September 26, 2003

Totalitarianism, Liberation, and Resistance

Patrick Lasswell has some eloquent words on the nature of totalitarianism.

There is no link between totalitarian government and efficiency, security, honesty, purity, simplicity, or holiness. There is no trade; you do not get benefit in exchange for fascism, socialism, holy rule, or anarchy. What you trade your freedom for is chains and promises; only the chains ever arrive.

Many survivors complain about the lack of stability once their chains are no longer there to support them. Some slaves never let themselves be freed. They insist that the promises were better than the reality they face. They will frequently try to kill the liberators, especially if they were privileged. It is much better, some feel, to be chained to the top of a mountain than walk freely as an equal.

And there you have the so-called Iraqi "resistance."

This dovetails nicely with what Christopher Hitchens wrote in his last essay for The Nation.

I suppose I can just about bear to watch the "inspections" pantomime a second time. But what I cannot bear is the sight of French and Russian diplomats posing and smirking with Naji Sabry, Iraq's foreign minister, or with Tariq Aziz. I used to know Naji and I know that two of his brothers, Mohammed and Shukri, were imprisoned and tortured by Saddam Hussein--in Mohammed's case, tortured to death. The son of Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz was sentenced to twenty-two years of imprisonment last year; he has since been released and rearrested and released again, partly no doubt to show who is in charge. Another former friend of mine, Mazen Zahawi, was Saddam Hussein's interpreter until shortly after the Gulf War, when he was foully murdered and then denounced as a homosexual. I have known many regimes where stories of murder and disappearance are the common talk among the opposition; the Iraqi despotism is salient in that such horrors are also routine among its functionaries. Saddam Hussein likes to use as envoys the men he has morally destroyed; men who are sick with fear and humiliation, and whose families are hostages.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at September 26, 2003 11:51 PM
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