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If Only Saddam Had Made More Love — Or Something Like That

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Perhaps it’s the wrong time to talk of increasing troop levels in Iraq.

After all, the outpouring of sympathy for Saddam has only just died down. You see, Saddam Hussein wasn’t such an ogre. We know this because his jail nurse told of how the former ruler of Iraq would plant flowers in the garden and feed the birds. He was a model prisoner who quietly read poetry, made small talk and cracked jokes.

I mean, bad enough that Hussein be made to atone for his ritualistic slaughter of Iraqis who dared not be Sunni in religion and Arabic in ethnicity. But, by gosh and by golly, his dignity was assaulted by the Shi’ite militants who hung him. Saddam’s dignity, damnit! Conveniently forgetting how he was found cowering in a hole in the ground and immediately surrendered himself, of course. Very dignified indeed.

You see, after failing to find WMDs, the sole raison d’etre for being in Iraq was to preserve Saddam’s precious dignity. The War in Iraq became a human-rights issue, Saddam’s first and foremost.

For instance, the esteemable Tory Boris Johnson wrote in the January 4 edition of The Daily Telegraph:

“I can’t believe you missed the manner in which they bumped off the former Iraqi leader, but in case you are one of the few on the planet who does not have access to a television or the internet, it was a hellish business.

The viewer was led by cameraphone into some dark dungeon full of hooded men. There was a rope and scaffold, and the only visible face was Saddam’s, looking grim and dignified. You could see flash after flash from the cameras and hear them goading and taunting a man on the verge of his death …

Then there was a yammering of ‘Moqtada! Moqtada! Moqtada!’, in honor of the fanatical Shia cleri, and a chanting of the name of the Prophet, and then — whoosh! — alomst in slow motion you saw him fall through the trap.

There was a great scuffling, and joyous shouts, and at last you had what they call the money shot: a man in death, his bloody neck at right angles.

Was this what we fought for? Is this really the lesson in human rights and Western values we hoped to deliver to the people of Iraq? This wasn’t justice. This was a sectarian lynch mob. This was a snuff movie.”

Johnson has a point about a sectarian lynch mob. No denying that. This was revenge on a grand scale. And, despite our common cause in seeing Saddam’s exit not only from power but from this Earth, the Shia militants in Iraq can hardly be considered friends of ours. True enough. Point taken.

But could we please knock off the self-righteous garbage about “dignity” and “human rights” where Saddam’s execution is concerned? Johnson called Saddam’s hanging “disgusting.” Apparently, Boris Johnson has not heard about what Saddam Hussein did to the Shi’ite community in 1982 and the brutal crackdown on them in the wake of the First Gulf War. And, if you want a definition of “disgusting” that is truly ionospheric in scope, you could hardly do better than Saddam’s attack on the Kurds in 1988. Tapes played in court shortly after Saddam’s execution confirmed the planning of this slaughter. In the wake of the Anfal Campaign, even Noam Chomsky condemned Saddam Hussein’s Iraq as “perhaps the most violent and repressive state in the world.”

On the same day that Johnson’s commentary appeared in the Telegraph, the editorial board of The Times proved that they were far more in touch with reality when they wrote: “At least, thankfully, Nouri al-Maliki, the [Iraqi] Prime Minister, appears to have grasped the fiasco that has dangerously endowed Saddam with a reputation for courage and dignity as he went to a ‘martyr’s’ death.”

It’s hardly a surprise that most Sunnis and the Palestinians — Saddam’s favorite pet people — would talk of Saddam’s courage. It’s a shock to discover that supposedly educated Westerners who never had to worry about being dragged away and tortured for saying a word out-of-line would talk of his “courage” and — yes, there’s that word again — “dignity” as well.

Happily, The Times confirmed that its staff avoided the KoolAid when they editorialized: “Outsiders should be wary of condemning Iraqi attitudes to Saddam’s execution: the horrors they suffered during his long tyranny are unimaginable to most people in the West, and the indignities his victims endured far outweigh the mockery of his execution.”

Saddam’s execution was disappointing and it was a mockery. It’s not at all what the U.S. or Britain wanted, and for good reason. It embodied all that is wrong with and the chaos reigning supreme in Iraq. But what’s done is done. Learn lessons from it and move on.

* * *

Meanwhile, the civil war rages on, and President Bush’s answer is to send another 21,500 troops to Iraq. Jeez, what a moron. Bush and the G.O.P. really have no clue, do they? As everyone knows, you cannot expect to fight a successful — or at least a noble — war by increasing troop levels. You send in only the toughest, elite units and hope for the best. You might even pray. After all, this strategy worked brilliantly in Haiti and Somalia last decade. Then you complain ceaselessly that it was an illegal war and doomed to fail and agonize that the U.N. wasn’t involved so you could put American troops under their command.

But, alas, U.N. soldiers were too busy raping children in Congo and Sudan, as it turns out, to have been much use in Iraq.

As the AP’s Ben Feller wrote, progress is overdue and patience is all but gone. We were promised a quick outcome and yet the war drags on. I wonder what the reason for this is. Hmmm, insufficient troop levels, perhaps? Well, golly gee, slap my ass and call me Rummy.

And “Democrats remain wary of appearing unsupportive of American troops?” I guess that explains why they oppose bolstering the American presence in Iraq and are looking into ways of cutting off the funds for it. Damnit, where’s Donna Shalala when you need her? Imagine the impassioned speech she could give on behalf of anti-war Democrats:

“Fellow Americans, I had a working mother come up to me the other day, and she was really distraught. ‘Ms. Shalala, is it true?’ she asked me, tears running down her cheeks. ‘Is the President really going to increase defense spending to try to win that awful, immoral and illegal war in Iraq?’

“‘Donna,’ she said, ‘you must understand, I have a 18-year-old son who’s just going into college. What’s he going to do if the state can’t provide him with condoms necessary to his educational experience?’ Think about that, folks, think about the burden this young man will have to shoulder by learning personal responsibility by purchasing his own condoms. It just isn’t right. They’re taking condoms away from your babies!

It’s times like this when the Lady Speaker of the House may just be able to put those San Francisco values to fine use in order to rescue the country. Are you listening, Nancy? The yout’s of America depend on you.

Just file under “Make Love, Not War.”

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About Nightdragon

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Pure genius, Mark. Give us more! I demand it!

    Dave

  • SHARK

    Oh gawd.

    “Satire” for morons.

    “Irony” for idiots.

    “Genius” to Nalle.

    Figures.

  • SHARK

    Manning’s section 1: all you needed to say was this:

    “…Saddam’s execution was disappointing and it was a mockery. It’s not at all what the U.S. or Britain wanted, and for good reason. It embodied all that is wrong with and the chaos reigning supreme in Iraq. But what’s done is done. Learn lessons from it and move on.”

    The rest was useless bullshit, and worse yet, it was pathetic satire along the lines of: “…You see, after failing to find WMDs, the sole raison d’etre for being in Iraq was to preserve Saddam’s precious dignity.”

    Not too late to delete that and everything else EXCEPT the first sentence quoted above — and thus preserve a smidgen of dignity for yourself hereabouts.

    =======

    Manning’s section 2:

    MEM: “…the civil war rages on, and President Bush’s answer is to send another 21,500 troops to Iraq. Jeez, what a moron. Bush and the G.O.P. really have no clue, do they?”

    Dude, here’s a tip from a satire expert; when ‘trying’ to write irony — sometimes ya wanna avoid a sentence that is explicitly, universally accepted TO BE FUCKING TRUE — especially if people are dyin’ as a result.

    MEM: “As everyone knows, you cannot expect to fight a successful — or at least a noble – war by increasing troop levels.”

    I know you were tryin’ to be cute here, but ever heard of Vietnam? Again, see advice above.

    ====

    PS: Nov. 7, 2006 not sit so well with you? You sound angry. And you look like shit in that photo. Lay off the ale, chips, and Right-wing Despair, ‘kay.

  • Clavos

    Dude, here’s a tip from a satire expert

    Great! I love satire; why don’t you post some one of these days?

  • SHARK

    Have at it.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Shark seems to have confused Satire and Bathos.

    Dave

  • http://nightdragon.diaryland.com Mark Edward Manning

    Thanks, Dave. I’ll do my best.

    Can’t lay off the ad hominems, can you, Shark? I’ll have you know I’m running 5 miles every day and wearing waist-size 30 jeans, I’m no slug. At least I’m willing to show myself which is more than can be said for you, old man.

    As for your “suggestions,” I was mixing satire with real life. You see, writers are allowed to do this, it doesn’t have to be one thing nor the other.

  • Clavos

    Nov. 7, 2006 not sit so well with you?

    What happened then??

    Oh, right. The Democrat liars, cheats and thieves regained the power.

    Plus ça change…

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIMW5iYFGhM D’oh

    Oh Clavos, your #8 truly disappoints.

  • Clavos

    Sometimes, the little cynic inside slips his bonds.

    Time will tell, D’oh.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIMW5iYFGhM D’oh

    No matter Clavos, final straw for me, and all that.

    Enjoy the vitriol and baseless, broad brush, AM radio style, insult fest.

    “time wounds all heels” – RAH

    I give up even attempting to discuss political matters. The echo chamber noise machine scores again.

  • Clavos

    Damn, D’oh!

    I REALLY hope you don’t mean that!

    There are too few willing to carry on a civil discussion as it is.

    I’ll admit it: some posts bring out the worst in me; such that when I run up against vitriol I respond in kind, at least in this milieu.

    Have you noticed I’ve not addressed either incarnation that way? There’s a reason for that…

    Don’t do it, man. Your voice is needed to help keep the echo chamber down.

    Ever upward?

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIMW5iYFGhM D’oh

    It’s been noticed, of course, Clavos. Hence #9.

    But it’s done.

    Current events, philosophy and the like, I may comment on occasionally, but political discourse is worthless in this venue as far as I am concerned, and I have no desire to participate in the lowest common denominator any further.

    Be well, and see you “around”.

  • Clavos

    One last…

    I have no desire to participate in the lowest common denominator any further.

    So, stick around and help keep it from going down there?

    ¿Por favor?

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIMW5iYFGhM D’oh

    Clavos, I’ve been fighting that particular battle for quite a long time now. Have a look at the articles in the politics section (including this particular piece) and you will see the effort has been nothing but a frustrating waste.

    Fair enough, and I’ve been Quixote for far too long.

    Enough of the hijacking, and a hearty, fuck it.

  • Clavos

    I can’t counter your argument cogently, because you’re right.

    It’s just…well, isn’t it letting the crap float to the top?

    The world NEEDS Quixotes (Lord knows this blog does!), and I think Cervantes thought so, too.

    I’m really sorry it’s come to that, and I hate it if I was the straw.

    You’re a good man, Mr. M. And I mean that from the heart.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIMW5iYFGhM D’oh

    No worries Clavos, and nothing from you was the deciding factor, forgive me for the aiming.

    The senseless bullshit in commentary, and the blatant partisan drivel from most of the articles were prime cause.

    Thank you for the compliment and know the sentiment is returned.

  • Clavos

    If you ever need a Sancho, you know who to call, D’oh…

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Cut it out, you guys…yer making me cry!

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    I’ve heard it before, so my tear ducts are dry.

    If you don’t like the level of discourse, do something to raise it. Don’t just be a pawn of the beast.

    As for this article, I thought it was fun. It’s more than just the ‘lowest common denominator’. If you like I can point that out to you in other recent articles.

    This article offers a nice combination of wry observances and fundamental truth, even if you don’t like the political perspective.

    Dave

  • MCH

    “I’ll have you know I’m running 5 miles every day and wearing waist-size 30 jeans, I’m no slug.”
    Mark Edward Manning

    Wow. So what’s holding you back from enlisting?

  • SonnyD

    AAAAH Now I get it MCH, you are an ornery bird aren’t you?

  • SHARK

    Oh D’oh, c’mon, don’t be so dramatic; it’s the figgin’ internet!

    Lemme repeat that:

    IT’S THE FRIGGIN’ INTERNET.

    So what did you expect? A debate among Jesuits in an Oxford chat room??

    If ya got somethin’ to say, say it.

    Put it out into the Universe. It might do some good.

    xxoo
    SHARK [who’s part of the problem]

    =====

    PS: I promise to behave…

    until someone says something stupid, meaningless, or simply outright friggin’ despicable.

  • SHARK

    um, Manning, just to be fair — -amongst the ad homs — I explicitly criticized yer silly little right-wing comedy routine.

    The bit about any ‘sympathy’ for Saddam has not only ALREADY been done to death by a number of writers and commentors — it’s like shootin’ fish in a barrel.

    So *Hilter painted roses. Fuck him in hell.

    zzzzzzzzzzzzz….

    =====

    re: Section 2 — Iraq, we lost. Get over it.

    But you actually missed the most explicit argument for continuing to send GOP cannon fodder — um, I mean American soldiers — into Iraq: IF THIS IS REALLY — as Bush asserts — THE PRIMARY BATTLEGROUND against terrorists and the “ideological fight of the 21st century” — THEN WHY DON’T WE SEND IN LIKE SAY 500,000 ADDITIONAL TROOPS?

    haha. The hawks are hamstrung by their own “political” restrictions — ironically, the same thing that they blame for the loss of vietnam.

    It’s a Big Deal, but not important enough to justify massive casualities among Americans.

    Jeesus. ~Shit or get off the Iraq pot.

    =======

    re: yer photo — I don’t care what you say; you still look like W.C. Fields under a Suicide Watch.

  • Arch Conservative

    “The bit about any ‘sympathy’ for Saddam has not only ALREADY been done to death by a number of”

    Yes and the bit about “George Bush is responsible for all of the nation’s and the world’s problems” has been done to death as well but you’re not quite sick of that are ya Guppy?

  • Franco

    D’oh

    We don’t get along. We stay clear of the other for the most part, but I still read everythng you post and while I do not alway agree, I learn from you man.

    This doesn’t mean we have to punch-post out rounds together. What it means is you are influential beyond what you see.

    Clavos is right, I hope you stay.

    JOM

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    But you actually missed the most explicit argument for continuing to send GOP cannon fodder — um, I mean American soldiers — into Iraq: IF THIS IS REALLY — as Bush asserts — THE PRIMARY BATTLEGROUND against terrorists and the “ideological fight of the 21st century” — THEN WHY DON’T WE SEND IN LIKE SAY 500,000 ADDITIONAL TROOPS?

    OMG, Shark said something that made sense. Someone note the time and date.

    This is exactly the problem with the War in Iraq. I’m willing to accept the idea that it really is the main front in a giant war which actually has to be fought. There’s sound reasoning behind that. But we cannot fight such a war the way it ought to be fought with our military as currently configured. We either need a draft or we need to redesign our military from the ground up.

    The GOP – and IMO this is one of the places where it has a moral advantage over the Dems – is opposed to a draft on principle, something the Democrats believed during Vietnam, but seem to have forgotten since that time. That rules out drafting enough soldiers to overwhelm our enemies.

    That being the case we should be focusing on redesigning our military around the idea of smaller numbers of very highly trained and specialized troops, with much more reliance on automation, remote weapons systems and rapid deployment capability. Some efforts have been made in this direction, but nothing like what’s needed. At this point in history with our technology there is no reason why we shouldn’t have front line units which are mostly remotely controlled, including tanks, aircraft and seagoing vessels as well.

    We don’t have these resources because we went to war before we thought things through. We needed to redesign our military BEFORE we went to war rather than going to war with what we had while making patchwork changes after the fact. In the Iraq war we are fighting the enemy at their level – or relatively close to it – and using only a fraction of the technological superiority which we could command. That puts men in danger who should not be.

    Dave

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIMW5iYFGhM D’oh

    For SHARK and Franco/JOM –

    Do note that I said I was staying out of politics, not that I was completely gone. As Dave so adroitly pointed out, I can’t seem to stay away from the site completely, I keep coming back, even after shelving my more well known *name*.

    SHARK – it does no fucking good, time and again has proved it, no minds get changed…and only personal frustration at not being able to Enlighten is had.

    Franco – I am stunned and flattered, you present a humbling thought and give me something to ponder.

    But as I have said many times, I’m neither R nor D, and the bulk of what passes for political discussion is just bullshit flying back and forth between the two *teams* – fuck that.

    November gave me all I wanted, restoration of the needed checks and balances required for our system to function.

    And my apologies to Manning, for distracting from his article with this shit, bad manners on my part.

    I’ll be reading, and will comment on things outside of the political arena…you want me, hit any *gonzo* article…that’s the proper place for this discussion.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    Maybe Congressman Stevens was right. The Internet is a series of tubes.

    But there’s no exhaust valve, so all the shit sinks down to the comments.

  • MCH

    “THEN WHY DON’T WE SEND IN LIKE SAY 500,000 ADDITIONAL TROOPS?”
    – Shark

    I’ll agree to that under one condition, Shark; that Dave Nalle, RJ Elliott and Mark Edward Manning join those 1/2 million…

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    So, you don’t oppose the war on any basis of principle then, MCH – just at a peevish whim of some sort.

    Dave

  • http://nightdragon.diaryland.com Mark Edward Manning

    MCH likes war when conservative soldiers get killed. I think that’s the point

  • Clavos

    MCH likes war when conservative soldiers get killed. I think that’s the point

    The majority of people in uniform ARE conservative; in a much greater proportion than in the general population.

    MCH is anomalous.

  • http://nightdragon.diaryland.com Mark Edward Manning

    Shark: “Shit or get off the Iraq pot.”

    Speaking of shit, did a horde of bulls recently stampede through here and leave behind their calling card?

    Oh, never mind, it’s just Shark.

    I just had to get used to that scent of old, crusty, unwashed hippie all over again.

  • Arch Conservative

    MCH’s schtick is getting so very old.

    “You’re not allowed to have an opinion that in any way supports the war unless you have served or plan to serve and I have served so no one can question anything I say as I ridicule everyone who disagrees with me with my dumbass broken record argument.”

    If this is all he can ever offer, which it most obviously is, why do we even bother with him? I mean I know many people disagree with me and what I write but I honestly think that if you rebut me or ask me a question I don’t respond with the same tired crap but actually try to answer you from my pint of view.

  • defender

    mark i absolutely agree with you with saddam being a human and not an orge but i really doubt that he wasn’t a dictator.

    you see i’m not claiming that he was before, but his steel and the pressure from u.s made him the dictator that he was.

    before the iran-iraq war , the two governments had very friendly relations. after the iranian troops resisted strongly and took their land back and freed khoramshahr, they arrested 17,000 of iraqis forces which were from 19 countries around the world. simply the whole world was supporting saddam at that time and war. what i’m trying to claim is that saddam was simply taking orders from the highest and powerfull authorities which in my opinion was united states. he couldn’t take the pressure so he became mentally ill and lost his mental health. he had unexcused and impossible-to-forgive intensions for those poor people. when i say saddam was taking orders its not just an opinion i have strong evidence and enough proof to convince you that saddam did not determine to go to war with iran himself. the first reason is if he was all alone how come iranians captured forces from 19 different countries around the whole wide world? united states strategy was to take out iran at that time by iraq because iran didn’t have a united and fully powered government and couldn’t controll the situation so american administration wanted to take advantage of iran’s weakness at that point to invade and controll its oil refineries and oil wells however that didn’t take place due to iranians high resistance. the information about the captured soldiers from the world is ranked as top secret and is highly guarded however one copy of the documnets was sent to central inteligence agency (CIA) which they recieved for future porposes. the records of iranian inteligence service proves that most of the chemical bombs were bought from an international corporation named chemetech to the government of iraq. those chemical weapons were highky restricted and were only able to certain countries such as united states, russia and china and israel. then how did saddam managed to purchase them and have his hands on them?

  • http://nightdragon.diaryland.com Mark Edward Manning

    Defender, you misunderstand me. I argued that Saddam was an ogre. Yes, he was human too. Humans can be ogres, which I think history aptly illustrates throughout the centuries.

    Here’s the thing: Politics makes for strange bedfellows, and it is often in the interests of a nation — especially a superpower — to choose the lesser of two evils. We propped up Saddam during the ’80s, yes. True. Iran was our focus at the time and Saddam was fighting Iran.

    During Clinton’s presidency, we fought the warlords in Somalia. Now, just recently, we backed them up to help drive the Islamists out.

    We’ve got friendly relations with Uzbekistan, even though Uzbekistan cracks down on and tortures some of its population — hard-line Islamists. (So, who really cares?)

    We had Russia on our side during World War II, then turned on them once we learned that Stalin was every bit a brutal monster as Hitler had been.

    There are countless other examples, but I’ll spare you … politics has always been dictated by the contemporary concerns and it always will be.

  • defender

    mark,
    thanks for the tip and correcting me, i understand what you meant and what your intensions are.
    best regards.
    defender