Monday, December 15, 2003

Okay, so there was another reason why I didn't comment on Saddam's capture yesterday. I'm taking his capture pretty hard, because I really liked the guy, and I'm sad to see his reign come to a complete end. I think everyone knows that I respect strength, and while Saddam was in charge, I think we can say that he had some strength. Harsh, oppressive rule and the murder of thousands. Invading other countries and starting wars. Man, was that ever cool.

Also, as we all know, I hate George W. Bush. And if I hate him, I plainly must love Saddam. That's logic that a four-year-old could wrap his mind around.

Alright, let's dispense with the sarcasm and jokes and get serious. If only for a minute.

Saddam's capture obviously answers a few questions. Like "Where the fuck is Saddam?" and "Are we ever gonna find Saddam?" Of course, there are also several more obvious questions that his capture raises. What does this mean for the Iraq war itself? What does this mean for reconstruction and the future of Iraq? What does this mean for TWAT? What does this mean for Dubya's presidency? Related to that last second question, what does this mean for the democrats in '04? And finally, with Lloyd Bridges dead and Saddam in custody, what does this mean for the future of the Hot Shots franchise?

Even us America-hating Saddam-loving liberals know that Saddam's capture is good news. Nowhere has anyone ever said that removing Saddam was a bad idea, nor is anyone (save him and his followers, of course) truly sorry to see him go. The guy is an asshole, which even four-year-olds can see.

Yesterday, Lieberman was out attacking Howard Dean and his anti-war stance. He said something to the effect of "If Howard Dean had his way, Saddam would still be in power." Fuck you, Joe. Like I've said before: getting rid of Saddam was a good thing, but it's not why we went in there. It's fortunate for the Hawks that Saddam was removed, otherwise they would have NO FUCKING WAY to sell a war that was waged for purely selfish reasons.

And if you don't think it wasn't entirely selfish, then why the hell aren't we working to stop other oppressive regimes out there? And I mean other than the Taliban - we had to strike back for 9/11 and Unocal had an oil pipeline to build. I'm talking about all the other shit that's going down in the world that we do nothing about.

People like Howard Dean who were and are anti-war don't oppose the war because they like Saddam and what he represents - they're just looking at other issues like, I dunno, is it a good idea to be fucking around with a country who has done nothing to us? Especially in such a volatile region?

So, yes, this is a great achievement. But it does not justify the war when looking at the premises for going to war, which centered around the notion of huge stockpiles of WMD that were going to threaten us and our allies.

Even us who hate Bush want to see the effort in Iraq succeed now that it's underway. Hopefully, Saddam's removal will be a step in driving that forward. We can't get too excited over it, though, because it is just one step. There's a lot more work to be done.

Just how big of a step is Saddam's capture? It's clearly a huge psychological boost for all those in Iraq who spent years living in fear of Saddam. One theory I've heard a lot is that people weren't supporting the American effort because they were afraid Saddam was watching, or others wouldn't give up WMD info because they were afraid Saddam would hunt them down and get revenge, etc. I'd be interested to see if any of that plays out.

I still don't think that we can expect for everyone to just fall in love with us, though, just because they know Saddam isn't coming back. It is possible for people to hate Saddam but still not want us there, so again, we can't get too excited.

We also have a great opportunity to really turn the reconstruction effort around. We have something we can build some goodwill off of. Please, guys, do not fuck this up. This is naturally being referred to as a "turning point," and it most definitely could be. Just so long as we don't fuck things up like we did with 9/11 when we had everyone's sympathy and support which we then proceeded to flush down the toilet.

One thing I don't view this as is a great victory in The War Against Terror (TWAT). Saddam is not Osama - you know, the guy who really did attack us, and who is still at large planning and carrying out more attacks. Naturally, this event will be played up as a huge victory in TWAT. Well, unless if it's shown that Saddam really did have significant ties to terrorist organizations, then this is a victory for the Iraqi people (assuming reconstruction goes well, that is - and we won't know the results for a very long time) and for PNAC, but not in the fight against terror.

Bush's approval ratings will no doubt go up because of this. For once, I can allow those polls to go up a little. The Administration said that they were going to find Saddam, and they followed through on that. Props to them for that, and even more props to the military and intelligence people who carried this out (yes, I hate when people pander to the troops, but they really are the ones who did this).

This, of course, will be overplayed and overhyped, and Bush will get more credit than he deserves. Finding Saddam does not change that he posed no imminent threat to us. It does not solve the conundrum of all those phantom WMD. And it alone does not pave the way for Iraq to become the promised land. I'll let those polls continue to rise if we see some of that real work taken care of and true progress made on the reconstruction front.

In the end, where does this leave the Democrats? Some people are viewing this event as making Democratic defeat next year a foregone conclusion. The fact that the Democrats are weak and unorganized nearly makes it that way, in my eyes at least, but finding Saddam should not alone destroy their hopes for next year. If they do allow this to bring them down, then they are no better than the Cubs in game six of this year's NLCS with the fan and the fly ball. The Cubs had no excuse for letting that one mishap destroy them. There were still several innings to go, and all of fucking game 7. If they couldn't come back from one fan interfering, then they weren't going to be tough enough to defeat the Yankees. The same goes for the Dems: if they can't man up and recover from this, then there's no way they can handle the Bush campaign war machine.

There's no excuse for letting this do irrevocable damage to the Democratic platform, because when you look at it, it in no way damages any of the Democrats' positions. Nothing has changed which contradicts what Democrats have been saying, and the Democrats need to stand firm on this shit and make sure that people see this.

Democrats who were opposed to fighting this war were against it because of the risks to American lives, international stability, and worldwide opinion of our country. As I pointed out above, this point of view does not implicitly mean that someone likes Saddam and isn't glad to see him go. For the anti-war crowd, just because we found Saddam doesn't mean that we weren't still lied to about Iraq posing an immediate threat to us. For both the anti-war and pro-war Democrats, just because we found Saddam doesn't change all the other fucked up shit that Bush is doing domestically.

Just because we found Saddam does not vindicate the entire Bush presidency.

That's pretty much all I wanted to hit - for now, at least. Or, that's all that I can remember for the time being.

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