Saturday, December 30, 2006

papier-mache grandeur

* josh:
"It's a hornet's nest. But I'm game. So why not jump in.

"Bush administration officials" are telling CNN that Saddam Hussein will be hanged this weekend. Convention dictates that we precede any discussion of this execution with the obligatory nod to Saddam's treachery, bloodthirsty rule and tyranny. But enough of the cowardly chatter. This thing is a sham, of a piece with the whole corrupt, disastrous sham that the war and occupation have been. Bush administration officials are the ones who leak the news about the time of the execution. One key reason we know Saddam's about to be executed is that he's about to be transferred from US to Iraqi custody, which tells you a lot. And, of course, the verdict in his trial gets timed to coincide with the US elections.

This whole endeavor, from the very start, has been about taking tawdry, cheap acts and dressing them up in a papier-mache grandeur -- phony victory celebrations, ersatz democratization, reconstruction headed up by toadies, con artists and grifters. And this is no different. Hanging Saddam is easy. It's a job, for once, that these folks can actually see through to completion. So this execution, ironically and pathetically, becomes a stand-in for the failures, incompetence and general betrayal of country on every other front that President Bush has brought us.

Try to dress this up as an Iraqi trial and it doesn't come close to cutting it -- the Iraqis only take possession of him for the final act, sort of like the Church always left execution itself to the 'secular arm'. Try pretending it's a war crimes trial but it's just more of the pretend mumbojumbo that makes this out to be World War IX or whatever number it is they're up to now.

The Iraq War has been many things, but for its prime promoters and cheerleaders and now-dwindling body of defenders, the war and all its ideological and literary trappings have always been an exercise in moral-historical dress-up for a crew of folks whose times aren't grand enough to live up to their own self-regard and whose imaginations are great enough to make up the difference. This is just more play-acting.

These jokers are being dragged kicking and screaming to the realization that the whole thing's a mess and that they're going to be remembered for it -- defined by it -- for decades and centuries. But before we go, we can hang Saddam. Quite a bit of this was about the president's issues with his dad and the hang-ups he had about finishing Saddam off -- so before we go, we can hang the guy as some big cosmic 'So There!'"

* larisa:
"I am not someone who would ever defend Saddam or his criminal and murderous reign. But I think we need to understand something very important here. Iraq is caving under the pressure of a civil war, the body count now grows over 600,000, the situation is getting worse by the moment. Hanging Saddam now would set a flame to Iraq and ignite something beyond words.

Who is pushing this timetable and why?

This execution will not benefit the Iraqi people right now, the Iraqi government, or the US. I have become cynical enough to see this as beneficial only to one group of people: Cheneyites. There is no other way to see it.

I fully chaotic Iraq will require more troops, thereby justifying the so called "surge." The surge in itself is a positioning move to build up forces in the gulf for an attack on Iran.

I am not saying that Saddam should be spared. On the contrary, I think he should be executed and if there was really justice, I could think of a long list of names who should join him. Including his suppliers, backers, handlers, and so forth. There will not be, however, justice in any real sense, as the the rest of the criminal mechanism behind and around Saddam will continue to call for moral clarity or something that sounds equally pleasant to the ears.

But since Saddam will be the only one to be held accountable, then should it not be more important that the security situation in Iraq be more stable before this step is taken? How do the Iraqi people benefit, I ask again.

This is a spark that will ignite a probably unstoppable wild fire. But for those who think the means justify the end, this wild fire is a comma, nothing more. Imagine nearly a million people dead as a comma. Stunning, is it not?"

* AP:
"Seven police officers were indicted Thursday on murder or attempted murder charges in a pair of shootings on a bridge that left two people dead during the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The district attorney portrayed the officers as trigger happy.

"We cannot allow our police officers to shoot and kill our citizens without justification like rabid dogs," District Attorney Eddie Jordan said.

The shootings took place under murky circumstances six days after the storm and became one of the most widely cited examples of the anarchy that descended after Katrina.

Two men were killed and four people wounded on the Danziger Bridge, which spans the Industrial Canal."

murky is right.

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