Now that Saddam Hussein is dead, and our president feels like a man again, perhaps our nation can get back to more important things...
No? Oh, right.

I am not automatically opposed to the death penalty, but I’m not convinced any of us are any better off with Hussein in the ground. Why not rotting in a cell somewhere, muttering to himself? The deaths of his sons Uday and Qusay Hussein—and, let’s be honest, Saddam’s 14 year old grandson-- in a gunfight seemed necessary and just; just a glimpse at their criminal histories as serial rapists, murderers and psychopaths makes me glad they’re dead. This cool execution in the dark before the morning prayer seems less than that.

We’re going to hear an endless litany from Rice and the rest that the world is better off without him— but why Hussein? Why was he any more wicked than our own creature Pinochet, or Franco, or the generals in Greece or Argentina?

It may be that our culture has invested so much of our Shadow, our concept of evil, into a handful of Middle Easterners in order to avoid looking at our own culpability in so much death and suffering. Did Washington hate Hussein so much because he was once their own creation? Do you really feel better now that the monster is dead? Any safer? No? I don’t either.

Somehow I feel that the price is much too high: 650,000 Iraqis, 3,000 Americans and 400 billion dollars. That the Kurds and Iraqui rebels should not have been abandoned by Bush's father, that Rumsfeld should not have embraced Hussein when he was slaughtering Iranians, that this parade of blood was put in motion without my consent because a bunch of Yalies and wannabe tough guys thought they were smarter than the rest of us...

Perhaps somewhere a grieving spirit is looking at a pile of rubble and a child or a woman’s hand and fitting George Bush for an imaginary noose. That's Texas justice, after all.


Stewart Sternberg said...

Watching the death of Saddam unroll, I felt strange. It highlighted the theater that has become the Iraq war. His death was meaningless at this point. It served no purpose.

I asked myself what purpose would have been served had they caught and executed Hitler. Did Hitler deserve to die? Yes. Did Saddam? Probably.

So why was I now watching this death and thinking: how pointless.
Maybe it's because Saddam had been rendered impotent before the invasion. Maybe its because had Hitler been put on parade it would have been AFTER the war. It would have been a final bit of closure.
There is no closure in Saddam's death. It means nothing.

Ormondroyd's Encyclopedia Esoterica said...

Track down a short (it was also performed as a play) novel by George Steiner:

"The Portage to San Cristobel of A.H."
, full of disturbing ideas.
A.H. is Adolf Hitler, more than 90 years old, found alive in the jungle and captured by Weisenthal's agents in the first few pages. The body of the novel is taken up with their arguments as to what should be done with the old man when they get him back to civilization. In the last chapter Hitler himself is allowed to speak and what he says as an apologia...A reviewer in the NYT:
went so far as to say Steiner made him sick to his stomach (when have you seen a reaction THAT strong to a book?) saying it was if Dostoyevsky had ended ''Brothers Karamazov'' with sympathy for the Grand Inquisitor's point of view.
For me, Hitler's monologue reminded me of that old saw: that the lies the Devil tells are so powerful against us precisely because they always contain a small worm of truth that starts to work its way through our psyche...

Ormondroyd's Encyclopedia Esoterica said...

"The death sentence was to be carried out within 30 days of the rejection of his appeal, but the hanging was completed by the end of the fifth day, which took some officials in Washington by surprise and left some American legal officials, who have worked with the Iraqi court, uncomfortable." (NYT)

AND the execution was carried out by Shiia opponents of the Baaths, who responded to Sadaam's taunts rather than maintain professional detachment, AND by men in ski masks and informal clothing rather than traditional formal executioner garb... Why should that imagery make anyone uncomfortable?

A net-friend of mine remembered that Gerald Ford formally declared assasination against US policy, until Reagan and the Bushes brought it back... is there ever an end to the grief those three have brought to the world and the shame to their nation, while simultaneously being applauded by the short-sighted for their "toughness"?