It’s always nice, and somewhat reassuring, to see a brutal bastard get hauled out into the light as the Brutal Bastard du Jour, Saddam Hussein, was finally apprehended. Hopefully, he will get the justice he deserves, but, in this opinion, he cannot live long enough in solitary confinement, or be executed enough times to atone for what he has done to his people. But I should emphasize hispeople, and the Kurds and Kuwaitis, but not, until George Bush decided to put our troops into Iraq, to our people. This needs to be said because, as yet, over 60% of American people yet believe (and the Bush administration has done little to disabuse them of it) that Iraqis flew those planes into the WTC and Pentagon on 9-11.
It also needs to be emphasized that Saddam was an ally of the USA who benefitted from our political and technical support while it was well known what a brutal bastard he was. In this respect he is not that different from brutal bastards like Noriega, Stroessner, and several others who’s brutalities also did not evoke US outrage until they became liabilities, or other brutal regimes around the world that got little more than occasional verbal condemnation. Indeed, Pol Pot, a brutal bastard much of our own making by our incursion into Cambodia in the late 60s, makes Saddam look like an amateur in human rights atrocities game. The reports of Amnesty International, which the US has virtually ignored for years are dripping with the blood of their misdeeds.
So it is a tempered joy that should be felt over the flushing of Saddam from his “spider hole.” It will boost the administration’s shifting justification for this war. And it will also place those who have opposed this war in the awkward position of not gainsaying his being brought to justice while affirming that he was never the threat to American security that was trumped up to justify this preemptive war. Maybe to save his sorry ass Saddam can be persuaded to say he was about to attack the US with his weapons of mass destruction, or that he played pinocle and planned 9-11 with bin Laden. He is cowardly enough to sue for his life, which he did not have the guts to endanger for all his previous soldier posturing (or to fall on his sword), at any cost.
We may have squashed a nasty spider, and two cheers for that as it was paid for with housands of Iraqi lives and hundreds of American lives. But he probably wasn’t the one that bit us, just ugly, and handy. And that, for the Little Miss Muffets who brought us to this muddle, will likely prove to be an evanescent comfort.
©2003, James A. Clapp (UrbisMedia Ltd. Pub. 12.14.2003)