Saddam Hussein’s death is still being steadfstly ignored by everyone in the White House — a telling and continuing silence. The rest of the world, however, is commenting on it.
News organs from Japan to Germany, from the UK to the US, are talking about Hussein’s final moments and the more-or-less restrained, even dignified way this man went, open-eyed and upright, to his own killing.
Months before, Hussein urged in a letter to Iraqis not to hate, not to carry grudges.
Now I’m not going to try to say Hussein was a good guy. He wasn’t. He was a killer, and it was probably fair that he was brought to trial for committing crimes against his people — even though his deposition was violent and the result of the US invasion of his sovereign nation, imposed by external force rather than brought about by internal revolution.
I vacillate pretty regularly on capital punishment; on the one hand I realize it doesn’t really accomplish anything, but on the other I believe there are some people who are so vile and detestable that they’ve given up the right to any claim of being human.
I’m not sure if Hussein fell into that category or not, so I’m not sure how I feel about the death sentence handed down to him, nor that it was carried out. In light of the re-sentencing of the Tripoli Six to death, and given the undeniable fact that Bush has committed crimes against Islam for which he could also be sentenced to death, I wonder. Is capital punishment always valid? Certainly not. Is it something that might even be subject to relativity? I think surely. Is it, therefore, something we should apply with extreme caution?
But what troubles me most is the way that the killing of Hussein was rushed to meet a holiday deadline — both in Iraq and, as a different holiday, in much of the rest of the world. On the Iraq front, no one wanted to offend anyone’s celebration of an Iraqi day of reconciliation; elsewhere no one wanted a downer to distract from the New Year party.
The other troubling thing, I suppose, is the way Hussein carried himself to the gallows. Compare his courage to the way the ousted Republicans, now in the minority, are behaving — they aren’t dead and aren’t likely to be any time soon, but the whining, infighting and complaining are already scaling up.
Contrast the behavior of Dick Cheney with that of Saddam Hussein. Look at the way one of them foments fear, mistrust and anguish, even though he’s essentially been in control for more than half a decade, while the other, on his way to die, managed not to utter a single word of denouncement toward the nation that had, in essence, betrayed him.
Compare the Bush White House and its secretiveness, its recalcitrance, its unwillingness to hold itself accountable for any of its deeds to the way it’s urgently tried to expose the wrongdoing of other administrations — and is even now behaving with belligerence toward a democratically-elected majority opposition party, one put in power by an electorate clearly sick of Bushian shenanigans.
Faced only with a minor change in power, one that reflects the will of the American people, Il Duce and his cronies are soiling their diapers. So much for the dignity and respectability of the Office of the President of the United States. So much for decorum. So much for national honor and pride.
One can only wonder how they’d behave in the face of a noose.
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