Saddam Hussein is dead, thus ending a thirty year reign of brutality and murder. He was executed, along with his half-brother, Barzan Ibrahim, head of intelligence during his reign, and Awad Hamed, former head of the Revolutionary Court. The three were hanged about one minute before 9 PM EST, or 6 AM, Iraq time.
If anybody deserved to hang, it was Saddam Hussein. The atrocities he committed against his neighbors, and worse, his own people are well documented. In a perfect world, his death would herald a new sense of closure on the dark times of his heinous rule. It might even signal a step forward for a fledgling democracy.
But the current situation in Iraq is anything but a perfect world.
Despite the Bush Administration’s reassurances that victory in Iraq is attainable, the reality is we’re in a quagmire from which we’ll be hard-pressed to extricate ourselves. The Iraqi people are factionalized, and every group is scrambling for power in the image of their own particular version of “democracy.” Meanwhile, we’ve lost over 3000 American lives in a vain attempt to convert them to our version of democracy.
Hussein’s execution is not going to change any of that. He was another thug in a long history of thugs who stopped at nothing to secure a place in history. He’ll be remembered as a footnote among the the likes of Mussolini, at best. His days as political capital to justify a war bankrupted years ago.
This is not a time for chest-beating. This is a moment for us to look long and hard at where Iraq is heading. We no longer have the luxury to look at this through rose-colored glasses. Hussein was a relic of barbarism, to be sure. He won’t be missed.
He was a bit player in the scheme of things. It’s time to look forward now, and realize that the new alternatives in Iraq are all scrambling for their moment. Rather than attempt to further bulldoze our way through the Middle East, we might want to consider a more covert, more vigilant form of intelligence.
Iraq itself is now a weapon of mass destruction just waiting to explode. And we may have inadvertently lit the fuse.