Friday, December 29, 2006

The Drawing Power of a Tyrant

What is so captivating about the death of Saddam Hussein?

He's a lead story in every newspaper, online new site and TV news broadcast. All Saddam, all the time.

Is there a "mission accomplished" element to it for Americans and others who supported the Iraq conquest? Does this man's death somehow justify the carnage of the past three years and of the years to come?

Is it that we're all voyeurs to a thoroughly grisly event? We sit in the comfort of our homes and offices pondering what it must be like to be Saddam this very minute, waiting for the hangman to appear?

Is Saddam already swinging on a gallows? Is he for the drop in a few hours? Will he meet his fate tomorrow or maybe the day after? Is it his death watch that captivates us?

Isn't it odd that we don't think of even more predictable deaths that will occur today. The men, women and children who will be in the wrong place when a car bomb detonates or when we drop a bomb on a suspected insurgent hideout or those who will be swept up off the streets, taken away to a place to be tortured then executed and finally dumped on some roadside? There are plenty of those people sitting in someone's custody right now going through the same mental anguish Saddam is experiencing right now.

Do we even think of all these others who will die today? Not really. Oh there'll be some tabulation in tomorrow's news as surely as the sun will rise. We may actually notice the number and say to ourselves, "Oh 25, not so bad compared to last week." 50 or 25 or 60 or more, almost all of them more deserving to live than the Butcher of Baghdad and we really don't give a tinker's dam about any of them.

No, Saddam is a celebrity and that means his execution matters. As for all the unknowns, their slaughter doesn't.

No comments: