...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

December 30, 2006

Hussein's Execution

I feel compelled to throw a wet blanket over some of the triumphalism I see in the blogosphere over Saddam Hussein's execution. I don't think it's a cause for Americans to be celebrating. I say this not because I'm ambivalent about the death penalty, but because we did not invade Iraq in order to kill Saddam Hussein.

We invaded Iraq to bring democracy to that part of the world, because doing so will in theory make us safer here at home. Not only have we not yet succeeded in that purpose, but our ultimate success (as well as the very theory our plan is based upon) is very much in doubt right now. No matter how much Saddam may have deserved what he got, I'd just rather save my celebrating for the day our troops return home victorious.

Posted by annika, Dec. 30, 2006 | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: annikapunditry


A long-term project requires celebration of intermediate milestones, as well as of the ultimate achievement. It was entirely appropriate for Americans to celebrate the victory at the Battle of Midway, even though ultimate triumph was a long way off.

Posted by: david foster on Dec. 30, 2006

Ahh but was it appropriate for the Germans to celebrate Market-Garden? Or the Confederacy to celebrate Chancellorsville? Maybe, but they still lost. If we end up losing this fight, and all we have to show for it is we killed Saddam... I just don't see the execution as a milestone. Saddam's capture? Yes, that was a milestone. Zarqawi's death was a milestone. The constitution and the elections were definitely milestones. Civil war with no end in sight and no hint of a fucking clue how to get it done before the Democrats take over and pull the plug? That is NOT a milestone.

Posted by: annika on Dec. 30, 2006

Is it just me, or do you feel kinda bad for Saddam? I didn't feel any sense of satisfaction learning that he was hung, but I did feel a sense of "loss." (?)

I don't know what it is exactly, but seeing the noose draped over his neck made me feel horrible. I didn't like seeing it at all.

Call me crazy...

Posted by: Rob on Dec. 30, 2006

I am sorry Saddam was hanged.

He should have been executed by putting him in plastic shredder. He and his sons shredded over 10,000 people with the victim's families forced to watch the proceedings.

Posted by: Jake on Dec. 30, 2006

It seems like what he did with his life while here on Earth is so bad that there isn't enough we could do to him to repay everyone he hurt.

Posted by: Joules on Dec. 30, 2006

Yes Rob, you're crazy, and Anni, you're addled. Take a chill pill. Things are never as bad or as good as they seem. We've finally reached the point where we can take the hobbles off the ISF, and let them whack the Sunni's who don't want to get with the democracy thing. When we let the Kurds and Shites execute their own tactics, we'll be on the road to victory, because they're ethnically cleanse the Sunnis right the fuck out of town. Then there will be peace.

BTW, it's OK to celebrate every score, even a safety. Saddam dieing is part of the process. It should have happened sooner, and his head should be pickled in a jar of formaldehyde, but you can't have Christmas everyday.

Posted by: Casca on Dec. 30, 2006

Interesting, Rob... actually, when I saw the pictures and read the story on CNN.com, my basic, gut reaction was fear. I cannot for the life of me explain it or justify it or even understand it, but when I saw that he was dead, I just felt... afraid. (???) I really don't know why.

It probably won't come as a huge surprise that I'm no fan of the death penalty. Killing people just never feels like a victory to me. Killing a bad person doesn't undo the harm he's caused. Don't get me wrong, Saddam was a horrible horrible person and as much as I hate death and suffering, people like him make me glad that my faith teaches that people like him get their comeuppance in the afterlife. He's Satan's problem now, and I can't say that makes me sorry.

At the same time, I can't say that it makes me overjoyed either. We're still in Iraq, American soldiers and innocent Iraqi civilians are still dying in numbers I cannot be okay with, and there's no clear end -- or objective, even -- in sight.

In all, the execution does seem like something of a letdown... probably because it's so symbolic. So much was emotionally built up into this execution, when the bottom line is that the problem isn't Saddam. The problem is evil. There's evil in the world, and plenty of it to go around, and killing Saddam doesn't even make a dent. And now that Saddam's gone we have fewer people to blame for all that's fucked up with the world. Soon we'll have to start blaming ourselves.

Hmm. Maybe that's the part that scared me.

::commences ignoring attacks on her intelligence, etc., from casca::

Posted by: The Law Fairy on Dec. 30, 2006

Execution for Saddam was too easy and short. If it had been up to me, I'd have kept the son-of-a-bitch alive, not because of any squeamishness over death penalties, but because I'd want to make clear his life was no longer his own. I'd keep him in solitary confinement for the whole time and deny him *any* access to the outside world; no books, no TV or radio, no stimulation whatsoever. His jailers would be forbidden to even speak to him or otherwise acknowledge his existence; they'd just leave food in his cell without a word. No human contact whatsoever from there on out. No leaving his tiny cell period. No daylight, no pictures or decorations, nothing but a bed, sink and toilet. No windows... I mean absolutely cutting him off from ever experiencing anything of the outside world from the sentencing on.

I'd have just let him exist, not live.

And his cell would have some one way mirrors... So that years down the road, parents could bring their children to see him, and say "Look. There's the butcher. He killed hundreds of thousands. He brutalized this whole country. And now, this is the price he pays for that. His life is no longer anything more than an object lesson. His life doesn't belong to him anymore."

But... That's all irrelevant now. The hangman's noose took care of that.


Anyway, Anni's got a point. What happens to Saddam primarily matters to Iraqis, not so much us here in America. What's important to *us* is that Iraq eventually becomes the antithesis of what Saddam stood for. And oddly enough, his living or dying has next to nothing to do with that.

Posted by: elmondohummus on Dec. 30, 2006

I think this is very symbolic for Iraqis. Essentially it is their new republic saying "We aren't going to tolerate folks like this anymore." I would urge anyone feeling even the slightest tinge of sympathy for this cat to nip it in the bud stat! I'm not saying this is any kind of military milestone but for the moment we should indulge the people of Iraq.

Posted by: Mike C. on Dec. 31, 2006

What's most interesting about the spectacle is watching the media do what they do best, nothing. Not a peep of anything having to do with U.S. support of Saddam, before, during, and after most all of his worst crimes. Not a peep about how up until the day before Kuwait Bush I gave him another billion. Not a peep about how the U.S. helping him gas the Iranians. Not a peep about how, with the help of the C.I.A., he was put into power in the first place. Not a peep about the illegality of the war in the first place. Not a peep about much of anything other than he's dead. Yea! Whoopee! We helped kill a killer who we supported! Yea for us! There's little doubt that this was nothing more than a political action and probably had little to do with law at all. For if it did, and we've decided to actually start applying the laws, for once, there are a few others who will no doubt be in trouble pretty soon. This is pretty much a case of "Look how great it is the monster's gone!" "Look what WE did!" "We got him!" "Everything can be better now!" (Camera 1: Pan to the 100 or so cheering Iraqis screaming "He's dead! He's dead!") (Camera 2: Cut to one of the "legal experts" to keep everyone busy so that we don't have to talk about all of those things kb mentioned above) (CUT to commercial selling Hanging Saddam dolls at The American Enterprise Institute. Zoom in on Kissinger punching the gallow door drop over and over) Get ready for the "in-depth" interview with three pundits who go into great detail about where the gallow was constructed, whether or not Saddam was wearing Old Spice when he refused the hood, and if his last meal was some of the spam they found in his hole in the ground. (After that just push the replay tape loop button and go on home for the week.) You've all done a really good job at showing what really happens in the world. Yes, we ARE the "liberal media" and do such a great job of really shedding light on how the real world works.kb

Posted by: kb on Dec. 31, 2006

The trouble with leaving him alive in solitary, is that we cannot predict the future of Iraq.

For all we know, Sunnis may rise again and control Iraq, thus setting the stage for a triumphant return of Saddam. This is a real risk that was not acceptable to the goverment or to us.

Better the asshole is dead and buried.

But, the suggestion of the clear shredder was a good one.

Allah Akbar, indeed...

Posted by: shelly on Dec. 31, 2006

Good one Shelly, LF I'm sure that you were the smartest girl in high school with the highest score on every test; that you distinguished yourself in college with all sorts of academic awards, and that your law school professors hold you in thier highest regard, and you didn't even fuck any of them. The romantic world view is at home in academia. One succeeds there without being in touch with reality. In our culture one may spend a lifetime there and NEVER confront reality.

We've done the same thing with most of the rest of our culture. That's why so much of American life is turned on it's head. This is a product of feminization of the culture, and you are a prime example. That's why your initial reaction is fear. The initial masculine reaction is satisfaction a bit tainted because of the delay.

Going to war requires all of the masculine virtues; realism, strength, reason, etc... . Romanticism is an anchor around your neck when you go to war.

You may talk of gin and beer when you're quartered safe out here, and sent to petty fights in aldershotit, but when it comes to slaughter, you'll do your work on water, and lick the bloomin' boots of him what's got it.

Having smoke blown up your ass about how great you are for twenty years can fuck up your mind, and make it hard to get a reality check on your thinking. Is it so hard to grasp that you know nothing of either the reality of war, or Iraq? What number of deaths WOULD work for you?

Posted by: Casca on Dec. 31, 2006

Saddam's execution was a matter of Iraqi law. His execution isn't a victory for the US, it's one for Iraq. A newly formed and elected government applied its laws to their former tyrant. He was allowed all due process under that system of law, tried, found guilty, sentence carried out. Done. I don't celebrate his death, but I don't lose any sleep over it.

For the US, there is a long way to go. As Annika says, the outcome is far from certain. But then I don't think of this as the "War in Iraq" but rather the "Battle for Iraq", because the actual war is much larger in scope.

Posted by: bob on Dec. 31, 2006

Is K.B. related to M.B.(Strawman), by any chance?

Posted by: reagan80 on Dec. 31, 2006

I'm glad those young children are studying Islam too. Knowledge is always a good thing.

And in order to truly understand the scope of racism and facism in this world, they should next study how religious and ethnic minorities fare in predominantly muslim societies. They'll see persecution and oppression far in excess of anything experienced by those living in Western nations like America.

Posted by: elmondohummus on Dec. 31, 2006

I actually am celebrating his death. With roses and wine. Sure, I'm something of a ghoul, but I'm a romantic one and that's all that really matters these days, isn't it?

If I were to take umbrage with just one of Annie's points, it would be this: Iraq wasn't invaded to free folks. As I remember it, WMD had something to do with it initially. Freedom started being used as something more than rhetorical device after the boots were in the dirt.

Freedom's a pretty nifty thing, but I'm not that its all that practical when you're giving it to villagers who've wanted nothing more than the freedom to slaughter one another for a century. If we should've learned anything from the dissolution of Yugoslavia, it should've been that.

Here's the dirty little secret of Yugoslavia, freedom, Iraq and artificial countries generally; Tito kept the populace from killing each other by doing it for them. Saddam did the same, albeit it in far more chilling way. Destroy the tyrant and you destroy the country.

Posted by: skippystalin on Dec. 31, 2006

Folks, the thing you peaceniks need to understand is that terrorism is bad enough when it is insurgent, but when it is state sponsored, the assets permit intolerable success.

The weapons of mass destruction once existed, of that we are sure, and we have about a million Kurds to prove it. Whether they did when we went into Iraq is meaningless; they would have existed if Saddam had his way, and probably do exist somewhere in Syria as we debate.

The thought of Iran possessing those same WMD's is intolerable to the civilized world. For all the preached political correctness, there is no power on earth that can prevent the Israelis from taking out those facilities, once the Mossad deciders they have gotten too close to operational. Bob's right; this is just a battle in Iraq. The War is far from over, it is just the beginning of the beginning, and it will exist for the rest of my lifetime, and probably my childrens' and grandchildrens' as well.

We're in this thing to end, folks. It is us or them. Wake up, they want to fucking kill us all, even you pansies who will welcome them with flowers.

God Bless George W. Bush, Don Rumsfeld, Condoleeza Rice and Dick Cheney, who will be recorded in history as having the courage to face this mortal threat at the cost of their careers. These people are true heroes and will be respected in the years to come, much the same as Truman and Reagan, both of whom left office with unpopular numbers as well.

Posted by: shelly on Jan. 1, 2007

There were two great programs on The History Channel on Saturday. The first was Washington's Generals, none of whom would survive in the modern zero-defects culture. The second was about guerilla warfare during reconstruction after the Civil War. When the Rebels laid down their arms, they had their fingers crossed. They had no intention of freeing their negroes, nevermind equality. The spirit of the Confederacy hung on into the 1960's.

There's the analogy. The Sunnis will not go quietly into the dark night. There's a real bloodbath coming, and it will be the Kurds and the Shites stomping on the Sunnis. When it's over the Sunnis will be in Syria, or dead.

Posted by: Casca on Jan. 1, 2007

Once again I am forced to agree with Casca, Like a blunt instrument, he is crude but effective.

As for hand wringing about Saddam, hey its real simple. He killed about a half a million people. What ever happened to all those oaths after WW2 that it would never be allowed to happen again?

After going through a period of doubt, I am now fairly certain that the Iraqis will be able to establish a lasting civil government. Like Casca said, we will have to sort of turn our backs while they do what is necessary to bring the recalcitrant Sunni's into line.

Posted by: kyle8 on Jan. 1, 2007

Crude? It's called clarity of thought.

Posted by: Casca on Jan. 1, 2007

Youth does not understand the wisdom acquired from experience. How can it, when all it has to call upon is the mainstream media and the constant drumbeat of the liberal establishment? Casca gets it, guys.

It will take some more Islamic atrocities to finally drive home the message to those unbelievers, but, in the end, I have the confidence that the sleeping giant will once again awaken and stomp out the menace that is Islam.

If I'm wrong, we're all dead.

Posted by: shelly on Jan. 1, 2007

Saddam's execution perfectly represents the farce of our operations in Iraq: a fundamentally justifiable outcome occurred, but it was undertaken by what was, in effect, a Shia death squad, and Saddam reaped a pyrrhic victory in dying by being the only person to behave with any dignity during his execution.

So we get to put a check in our score column, while the ludicrous and basically anti-American Iraqi regime that we installed democratically commits atrocities and genocide against Sunnis and victor's justice against former regime figures under the security umbrella we have provided them.

Oh, and they get to team up with Iran when it's all over.


Posted by: Roach on Jan. 1, 2007

Don't bet on the Iraqi's and Iranians teaming up - ever.

Iraqis are Arabs and Iranians are Persians, and never the twain shall meet.

Posted by: shelly on Jan. 2, 2007

Colonialism is a messy bidniz, ask Kipling.

Oh, I know what you're thinking. But, FDR was a fucking socialist. If the Brits kept their empire post WWII, they'd have ready cash, and a handle on all these crackpots, and we wouldn't be mucking about with camelfuckers.

Posted by: Casca on Jan. 2, 2007


Nope, never met the guy but he does make many of the points that should concern all and those which all of you wish to sweep under the table. Saddam was a good tyrant as long as he was serving our purposes. He killed wantonly, violated human rights and surely had WMD's which were fine as long as he was using them against Iran. Shelly, we sure know he had them, you dolt, we sold them to him. This fact escapes you? Or now that it has been decided that he is a bad tyrant we can simply ignore his history and our funding and support? We are pimps and he was a street walker who left our stable.

What fools you are to think this incursion and adventure had altruistic motives. This is power politics plain and simple. Get a beach-head right in the heart of the ME, scare the shit out of America and tell them this will make them secure. From Iraq we can apply pressure both militaristic and political to bring this area and its resources more firmly under our control and thwart the Chinese.

The Bush team of criminals clearly blew it. Even if you agree with their not so hidden agenda they had no fucking idea of what they were doing, clung way too long to a bad plan and any voice to the contrary was crushed by the enforcer, Sick Dick Cheney.

Killing Saddam feels bad to so many because it is tainted by all the deceptions, moving motives, lies and wanton killing on our part. We have disrupted this country to an extent that makes many Iraqi's wish for the good old days of Saddam and a dependable way of life. Clearly many feared him and many suffered at his hands, but the majority led lives of indifference and enjoyed their quotidian existence: children off to school, mom and dad off to decent jobs, 5 cent gas, nice roads to travel, museums, university and cafe life. None of them sat around bemoaning their inability to vote. That's the joke of Democracy: our belief that it is like gold-coveted by those who don't posses it. The tragedy is our hubris and childish pride that insists all who don't have it must want it even if it kills them as we stuff it down their throats. It's a global political version of a mother and her child that won't eat vegetables except that greens will make them grow up big and strong and democracy has no guarantees and certainly won't benefit those who choked to death.

Posted by: strawman on Jan. 2, 2007

Begone Fucktard!

Posted by: Casca on Jan. 2, 2007


Talk about clinging to an inneffective plan. Did you learn your craft sitting at Rumnuts' side?

Posted by: strawman on Jan. 2, 2007

Pejorative sobriquets are the last refuge of those who have lost the argument.

Posted by: shelly on Jan. 2, 2007

Just more empty words Shelly, Casca clearly ain't listening.

Posted by: strawman on Jan. 2, 2007


Pitting Iraq versus Iran in the 80's made perfect sense. We need not nor should not apologize for it. Priorities change when situations on the ground change. So, throwing out the "we supported him" canard is silly because it is not an argument.

Regarding the execution, I could not get excited. I don't support the death penalty. However, I do hope his victims families felt some sort of justice. He and his cronies were the worst sort of human beings. Your boy Castro will be joining them in their VIP room in Hell very soon.

Posted by: blu on Jan. 2, 2007

Whose the moral relativist now?

It is an argument if you are saying he is a bad man threatening our life in America when you know full well he is not because you know everything about him because he is your product.

Nice to hear you do not support the death penality.

Posted by: strawman on Jan. 2, 2007

But I DO support the death penalty, And killing terrorists by the thousands like we have done in Iraq and Afghanistan. And all your booing and hooing is just music to my ears.

Posted by: kyle8 on Jan. 2, 2007

Just more empty words Shelly, Casca clearly ain't listening.

Posted by strawman on Jan. 2, 2007

I was talking to YOU, asshole.

Posted by: shelly on Jan. 2, 2007

Gosh Shelly,

How was I supposed to know. The only one around here who consistantly uses "Pejorative sobriquets" and consistantly can't refute facts is old Kashka. Well, that is other than you.

"I perdict we'll kick their asses in the mid terms and pick up seats in both houses" you were heard to say on numerious occasions. Good judge of the American stomach for futile wars.

You guys are in a burning house and you resent the firefighters asking you to leave. But leave you will because when push comes to courage you have none. You are Just rightwing loyalists who as D. Brooks said tonight, are "too willing to swap party loyality for the truth".

You guys have gone down, your president with whom you share the loving,haas gone down and will, if there is a just diety, go to the Hague someday as a war criminal, and history will treat him like the ignorant lying Annelida he is. You all have the blood of 3000 vibrant, young, men and women on your hands. They have died defending and supporting the illconceived, constantly changing wishes of an idiot. An ideologue and his flacks who know as much about the midle east and the people of Islam as a coonhound. Their efforts have come to NOTHING. Not one, for the better, fucking thing. Not one. None. And you still don't weep for them, nor will you look at the battlefield and say enough! There were no terrorists in Iraq, just your run on the mill Islamists who despised America and your generally complacent Iraqi's who did not but certainly do now. Quite a success. Wolfowitz, Pearle have slinked away mumbling about their miscalculations, Powell is humiliated and Rice would still lie for him if he would only smile at her and she is still schleping her rictus face around the world achieving nothing. Somebody should smack her with an aluminum bat because aluminum bats were, in fact, manufactured to be used for one thing.

Posted by: strawman on Jan. 2, 2007

Begone, Fucktard!

Posted by: shelly on Jan. 2, 2007

We went to Iraq because we were told that the U.S. was in danger of imminent attack from Saddam Hussein because of all those Weapons of Mass Destruction he had. When it was revealed he had none, it was only then that the American People were told that we had invaded Iraq to spread democracy.

Posted by: Steve Bryant on Jan. 3, 2007

Steve, thanks for removing all doubt.

Posted by: Casca on Jan. 3, 2007

Steve Bryant,

There was never a threat and everybody who was part of promulgating the threat knew it. It was all lies. Jezzz, who by this this time doesn't know this? Aluminum tubes, mobile weapons trailers, yellow cake (which even it it were true is so fucking distant from a weapon that its laughable), mushroom clouds, anthrax, Al Qaida meetings, etc. none of it was ever true and nobody who said it was believed it was at the time they said it.

We wanted the bastard out, we want the access to the oil and the influence (bases) in the ME. It was all a RISK Game to the cabal and they lost. They were and still are inept, willfully misinformed, monarchists who have sacrificed the principals of our Democracy at the alter of their vainglorious debacle.

Its too bad that some of you think that was all a good thing, that your powerful fear and loathing after 911 was sucessfully pandered to and misdirected into the strawman of Iraq.

Posted by: strawman on Jan. 3, 2007

Casca wrote: "When we let the Kurds and Shites execute their own tactics, we'll be on the road to victory, because they're ethnically cleanse the Sunnis right the f___ out of town. Then there will be peace."

And SA et al will stand by for this? "Clarity of thought"? However, I do agree with you on the History Channel's Saturday shows, as Washington's General's, while highly abbreviated, was a good lesson in history for most Americans. That includes the segment on Lafayette.

"I have the confidence that the sleeping giant will once again awaken and stomp out the menace that is Islam."

Another person who wants to abolish the Constitution. No clarity of thought here, unfortunately...

"Pejorative sobriquets are the last refuge of those who have lost the argument."

Physician, heal thyself.

Posted by: will on Jan. 4, 2007