In this talk, Christopher Hitchens provides a description (in the beginning) of what Saddam Hussein did to the Iraqi people in the 40 years that he had nearly unlimited power to do so.
Two things jumped out at me, where I had to stop the video, and sit in shock (removed temporarily from the comfort of my American life) lost in thought. First, he murdered and tortured thousands of children. Second, he used rape as a political tool of repression. Specifically, the common practice was to kidnap a daughter from the family of the targeted man, rape her, video tape it, and send the tape to the father. Just think about that. Think what it is like to live in a country like that. Think of the rage and fear you would feel in such a situation.
The long occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan has received a lot opposition and criticism (from myself included). It is the description of the above violation of human rights however that challenges me. Perhaps the overthrow / assassination of such men is necessary, and failure to do so is a moral weight that even a pacifist struggles to bare.
It also saddens me to think that the title of this blog post does not at all narrow down the list of dictators. The more oppressive the regime, the longer (it seems) it is able to hold on to power.