Christopher Hitchens compares the coalition’s ouster of a Saddam Hussein who had no weapons of mass destruction to the tale of a wise man and the Turkish bath.
On one occasion, the wise man rewards poor service at the Turkish bath with an excessively generous tip. But then, on a second occasion, he gives the bath attendants a poor tip for wonderful service.
When the attendants frown on the small payment, the wise man says, "This tip is for the previous time."
Another analogy might be the child who is punished by his parents for something he didn’t do, and – you know the rest.
"So Saddam Hussein finally got his reward for all the unpunished times," Hitchens says in Slate. "Well, history doesn’t move in a straight line, and irony is a dialectical hairpin. But if he really didn't have any stores of unlawful WMD, it was very dumb of him to act as if he still did or perhaps even to believe that he still did."
Hitchens also advises that, even after U.S. weapons inspector David Kay’s fairly definitive report, it would be "idiotic" to assume all of Saddam's weapons have been accounted for. The story isn't tied up so neatly.
Saddam seems to have made many poor decisions. He judged badly in not cooperating fully and coming clean about his illegal weapons.
But perhaps his poorest decision was to continue violating U.N. Resolution 688, which required that he stop repressing the Iraqi people. For that transgression alone, Saddam deserved no tip at all.