Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Another Awesome Question

From Laurent Joffrin, apropos of the botched, bungled, and benighted execution of Saddam Hussein:
There is often a foundational crime at the origin of civilizations. But what kind of civilization hangs in the small hours of the morning, in a secret lean-to, filmed by the eye of a peeping camera, on the day of the biggest religious holiday? An act of justice was expected. We get a crime of civil war.
Count me as one of those people who, like Wallace Stevens's tree, is of at least three minds when it comes to Saddam's death. There's a part of me that rejoices at seeing a thug, tyrant, and liar hanging for his crimes—and that has a list of other political figures it frankly wouldn't mind seeing lined up at a scaffold. There's another part of me that rejects the death penalty as inherently barbaric—however awful the wrongdoer might be, and however large a savage thrill one might get from contemplating their demise. And there's another part of me that wonders what secrets Saddam took to the grave with him—secrets, perhaps, about just how much our own government did to prop him up and facilitate his thuggery—and whether such secrets are the real reason there was such a rush to hang him.

And now it looks like that rushed execution is going come back to haunt us. Can this administration do ANYTHING right?

That good ol' Athenian veneer is wearing a bit thin these days...
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