Monday, April 14, 2003

A broken people. One of the reasons I opposed this war was the certainty of massive civilian casualties, something that has indeed come to pass despite what were apparently our best efforts to keep such tragedies to a minimum.

This story by Ian Fisher in today's New York Times about a mother who couldn't bring herself to tell her husband about the death of their three daughters is heart-wrenching. Even if we succeed in helping the Iraqis build a better society, this family will never have a chance to enjoy it.

Yet I am struck, too, by how psychologically damaged Iraq has been left by 30 years of Baath Party rule. In yesterday's Boston Globe, reporter Thanassis Cambanis quoted a mother as saying:

It's true Saddam used to take our sons and torture them. But how can I say whether this is worth our liberation? I still don't know what's going to happen.

Think about the complete loss of dignity that would lead someone to say so humiliating, so degrading. These are people who have been completely stripped of their humanity. Such are the effects of totalitarianism.

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