Saddam Hussein is supposed to be executed this weekend, according to CNN.
Nobody likes Saddam. He was a brutal, vicious dictator who never should have been propped up by people like Don Rumsfeld in the first place.
Whether Iraq is better off without him is, of course, a judgment better left to Iraqis than to me. If they're still alive to answer you. And if they haven't fled to Syria or Jordan in order to stay alive.
But it's kind of pathetic that the execution is being carried out as if it's Iraqi justice, and not one more part of the Bush administration's corrupt salesmanship job for Bush's war. Remember how his sentence was announced before the election, even though the verdict couldn't be completed for several days after? A little backwards. Coincidence?
The second sentence in the CNN story is this one: "Hussein will be transferred from U.S. to Iraqi custody within the next day, one official said."
He hasn't been in Iraqi custody. This isn't about Iraqis taking control of their own destiny. It's about the U.S. trying to squeeze out something that will look like a victory, at least for a day or two.
There were many reasons for this war, none of which were the stated ones. Most of them go back to the twisted relationship Bush has with his parents, the first President George and that kindly, grandmotherly woman who made her "donation" to Hurricane Katrina relief contingent on the funds actually going to loser son Neil's struggling educational software company. If they were my parents I'd be pretty screwed up, too.
The obvious one was that Bush thought his old man had blown it by not taking Saddam down during th first Gulf War, and he wanted to correct the mistake. But it's also that by correcting the mistake he--a physical and moral coward of the first order--could show he had stones his dad didn't. No matter that the people really putting their lives on the line had no say in it--he was putting his presidency on the line, and that was all he ever really had. There's the additional incentive that Saddam had tried to kill his dad, which gave it all a luster of Wild West revenge, but again plays to the idea that Dad couldn't take the necessary actions while young George could.
I think there's more to it than that, though. Some of the neocons supported it because of the Middle East's strategic importance (read: oil) in the decades to come, but if Bush really cared about strategic importance, or anything other than a few fast bucks for his buddies, he would have let someone else be president in the first place. I think he saw how Dad's approval ratings skyrocketed during the Gulf War. By the time the next election came around, the war ratings had faded and Clinton kicked Dad's ass. So Bush--who understood full well that he hadn't really won the first time--wanted a war that would last through 2004.
It got away from him, like fire can get away from a kid playing with matches and gasoline. And he couldn't pull it back once it had been set into motion.
But it served that one purpose, and kept his ratings high enough to pull off a narrow win.
Now all he has is a holy mess. Killing Saddam is an easy thing to do, and it's simple enough to look impressive to those people who think it simple terms. Bush doesn't have any more elections to win, but he doesn't want to finish his term in the toilet he's in now. And the other, more psychological, aspects are still at work.
Dad couldn't kill Saddam. I can. I'm the tough one, not that old pilot who actually served his country in war.