31 December 2006

Does this mean we win?

Saddam’s dead. Let the healing begin.

Within hours of the execution, at least 75 people
were killed in nine bombing attacks of the kind
that Sunni insurgents commonly carry out
against Shiites. In the mainly Shiite districts of
Hurriyah and Sayidah in Baghdad, separate
sequences in which car bombs detonated in
close succession caused at least 39 deaths. Two
other car bombings hit Baghdad before nightfall,
one outside a children’s hospital in the Iskan
neighborhood, and another that killed two
people outside a mosque in the mainly Sunni
district of Adhamiya, the Interior Ministry said.

Another vehicle bomb detonated in a popular fish
market in the Shiite holy town of Kufa, 100
miles south of Baghdad, killing 34 people and
wounding 38 others, the ministry said. In the
Kufa attack, an angry mob set on the suspected
bomber and beat him to death, the police said.
Five more victims died in a suicide bombing in
the northern city of Tal Afar, another center of
violence between Sunnis and Shiites.

The United States military command announced
six more combat deaths, bringing the number of
American troops killed in December to 109, the
deadliest month for American deaths since
November 2004, according to Reuters.

The road to martyrdom ain’t a pretty sight. While I’m
certainly not sad to see this asshole gone, I can’t help
thinking that once again the US has handed its enemies a
powerful weapon while compromising our own democratic
ideals in order to sweep some inconvenient truths under
the rug. Not to mention the fact that this grim affair was
carried out with all the dignity and professionalism of an
amateur bank heist.

Josh Marshall cuts through the crap.

This whole endeavor, from the very start, has
been about taking tawdry, cheap acts and
dressing them up in a papier-mache grandeur --
phony victory celebrations, ersatz
democratization, reconstruction headed up by
toadies, con artists and grifters. And this is no
different. Hanging Saddam is easy. It's a job, for
once, that these folks can actually see through to
completion. So this execution, ironically and
pathetically, becomes a stand-in for the failures,
incompetence and general betrayal of country on
every other front that President Bush has
brought us.

Try to dress this up as an Iraqi trial and it
doesn't come close to cutting it -- the Iraqis only
take possession of him for the final act, sort of
like the Church always left execution itself to the
'secular arm'. Try pretending it's a war crimes
trial but it's just more of the pretend
mumbojumbo that makes this out to be World
War IX or whatever number it is they're up to

The Iraq War has been many things, but for its
prime promoters and cheerleaders and now-
dwindling body of defenders, the war and all its
ideological and literary trappings have always
been an exercise in moral-historical dress-up for
a crew of folks whose times aren't grand enough
to live up to their own self-regard and whose
imaginations are great enough to make up the
difference. This is just more play-acting.