Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Way We Really Are

Debra J. Saunders complains that the media are making it difficult for her to bask in the warm afterglow of Saddam's execution:

Within hours of Saddam Hussein's hanging, the drumbeat began -- as cable-news sages pronounced that the Iraqi scourge's execution will not improve the situation in Iraq….These days, the first rule of war coverage is that nothing -- not even military victory -- will improve Iraq's prospects.
She has a point. We've generally been unwilling to let conservatives savor any of the hundred-odd “turning points” that they announce in the course of an average year. Why are we always harshing their buzz? Why are we forever dashing the Cup of Joy from the lips of these well-meaning people, whose wisdom is - as Ramesh Ponnaru points out - proven by their gimlet-eyed attention to the problem of “unintended consequences”?

I mean, besides the fact that they’re a pack of ineducable halfwit chatterboxes who’ve been consistently wrong about everything. Saunders and her ilk could do worse than to ponder that old AA motto, Your best thinking got you here.

Meanwhile, the appalling Georgie Anne Geyer applies her analytical skills to the orphic conundrum of Saddam’s execution:
“So what WAS the strange execution of Saddam Hussein, in the chill pre-dawn of an Iraqi morning last Saturday in Baghdad? What exactly did it mean?”
I think you’ll find her answer intriguing. Before she gets to it, though, she informs us that the Bush administration had hoped Saddam's trial would establish an Outpost of Progress, by showing that “Western legal practices could be implanted in the unrelenting sands of Iraq.”

Next, she lauds the Nuremberg trials for being internationalized, and bemoans the fact that the International Criminal Court “was too liberal for the radical-right Bush administration and its neocon supporters, there was no death penalty, and things moved much too slowly.”

She also clucks that Saddam got his “early advanced weaponry” from East Germany, neatly sidestepping the question of where he got his later advanced weaponry. This is the preamble to her account of his hanging, which she felt offered “none of the dignified lessons that the United States had hoped for” when it spurned the ICC for being socialistic bedwetters.

Part of the problem with the hanging was that the camerawork was so unprofessional:
[I]t was recorded not by Iraqi or Arab television, not by American or BBC television, and not by some neutral [!] cinematographer designated by the Iraqi government, but by someone who happened to be in the room with a cell phone camera! Has human history ever been so cursed?
No, never. Or at least, not since I got eyestrain from trying to watch scrambled porn in a Montreal hotel room.

Remember all that stuff about BushCo’s “radical-right” reasons for avoiding the ICC? Well, forget it. On reflection, Geyer decides that the United States “eschewed the idea of an international court for valid reasons.” But then again, maybe it didn’t:
All of this is, in great part, the result of our going it alone in Iraq, without the kinds of substantive allies that we had in World War II [like the UK, Georgie?] and the international structures we were then building.
So what does Saddam’s execution mean? Why, it means that that those confounded Iraqi chappies are nothing but a pack of uncivilized brutes, that’s what:
[L]ast weekend, as tired America was trying to start a new year, Old Iraq pushed in on us, saying, Hey, remember us? This is the way we really are. Did you think you could change us so quickly?
Ingrates, that's what they are. We free them from a brutal dictator, rebuild their infrastructure, give them plenty of electricity and clean water, reduce their unemployment rate, kowtow to their silly superstitions about strip-searching women, scrupulously avoid unnecessary violence, and - most important - completely abolish torture and indefinite detention. And this is how they repay us.

Almost makes you wonder why we bother, sometimes.


Rmj said...

Well, you know, one more death was all it was gonna take to make Iraq okay. Until the dirty liberal Western media stepped in to screw it up.

How many people in Iraq watch American news in English, again? I'm sure it's a lot, because by now we've surely brought them our enlightened language, rather than that stuff they speak.

And I thought Saddam's execution meant that if you put a rope around somebody's neck and drop 'em through the floor, it kills 'em. But what's really said is that technology let us down, again!

Well, it didn't really; people did. Technology doesn't fail us; people do.

O machine! O machine!

Phila said...

But what's really said is that technology let us down, again!

Well, it didn't really; people did. Technology doesn't fail us; people do.

Well, the important thing is that it was a deterrent to other brutal dictators. And it only led to a few copycat deaths among children.

As Bernanos said, "The instinct for justice, when equipped with all the resources of technology, is capable of laying waste to the earth itself."