First off, sorry to be so long in posting. And boy am I back-logged now - the pace of events outstripping my ability to bloviate about them.
We knew on Thursday that this was going to happen quickly, but obviously couldn't say anything. There were rumors flying YES about a Sunni, or baathist die-hard, plot to capture and execute as necessary literally busloads of schoolchildren to prevent 6 AM today - amongst other fears and pressures.
About other "pressures": I am persuaded that its one thing for 7th century death-cultists to harbor nutzoid scemes and pathologies and strategems - and quite another when we begin to subscribe to them. Beginning with Clinton's Ramadan bombing pause - right up through our Gitmo guards wearing latex gloves to keep their infidel-paws from defiling the Holy Quran - I'm real jaded of late to qualms about "cultural sensitivity" - to put it mildly.
----Wait a sec! You're telling me we're handing out Ko-rans to these nutters in Gitmo? How'd copies of "Mein-Kampf" for German POWs sound? Thought not.
Either the Koran is the Holy Text these slavering dogs are unworthy of, or blue-print for a thousand jihads - in either case it should be witheld! Thats the trouble with cognition-repression.
There's a third possibility - and that is that the Quran contains in it the holy writ of Allah and his injunctions for the world - including our immolation. Which we could duly set about doing ourselves, or alternatively - cowering behind marines we force to wear latex gloves because our tacit admission is just that - we are indeed infidels worthy only of throat-slitting for our disobediance to the holy writ of Allah. Well, argue with that. What does our behavior SAY TO THEM. (and to our posterity, more importantly). Anyone else beginning to feel we're not much more worthy than slaves? No, LESS! For surrendering in abject prostration to a century already defeated millenia ago. For surrendering to nothing more than chutzpah and psycho-bullying. What the hell sucked the marrow out of our bones? How the hell do you exalt the Japanese Emperor while asking your sons and daughters to die fighting his adherents in the Pacific. This is a recipe for more than defeat --- for negotiated collapse!
Anyhoo - Saddam. Noone earned a beheading more, yet none died more humanely in Iraq in 2006. I am however, ashamed and surprised at my reaction. I wanted him strung up as much as anybody, or made to suffer endlessly - but all I saw up on the scaffold was a scared, frail old, bushy-eye-browed grandfather, suddenly human. Somehow dignified, somehow lucid and composed.
Its a running joke in Baghdad that Plan "Z" was always Saddam. If Iraq were losing 1,000 a day - we always had Plan "Z". Order would be restored within one hour under Plan "Z". The plan would take 30 minutes to transport Saddam from prison to Iraqi TV broadcast center. 15 more minutes for him to get dressed. 4 minutes for him to clear his throat and make himself presentable, and one minute to step to the microphone and utter one two-word phrase . . . . "I'm baaaaa-aaaaack."
I woke up this morning around the same time as Saddam, (assuming he slept), in the same city, upset over having to do maintenance on our trucks. (bummer). He faced the gallows. I couldn't help but transpose myself, to put myself in his shoes. (We know perfectly well what he'd do in mine - begin killing his way to the top). Un-controlled carnage happens everyday in Iraq - but rarely does anyone face the certainty, (not the likelihood - THE CERTAINTY) of the moment and exact time of your departure. Before and after. I knew Saddam was alive (and scared) when I awoke. I knew he'd be gone by the time we reached the trucks. Watching the video at lunch of the certainty that'd occurred only a few short hours prior gave a luster of wistfullness to more than just me. Plan Z was gone forever, along with the unwelcome assurance it provided all of us sick of the barking mad insanity in Baghdad.
And I in his shoes - I question my own composure. Then again it was TV. And TV's tricked me before.
I think this is all celebrity syndrome - if I were to diagnose myself. Saddam was larger than life. Reduced to just life, in an instant, when the the noose went around his neck - and the mind recoils from the incongruity of it all.
And more than a little bit is "Ozzy" syndrome. Thats what we call my Step-Dad. And he and I would sit outside and mockingly chortle of the "unfairness" Saddam was dealt. (Faux)-honoring him with the (faux)-respect which (wasn't) due him. It was our way of internalizing the clinically insane Arab (and Western - for that matter) press and the defense it offered him. In this inverted, mock-universe - Saddam's accusers were liars, all he ever tried to do was build a better country for his people, and in any case Israel and the US were worse. And for the Coup - We'd both vote for Hillary and she would set the universe to right. We euphemistically call Ozzy's new home by the River "Saddamsewee" both in mock honor of Saddam, and in mockery of the small size of Ozzy's parcel. ("Hoppsewee" is a legendary, palacial Plantation home in our neck of the woods.) And Ozzy, when you're reading this - know that our mock-hero stands and trials-by-media have changed forever - and I'm just as forlorn as you. Its probably good we're not together this evening, for our collective mock-grief would overwhelm us both. Just like when they got "Baghdad Bob" - our lives have never had the same entertainment since.
Anyway, there will be no return. "The Survivor" is dead, and good riddance. But I confess I do marvel at his departure. And if Mowafiq Al Rubaie's account is true, that one of Saddam's executioners (likely a Shiite shit-head, and thus utterly plausible) uttered the phrase, "Long Live Moqtada Al Sadr" - then we have cause to be truly wistful indeed. We are out of the frying pan . . .
(and we're gonna have to smash up the whole damn kitchen. Don't try and read my mind . . . We made Stalin happy when we ground Hitler into powder too. Didn't mean we didn't have the stones to see 'em both off. There's more than two games in town . . . )