Befuddled in Baghdad
Q. Never mind. Well, if Hollywood hasn't got much to say, what about feminists? Saddam had state-run rape teams and sent videotapes of the rapes to families. He had gender-specific tortures for women, and his son Uday had more than 200 women beheaded. He hung the heads on the doors of the women's homes. Surely feminists said something about all this.
A. I'm afraid not. The leadership of the women's movement is deep into postcolonial relativism and not inclined to say much about Third World despots. Besides, men are bad everywhere. National Organization for Women President Kim Gandy put Saddam and Bush on the same moral plane: "This has become an issue of one dictator vs. another."
Q. Isn't there something simple minded about that? How many women has Bush tortured and beheaded?
A. I guess you would have to ask Kim Gandy to check her figures.
Q. Well, what about Amnesty International? Surely they must be relieved by Saddam's overthrow.
A. If so, they are keeping their relief to themselves. Actually, Amnesty was very strong in indicting Saddam up until 9/11. But since then it has basically shut up and looked the other way. Apparently it didn't want to keep making a case against Iraq that the West might act on. It issued only two complaints about the current war, both against the allies.
Q. You mean nothing on the horrors of Saddam during the war--fake surrenders, shooting civilians, the revelations of jailed children, and all the rest?
A. Not yet. Apparently they're thinking about it.
Q. Do you sometimes think we need an entire new left side of our political spectrum?
A. Not my call. I report. You decide.