Any man's death may diminish me but I'm prepared to accept that there are cases which may be an exception to that rule.
I find a delicious irony in that yesterday two gravely ill patients finally died: Chris Hitchins and, officially, the U.S. "Operation Iraqi Freedom".
Hitchens never wavered from his love for the Third Gulf War, and, in retrospect, he might have done better to have gone to fight and sought a more merciful death there, stopping his ears before the inevitably dirty and sordid little finale to this ridiculous mess of hubris, treachery, lies, foolishness, and error made something tawdry and mocking of his ferocity in fighting the "war" from behind his keyboard.
I wonder (because I can't and won't ever know how ill he was at the end)...did the news of the official ignominious retreat from the Bush Salient contribute to ol' Hitch's willingness to depart this Vale?
Because if so he might well be included in the wretched toll this reverse-Machiavellian nonsense exacted from the West.
And as for OIF, well, that sucker was shot in the head eight years ago, when a clown-car full of rage-drunk idiots and cynical thieves tried to sneak into a foreign land and steal it on the cheap, justifying their theft with lies and evasions, muffing the thievery with ignorance and arrogance, and then taking years and years to accept that they couldn't change thousands of years of human history and hundreds of years of poverty, misgovernment, sectarian hatred, and Ottoman incompetence by their pure will alone. The entire mess was doomed from the start, it just took eight years for the fantasists in D.C. to recognize it was walking dead, and the only beneficiaries of its zombie progress since then have been the various outfits that have made millions looting the Occupation and the Malikist strain of Iraqi Shia who now stand to consolidate their kleptocracy with the help of the pals to the northeast.
It's not "over" for the ordinary Iraqi, mind you. The mess that Dubya and Dick created when they knocked over the Baathist toybox in the valley of the Tigris and Euphrates won't be "over" for years, or decades. The social, economic, and political disaster that the idiots who truly believed that they "made their own reality" will haunt the poor bastards that live in that haunted land for generations.
What a congeries; Saddam, Dubya, Darth Cheney, Hitchins...can you imagine a more seedy and disparate group when they foregather in Hell twenty years from now?
Saddam peering at the others with his shifty, bluffing eyes hard in his dough-face, looking, as always, for the openings of fear or avarice that bullies always recognize, even after years of devilish torment still the Tikriti hardman.
Cheney snarling and defiant, knowing that he's still the smartest guy in the room, even in Eblis.
Dubya, still his patrician bobo, with that look of earnest and clueless vacancy still on his mug, at the same time gormless and venal - he can't understand why a Good Christian Man like him should be here with the Devil getting red-hot pokers shoved up his jacksie three times a day.
And Hitchins, drink in hand, fleering and mocking the other three idiots while, perhaps, just perhaps, recognizing the same hint of bully and grifter in himself; for all his faults he was a perceptive man. He may well have the worst of it; lacking the supreme egotism of the dictator, the dupe, and the schemer beside him he may just have a dark glimmering of the disaster they helped create between them and, worse, feel some sort of dim shame at the results.
Because all around them, the shades; the children ripped to pieces in a Ramadi street, the women buried in rubble of a Fallujah home, the trooper missing a leg that the landmine tore from his body, the widow dead of suicidal despair, the orphan raped and murdered by his captor, the hopeless, the fool, the martyr, the criminal, the lost, and the devoured.
And for what?
This fucking disaster is now just another day for most of the rest of the world, and I have little hope that it will be long remembered or regarded in my own country, either. Saddam and Hitch are beyond penalty, and neither Dubya nor Dick will ever pay the price they should. It's just done and dusted.
So all I can hope for is that somehow my vision might be accomplished; that in some future afterlife these dead men find a little of the misery and despair of the ghosts their evil created. That it penetrates the group around that table there in Hades, and that the sorry bastards enjoy a long, bitter draught of it before their tormentors herd them back to the Fires that they so deeply deserve.