Fresh Catch On Hussein : Execution Edition

A man in a suit stands on a platform in a dark, poorly lit chamber. He refuses to slip on a black hood and faces forward stoicly as a noose is lowered around his head. He challenges the manhood of his masked tormenters and abruptly disappears. A few moments later, the cell-phone video pans down to record the last few seconds of conciousness.

Welcome to the 21st Century, The Mobile Youtube "Can You Hear Me Now?" Century.

A quick glance at one page of Youtube shows nearly half a million views of the execution of Saddam Hussein. Among the chief complaints from the commenters are the cheap production design and shoddy cinematography. Even I was one of the millions of live viewers that sat transfixed on the couch waiting for news of the execution. Numbed, I felt little of the disgust that I feel now.

And all of this on the eve of Bush's demand for more sacrifice in Iraq...

It's hard to explain what is so discomforting about the Saddam execution experience. The authors of this blog do not, and will never, support capital punishment. But what type of punishment is fair for the author of the death of thousands? It all seemed surreal: The minute-by-minute updates of the preparations for execution were scrolled across the bottom of the television, seemingly text-messaged from Death himself. The announcement of Saddam's execution became secondary to the argument over the news source that had the first scoop.

Saddam's sentence to meet the hangman was a fait a compli. Even if you didn't support the punishment, it was difficult to argue that Saddam deserved to lay back and read books until he died. And you knew that it would never be allowed. He was going to die whether or not his executioner was an instrument of the state or simply a prison guard or another fellow prisoner. Saddam's number was up when he walked out of the spider hole alive, and he had been living on borrowed time ever since.

That's not to say any of this was justified, but it helps me understand why I initially felt little concern upon the announcement of his execution. Bush presided silently over one hundred executions while governing my home state (not his). Similarly, Bush has presided blindly while three thousand American soldiers died in a complex, sectarian web of violence and corruption. It's fitting that Bush could finally preside silently and blindly while his puppet government in the Desert created a martyr out of a psycopath in a scene that belonged in a gay Mel Gibson S&M movie. It was a self-fulfilling prophecy that we were powerless to prevent, and could barely avoid watching. I have been shocked so many times leading up to the moment that I barely registered the impact of this new trauma.

Bush assured Texans that each prisoner in the State was guilty of the crime and had full access to the courts. That's the min/max requirements necessary to execute another person in George W. Bush's perverse Christian ideology. And by that measure, Saddam was guilty, had "access" to the courts, and was even given a new suit. That's justice, Texas style. And Saddam's execution was certainly "done" bigger and better than we have seen before. Again, it's a success by George W. Bush's Texas standards. (Remember, he's a fake Texan too.) It should come as no surprise that the man who was sleepwalking through Hurricane Katrina would fail us again when American standards and principles were once again confronted head-on. Bush's minimum standards are so shockingly low that he would only be truly worried if the Turks threatened to steal our Easter Eggs...

Saddam deserved to be killed a thousand times over by the friends and families of your victims. But the people of America and Iraq did not deserve to have this thrust into our faces during a season of religious, spiritual, and/or emotional significance. Bush Admin officials claim to have 'expressed concern' over the timing of the execution, but we're all tired of hearing these weak, simplistic concessions of failed diplomacy. Did I previously say this was Bush's puppet government in the Desert? I guess I was mistaken about who pulls the strings these days.

Saddam's execution on the eve of the New Year, coinciding with a shared holiday season, is just the shocking trailer for Bush's plan to escalate the stakes in Iraq. Sacrifice? I think we've sacrificed just about enough blood to create some very scary demons that will be impossible to kill. And these demons will leave victims on this planet that will curse Arabs and Americans and will spread the seeds of hate against each other for generations to come.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I like to be around people that keep expectations low," Bush said to the Stanley Cup winning Carolina Hurricanes.

Really Mr. President? This really comes as quite a shock to me considering your above average handling of all other crises that have befallen the world in the last six years.

This event in and of itself may not constitute a crisis per se, but it's a painful reminder of how your administration handles difficult events...with low expectations and even lower standards.

2:54 PM  

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