by Larry C Johnson
The shallow minded will celebrate the execution of Saddam as a victory and perhaps as a watershed moment. It ain't either--i.e. victory or watershed. If this is a pivotal moment it is simply turning a corner and driving into a deadend alley.
Remember the happy talk and predictions surrounding the death of Saddam's sons way back in July 2003? The Times of London, in describing the demise of Uday and Qusay, reported that:
They were the targets of the first US airstrike, and repeatedly attacked during the campaign. Their escape from Baghdad was a source not just of frustration to the invasion forces, but also of gnawing anxiety to Iraq's people. With the mangled bodies retrieved by the 101st Airborne from the columned villa in the northern city of Mosul confirmed as those of Uday and Qusay, therefore, the United States has turned a corner in Iraq whose psychological importance is hard to exaggerate. Even if Saddam himself is still alive, his dynasty will be dead.Turning that corner turned out swell, didn't it? How about Professor Fouad Ajami's nifty prophecy about the benefits we would reap from Saddam's capture?
In a 60 Minutes interview on December 14, 2003, Dan Rather asked Ajami about Saddam's capture:
Prof. AJAMI: Well, I think I believe that the way we captured Saddam Hussein, and the fact that he gave up without--without a fight will take the oxygen out of a certain kind of resistance to the American presence. When the man himself in this hole in the ground give himself up without a fight, it's very difficult for these jihadists--kids from Saudi Arabia and Syria and etc. who will come to Iraq ready to fight and die for the cause.Fouad, nice try but big miss. Today we mourn the largest loss of U.S. soldiers in one month since January 2005. Iraq is neither decent nor stable. It is a bloody disaster. And the execution of Saddam adds to the bloodlust that drenches Iraq and spews the venom poisoning the prospects for a stable, non-sectarian Iraq. But, look on the bright side. It is a slow news day and the B-teamers manning the 24 hour news channels will have something to bloviate about as they celebrate the new corner we are turning. Happy New Year.
Now there are what our military in the love of acronyms call the FRLs, the former regime loyalists. They, too, I think will be deeply discouraged and deeply dispirited by the way he gave up. Will it be--will it be fully a panacea there? Will everything come to an end? Will all the resistance come to an end? Not--not quite. But I think it's a great day for us, and we have turned a corner in this battle for a decent and--and stable Iraq.