2003 December 15


Yesterday was plainly a Good Day in the adventure in Iraq. Congratulations to the US Army for hunting down Saddam Hussein, and more congratulations for doing the right thing and capturing him for trial rather than shooting him 'while resisting' -- this marks an important way the Americans are distinguishable from their enemies.[*] Hussein is an evil man, and will deserve whatever fate comes to him.

One can say all of the above without believing that the Adventure in Iraq was justified, or that this benefit (which I think is likely to be by far the biggest one to result from the war) necessarily exceeds the costs to be borne from fighting it. I remain un-sanguine about the prospects of decent government in Iraq lasting for more than a few years. If it turns out I'm wrong, I will apologize to anyone who was polite in disagreeing with me.

[* It would be nice not to need reassurance, but meanwhile we have a US Army Lt Colonel quoted in the NY Times saying, "With a heavy dose of fear and violence, and a lot of money for projects, I think we can convince these people that we are here to help them," while overseeing an operation wrapping an Iraqi village in razor wire. Do you need to destroy the village to save it, Colonel?]

Update (12/16): 'Photodude' has said what needed to be said, much better than I managed. What I said up there remains true, but somewhat aside of the real point:

Cranky Americans: ... They had just seen the Long Reigning Demon of their Nightmares, flashed on the screen, reduced to a disheveled derelict who clearly posed no threat to anyone. In the wake of that visual shock, many probably next saw the face of someone lost flashing through their mind. Or simply the faceless thousands. Decades of pent up emotion, released in a second.


Anger. Joy. Vengeance. Relief. Condescending disgust. Even humiliation. This harsh mixture of emotions must be very tough, especially coming in such a sudden torrent, and it will take some time for them to be internally resolved. Decades of hard impressions were shattered yesterday for millions of people.

Yes. That's more like it. It was a Good Day for Iraq.

[Meanwhile, I find I have a curious resistance to using the alias 'Photodude' without quotes. Logically it's no different than Atrios or Tacitus, which I'm happy to treat as plain names. Apparently I'm a snob on this point.]

Post a comment
Yes   No   (like the Turing Test, but easier)

TrackBack Links
If you run a blog that supports TrackBack, you can link to this article with this TrackBack key.