Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Un-Made in the USA 

To read liberal blogs over the last few days you'd think Martha Stewart had been guest blogging. Why do we feel compelled to say, over and over, that "it's a good thing" Saddam was captured? After the umpteenth profession of joy, this mantric incantation starts to sound, um, a little forced, notwithstanding the obvious truth of the underlying statement.

If a zoo turns a marauding animal loose on the community, then only belatedly hunts it down after countless unnecessary attacks, everyone would be relieved, but few would think highly of the zookeeper. Certainly the sight of the zoo staff praising the zookeeper for his wisdom and courage would be a matter of no small embarrassment to normal people.

The fact of the matter is that, like Noriega before him, Saddam was a creature of the very people who now have him in custody, a psychopath whose depredations were long of no concern at all. Our many jingoes tell us, when confronted with this fact, that that's a cynical interpretation, that a new-found moral clarity underlies this sudden turnaround, that we're not replacing one pliant kleptocrat with another, but rather correcting an injustice. Fine: then what is called for now is not triumphalism and gloating, but an abject apology. I'm pretty sure the Bible would agree with me. Perhaps Bush, who professes to be a disciple of Christ, can find the relevant passage.

Meanwhile, excuse me if I don't join the hosannas about Saddam's capture. Like loyalty oaths, the fact that we are expected to utter them drains much of the meaning from the act, while simultaneously serving a larger, quite antithetical agenda. If freedom means anything, it means not having to kiss the ruler's ring. This is the example that democratic people have to share with Iraqis. Media-orchestrated cults of personality and shameless historical revisionism, they already know about.

corrente SBL - New Location
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The Washington Chestnut
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