Well, I'm glad someone's said it. David Aaronovitch in the Times (£) is unrepentant about his support for Saddam's overthrow ten years ago:
Saddam was not a Robert Mugabe or a Korean Kim. He was far worse — a terrible blend of external aggression and internal repression. In 1980 he invaded Iran and 400,000 died. In the Eighties he killed between 50,000 and 100,000 Kurds in a genocidal campaign. Both times he used chemical and biological weapons. In 1990 he invaded Kuwait. In 1991 he put down the Shia uprising with up to 50,000 deaths. His refusal to abide by UN resolutions in the next decade led to sanctions that had a terrible impact on Iraqis.
No invasion, and Saddam, or his murderous sons, Qusay and the psychopathic Uday, would still be there. Or not? “No!” object many anti-war people. “Saddam would have been toppled by the Arab Spring! Or there’d have been a coup!”
And I look at Syria — where Assad, the palest version of Saddam, has presided over a repression and a civil war that has killed 70,000 in two years in a country significantly smaller than Iraq. Right now, the unaided Syrian opposition is compromised by extreme jihadis filling the vacuum we have left.
If Saddam had been left unscathed, can one imagine what he might be doing now as Syria implodes? And if he’d been sprung by the Spring, surely Saddam’s civil war would have been Syria on steroids; the conflagration that could have absorbed the region.
We feel more strongly about Iraq, where we intervened and shared the trauma, than about Syria where we didn’t and haven’t. How we’ll judge our response ten years on from the first demonstration in Damascus I have no idea but a great foreboding.
[I see that even in a review in the New Statesman of the SWP's Richard Seymour's hack job on Hitchens which takes the wretched Seymour to pieces and properly celebrates Hitchens' record as a fine journalist and polemicist, it's still felt necessary to point out that Hitchens "was wrong – unforgivably wrong – about Iraq". Such is the official, unshakeable, view from the Left.
My favourite, though, in the ten-year anniversary round of discussions on Iraq, is this classic Leftist comment on a piece at Chris Dillow's Stumbling and Mumbling: "Ironic someone would advocate starting an unprovoked war in the name of anti-fascism. Ethiopia 1935, Poland 1939, Iraq 2003 - what's the difference?" Particularly amusing - ironic, even - given that the subject under debate was the refusal of so many on the Left to see how there could ever have been any good reason for wanting to see Saddam overthrown.]