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You Have GOP To Be Kidding Me

Even the Israelis are saying that they were better off with Saddam still in power:

Jerusalem - Although few tears were shed in Israel over Saddam Hussein’s death last week, a small but growing chorus — including government officials, academics and Iraqi émigrés — is warning that Israel could find itself in more danger with him gone, and that it might even regret having welcomed his toppling.

“If I knew then what I know today, I would not have recommended going to war, because Saddam was far less dangerous than I thought,? said Haifa University political scientist Amatzia Baram, one of Israel’s leading Iraq experts.

Saddam was feared and reviled in Israel, both as a tyrant and as an enemy of the Jewish state. He demonstratively supported Palestinian terrorists, and few have forgiven his bombarding of Israel with Scud missiles during the 1991 Gulf War.

“Retrospectively, justice has been done,? Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh told Israel Radio this week. Still, he cautioned, Israel must now be concerned “about what is liable to happen in the future.?

Saddam’s death, Sneh warned, could lead to “a reinforcement of Iranian influence in Iraq.? He said that Iraq had turned into a “volcano of terror? following the war, with “destructive energies? that could spill over into Jordan and Israel.

Such misgivings, though rarely aired publicly for fear of offending Washington, reach high into Israel’s security establishment. Yuval Diskin, director of the Shin Bet security service, told a group of students in a military preparatory program last May that Israel might come to regret its support for the American-led invasion in March 2003.

“When you dismantle a system in which there is a despot who controls his people by force, you have chaos,? Diskin said, unaware that the meeting was secretly recorded. “I’m not sure we won’t miss Saddam.? The tape was later broadcast on Israeli television.

Although Iraq was long feared as a formidable enemy of the Jewish state, on the eve of the invasion it was poor and powerless. Palaces across the country were made of cheap plaster. Nuclear and biological weapons seen as threats by the Bush administration were nonexistent.

Baram, the Iraq expert, said that before the war started, he advised American officials of problems they might face afterward. What he did not anticipate, he said, was the scale of terrorism that would spread across the country, calling it “much, much more than I expected.?

. . .Even some of those who suffered directly from Saddam’s brutality told the Forward that in retrospect, Israel was better off with him than without.

Baghdad-born Avraham Eini was a teenager when his father was arrested and tortured by Saddam’s security agents in the 1970s. “He later died of his wounds,? said 54-year-old Eini, who had escaped with his family and settled in Ramat Gan. Two decades later, in 1991, Iraqi Scud missiles fell 200 yards from his house.

Eini said he felt a sense of “revenge and relief? when Saddam was executed last week. Yet, he said, “Israel would be safer today if Saddam stayed in power."