October 24, 2004
Answering The Beldar Challenge

Beldar lays down "a challenge . . . to those of my thoughtful and articulate readers in general, and to selected bloggers, who support Sen. Kerry":

Please offer a plausible, reasonably detailed scenario for how, if Sen. Kerry had been the President instead of Dubya, Saddam would not still be in power as of November 2, 2004.

(Kerry said in the second debate that Saddam would "not necessarily be still in power" if he had been president for the last four years.)

I don't support Kerry, but I can think of a few remotely conceivable scenarios:

1. If Saddam hadn't spent the eight months between the fall of Bagdhad and his capture scurrying from place to place and hiding in spiderholes, he would have gotten a lot less exercise and a lot more fine cuisine, cigars, liquor, sex however and with whomever (willing or not) he wanted, movies of all ratings, and (if his tastes run that way) drugs. Just because he hasn't had a heart attack or stroke since the U.S. invasion doesn't mean he wouldn't have had a fatal one if it had never occurred. (Sorry about all the negatives!) On the other hand, if he had stayed in power, he would have had better access to doctors, hospitals, personal trainers, Soloflex and similar machines, and swimming pools, so perhaps he would have been in better health, not worse.

Not plausible enough? Here's another:

2. If Saddam had had another year and a half to do anything he pleased to anyone he pleased, he would undoubtedly have murdered and tortured thousands more, and there would have been that many more bereaved Iraqis who wanted to kill him. He had already survived dozens of assassination attempts: perhaps the next one, or the one after that, would have succeeded. That may not seem likely, given his abundance of bodyguards and doubles, but the more people try something, the more likely one of them is to succeed. Then again, how many Iraqi families were left in March 2003 that had not already had at least one member murdered, tortured, or raped by Saddam, his sons, or one of his henchmen?

This one strikes me as the most plausible yet:

3. Speaking of Saddam's sons, if they hadn't been killed by the U.S. military fifteen months ago, Uday and Qusay might well have gotten tired of waiting for the old man to retire or die, and decided to hurry along the latter process. They were certainly vicious enough.

These are the best I can come up with. Can anyone top them? Or come up with one that is not just 'arguable', or 'conceivable', but likely? In this case, I define 'likely' as 'having a better than a 1% per year chance of occurring'. Please do not resort to time machines, wormholes, or shape-shifting alien lizard overlords in your hypothesis.

If no one can come up with a hypothetical chain of events more plausible than these three, I will have to conclude that John Kerry is either a liar, or a fool, or a logic-chopping weasel whose "not necessarily" is designed to deceive rather than inform. I can live with that.

Posted by Dr. Weevil at October 24, 2004 09:13 PM

Of course, the problem with all those scenarios is that they'd have left Uday or Qusay in charge (or fighting each other for supremacy). From what I've heard about those two, either one would have left people longing for the good old days of Saddam.

Posted by: markm on October 25, 2004 08:58 AM