Sophia's Peace Work

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

I woke up to NPR on my radio Sunday Morning with the news of Hussein's capture. 'Now this should be an interesting turn of events,' I thought, 'I wonder what he'll have to say for himself.' I heard that someone told Hussein that the people of Iraq where celebrating his capture and he dismissed them as 'the mob' and that someone else asked him about the mass graves and he said they were just 'thieves.' I suppose to Hussein that is what they were. You'd have to believe such things about your enemies … it's the only way that allows you to commit such crimes and still think well of yourself. This is the central lesson that I think so many people overlook.

Still I’m curious to hear what he’ll say. Here are some other perspectives on the capture of Hussein.

Salam writes:
I want a fully functioning Saddam who will sit on a chair in front of a TV camera for 10 hours everyday and tells us what exactly happened the last 30 years. I do not care about the fair trial thing Amnesty Int. is worried about and I don't really care much about the fact that the Iraqi judges might not be fully qualified, we all know he should rot in hell. But what I do care about is that he gets a public trial because I want to hear all the untold stories.

Juan Cole Informed Comment writes:
The capture of Saddam is probably more important for US politics than for the Iraqis. The Baath Party and the Saddam cult of personality were spent forces by the end of the Gulf War, which was why Saddam was forced to rule by sheer terror. You don't have to put thousands of people in mass graves if you have a large popular mandate. So when Saddam fell, and when the Republican Guard tanks corps disintegrated last April, it was over with. Saddam could never have come back. His actual capture is just a footnote in Iraq. Of course, there are still Baathists, and some of the violence has come from them (as I have repeatedly suggested), but they are a small minority that knows how to rig bombs, not a mass movement.

In Letter from Gotham we have:
I think that most of the exultation is from people who want to do to Saddam what he did to so many others. They are entitled, but include me out. If we did this the right way, Saddam would have been removed with a scalpel, and not with a bludgeon. So the end is good, but not the means. And the entire context is so infected with lies and manipulation; I'm not dancing a jig.

And finally this from Robert Fisk of the Independent
I was amid the slums of Sadr City - once Saddam City - when a cascade of rifle fire swept the streets. I was sitting on the concrete floor of a Shia cleric who had been run down and killed by an American tank, amid Iraqis with no love for the Americans, and the gunfire grew louder. A boy walked from the room and ran back with news that Iraqi radio was announcing the capture of Saddam. And faces that had been dark with mourning - that had not smiled for a week - beamed with pleasure.

The gunfire grew louder, until clusters of bullets swarmed into the air amid grenade bursts. In the main street, cars crashed into each other in the chaos.
But this was momentary joy, not jubilation. There were no massive crowds on the boulevards of Baghdad, no street parties, no expressions of joy from the ordinary people of the capital city.

For Saddam has bequeathed to his country and to its would-be "liberators" something uniquely terrible: continued war. And there was one conclusion upon which every Iraqi I spoke to yesterday agreed.

This bedraggled, pathetic man with his matted, dirty hair, living in a hole in the ground with three guns and cash as his cave-companions - this man was not leading the Iraqi insurgency against the Americans. Indeed, more and more Iraqis were saying before Saddam's capture that the one reason they would not join the resistance to US occupation was the fear that - if the Americans withdrew - Saddam would return to power. Now that fear has been taken away. So the nightmare is over - and the nightmare is about to begin. For both the Iraqis and for us.


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