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Tuesday, April 01, 2003
Something's missing
Dan Drezner, picking up on a theme from Mickey Kaus, examines a possible negative side effect of the war on Iraq:
Consider: if you were a dictator, and the United States was preoccupied with prosecuting a war in a distant land, wouldn't you exploit the situation by cracking down on dissent? Even if such activities garner press attention, the half-life of the story is shorter, and an American response is less likely because of the inability to get the foreign policy principals to focus on anything other than the war.
Dan notes the problem happening in several countries: Cuba, Zimbabwe, Uzbekistan, Belarus, and Myanmar. The country he doesn't mention? The one that some in the anti-war movement were insisting would exploit the war: Israel. I can't count the number of times I read Chicken Littles of the left claiming that Ariel Sharon (whom they dislike far more than Saddam Hussein) would use the distraction of Iraq to expel all the Palestinians from the disputed territories, presumably into Jordan. I feel certain this would actually make the news, even with the war going on. Big news, really. But it's quite telling that they would worry about this extraordinarily remote possibility, while virtually ignoring actual occurences of the phenomenon.

(Virtually? Yes. As I mention below, someone noted the Cuban crackdown at least enough to blame George Bush for it.)

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