Fox News crew was breathless the morning Saddam's capture broke.
Of course, when I had last been watching, some Fox babe was breathless
about Scott Peterson,
Bryant, or whoever was threatening our way of life at the
time, so it took me a moment to figure out what was happening.
Then mark my words, warbots, and make hay of them quickly an unpleasant
feeling set in.
wasn't sympathy for Saddam, and thank goodness for that. Cardinal
Renato Martino lit his Zippo too close to War Party methane
last week when he voiced compassion for Don Rumsfeld's old
buddy. Dynamist bore Virginia
Postrel branded Martino and his colleagues "idiots." Blogger
bashed the Vatican the way he does everything else by linking to better spokesmen
for death and destruction. Noted theologian Bill O'Reilly
barked a profession
of faith: "[Y]ou can afford to feel compassion for Saddam,
Cardinal, because the USA protects the Vatican from the forces
of evil." Let us kneel toward the Pentagon and pray.
won't be praying for Saddam, though. As I watched the endless
loop of that lice-ridden senior having his fillings checked, I
felt pity not for him, but for us. The same "conservatives" who
had just spent a week lashing John Kerry's
tongue were ramming our republic feet-first into the meat
grinder. Hurrah for empire! Witness the rapid militarization of civil society
and the collectivization of the leader's will. Dubya hates Saddam
kill his daddy, so we must hate him, too. Saddam offered to
settle all this
mano a mano, but the emperor refused. That's what we citizens
are for to be his echo, fund his whims, and fight his fights.
no, this isn't some bleeding-heart tirade against vengeance. Revenge
may be morally suspect and ugly to watch, but I can't fault victims
for wanting it. I can understand (without condoning) an Israeli
who has lost a loved one to a suicide bomber cheering the demolition
of the bomber's family's home; I can understand (without condoning)
a Palestinian who has lost a loved one to an Israeli attack applauding
a checkpoint bombing. The cultivation of such unintended, though
entirely predictable, grudges should be reason enough to avoid
mass conflict, but if it isn't, then let's dispense with the phony
shock at the results. Saddam is a case in point: after all he
has done to "his
people" (a telling phrase) and his neighbors, he should expect
plenty of animosity.
must, however, distinguish the truly aggrieved parties from those
who merely savor the stench of carrion. Many Iraqis, especially
the Kurds, understandably
wish a nasty end on their old oppressor. That some of those Iraqis,
such as the PKK
and the Communists,
are loathsome characters does not diminish the validity of their
grievances. Ditto for the
Iranian government, which wants Saddam to be tried for war
crimes. Don't let the plaintiffs ruin your appreciation of the
suit. These people have a right to extract whatever portion of
Saddam's hide they find satisfactory.
they aren't the ones who ousted him. Frontpagemag's Walid Phares
tossed off a comparison of Saddam and Nicolae Ceaucescu,
but it falls apart pretty quickly:
some difference in the details, Saddam's fall is in essence the
story of Ceaucescu.
the comparison poses grave consequences. Iraq is not an isolated
Rumania. It is surrounded with equally brutal regimes with their
terrorist organizational extensions. The greater detail on that
Sunday morning was the global wave stirred by the capturing of
the Baghdad dictator. For beyond the frustration of shocked Pan
Arabists and Islamists around the region, the most dramatic tribulations
rocked the leaders beyond Iraqi borders. Saddam preferred
to flee his palaces and hide in a hole, but he was found by the
coalition of the willing. But in Tehran, Damascus, Tripoli and
Khartoum, the masters of the Palaces know very well that the next
time dictators would be extracted from holes, it won't necessary
[sic] be by 'infidel' soldiers. The power of the example
has no parallel."
precisely, about the U.S. capture of Saddam would make the "masters
of the Palaces" fear a homegrown revolt? The lead in Ceaucescu's
brow came from his fellow Romanians. In Saddam's case, even the
believable and most capable "victims" in the neighborhood,
the Israelis, decided to sit
back and let America do the dirty work.
empire is dirty work, both abroad and at home. Immediately after
Saddam's capture, the domestic belligerati began hunting down
the insufficiently ecstatic. You are obviously a Ba'athist/Fascist/Nazi
if your reaction to the news was less garish than, say, John
favorite story of victor's justice is the treatment given to the
defeated Sultan Bayezid 'the Thunderbolt' by Timur after the battle
of Ankara in 1402. Bayezid was pulled around in a cage in Timur's
baggage train till he died, and his wife was forced to serve naked
at Timur's banquet table."
mind that, back in March, we all expected Saddam's head on Dubya's
desk within weeks. Never mind that no one opposed the war for
fear that Saddam might escape. Never mind that his capture did
nothing to stop the
violence in Iraq, and may actually increase it. Just so long as Derbyshire
can fantasize and Peggy Noonan
feels fuzzy inside, no sacrifice is too great including our republic,
our liberty, and our tenuous grasp on civilization itself.
~ Matthew Barganier
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Barganier works for an educational philanthropy in Baton Rouge,
LA. A late bloomer in his mid-twenties, he has only recently joined
the ranks of web punditry. He is an alumnus of Louisiana State
University and the University of Alabama.