Friday, April 23, 2004
In the past, I felt that de-Baathification was a necessary step, but I did not know the extent that the measure went through, so I was not in a position to say definitively whether it was too much, too little, or just right. Add to that my personal experience with joining the party to get ahead in a one-party state: one of my uncles in mainland China's a CCP member, but he's too much of a day trader in stocks for him to ever actually believe in Communism.
Michael Rubin's analysis is therefore a must read, so that everyone can understand the folly of this move. De-Baathification probably affected less than 4% of the entire pre-war Baath Party population, and if you're unlucky enough to be in that small group, you were probably neck deep in the crimes of that party in the first place, not just some civil servant trying to make a living.And now we are in a position where we might lose the support of the Shia Arabs, and many non-Baath Sunni Arabs as well (they would probably be doubly offended by the notion that they can only be represented by Baathist). Not to mention that this probably is a moral boost to the insurgents and provide their sympathizers access to the government. Bremer showed excellent courage and foresight in implementing de-Baathification: going soft now is the worst time to do the worst thing possible.