January 1, 2007

It does feel like a sham

I have to drop this stuff about Saddam. It feels like an evil business--this execution and all the talk surrounding it. I see nothing of benefit here, especially how so many Americans around me seem to be cheering:
A poll this week showed 82 percent of Americans supported the execution, the highest support of six nations surveyed. The Harris Interactive online poll, conducted November 30 to December 9, found 69 percent support for the execution in Britain, 58 percent in France and 53 percent in Germany.

US television showed scenes of cheering and flag-waving Iraqi-Americans in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn, Michigan, home to the largest US Arab-American community.

In the dusty town of Douglas, Arizona, on the border with Mexico, Saddam's death was welcomed.

"I wouldn't mind hanging Saddam myself, I think it's a good thing," said Lynn Kartchner, a Vietnam veteran and gun shop owner.
Yeah, all we need is more killing and the world will be a better place, eh?

Marty points to someone else who is ashamed. As UBUB is fond of reminding us, this has never really been about who they are--Saddam or the terrorists--but who we are. Who we are scares me a lot because we are supposed to be the good people.

Josh Marshall had this to say before the execution, and I think it sums it up as well as any I have read.
This whole endeavor, from the very start, has been about taking tawdry, cheap acts and dressing them up in a papier-mache grandeur -- phony victory celebrations, ersatz democratization, reconstruction headed up by toadies, con artists and grifters. And this is no different. Hanging Saddam is easy. It's a job, for once, that these folks can actually see through to completion. So this execution, ironically and pathetically, becomes a stand-in for the failures, incompetence and general betrayal of country on every other front that President Bush has brought us.

Try to dress this up as an Iraqi trial and it doesn't come close to cutting it -- the Iraqis only take possession of him for the final act, sort of like the Church always left execution itself to the 'secular arm'. Try pretending it's a war crimes trial but it's just more of the pretend mumbojumbo that makes this out to be World War IX or whatever number it is they're up to now.

The Iraq War has been many things, but for its prime promoters and cheerleaders and now-dwindling body of defenders, the war and all its ideological and literary trappings have always been an exercise in moral-historical dress-up for a crew of folks whose times aren't grand enough to live up to their own self-regard and whose imaginations are great enough to make up the difference. This is just more play-acting.

These jokers are being dragged kicking and screaming to the realization that the whole thing's a mess and that they're going to be remembered for it -- defined by it -- for decades and centuries. But before we go, we can hang Saddam. Quite a bit of this was about the president's issues with his dad and the hang-ups he had about finishing Saddam off -- so before we go, we can hang the guy as some big cosmic 'So There!'

Marx might say that this was not tragedy but farce. But I think we need to get way beyond options one and two even to get close to this one -- claptrap justice meted out to the former dictator in some puffed-up act of self-justification as the country itself collapses in the hands of the occupying army.

Marty Peretz, with some sort of projection, calls any attempt to rain on this parade "prissy and finicky." Myself, I just find it embarrassing. This is what we're reduced to, what the president has reduced us to. This is the best we can do. Hang Saddam Hussein because there's nothing else this president can get right.

What do you figure this farce will look like 10, 30 or 50 years down the road? A signal of American power or weakness?


volfan007 said...

most americans can see it, why cant you? saddam needed hanging. he was a bad man. he had to be stopped, and any threat of him returning to power had to be put down. the only way to completely put down any saddam comeback was for there to be no more saddam.

what did you wanna do with him? give him $20 and a new set of clothes and let him move to argentina?

saddam needed to die.


P.M. Prescott said...

Think King Charles I of England. A really awful king, lost to the parliamentary forces and is beheaded by Cromwell after a kangaroo court making up the law as it went along. No matter how dreadful a king he was he made a spectacular martyr and became the rallying cry to reestablish stability and order. They can gloat now, but the ghost of Saddam will do more damage to Iraq than the man ever did.

volfan007 said...

i really doubt that anything anyone does will help iraq. those people are very divided and willing to die for thier side. they believe that violence is the way to get thier way, and they dont mind killing. the muslim religion has done a number on those people, and it has caused them great harm.

but, dont get too settled down here. the muslims are seeking to spread islam all over the world, and they are making pretty good headway into many countries. there are more muslims in america now than ever before, and they are actively seeking to grow more.

and, btw, muslims seem to all hate america as much as they hate israel.


RoseCovered Glasses said...

There are good points in your article. I would like to supplement them with some information:

I am a 2 tour Vietnam Veteran who recently retired after 36 years of working in the Defense Industrial Complex on many of the weapons systems being used by our forces as we speak.

If you are interested in a view of the inside of the Pentagon procurement process from Vietnam to Iraq please check the posting at my blog entitled, “Odyssey of Armaments”


The Pentagon is a giant, incredibly complex establishment, budgeted in excess of $500B per year. The Rumsfelds, the Administrations and the Congressmen come and go but the real machinery of policy and procurement keeps grinding away, presenting the politicos who arrive with detail and alternatives slanted to perpetuate itself.

How can any newcomer, be he a President, a Congressman or even the new Sec. Def.Mr. Gates, understand such complexity, particularly if heretofore he has not had the clearance to get the full details?

Answer- he can’t. Therefore he accepts the alternatives provided by the career establishment that never goes away and he hopes he makes the right choices. Or he is influenced by a lobbyist or two representing companies in his district or special interest groups.

From a practical standpoint, policy and war decisions are made far below the levels of the talking heads who take the heat or the credit for the results.

This situation is unfortunate but it is absolute fact. Take it from one who has been to war and worked in the establishment.

This giant policy making and war machine will eventually come apart and have to be put back together to operate smaller, leaner and on less fuel. But that won’t happen until it hits a brick wall at high speed.

We will then have to run a Volkswagen instead of a Caddy and get along somehow. We better start practicing now and get off our high horse. Our golden aura in the world is beginning to dull from arrogance.