Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Miami prof sees Iraq as winner in war


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If an oasis of democracy blossoms in the totalitarian desert of the Middle East, Iraq should build a national shrine at the spider hole where Saddam surrendered. In the fatal seconds when he decided not to use his pistol and be taken alive, his empire of fear was destroyed.

"In 18 months to two years, Iraq will be stable and democratic,'' says Adeed Dawisha, political science professor at Miami University.

"I am very confident this will happen. At the end of 2005, Iraq will have a freely elected parliament and government," says the Iraqi-born educator.

Betting on democracy in a region that has been strangled by Islamic dictators and corrupt monarchies for centuries is like betting on France in a war against anyone. But Dawisha has made bold predictions before. And he was right.

Back in March, when the anti-war chorus was predicting disgrace and defeat for President Bush, Dawisha said Iraq would celebrate our victory: "The day they get rid of Saddam is their salvation. It will be the happiest day of their lives."

He knew because he has lived there.

He knew because he's in contact with friends and relatives there.

Dawisha says Americans need to understand that in Iraq and other Islamic countries, the capture of Saddam was less important than the way he meekly gave up without a fight, trapped in a miserable rathole.

"He held dominion over the people for over 30 years. He expended every effort and resource to brutalize them, not just physically, but psychologically. He created the impression that he was indestructible.

"Then, to find him with a beard full of lice, sleeping with mice and rats ..."

The only mistake by the U.S. military, he said, was kindness. "I don't know why they shaved and bathed him. He didn't deserve it. They should show him as the broken man he is.''

This week, Dawisha is listening to Arabic satellite TV, including the station most hostile toward the United States, Al-Jazeera. He's hearing that, "Even Saddam's most loyal supporters are disgusted, embarrassed and humiliated that he did not even try to fight back, but just surrendered.''

A public trial by Iraq will expose Saddam's crimes against humanity and further undermine the opposition to democracy, Dawisha said.

"You have to remember that 60 to 65 percent of the U.S. soldiers killed have been lost in an area that has only 6 percent of the population. The rest of Iraq is very stable. The rest of Iraq has chosen the path of peace.''

In the long term, the terrorists' recruiting will be undermined by Saddam's capture and increasingly successful U.S. efforts to hunt them down.

Meanwhile, Saddam's crimes need to be exhumed along with the bones in mass graves.

"It needs to come out. And the more it does, the more those against the war - the ones still demonstrating against the coalition - the more you shut those people up," Dawisha said.

I don't think they'll shut up, but they should listen to Dawisha.

I asked him about the search for weapons of mass destruction. "I don't know, and I don't care," he said. "It was never the reason for catching Saddam or going to war. To me it was always a moral question for all civilized people."

Hitler, Stalin - even Lee Harvey Oswald - cheated justice and left us wondering why.

In this showdown with evil, we caught evil in a cage.

Let the trial begin.

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E-mail pbronson@enquirer.com




SADDAM CAPTUREDSPECIAL SECTION
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