Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saddam executed

Finally, at long last, a troublesome Islamic head of state has been executed by those who toppled him. What has changed? Likely, not much has changed as the violence has continued to steadily escalate and costs the lives of scores of Iraqis and Americans alike each month. The Iraqis, obviously, are suffering the worst of the bloodshed and in a land of long memories, that cannot be good for those of us who have nearly reached middle age who would like to see a more peaceful world emerge. Unfortunately, total peace will never be achieved by less-than-supernatural means, nor will it be achieved by Armageddon-esque religious frenzy and a neurotic reliance on what one has learned in Sunday school for divining the future and acting to insure such an outcome.

Hurrah! Americans finally have the head of the man so many decided would make a great scapegoat for all the world's problems after the unimaginable disaster suffered in 2001. Saddam was no saint, but he wasn't a religious fanatic. He was a power fanatic who threatened the region's stability, but the old stability is certainly preferable to the ulcerative crisis we now have on our hands. Watching the video footage of the last moments of Saddam's life weren't the least bit satisfying for all the harm caused by his past invasions of his neighbors and resulting disastrous neo-con idea to invade. All I saw was a man going to an imminent death whilst the executioners casually prepared his neck for the break. The Islamic way has certainly prevailed upon Saddam, hated and beloved for allowing the U.S. an opportunity to rationalize an all-out invasion and the pitiful attempt at defending Iraq from the American force; beloved by many Sunnis as the symbol of the last days of their faction's control of the military and the government. Perhaps more violence will result from Saddam's death, but at least he's easily forgettable, since he failed to defend his nation diplomatically or militarily and thus suffered the failure's accustomed fate in Islamic politics.

As Joseph Campbell described the cultural and religious dynamic of "vegetative" societies, such as jungle culture's human sacrifice bloodlust: More death equals more life. Where a carcass decomposes, a new plant life springs forth. Sad analogy, but certainly the only possible connection to make. Unfortunately, no one seems to have complete control of what springs forth from the fertilization provided by that carcass. A more dangerous, less rational life might spring forth and ravage the land. A more vindictive, more organized, more capable, more ruthless leader might emerge from this Iraq fiasco. So far, the only possible outcome with the current circumstances is for the emergence of yet another ruthless strongman with more ambitious subordinates as Saddam when appointed vice president to Pres. al-Bakr. Al-Bakr likely was killed by Saddam in 1982. Saddam was killed by al-Maliki's, the Shiite "leader" of Iraq, government propped up by American forces. Good riddance, Saddam. I hope your ouster, capture, conviction, and death don't raise yet another martyr for the Islamic world to rally round.

The world will never sicken at the image of a human death. With all the talk I've heard from other ordinary Americans who really pay attention to the world's events, I have to believe we get the murderous society we deserve because deep down, we don't really care about other people in our own nation, much less the murderous suffering of the poor folks in Iraq who are being kidnapped, blown to bits, beheaded, shot, or sliced and diced in the disarray that plagues Iraq. The U.S. is THE MOST DANGEROUS society in the industrialized West. Our murder rate is comparable to South Africa's 2o,000 homicides per year. We should be embarrased by our lack of civility. Perhaps a move toward more civility in government in the middle east will someday emerge from folks who are downright tired of random and concerted murder and mayhem. I see that sort of sentiment also encouraging a more brutal dicatatorship akin to the Taliban emerging in places we'd never believe could descend into such a radical existence and folks gladly retreat into the shadows to acquiesce to such a government because it manages to impose a sense of order on the chaos, such as the Taliban in Afghanistan with help from ISI and Pakistani troops. Is a nation so incapable of solving its own social ills capable of providing comfort and stability for the ordinary Iraqis whose minds must be swayed to cease taking part and acquiescing to the violence before anything will change. Diminishing a will to fight can't be achieved exclusively through force of arms. Changing minds is crucial.

Let's hope a bloodier wave of violence doesn't result from this execution.


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