to deal with leftist looters.
Maybe when the Third Infantry Division is finished in Iraq, they can lend a hand in Switzerland.
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