It is over (?)

December 30, 2006 by barbara

by barbara

The year is winding down and Saddam Hussein is dead. Far as we know. Strange how we have come to a place in time where every news story is subject to skepticism. Even when there are credible witnesses. It's a darn shame we didn't get here sooner. But I digress. Read on.

For months, we've seen assorted photos of Saddam in the dock. Saddam defiant. Saddam angry. Saddam, watchfully silent. The thing that always struck me was his incredibly cold, dark eyes'"windows to his permafrosted soul, I suppose.

When someone like Saddam rises to national notoriety, I find myself wondering how they became who they ultimately are or were. If I ever knew Saddam's personal history, I long ago forgot it. Bully or bullied? Mommy issues? Tyrannical father? Misguided mentor? Wild child who never got past that stage?

Where does megalomania originate? It's hard for me to believe that some people are born evil. Ever seen an evil baby? Yeah, I know. Sometimes they seem that way in the middle of a long, sleepless night. But in the light of morning, the truth is easier to discern.

I studied the photo of Saddam with the noose around his neck. Such a huge hunk of rope. Strong enough for towing away a mammoth toppled statue. The guards were wearing ski masks. Saddam's face was set in its familiar scowl. What does a tyrannical mass murderer think about in the moment before his certain death?

The hanging of Saddam Hussein seems an anticlimactic thing, on balance. Too little, too late, or is it too much, too soon? For the record, I oppose the death penalty. It's part of my progressive packaging. And what could be more regressive than execution? And what does Saddam's execution accomplish, really, other than to raise a host of new questions and even bigger problems for Iraq. It is by no means a final solution to anything.

On the heels of Saddam's execution, we are told that the Shiites are dancing in the streets of Sadr City. Saddam's home village of Tikrit is in a four-day lockdown and there are curfews in place in Samarra and elsewhere.

America's astute leader has proclaimed that "the execution marks the 'end of a difficult year for the Iraqi people and for our troops,' cautioning that Saddam's death will not halt the violence in Iraq." Sometimes George's tenuous grasp of the obvious is beyond stunning.

Some uncharitable individuals have suggested that George Bush will make much of this. That he will trot out his old "Mission Accomplished" banner. One wag suggested that Saddam be hanged during halftime at the Super Bowl to give Bush maximum media exposure. Now it will have to be an instant replay.

Some (U.S.) soldiers expressed doubt that Saddam's death would be a significant turning point for Iraq. "First it was weapons of mass destruction. Then when there were none, it was that we had to find Saddam. We did that, but then it was that we had to put him on trial," said Spc. Thomas Sheck, 25, who is on his second tour in Iraq. "So now, what will be the next story they tell us to keep us over here?"

What, indeed? In the final analysis (okay, the penultimate analysis, more likely), Saddam will become yet another blip in global history. The face that launched a thousand wars. Or something. And his name and that of George W. Bush will be inextricably linked, with George H.W. Bush as a footnote. Men behaving badly. Men who thrust their young people into bloody battle. Men lacking the courage to do battle themselves. Failed, faux warriors.

I have often thought that wars should be fought mano a mano between or among the leaders themselves. Which brings me full circle to Festivus, the faux holiday that ends when the head of the household is wrestled to the floor and pinned.

It is important, I think, to keep a close eye on our own megalomaniacs. It's hard to say where that cross-over point is between relatively benign, strict parent mode and totalitarian tyrant. In current time, the gap is not a gray area. It is blood-red.

Saddam Hussein is dead. Now what?

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Comments

gtnbfghn (not verified) | June 4, 2007 - 2:11pm

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regdbcvb (not verified) | June 6, 2007 - 6:40am

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