Blix Says Iraq Worse Off After War

Reuters: Blix Says Iraq Worse Off After War

“It’s positive that Saddam and his bloody regime is gone, but when one weighs the costs, it’s clearly the negative aspects that dominate,†Blix told daily Jyllands-Posten in an interview.

The Swedish diplomat has criticized the United States and Britain for going to war without U.N. approval rather than allowing his team to continue its hunt for banned weapons.

In the interview, Blix said the war had contributed to a destabilization of the Middle East and a move away from democracy in the region, adding that even though Iraqis had been spared life under a dictator, it was at too high a cost.

“Bush declared war as a part of the U.S. war on terror, but instead of limiting the effects of terror, the war has laid the foundation for even more terror,†Blix said.

Via Laurence Simon at Command Post. The commenters so far, shall we say, disagree with Blix.

Blix is probably right if he’s saying that most Iraqis are worse off at this very minute than they were before the war. But that seems like a silly measuring stick. The transition to democracy is far from completed and, indeed, it’s not even yet “after the war.”

Every significant revolution–hot or cold–to overthrow tyranny resulted in a period where people’s lives were worsened. Surely, the American colonists were better off paying higher taxes on tea and whatnot than they were during the height of the war? Ditto Americans on both sides, probably even the slaves, during the American Civil War. Or the French during and for decades after their Revolution. The Russians after the fall of the Communists. The list goes on and on.

The question is will the Iraqi people be better off–not to mention the region more peaceful–years down the road with a follow-up regime that emerges from this conflict than would have been the case had Saddam stayed in power and eventually turned the reigns over to Uday and Qusay. My strong suspicion is that Blix will be wrong in the longer term.

FILED UNDER: Democracy, Iraq War, Middle East, , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. akim says:

    Come on, James – all the examples you give involve domestic revolutions: of people by the people.

    I can understand you disagree with Blix (and his argument is somewhat premature indeed) but this is a very different situation: an arab country invaded and occupied by a western power.

    It’s equally premature to speak of liberation in any true sense at the moment.

  2. It may be premature to speak of their liberation, but I can’t say that Iraq will be worse off.

    Unless something very strange happens, we will see a much better regime, probably a democratic one, take position in Iraq.

    Unless the replacement to Saddam murders several more million people, there’s no way Iraq will be worse off.

  3. Hal says:

    By strange, you mean the current civil war waging in the country? Or by “strange” you mean a fundamentalist “democracy” of the lines in Iran? And what about women’s rights? Iraq was at least a secular state. It seems that they don’t have to be murdered to have women’s lives be worse off under Islamic fundamentalist rule.

  4. Paul says:

    So akim you think the Iraqis were better off with the mass graves and the torture chambers being filled then they are at this very minute? (not to mention in the future)


  5. McGehee says:

    And Hal seems to feel that a few armed thugs making noise in Baghdad is a “civil war” that is worse than having people put feet-first through a shredder while the dictator’s sons watch with sick glee.

  6. Women were being tortured too. And raped. How anyone can be nostalgic for Saddam’s regime simply because it was supposedly “secular” is beyond me.