was, make no mistake, a very satisfying image.
Hussein, the erstwhile butcher of Baghdad, looking
grizzled, frazzled and not unlike a homeless transient
-- which, come to think of it, he was -- as he
submitted to a medical examination, courtesy of
his captors, the United States Army.
former Fearless Leader was, we are told, plucked
from a vermin-infested hole in the ground, an
image that makes analogy superfluous. Though he
was armed, this fellow who urged his followers
to go out with guns blazing and whose sons died
in just that manner, chose not to make a stand.
Instead, he meekly surrendered, saying, incredibly,
that he wished to negotiate.
the mighty fall. Thus, the grandiose become small.
I said: a satisfying image.
question of the week, however, seems to be whether
it is satisfying enough to invalidate opposition
to the war. Some pundits have suggested that it
is. Indeed, Howard Dean made headlines simply
for affirming that he still thinks invading Iraq
was a bad idea -- a statement his fellow Democratic
contenders for the presidency jumped on as a starving
man does an all-you-can-eat buffet.
Joe Lieberman, for instance, suggested that Dean
had ``climbed into his own spider hold of denial.''
it's Lieberman -- and anyone else who thinks Hussein's
humiliation validates the Iraq war -- who's in
feel like an ant at a picnic for pointing this
out. Indeed, the only thing that might feel more
awkward than standing aside from the celebratory
conga line would be to join it. Because joining
it requires one to conveniently forget that the
reason we went to war was not to find Hussein,
but to find weapons of mass destruction, which,
we were told, represented a clear and present
danger to our security. Those weapons are yet
to be found, and the suspicion is strong that
they simply do not exist, that calamitous failures
of intelligence led the nation to spend time,
treasure and lives on a war that did not need
to be fought.
you make that point, people invariably respond
that the world is a better place without Hussein
in power. This is true.
also true that the world would be a better place
without Kim Jong Il, Fidel Castro and Moammar
Gadhafi in power.
unless one is arguing for war with North Korea,
Cuba and Libya, the caveat about Iraq is beside
the point. Moreover, it's an after-the-fact obfuscation
that fuels suspicion the president was disingenuous
or misinformed when he made the case for war.
think I'm wrong? I hope you're right.
On this subject at least, nobody would eat crow
more enthusiastically than I. Because from where
I sit, this war looks like a bigger and bloodier
mistake every day. We have grabbed the proverbial
wolf by the ears and can't let go. Meanwhile,
our stated goal in doing so is unrealized and
being written by the winners, maybe that won't
matter much 10 years from now. Maybe it will be
accepted as fact that we went to war primarily
to liberate the Iraqi people.
me if I find that possibility disturbing. This
whole business of attack now, pick a justification
later, squanders American prestige and undermines
American moral authority. As does the tendency
on the part of the nation and its leaders to claim
Iraq as part of the ''War on Terrorism,'' though
there is, as of yet, no proven connection between
Saddam Hussein and the events of Sept. 11.
it does the heart good to know one of the most
brutal tyrants of modern times was found hiding
in a hole with other rats. Couldn't happen to
a nicer guy.
ought not pretend, though, that it means more
than it does.
image satisfies. It does not justify.
Posted: December 20, 2003