Since I last wrote on this blog there have been two notable events in Iraq: the death toll for Americans reached 3,000 and Sadaam Hussein was executed.
About the execution, I agree with the British government, the European Union, the Vatican and most other civilized countries in the world- I do not support the use of the death penalty, in Iraq or anywhere else and I support an end to the death penalty worldwide, regardless of the individual or the crime (this is actual a paraphrase of a comment from Margaret Beckett – the British foreign secretary with whom I wholeheartedly agree). Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott said yesterday the manner of Saddam’s execution was “deplorable.” He branded the leaked mobile phone footage of his hanging “totally unacceptable.” Prescott added that those responsible for capturing and circulating the footage of the deposed Iraqi dictator’s death should be condemned.
Not only was the execution barbaric; in the footage of the execution, some of those in attendance chanted the name of Muqtada al-Sadr moments before Saddam’s hanging, with the former Iraqi dictator repeating “Muqtada al-Sadr” in a mocking tone. Regardless of how hard the President and the administration try to distance themselves from this event- their hands are in this and everyone knows it. With chanting the name of a Shiite terrorist during this event- the Americans look cozy with the Shiites (intentional or not). The administration did hope to have a different timing for the execution- but when is there ever a good time to execute someone? I am sure that whatever strategy they had for the execution’s timing had political implications here- after all this administration doesn’t make a move without a political motive.
Am I cynical? Where this administration is concerned- you bet I am! The death toll reached 3,000 almost immediately on the heels of Sadaam’s execution. Kinda takes the wind out of the sails of any poll bump that the President might get from the execution! Of course- I think any poll bump is a pipe dream… but I am sure that they didn’t want to lose the news cycle to a death toll milestone- postponing the execution until after the dust settled from the death toll would have been preferable to Rove and Bush.
With this horrible death toll the President is talking about beefing up our troop levels. Mr. President- these are real people not just numbers! Did he hear nothing from the American people during the thumping that Republicans took in the 2004 election? Can he possibly be deluded enough to believe that “winning” is achievable? Could anyone ACTUALLY believe that adding more troops to a chaotic landscape that has devolved into civil war is a smart idea? Could anyone ACTUALLY believe that the government we are supporting there is capable of doing anything let alone curtail the violence? Just look at how the execution was handled. Even if one supports executions – this one was botched and bungled. There are some that believe that the Iraqi government itself is responsible for the cell phone video footage.
This is where we get into the President’s pathology. President Bush is the first President in our nation’s history to take us into a war that was not provoked. Yes there were arguments from the administration that Iraq was a threat- but as we know they were wrong and if you read Bob Woodward’s “State of
Denial” you will wonder if they just didn’t want to know the facts. They also deftly wove an attack on Iraq with the war on terror when they and everyone with half a brain knew that Iraq had NOTHING to do with 9/11. They were settled on Iraqi invasion from the outset- it was a neoconservative wet dream. This was his mission. In some ways I think that he feels God ordained him for this task.
Now think about it for a moment. Can you imagine how one’s psyche would totally disassemble if you had think that you were completely wrong about your God given task and worst yet- that your actions had cost tens of thousands of lives (both the “Coalition of the Willing” and Iraqi) and untold numbers of wounded (more than 20,000 Americans alone) AND that these actions had taken the country down a road from which it will take decades to recover, if ever?
Most people could not deal with that sort of psychological pressure and I don’t think that the President is capable of “going there” in his head, his heart or his spirit. This sort of admission would be difficult for someone with great self awareness. But for the President who seems to lack any self knowledge and relies on a prefabricated personality and a disturbing arrogance to be able to cope with a life- a life where he is always out-shadowed by his father and incapable of achieving anything without family connections- it would be impossible.
It is sad that this country has been a Petrie dish for dealing with “father / son issues” for the past 6 years. But far worse is that this President’s pathology has harmed this country due to the arrogance and hubris of a President that feels ordained by God to accomplish a mission and incapable of admitting that he was wrong- he was not preordained and his actions were reckless, irresponsible and made the world a more dangerous place.