Hayder Al-Khoei wrote an excellent response to Yasmin Alibhai-Brown's article "A record worse than Saddam's":
"Her fundamental mistake is that she somehow looks at Iraq in an epochal vacuum void of any historical context. She ignores the fact that the sanctions were manipulated by Saddam to score political points (a past-time Ms Alibhai-Brown appreciates). During the last year of Saddam’s disastrous rule, he allocated just US$16m for the Ministry of Health to spend for the year, amounting to around 60 cents per Iraqi, meanwhile, in the last decade of his rule (a decade in which Iraq was heavily sanctioned), Saddam spent an estimated US$2.2b on constructing palaces for himself and the coterie of despots he surrounded himself with. Saddam lived a life of luxury while his people starved through the economic sanctions and he, more than anybody else, should be held responsible for the suffering of millions upon millions of people under his regime. What followed cannot be “a worse record than Saddam’s” because the butcher of Baghdad was a big part of it.
Many in the west are obsessed with WMDs and the lies that were told to secure support for the Iraq war, but to many Iraqis, the matter is inconsequential. Saddam was the weapon of mass destruction.
...To Iraqis like me, who have lost immediate family-members both pre and post 2003, the sudden burst of conscience from a public that was silent during three decades of the harshest, most despotic regime the Middle East has seen in the last few centuries is abhorrent in itself, and leads me to question the motivation behind the sudden faux-concern for the plight of the millions of suffering Iraqis. Here in London, Iraqis campaigned for years against Saddam, and tried desperately to convince people like Ms Alibhai-Brown to support their worthy cause. Very few heeded the calls; apparently stories of Iraqis dying are not all too interesting. Unless of course the West is somehow culpable in the killing.*
It is such a shame that commentary on Iraq has been reduced by many to an industry focused at selling news with little regard for history and context. Much of the suffering in Iraq today is a direct result of Saddam’s legacy. It is the failure to understand and appreciate historical context that has led to the crass, shallow, superficiality that has become a feature of much of the news coverage in Iraq.
It is cruel to count victims as statistics who perished in the recent war, but if we want to be soulless and academic, then the civilian victims that are identified in the latest documents make up only one-third of those who vanished during the Anfal campaign under Saddam. More to the point, Ms Alibhai-Brown seems to paper over the fact that tens of thousands of the post 2003 war victims were in fact targeted by a ruthless insurgency in Iraq, and insurgency that relies on remnants of Saddam’s regime for funding, logistics and indeed recruits. Saddam may have been arrested, tried, and executed, but his men are still in Iraq committing the same crimes they have always been committing. The legacy of Saddam is still claiming lives and it is still destroying the country."
*Bolded for emphasis. Read the whole article here.