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November 18, 2004

What If?

by Chris Feeney

What if Saddam was worth fighting for? One would have to guess that all the insurgents in Iraq must have no idea what a scoundrel their disposed leader truly was. Either that or they simply are thugs just like their former ruler? How else can you explain why thousands upon thousands of Iraqis throw their lives away opposing the forces that are attempting to free them from oppression.

They apparently have learned well from their leader. He taught them that itís okay to murder, terrorize and destroy in order to get what you want.

The picture of Saddam just keeps getting worse. He assassinated his rivals when he took power back in the 1970ís. He continued to murder his own people by the thousands, in retribution for opposition or simply to maintain his iron-fisted control. The leader invaded Kuwait, fired Scud missiles at Israel and used chemical weapons against neighbors and his own countrymen alike.

But still the people of Iraq revolt against the soldiers that helped rid the country of this villain.

Not only did the dictator have his supporters in Iraq, he also had boosters outside his own circle. Now news is surfacing about how Saddam was buying his friends.

A recent congressional probe recently revealed that the Iraqi government under the disposed ruler had subverted more than $21 billion from the countryís United Nations supervised oil-for-food trade program.

Obviously Saddam did this for his own economic gain but the leader also used the process to buy political support. Somehow the process allowed him to transfer the countryís oil export allotments to foreign leaders, reporters and others whose support the leader sought. Even with gas prices as high as they are, I donít believe this newspaper would have changed our image of the regime for any amount of oil. But according to CNN, there is evidence that leaders in Russia, China and even France, took oil in exchange for political favors for Baghdad.

And there was also evidence that oil transfers were made to terrorist organizations.

Published reports indicated that Saddam was receiving kickbacks from oil buyers who traded spoiled food or other tainted products, which the Iraqi leader knowingly paid inflated prices for.

Call me crazy, but I donít understand why thousands of Iraqi insurgents are dying, are terrorizing innocent westerners and committing unknown atrocities, in the name of a despicable dictator that profited by selling the nationís oil for rotten food.