Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saddam is Dead, Iraq on Life Support

I don't approve of capital punishment, but if anyone deserves the death penalty, it would be a mass-murdering dictator such as Saddam. That being said, I cannot condone his execution. The trial was a farce, with changing judges and defense lawyers and circus-like atmosphere, that seemed concerned only with the result. By being a party to this process, what we're showing is that we don’t respect due process, i.e., the rule of law, when it’s "inconvenient." I suppose this is consistent with what the Bush Administration has done with the detainees in Guantanamo and secret prisons in Europe. Nevertheless, I believe that if we were truly comfortable with the process, the Bush Administration would have been inclined to make a spectacle out of it rather than rushing to hold an execution at dawn with no notice. After all, what from its perspective could be better than showing the Butcher of Baghdad being brought to justice?

In reading some discussion of the appropriateness of the execution, I came across the blog of an Iraqi woman, and her post on this subject. Her blog is amazing, and I have begun to comb her archives to see the change of perspective discussed in this post --
Nearly four years ago, I cringed every time I heard about the death of an American soldier. They were occupiers, but they were humans also and the knowledge that they were being killed in my country gave me sleepless nights. Never mind they crossed oceans to attack the country, I actually felt for them.

Had I not chronicled those feelings of agitation in this very blog, I wouldn't believe them now. Today, they simply represent numbers. 3000 Americans dead over nearly four years? Really? That's the number of dead Iraqis in less than a month. The Americans had families? Too bad. So do we. So do the corpses in the streets and the ones waiting for identification in the morgue.

Is the American soldier that died today in Anbar more important than a cousin I have who was shot last month on the night of his engagement to a woman he's wanted to marry for the last six years? I don't think so.

Just because Americans die in smaller numbers, it doesn't make them more significant, does it?
Right now Bush is considering what next to do in Iraq, but his plan almost certainly will include an increase in the number of troops sent there. I would like to believe that the new Democratic majority would tell him to forget it, but with people like Lieberman giving the Democrats their majority, I'm not optimistic. This analysis reflects my view on the subject -- why does the focus seem to be on figuring out what to do with more troops, a suggestion opposed by most of the military experts, rather than figuring out the best step to take next? Then again, I should know better than to hold any expectations of reasonableness from this Administration -- starting with the invasion in the first place, I have yet to see any sign that said reasonableness exists with respect to its Iraq policies.