So they’re popping popcorn over in Freeperville. They’re all just betting on the time of death, posting pictures of Saddam photoshopped under a camel, the usual wingnut parlor tricks and cheap Fark imitations that let them believe they’re part of the great struggle. Goody for them. I’ve never really begrudged anybody the right to do whatever makes them feel good so long as no children or non-consenting adults are harmed, so let them post away in their fury, let them work themselves up. At least it’ll keep them out of our hair.
I’m not going to pretend to feel like Saddam Hussein deserved to live. Or die, for that matter; he wasn’t my leader, I don’t feel qualified to pass judgment on his punishment for his crimes. I wasn’t in the courtroom. I was not his judge; I am not, thank God, his executioner.
For the record, it’s a death in a place filled with thousands of deaths. It may lead to more violence, it may lead to less. It may placate some, it may anger others. If there’s a list somewhere of Truly Horrible People Alive Today, kept by someone who is qualified to keep that list, there’s one more name can be crossed off. If that’s reason to celebrate (I’m not sure it is — are his victims less dead because he joins them? Are his potential victims safer with him dead than with him imprisoned? Are these questions we should even ask?) then I suppose celebration is warranted, but it’s not my party, nor the Freepers’, either, really. Deeply felt interest in an outcome does not equal ownership, and I will not demean the experience of Iraqis by saying I have some right to share whatever their feelings might be tonight.
He hangs, and then.
With this war, it’s always … and then. And then we stand around, having named the execution of Saddam whatever we like, having decided it means whatever we think it means, we stand around and realize the sun still came up this morning. And then. And then. And then.
Atrios has been writing for some time about how nobody wants to take responsibility for defining the endgame in Iraq, or at least that the only people who do are so thoroughly out of power all they can do is argue in circles in college symposium settings, desultorily covered by bored reporters for papers of middling size. The policymakers, those who matter? They keep on pretending, and it’s hard not to see this execution as just one more chapter in their ongoing fiction that someday, somehow, it will all turn up right on its own, ourselves having done nothing to effect it one way or another. As though the war is a runaway train, as though the brake handle broke off in our hands, as though we can’t stop it anymore.
These are the facts, if Saddam is alive or dead:
We went to war on the public pretext that Iraq was a terrorist-supporting state possessing weapons of mass destruction, which it intended to use against us.
No such weapons were found.
There are more terrorists in Iraq now than there ever have been.
Nearly 3,000 American soldiers have died.
And more than 100,000 Iraqis, by the lowest of credible estimates.
The country is devastated, plagued by suicide bombers and other terrors that did not exist before our invasion, and is engulfed in civil war.
The government that led us to war is demoralized, its power curtailed by a populace finally tired of its lies.
We are, as a result of our neglect of actual terrorism prosecutions and diplomatic and/or military opportunities while we squander resources in Iraq, less safe and secure now than we were before 9/11.
If Saddam is alive or dead, these are the facts. And they’re popping popcorn over in Freeperville:
(WONDER HOW LONG BEFORE BITS OF THE ROPE SHOW UP ON EBAY?)
This is one of those few times I wish I had cable.
The suspense is unbelievable, I hope the moment can last just a bit longer.