Saturday, December 30, 2006
Fruit of the Poison Tree
So Saddam got turned off today somewhere in an Iraqi prison by executioners who were unwilling to let their faces be shown in public.
Somewhere there's a moral there. I'm just not sure what the hell it is.
If anyone deserved to be hanged it was Saddam. He was surely right up there with Idi and Augusto and Pol Pot and Ceacescu and the other Mean Girls of the 20th Century. I'm sure that outside of a few families in Tikrit the mourning will be brief.
And yet...it seems so...wasted. Such an empty gesture, the hanging of what amounts to a living effigy of the once-fiercely mustachioed villian. In the sagging, grizzled cleaned-up-homeless-guy-looking guest of honor for today's necktie party I got no sense of the immense appetite for evil, the Aida-scene presence and Las Vegas taste in interior decor that once made the man such a perfect successor to the flamboyantly murderous despots of the past; Caligula in a pork-pie hat, Hermann Goering with an abaya and a Groucho mustache. Given the bloody chaos enveloping Iraq today the whole business seems like conducting a painstaking forensic murder investigation in one of the extermination barracks at Bergen-Belsen.
And so, Saddam. Self-made despot, once the handshaking partner of Donnie Rumsfeld, scourge of Anfal, now hanged by his enemies in a hidden basement, somewhere in the wreckage of the nation he and his old enemies the Bushes have ruined. I think the theory was that this was supposed to be the official "happy ending" to the original invasion, the part where the hero and heroine (Dubya and...Condi?) clinch (ewwwww!) and fade to black, but events having made it clear that the hero is dumber than a bag of hammers and the heroine and the rest of his hangers on are doing everything they can - including sacrificing our lives, fortunes and sacred honor - to prevent him from receiving the usual punishment for his preternatural stupidity the scene has been overwhelemed by the other, more spectacular and gruesome endings. Sort of like the last fifteen minutes of Peter JAckson's LOTR: The Return of the King only with suicide bombs and sectarian militias. The sendoff for the old bastard just gets lost in the corpse pile...
In ancient times barbarian rulers left ruined cities, piled pyramids of skulls or lined roadways with the remains of their victims so that in the sight of these awful monuments passersby could feel horror at the very name of the departed. Long after, names like Timur the Lame and Attila would have the speaker spit and make the sign of the horned one against the chance that the Devil's Own might hear themselves spoken of and return.
Today the Butcher of Baghdad is gone, and it seems to me that the only appropriate monument to this tyrant at this time is:
Fred Clark over at Slacktivist has more, and says it better, as well.
Sigh. Well, at least my breath is minty fresh and I'm wearing clean underpants. Sometimes you just gotta concentrate on what you can do well.