Ace in the hole

And so Saddam Hussein has been found, in a hole near his home town.

Very few people can be anything other than pleased by this.

But Bush had to go and spoil it. I’m not sure if the same speech had the same resonances for you. He said (paraphrasing because I can’t find the exact quote) that it would be the end of the road to people who bullied in Saddam’s name. Unfortunately in some people’s minds, the highest profile person bullying in Saddam’s name was George W Bush, bullying the other countries of the world to do things his way, rather than democratically. OK so this bullying did not involve torture and killing and mass graves, but it was nontheless bullying.

For the anti-war people and the war sceptics, as well as the troops on the ground, Saddam’s capture has not changed a thing. It has not proved the war on these terms correct. Most war sceptics will admit that a war against Saddam was inevitable, that something needed to be done. We were just put out by the indecent haste to get there, and the antagonism against anyone who questioned this haste and requested a more measured approach. What war sceptics wanted to see was a little more effort to win over allies, instead of insults being hurled at anyone who didn’t immediately roll over and step into line on America’s command.

A larger coalition would have lightened the load on Britain in this conflict, made things a lot cleaner once the coalition had taken over, put many more brains in the military pot, and given a greater sense of legitimacy to the victory. There would have been no sour tinge to the relief felt when we finally heard the words “We got him”. Bush and Rumsfeld’s disregard of democracy at the UN, have made a mockery out of our troops valiant efforts to bring democracy and justice to Iraq.

Saddam’s capture will not change much for the people on the ground. It still won’t be easy to set up a replacement democratic and fair regime. There is still resistance to the occupying forces, who are still unfairly being given the hard time by the media who should reserve such lines of questioning for politicians, and pentagon officials. If anything violence will increase, as the shreds of legitimacy our place in Iraq has will be further eroded in some Iraqis’ minds.

As countries claiming to be democratic and civilised, we submit ourselves to higher standards. Therefore I hope that Saddam is treated with dignity, fairness, and justice. Not because he deserves it, but because we must put his behaviour against his domestic enemies into sharp relief. Saddam has been often been compared to Hitler, Stalin, Pol pot, etc, and while he was a despicable b*****d he wasn’t quite the premier league b*****d the propaganda tries to make out; even Saddam is not a big enough b*****d to be worth dropping our standards for. Given the treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo bay however, I don’t hold out much hope.

We live in an age where the ends seem to justify the means.


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