Saddam's Death, America's Victory
From Richard Miniter...
I am hearing from American sources in Baghdad that Saddam may be executed shortly after dawn on Saturday morning. The timing is the hands of the Iraqis. While the media seems to assume a hanging, the Americans I spoke with do not actually know for sure what the method of execution will be. It could be a firing squad.
While no one is saying it, the execution of Saddam will be another milestone victory in the war. If he had survived, America’s ability to vanquish its foes (and to deter other potential foes) would always be in question. Castro outlasted eight presidents. General Giap lived to see Saigon renamed Ho Chi Minh City. Saddam’s death will be noted by Libya’s Gadhaffi, Syria’s Assad, North Korea’s Kim Jong Il, Venezuela’s Chavez, and the mullahs of Iran. Our would-be friends are watching too, especially in Islamabad, Riyadh, Cairo, Paris and Berlin. The lesson will not be lost. Sometimes it really is more dangerous to be our enemy than our friend.
The question that is buzzing in the Green Zone is: What to do with body of the dictator? Many believe that, like Hitler, the Iraqi dictator should not be given a marked grave that could the site of veneration by fanatical followers. While there is certainly some wisdom to this thinking, it does not seem that Saddam has many followers left and his legacy is unlikely to produce new ones. (His murderous reign lacks the romantic qualities that attract acolytes and his friends were always paid.) More likely, a marked grave would become a rallying place for anti-American, anti-democracy and anti-Shia demonstrations.
Still, as any visitor to Baghdad knows, Saddam’s monuments are everywhere in evidence. Yes, one statue has been pulled down as has a few other plaques. But so far the icons of Saddam-mania remain, like Ozymandias. The giant hands holding crossed swords still arch across the road. As do the various tasteless highway monuments. As do the palace reliefs with Saddam’s face in various helmets. And so on. So rallying points remain. (Why? Ask Paul Bremer.)
The main reason that Saddam deserves an unmarked grave and his remains burnt and scattered, is that the unceremonious hole was the fate of tens of thousands of his victims. His end should be no better. And his passing should make us think about them, not him.