I watch Bill Maher every Friday night that he's on, and on a whole host of issues, he has insightful commentary. Yes, he's views on religion in general are quite bothersome, but I can look past that. It's no secret that he has no love for the Bush Administration, and I've certainly got no beef with that. One thing that has bothered me about him in recent weeks though, is his quasi-humorous/not-so-humorous flirtation with the idea of putting Saddam back in charge of Iraq.
He pointed out that he was joking the first few times he's said this, but now he's kind of serious. Whether he was serious or not, it appeared to me that Robert Baer (the former CIA-agent on which Syriana was based) basically agreed.
Now don't get me wrong, I don't think Maher is really thoughtfully considering this. I think it is a quasi-comedic, short-sighted call for stability in Iraq. Stability at any cost. There is a lot of chaos in Iraq, and many feel the only way this war can end is if we pull out our troops, or put in place a strong man like Saddam. This is really a rebirth of the containment approach to dealing with Saddam. Like I said, I don't think Maher wants to throw the Iraqis back under the boot, but of course we all know that would happen. The very idea of putting that monster back on the throne is an affront. We shouldn't punish the Iraqis because of our mistakes. Besides, I've always felt, that even among the most ardent war critics, the one thing we all could agree on was the Saddam being gone was a good thing.
This approach is so absurd I needn't dwell on it further. The idea that all our brave troops will have died in vain, the Iraqi soldiers fighting beside us will have died in vain, that after all that blood and treasure, that we'd just give up, throw up our hands and tell Saddam "never mind, you can have it back," it's too absurd to even consider.
Especially considering the progress we've made, and we have made real progress.
In truth, I suspect that Maher, if he's not joking, hasn't even begun to really think any of this through. Maybe he's just being controversial for its own sake. Either way, for every inch this idea moves closer to legitimacy is an inch towards defeat and the triumph of really f-ed up ideas.
But you know what, I'm worrying for nothing. No one in their right mind can really be considering this.