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January 25, 2004

The Contemptible Howard Dean, Part II

Howard Dean on the Iraqi people after Saddam: "...their living standard is a whole lot worse now than it was before."

I keep hearing that George Bush is the intellectually unserious one in this year's elections, but if so Howard Dean has started giving him a run for his money every time he opens his piehole.

It may be true that the standard of living for Baghdad and the Sunni elite has declined. Both prospered under Hussein's rule at the expense of the rest of the country, but for the average Iraqi, things are almost certainly better, though for reasons I'll detail later, there's no real way to tell one way or the other.

However, there are rough measurements one can make. Electrical power, for example. When it comes to upping a standard of living, there's nothing better than access to power. No point in owning a toaster if you can't plug it in. The flow is Baghdad isn't what it used to be, but it's a lot better everywhere else.

But al-Ani points out that while Hussein restored power in Baghdad, he did it at the expense of the rest of the country. For more than a decade, he says, many Iraqis lived with just several hours of power a day. Part of the difficulty engineers face now is correcting the effect of years of neglect under the Hussein regime.

Indeed, for many people the Iraqi economy is looking better than it has for years.

Baghdad may shake with bomb blasts and suffer daily power cuts, but amid the chaos and disorder many businessmen and traders say the economy is coming around and prospects are steadily brightening. Meanwhile, the port of Basra is working flat out, an exception to the generally stagnant economy of southern Iraq.

Every day in the capital, new stores open up or renovations are finished on others that have been run down for years, while trucks laden with goods brought from neighboring countries continually drop off supplies at shops in the cityís busy shopping districts.

Shopowners and businessmen say the sharpest changes have come about over the past three months or so as many Baghdadis have begun to spend the higher incomes they are now earning and the local currency has gained strength against the dollar.

Money changers say that a rush to buy up the new Iraqi dinar lies behind a recent surge in its value from 1,650 to as high as 1,000 to the dollar in just two days.

In point of fact, it's almost impossible to economically compare pre and post-war Iraq. As the article above points out, there is no solid data to be had on the Iraqi economy at the moment, so it is by definition impossible to draw any conclusions. It's almost certain that whatever numbers there were beforehand came directly from Saddam's government, and though Howard and the UN might be willing to trust them, I doubt anyone else has much faith in Ba'athist press releases.

In short, Howard Dean wants the Iraqi standard of living to have declined, so he's decided it has. Remember "What's good for General Motors is good for America." Here's the Dean Corollary. "What's bad for the Iraqi people is good for Howard Dean."

But forget economics, for a moment, and consider the sheer stupidity of ...their living standard is a whole lot worse now than it was before.

Tell it to the Kurds, Howard.

Tell it to the Marsh Arabs.

Tell it to the Shiites.

Tell it to the families of the men fed into plastic shredders.

I don't know about the standard of living in Iraq, and neither does Howard, but I do know one thing that he's forgotten.

I know that there are at least 300,000 people in Iraq who would love to have one.

Update: Iraq the Model on Howard's statement:

Iím not going to comment about the rightness of the statement with more than saying that only a (blind) man would believe it and only a man blinded by his ambitions would dare to say it, but when you say such words, donít you mean in other words that the sacrifices made by the American soldiers are all in vain?

Posted by Bigwig at January 25, 2004 05:18 PM | TrackBack
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I agree, Bigwig. I had decided not to vote for Dean before he unleashed his primal scream, but that sealed the deal for me. That dude is whacked, and I don't want him to be in a position to lead this country. Maybe he could be in charge of a college pep rally.........just not my college, I hope.

Posted by: Woundwort at January 25, 2004 06:59 PM

I'm not sure what's more disturbing to me as a conservative bunny.

1. George Bush - not really a conservative.

2. The Dems went all un-crazy and decided to not nominate Dean - yet.

3. The fact that the rest of the primary field has adopted Dean's policy positions.

I know that just because a crazy man built Dean's politics, it doesn't mean that his positions are nuts.

On the other hand, the fact that apparently sane candidates have adopted his positions, doesn't make the positions not nuts, either.

Posted by: Blackavar at January 25, 2004 10:27 PM