Except of course that would be a lie too. Not Hussein being an ar$e, but the perception that before the war, Hussein was busy killing thousands of innocent Iraqis each year.
The fact is before the war, Iraq was relatively peaceful. Sure it was oppressed and run by a brutal dictator, but as long as Iraqi citizens didn't get involved in conspiracies to overthrow Hussein, they were left alone.
The worst Hussein ever did was in response to insurgent revolts at the end of the Iran/Iraq war and right after the end of Gulf War I.
America's reaction to Iraq's use of chemical weapons to crush a Kurdish rebellion in 1988, was to make speeches in the UN defending Hussein and continued trade in CW technology. Europe imposed an arms embargo, which the US ignored.
At the end of Gulf War I, many Shiite and Kurdish soldiers returned to their villages, heavily armed and unhappy with Hussein. The American government told these people they would support their efforts to overthrow Hussein.
When revolts broke out, the US, UK and France did supply air cover for the Kurds by imposing a nothern no-fly zone in violation of international law since it was not authorized by the UN. In the south, the world stood on the sidelines as Hussein crushed the Shiite revolt.
Invading Iraq during these times could have been justified on humanitarian grounds. But these events took place in the 1980's and early 90's.
Propaganda during the run up to the war often referenced these events out of context to manufacture a perception that Hussein was busy killing fellow Iraqi's up until the US led invasion. Anyone who has this perception should re-examine what you think you know about Iraq and Hussein.
The fact is, Iraqi's are much worse off now after the US led invasion/occupation. That's not a statement in praise of Hussein, but an observation on how bad the Iraq war has been on innocent Iraqis.
Look at this Whitehouse Press release:
Office of the White House Press Secretary
April 4, 2003
Life Under Saddam Hussein: Past Repression and Atrocities by Saddam Hussein's Regime
122 political prisoners were executed at Abu Ghraib prison in February/March 2000;
23 political prisoners were executed at Abu Ghraib prison in October 2001; and
At least 130 Iraqi women were beheaded between June 2000 and April 2001.
Read that press release and after cutting through all the BS about events which occurred more than three years before the US led invasion, the provable facts are that during the three years preceding the US led invasion, Iraq maybe executed about 175 people, most of whom were convicted of capital crimes.
Go back another 6 years and the number rises to about 2500 people. Most of these people were killed as a result of their involvement in a failed American plot to overthrow Hussein in 1998.
Since the US led invasion:
About 30,000 Iraqi soldiers died defending their country from foreign invaders
Collateral damage, increased violence and civil war claimed the lives of at least another 100,000 innocent Iraqi civilians.
More Americans have died in this war than were killed in 9/11.
Iran has filled the power vacuum left by Hussein.
Anyway you look at this the Iraq war has created far more problems than it solved, for Iraqi's and the rest of the world.
Back on topic, how does this relate to Afghanistan?
Many Muslims saw the original Afghanistan operation as justified. The Taliban were given a chance to hand over the people responsible for 9/11, but refused. The resulting invasion/occupation of Afghanistan was not seen as an attack on Muslims, but a form of justice.
But most Muslims see the atrocities committed by the west against their fellow Muslims in Iraq as an unjustified attack on innocent Muslims. As a result they want to take up arms against the foreign invaders they believe have raped, tortured and murdered their fellow Muslims in Iraq.
The Iraq war has completely changed Muslim perceptions about foreign military forces in Afghanistan. As a result, the make up of the insurgents in Afghanistan has become more international. Likely nations like Iran and Syria who see their security dependant on keeping foreign militaries bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan, have been clandestinely arming anti-foreigner insurgent movements in Iraq and Afghanistan.
So the question now is why is Canada in Afghanistan?
Is this war still about 9/11 and reconstruction or has this war evolved into a war without end for the purposes of wearing down western military might?
If this war is about wearing down our military, then we should definitely limit the scope of our involvement.
If this war is about winning hearts and minds, then Canada should take care not to offend Muslims and make certain that any Canadian soldier who violates the rules of war is brought to justice. We should also take extreme care to keep collateral damage to an absolute minimum.
Our participation in Afghanstan should be sen as support for Afghan civilians, not American foreign policy. I do not want Muslims to think Canada's involvement in Afghanistan as support for what the US has done in Iraq or its violations of international law, human rights and Geneva conventions.
Since our leaders refuse to condemn what the US has done, its a safe bet most Muslims think we support American war crimes and atrocities.