Incidentally, when Saddam was acting up in court, he was clutching -- and waving -- a Koran. He also keeps raving about the "ummah" (the broad Muslim world).I'm not even sure what he is trying to say. His last sentence muddles his point. If Saddam is some sort of religious extremist, then he isn't simply "using what he can" to hold power. The evidence is that he is not an extremist. Christians were allowed to sell alcohol when he was in power, something that has become more problematic since he was toppled. I have no idea what his going on in Saddam's head, but I suspect that his religious displays serve his personal and political agenda.
But the good Bush critics are always telling us that Saddam is a mere secularist annoyance -- what truck could he possibly have with extremist Islam, al Qaeda, our real enemies?
Yeah, yeah: Before he was toppled, Saddam put an inscription from the Koran on the Iraqi flag; he claimed to have had a Koran written out in his own blood; etc., etc.
Dictators use what they can, and we should be spared more talk about how Saddam was just a standard secularist, not to be confused with the cancer now attacking our world.
But even if Nordlinger and the neocons were right about Saddam and the threat he posed, the invasion of Iraq has been a disaster and has made us less secure than if the dictator had remained in power.