Sunday, December 31, 2006


Ruminations On A Hanged Dictator

So, it's been a few days, and I've got my thoughts together on the execution of Saddam Hussein.

When I first expressed my satisfaction that Saddam was dead... well, I realize it was out of keeping with my previous Six Months rule (no saying anything bad about a dead person for six months, to give the family time to mourn; until then, just attack what colleagues say about the dead man's contributions). I don't even know why I broke it for Saddam; really, was he any worse than Pinochet? But, in the end, I did. Because the man was a dictator, and he is dead. He can no longer torment his people.

Of course, given the state that his people are currently in, that does a fat lot of good. Saddam's hanging has changed nothing. In fact, it may make things worse. It says a lot when you hang a leader who's still esteemed by certain religious factions on the morning before a religious holiday. And all the while, Iraq is tearing itself apart. Saddam's death did not prevent a car bombing. It did not save an American soldier's life. It did not convince terrorists to release the victims of a mass kidnapping.

Iraq's still burning, and our leadership treats Saddam like he's some sort of milestone for progress.

I'm glad to see that man hang. I just wish it happened in a way that didn't make life horribly uncertain for the people he once tormented.

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