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» January 1, 2007
The Invisible Hand of Saddam Hussein
In their post-execution rantings about how Saddam Hussein should never have been executed on the day of the Sunni Muslim observance of Eid al-Adha or during haj when pilgrims from around the world visit the holy city of Mecca or at all, liberals and the Islamosymp media have attempted to hide their tendencies behind a veneer that "recognizes" the crimes Saddam committed.
Of course, even in this seeming acknowledgment of reality, the Saddamites have a hidden agenda. In addition to the valid claims of widespread murder, torture, and genocide (for which Saddam will now, regrettably, not pay the ultimate price) the why-don't-you-take-a-Ba'athites managed over the years to sneak in their attempts to undermine capitalism by claiming that Saddam was building palaces for himself with Iraqi oil revenues. The campaign to spread this dangerous philosophy started -- as so many dangerous things did -- during the Clinton years in the White House (I feel dirty just typing those words in the same sentence). It's a campaign of deceptive argument that began so long ago even staunch and true neo-conservatives and President George W. Bush used them to attack Saddam's regime, without understanding the serious blow to the American economic system they were helping to spread.
Outlined in a 1999 State Department report titled "Saddam Hussein's Iraq," the basic premise is that money earned by the sales of Iraqi oil (both legal and illegal) was siphoned off into Saddam's private coffers, those of his family, and the bank accounts of his friends. Instead of spending the money to provide for the care and well-being of the people of Iraq, buying food and medicine and other essentials, he spent the money on palaces with "extensive security facilities" and "elaborate gardens" (the latter of which use enormous amounts of water in desert areas).
My question is: What exactly is the problem with that? Sure, there were United Nations resolutions and sanctions restricting the use of monies earned from oil sales, but nobody pays any attention to UN resolutions; our own latest ambassador to that "august" body called it irrelevant and said that the Secretariat would function no differently if it lost the top ten floors. Nobody would expect anyone to actually comply with those kinds of restrictions, would they?
The very idea that Iraq's oil money should have been used to directly purchase humanitarian supplies for the people of that country is antithetical to the concept of Adam Smith's "invisible hand" mechanism. To wit:
By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was no part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good.This is a basic tenet of conservative and libertarian free market economic theory, under attack by godless Islamoliberals. By acceding to the charges that Saddam perpetrated horrible acts of bodily harm against his citizens, the enemies of the free market have managed to sneak into the tent of rational thought a camel's nose of enormous proportions, namely that governments, the people who make up those governments, and those who operate businesses within the countries they govern, better serve their people by providing them with food and health services than by spending profits on their own creature comforts -- golden plumbing, marble bathrooms, crystal chandeliers, swimming pools, deer parks, aquariums, waterfalls -- and allowing the wealth to trickle down to masses.
It was perhaps due to the level of disgust for Saddam's actions during the Reagan and George H.W. Bush presidencies that this stab in capitalism's back went unnoticed for so many years. Only after Saddam's execution when the cable networks were running repeated viewings of shows produced back in 2002 and 2003 which they pulled off the shelf for the occasion (more interviews with Judy Miller than I'd seen for a while, I wonder why?) did I myself -- a noted free-marketeer -- realize what was happening.
Now that the Democrats are in power in Congress, it's only a matter of time before this insidious Clinton-baked plan to deny the wealthiest Americans of the blood and treasure their families have built up over the decades is launched.
Situated on over 60 acres of rolling farmland ... remarkable waterfront compound ... Golf Course ... designed by renowned golf-course architect ... The Gardens, 14 in all, include a traditional English cottage garden, a crabapple allee, a lily walk, a potager (French for vegetable gardens) as well as hydrangea, butterfly and world class rose gardens. Green carpeted grounds are punctuated by three pristine ponds stocked with bass, perch and pickerel. The 75 ft. flush edge pool with its own pavilion and the grass tennis court are the definition of leisurely living. ... the highest caliber of materials ... Outbuildings include a beautiful guest cottage on 4 acres, pool house, storage silo, barns, pro shop and a unique fish house and Orangerie.A Saddam palace? No, it's just a little 20,000 sq. ft. $75 million home in The Hamptons, one of many such homes. It's the kind of home that is sure to go the way of the dodo, once the liberal loonies start squawking about fifteen percent of the people in the United States without any insurance, and lots of the rest of the people scared to go to the doctor for little things in case they can't get insured somewhere else for something major, or all the families of servicepeople in Iraq who have had to go on food stamps, or the New Orleans refugees who have worn out their welcome with relatives and friends in other cities after sixteen months and would just like to go home but don't have anywhere to go home to. Because once the UN starts thinking it can tell anyone in a country -- even Saddam -- how to spend their money, it's only a matter of time before they use the same precedents and set their sights on the fortunes of America's elite in their misguided wealth redistribution schemes.