Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Pious Irresponsibility - the Baleful Activities of NGOs

I recently came across a piece by Sam Vaknin that makes strong criticisms of the role played by NGOs in determining the fates of many developing countries. In the name of alleviating human suffering, these unelected and unaccountable organizations take it upon themselves to promote all sorts of agendas of doubtful benefit to their intended beneficiaries, even as they undermine the authority of the elected representatives of the nations in which they operate.

It would be too simple to say that everything non-governmental organizations do is detrimental, or even that all such organizations are the same - far from it. Many NGOs do indeed do good work a lot of the time, and many of those who work for these groups are motivated by the purest of intentions. Nevertheless, the fact remains that the old saying is true: the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Policy positions advocated by NGOs, and motivated by the most noble ideals, can end up - and indeed, often have ended up - doing far more damage than the ills they are supposed to cure. The campaign against child labor is one glaring instance of this sort of naivete.

What makes matters worse is that for many NGOs, all the pious talk plays at most a marginal role to the true agenda of their participants, which is to propagate some ideologically motivated position with only the most tenuous claim to benefiting anyone other than the advocates themselves. This is particularly true of the environmental, birth control and "fair trade" lobbies, for whom perverse notions of mankind as corrupting of nature, racist fantasies of dark-skinned peoples "breeding like rabbits", or protectionism and marxist anti-capitalism, are the true motivators behind the proclamations of concern.

To offer one concrete and egregious example, take this article: not satisfied with the success of their efforts to prevent the distribution of "GM" food aid to starving Zambians, the same ideologues are now at work in Kenya, calling for more "research" into the "risk and impact of contamination of local food, labour and health" before any consideration is given to the acceptance of such aid. What is most worrisome is that they already have some of the local authorities agreeing with them, in this case, Kenyan Assistant Environment Minister Wangari Maathai, who is quoted as saying "those pushing GM food to Africa were exploiting the poverty level of African markets" ... [ farmers need to] "secure and plant their own seedlings to avoid further impoverishment".

Now, I am not surprised by the statement by the good Mr. Maathai, given the notorious tendency of Third World politicians to believe in sinister motivations behind all the actions of Western governments, but one might be forgiven for wondering if people on the edge of starvation might not have more pressing worries than "risk and impact of contamination of local food, labour and health" or the avoidance of "further impoverishment." How much more impoverished than being at starving point is it possible to get? Leaving aside such nonsense, what is truly disgusting is that organizations like Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, and the like, run by comfortable Westerners for whom hunger is but an abstraction, should be willing to encourage such paranoia, and thereby to condemn millions of poor people to death, simply to further an anti-biotechnology agenda. These groups love to make a big hue-and-cry about the evils of multinational corporations, and yet their own activities are given an automatic pass by the Western media and public. Why should this be so?

And yet it is so, and is made worse by the semi-official status the NGOs are granted by corporations, and by organizations like the World Bank and the United Nations. It is not permissible for a few vocal lobby groups to be given the power to determine the fates of so many millions who have never voted for them, or even been consulted by them, simply because a few thousand spoilt brats are willing on occasion to take to the streets, faces hidden behind balaclavas, to smash up Starbucks and McDonalds.

Friday, April 25, 2003

Galloway is in Serious Trouble

If this report in the Christian Science Monitor checks out, 'Gorgeous' George Galloway must expect to spend some serious time behind bars.

A fresh set of documents uncovered in a Baghdad house used by Saddam Hussein's son Qusay to hide top-secret files detail multimillion dollar payments to an outspoken British member of parliament, George Galloway.

... (stuff deleted) ...

The leadership of Hussein's special security section and accountants of the President's secretive Republican Guard signed the papers and authorized payments totaling more than $10 million.

The three most recent payment authorizations, beginning on April 4, 2000, and ending on January 14, 2003 are for $3 million each. All three authorizations include statements that show the Iraqi leadership's strong political motivation in paying Galloway for his vociferous opposition to US and British plans to invade Iraq.

The Nigerian Presidential Elections

So, for only the third time in its' history as an independent nation, Nigeria has held elections for a successive term of civilian rule. How did they turn out? Pretty much as I expected they would, and as most African "elections" tend to - chaotic and riddled with fraud. Africapundit has links to more of the details.

As you'll have seen if you followed the link, Somaliland has also been holding elections, and, just as in Nigeria, the losing candidate seems unwilling to accept the electoral results. At least the Somali candidate has the excuse of a wafer-thin margin to fall back on (shades of Gore-Bush 200), which the dour Mr. Buhari does not.

Even with all the irregularities that have occurred in the Nigerian elections, I find it implausible that the race between Buhari and Obasanjo could ever have been in doubt, and I say this as someone who considers Obasanjo's term in office to have been one long series of tragicomic incidents. He may not have achieved very much of value on the economic front, but at least this much must be said for the man - people are free to express themselves, and to criticize authority, as they have rarely been in the history of post-independence Nigeria. The memory of Buhari's harsh and authoritarian rule is too fresh in the minds of too many people for him to have stood a real chance of winning.

Having said all this, one has to ask - if the election results were never really in doubt, why was it necessary for Obasanjo's party to cheat at all, let alone in such a blatant fashion? To a large extent, this can be explained by the fact that the winner-take-all system by which
each of the 36 states are decided for one candidate or another was also the means for deciding the governorships, which are as certain a route to wealth in Nigeria as one can find, short of the presidency itself. Ultimately, all of Nigeria's politics boils down to the scramble for self-enrichment.

Monday, April 21, 2003

Porphyrogenitus has interesting things to say about the Franco-Russian interest in maintaining the sanctions on Iraqi oil, even though the rationale for their existence is no longer present. He also makes a few points about the liberty and self-government, and how they relate to the Anti-American protests emanating from Baghdad that we've been hearing so much about.

Friday, April 18, 2003

Mbeki and AIDS Denial

Some might have been skeptical when I claimed that Thabo Mbeki was paranoid. The fact is that Mbeki has been claiming since 2000 that there is a (get this) CIA Conspiracy [TM] to smear his good name because of the challenge posed by his unorthodox opinions to the profits of American Big Pharma [TM]. As this link shows, he hasn't exactly had a genuine change of heart in the years since. When the president of a nation of 40 million people can say with a straight face that there is a CIA conspiracy to undermine him by linking HIV to AIDS, one has to doubt his sanity.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

How to Wage the Peace

Fareed Zakaria's been making a lot of the same points about oil wealth, democracy and nation-building that I have here (see the link above), which I find eerily coincidental. Also of interest is an item posted by Brad DeLong, about a paper by William Easterly and Ross Levine, called "Africa's Great Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions". I've made some comments in the accompanying discussion area; hopefully others will make interesting contributions of their own.

Monday, April 14, 2003

The Curse of Oil Wealth

Daniel Pipes was amazingly prescient in seeing as long ago as 1982 that the presence of oil can be more of a curse for a nation than any sort of blessing. On the face of it, one would think there'd be no downside to having oil in abundance, as it would obviate the need for governments to carry out large-scale borrowing to finance infrastructure development or investment in human capital.

So much for the theory - in practice, oil windfalls have almost always had a negative impact over the long term. No windfall ever lasts, however large, but while the boom is in progress, it sets in motion developments that end up redounding to the harm of its' beneficiaries. Massive fortunes are rapidly made, with no real effort required on the part of those lucky enough to be sitting at the government till, enfusing an entire society with a "get-rich-quick" mentality, and making any sort of effort to prosper by sheer toil come to seem foolish. Government revenues rise to dizzying and unsustainable heights, and large sums are expended on all kinds of white elephants and grandiose schemes. People come to rely on government largesse, while the government is freed from all accountability to a citizenry from which it recieves no taxes.

For a short while, all these problems can be covered up by the ever-rising gusher of oil revenue, but when the gusher subsides, the return to reality can be extremely painful. None of the OPEC countries can be said to be anywhere nearly as prosperous today as they were at the height of the second oil boom (Algeria excepted), and in point of fact, most are much worse off than they were before it; per capita GDP in Nigeria today is about the same as it was in 1965, while in Saudi Arabia it has fallen from $28,600 in 1982 to about $6,500 today, and is still falling. Even Algeria has seen a steady decline in GDP per capita since 1990. The only middle-eastern country that has seen a real rise in its' standard of living over the last 20 years is Israel, which has no mineral resources of great commercial value.

How does all of this tie into current affairs? Most obviously, it suggests that Iraq's gigantic oil reserves are no guarantee of anything; to the converse, they are more likely to hinder the country's prospects than to boost them. For the country to have a chance, the oil revenues must be kept, to the greatest extent possible, away from the reach of its' politicians, or the temptation to regard high office as a means to quick riches will likely prove too great.

What would be ideal would be a scheme along the same lines as the one in Alaska. Such a scheme would have the benefit of keeping the revenues out of the grasp of politicians, lest they be tempted to mischief, while clearly benefiting the entire population of Iraq. An Iraqi government unable to rely on easy access to oil money for revenues would be more likely to pay attention to those tasks that would boost the earning power, and therefore the taxability, of its' citizens.

The War in Quotes

This article in the Weekly Standard takes an amusing look at the misuse of "scare quotes" (or, as some might say, "sneer quotes") by journalists wishing to cast doubt on the views of their subjects, without actually coming out and saying "I don't believe what's been said!" As might be expected, the two most egregious examples of this practice come journalists working for the two looniest of the left -wing British broadsheets, Robert Fisk of the Independent, and Mary Riddell of the Guardian.

Friday, April 11, 2003

Don't Rush the Iraqi Handover!

Many parties are currently making a big fuss about the necessity for as rapid a handover of Iraq to domestic rule as possible, but this advice is a recipe for disaster. If there is one thing to be learned from the experience of decolonization across the world, it is that it is not enough to simply organize elections and then withdraw from a country to set it up for long-term stability. Without the establishment of a competent and honest civil service, and the implantation of respect for the rule of law, no regime set up in Iraq will prosper for long, but civil service reform and the establishment of respect for the law aren't things to be accomplished in 6 months or even 2 years, especially in a country that has known nothing but arbitrary rule for three decades.

There is an understandable anxiety about respecting international sensibilities, but one shouldn't let such sensitivities get in the way of doing the right thing. Germany and Japan both required several years of occupation before they were ready to stand on their own, and these were countries in which competent civil services, strong private sectors and the rudiments of democracy had existed at some prior point. What is more, they suffered none of the fissiparous tendencies of modern-day Iraq, with its' Kurds, Sunnites and Shiites and their differing agendas. Were America to hastily withdraw from Iraq, only to see it collapse into chaos and civil strife, the very same parties now agitating for a quick withdrawal would be accusing the Americans of cutting-and-running, just as they now do in the case of Afghanistan. They won't remember that they were the ones pushing for a hasty retreat, saying "the XYZ people do not wish to be ruled by a foreign power."

Given that the Americans are damned if they do leave early, and Iraq subsequently sinks into war, and damned if they don't cut-and-run, as imperialist dictators, it is incumbent on them to simply sweat out the criticism and stay long enough to do the right thing by the people of Iraq. That means no hasty withdrawal of American troops and substitution of poorly trained, lightly-armed blue helmets, no delegation of rebuilding and relief to the United Nations and unaccountable NGOs, and no insistence on a handover to an Iraqi government, without a solid written constitution in place and establishment of a vibrant, critical local press.

The News We Kept to Ourselves (NYT - Registration Reqd.)

This article in the New York Times details the methods of intimidation applied by Saddam's regime to obtain the silence of foreign news organizations about the realities of life in Iraq. Reading this, one has to wonder - why didn't CNN and other such news organizations simply pull out of Iraq? What value was there in reporting from Baghdad if the only reports allowed were pro-Saddam propaganda pieces? How could these so-called "journalists" live with the guilt of what they were doing, knowing, as they must have, that their "work" was helping to prop up such a brutal regime?

Thursday, April 10, 2003

The World Weighs In

The State Department summary of international editorial opinion I've linked to above makes quite clear that the majority of opinion in those countries that opposed action in Iraq, as well as amongst that section of the British media that saw no need for "regime change", now wants the United Nations to play a "central" role in a post-war Iraq.

This suggestion, in its' brazenness, its' stupidity, and its' impracticality, tells one everything one needs to know about those making it. Which countries insisted on the need to act, in the face of determined opposition from thosed opposed to "unilateral" action? Which countries were willing to commit the lives of their citizens and their treasure to seeing Saddam deposed? Which countries are even now engaged in the struggle to both flush out the remnants of Saddam's regime, and get humanitarian supplies to the citizens of Iraq? And in counterpoint to all this, which countries have done absolutely nothing to help bring about the present situation, but are best poised to benefit from the exercise of veto-power, given a "central" UN role?

These worthless cockroaches deserve to be paid as much attention now as they deserved when the "UN route" was being traversed. Were President Bush to listen to them, the well-being and future prospects of Iraq's citizens would be jeopardized by the bickering and obstructionism of ruthlessly self-seeking powers like France, Germany and Russia. There are big contracts to be handed out, after all, and who wants to allow the US to tear up old agreements made on sweetheart terms with supporters of a dictatorial regime? The Russians want to be paid the tens of billions of dollars they are owed for Soviet-era weaponry, and they aren't too eager to see a flood of Iraqi oil on the market either, depressing the oil sector that accounts for the majority of their exports. The French too have gigantic debts they want repaid, and big oil concessions that need exploiting. As for the Germans - all that rebuilding's going to need a hell of a lot of machinery, and who better to supply it?

Watching these vermin hustle and maneuver under the cover of a spurious concern for "international legitimacy" makes me sick. France has never shown the damndest concern for international law in deciding whether or not to intervene in the affairs of one African country or another, Russia has been busy slaughtering Chechnyans for years, but now pretends to be concerned about "the plight of the Iraqi people", and the Germans would have been more than happy to let the Balkans bleed each other to death, were it not for the resulting influx of refugees. The vast majority of the other international busybodies complaining about the importance of the United Nations wouldn't know what the rule of law was if it slapped them in the face, while those who do are all impotent nations that have done nothing to preserve law and order outside their own borders.

The chief motivator behind the push for a "central UN role" by those who, unlike France, Germany and Russia, have nothing to gain directly from attaining their ambition, is a seething jealousy and resentment of American power. For these miserable wretches, anything that restrains American might in any way is a thing to be welcomed in itself, regardless of its' consequences. Ask any of them, even the Franco-German-Russia triad, to commit their soldiers and budgets to enforcing the rule of their desired UN authority, and you'll be certain to hear a resounding "NO!" - and yet they want British and American taxpayers, and Anglo-American troops, to bear the burden of enforcing their will on the ground.

The whole thing hardly bears thinking about. If Blair gained my halting respect for his stance on the issue of confronting Saddam, he is rapidly losing it by his continued insistence on the importance of the United Nations. Is he so foolish that that he fails to understand how much of a cesspit it has proven itself to be thus far? Does he really think that there is any goodwill to be found in the calculations of Chirac, Schroeder and Putin, that they should be worth "reaching out" to? If so, Blair is seriously deluded, and more of a weakling than I thought him to be. Rather than trying to "reach out" to this triad of selfish, short-sighted miscalculators, Blair ought to be leaving all the running to them. Instead he allows himself to look like a puppy ever so eager to be liked by an abusive master.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

African Grandstanding (NYT: Reg. Reqd.)

What is it with Africa leaders like Thabo Mbeki, anyway? Why do they feel a need to pronounce on far-away matters when there are grave injustices on their own doorsteps, injustices they have the power to remedy even though they refuse to do so?

One would have thought Thabo Mbeki, who has watched Zimbabwe slide into brutal anarchy but done nothing about it, would have had the good sense to shut-up (to twist a phrase of M. Chirac's) rather than pontificate on matters of precedent in distant Iraq. Who is Mr. Mbeki to lecture others on matters of morality, when he has presided over an AIDS epidemic that could have been halted were it not for his ridiculous superstitions, has left the black citizens of Zimbabwe to suffer the consequences of Mugabe's racial demagoguery, and is busy presiding over the transformation of South Africa into a lawless, corrupt one-party state, just like so many others on the continent?

I remember thinking, back in the early 1990s, how wonderful it was to see the fall of apartheid in my own lifetime, and with it the end of a legacy in which blacks were held as lesser beings within a nation in which they constituted the majority. I also remember feeling at the time a certain sense of trepidation at the prospect of South Africa ending up like rest of it's African neighbors somewhere down the road, hopelessly corrupt, conflict-ridden, despotic and broke.

In harboring such fears, I could not but let my knowledge of the Nigerian experience color my attitude. Here was a country which, on the face of it, ought to have been set on a course to prosperity, a nation gifted in natural resources, whose citizens were hard-working and eager for education and self-improvement, and yet, as we all know, the situation turned out very differently. What is worse, the same story of disappointment was common across the rest of the continent. Why should I have hoped that South Africa would be different?

And yet, hope I did, encouraged by the good start made by Nelson Mandela, who remains perhaps the only African leader to date who has ever voluntarily relinquished power after a single term in office. Mandela was an African leader with a difference, a man who genuinely seemed to believe in the principles he spoke about, who saw his term in office to bring those principles to fruition, rather than as an opportunity for self-enrichment. What a promising start he represented for the new South Africa, and what a rebuke to all the other African "leaders", whose notions of leadership extended no further than murder, theft and self-aggrandisement!

Unfortunately Mandela seems to have been an impossible act to follow. Mbeki seems very much to be in the traditional African strongman mold, an insecure, vain, paranoid egomaniac, eager to shoot his mouth off on everything under the sun, even as he presides over chaos in his "government." This shameless man, who was all-too-eager to declare Mugabe qualified to rejoin the Commonwealth barely a month ago, now sees fit to talk about international law, human rights and so on and so forth. I should be very surprised if Mbeki does ever relinquish power voluntarily - nothing he says or does leads me to think he is the sort that will.

Iraq�s dark prisons see light of day

Was this a regime worth defending? I suspect we haven't even seen the tip of the iceberg yet, but that hasn't stopped Jacques, Gerhard, Kofi and Vladimir, that noted quadrumvirate of humanitarians, from arranging a meeting in Moscow to see how they can arrange to continue to meddle in the affairs of a country whose people they did nothing to liberate, and would even have preferred to see left in bondage, all in the name of a spurious "stability".

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Jailed Iraqi Children

More than 100 children held in a prison celebrated their freedom as US marines rolled into northeast Baghdad amid chaotic scenes which saw civilians loot weapons from an army compound, a US officer said ... "The children had been imprisoned because they had not joined the youth branch of the Baath party," he alleged. "Some of these kids had been in there for five years."

I wonder how all those who have been arguing against an American-led invasion of Iraq will justify something like this. No doubt, they'll just call it "imperialist propaganda" or some such nonsense.

Monday, April 07, 2003

A Public Relations Catastrophe in the Making

There are ever-louder rumors going around that the Bush administration has decided to award the bulk of reconstruction and relief contracts in Iraq to American firms, not even letting British companies participate in the bidding process, on the supposed grounds that since Americans did most of the fighting, they should get all of the contract work. The British are supposedly being fobbed off with the promise of "sub-contractor" jobs.

If these rumors are indeed true, they will do tremendous damage to the Bush administration's cause. What sort of message would such a course of action send about lending support to Bush's goals? Regardless of the errors he made with regards to the United Nations, Tony Blair did a tremendous amount of work to convince his party, the country and the world of the need to remove Saddam, putting his very career on the line to do so; for him to be slighted in this manner would both justify the French and Germans in their own eyes ("see how your 'Ally' rewards you, Tony!") and ensure that no such support would be forthcoming in the future from Britain or any other "ally" without a quid-pro-quo to propose.

What is worrying is that such rumors are entirely credible. The omission of Australia's John Howard from the invitee list to the Azores summit is one indicator that gives grounds for worry. How could the Bush administration have forgotten to invite the head of the only other country to commit substantial military resources to the war effort? And yet, it did. Then there is Rumsfeld's "we can go ahead without the British" to consider.

Even the off-the-record briefings by "administration officials" that the Turks were "haggling like rug merchants", or that the Turks were finally "in the bag", left an unpleasant aftertaste. Though the Turks probably were indeed holding out for a bigger payout, it hardly does one's diplomatic cause good to let it be so clearly known that one holds one's partner in such low regard, however justified one's antagonism may be. All the cocky "off-the-record" assurances that the Russians would eventually "come over" were also extremely damaging - even the indigent have pride, and to blatantly declare that the Russians have too much to lose financially to oppose the United States is in effect to dare them to do so.

I agree with most of the Bush administration's foreign policy positions, but it is not enough to have good intentions, if the way in which they are executed is so ham-fisted. This administration has to realize that in dealing with foreign nations, the carrot has as much a role to play as the stick. Opponents must be punished, but allies must also be rewarded. As even Machiavelli realized, it is better to be both loved and feared if one can help it.

French duplicity rules UN out of rebuilding Iraq

William Rees-Mogg has an article in the Times today which reflects my own views on the subject of United Nations involvement in Iraq.

If you do not fight the war, you will not control the peace ... Some people imagine that President Bush will turn to the United Nations, which spent 12 years failing to disarm Iraq, from 1991 to 2003, and politely ask it to take over responsibility for the reconstruction ... Handing Iraq over to the UN would mean bringing back into high influence Saddam Hussein�s closest international allies, France and Russia, the two countries which invested in the Saddam regime on the largest scale, supplied him with weapons and lent him money ... If the United Nations were responsible for reconstructing Iraq, France and Russia would be well placed to protect their financial interests ... The American Administration would prefer to spend the money on the redevelopment of Iraq rather than on meeting the bills incurred by Saddam�s weapons programme ... France torpedoed American efforts to deal with the problems of Iraq�s disarmament. The result was that America has had to fight another Gulf war, costing about $100 billion (�65 billion) and some casualties, when they thought that they had dealt with the matter 12 years ago. Americans feel that M Chirac stabbed them in the back. They are not going to ask him to do so again. That is not the American way ... For the present, that is just as well. Having failed to disarm Iraq for 12 years, ending with the fiasco of the volte-face over Resolution 1441, the UN does not have the capacity, the self-confidence or the unity to take the decisions that will soon be required.

Sunday, April 06, 2003

Continental Parasites

Having done their best to sabotage any diplomacy that might have put pressure on Saddam to disarm without war, the French and Germans now have the temerity to insist that America surrender control of Iraq, or, to be precise, Iraqi reconstruction contracts, to the United Nations. How shameless can politicians get?

It would be the height of folly for the Bush administration to listen to these idiots. Why should British and American soldiers fight and die so that the French and Germans can benefit from plush contracts? These two countries must be taught harsh lessons about the importance of loyalty, and that actions have consequences. If they are willing to frustrate American diplomacy for the sake of selfish, short-term benefits to their domestic constituencies, they should also be willing to take whatever comes from such short-sighted actions.

Nothing is more maddening to me than to see Tony Blair push for a major role for the United Nations in Iraq, even after the fiasco that resulted from his previous insistence on "going down the U.N. route." Blair doesn't seem to realize that he might be overplaying an already weakened hand - and for what? For the sake of the Iraqis, I hope that this time President Bush has the will to simply reject Blair's suggestions out of hand. Powell is another dangerous character to watch out for, too eager to "bridge the gap" with European "allies" who have shown themselves to be anything but on the same side.

Saturday, April 05, 2003

Saddam Amongst the People?

In the original version of the story that was put up, the BBC seemed to have given the supposed siting of Saddam walking amongst his subjects a lot more credibility than any group of rational persons ought to have. This, after all, is a tyrant so afraid of being assassinated that he is said never to sleep in the same residence two days in a row; this is a man who had not been seen in public for 2 whole years before this supposed walkabout. What are the odds that he would risk exposing himself to assassination now, just when the danger is greatest?

I suppose I really shouldn't be surprised that the BBC would take at face value what no other supposedly reputable news outlet would accept, particularly when it comes to the Iraqi regime. The BBC has tended to give the Ba'athists the benefit of the doubt, while casting doubt on anything said by the British or American governments, throughout the standoff with Saddam.

The Last Days of Saddam Hussein

�We will not capitulate. Never. We can go down, but we will take a world with us�.
- Adolf Hitler, as quoted in Ian Kershaw's biography.

It seems that Saddam, having spent most of his political career emulating one of the two great monsters of the 20th century, is now intent on ending it in a similar manner to the second of the two big butchers. Rather than flee his capital, as your run-of-the-mill dictator might have, he has decided to stay within it, lurking underground in his bunker, as his propaganda minister screams defiance and makes incredible of impending Final Victory.

Even Saddam must realize by now that there is chance of him winning this war, though it is both possible and likely, given his monstrous vanity, that such a realization has dawned on him only very recently - in which case, one again sees an echo of the F�hrer in his bunker, promising his lackeys the greatest upset in military history, just before the Battle of Berlin. If there is one other similarity of which we can be certain, it is that , like Hitler, Saddam will never allow himself to be taken alive.