Monday, November 6, 2006

Gallows Humor

I love how the United States can find cause to celebrate the sentencing of Saddam Hussein to death by hanging. Here there is such a steadfast and obligatory bond between our version of democracy and capital punishment. While all modern democracies have eschewed the death penalty, the US has clung to it as an anchor in the self-deluded rhetoric of deterrence. I mean, hell, the state-sponsored murder of Timothy McVeigh on June 11, 2001, kept America real safe from terrorists for at least three months. I bet the Department of (Orwellian) Justice was real mad that the 9/11 hijackers committed suicide instead of waiting around for the government to do its job. Is this the freedom and democracy we intended to impose upon Iraq? Surely yes. Is this progress in the Middle East? Yes, but my name’s not Shirley. The true banality of this sentence (with apologies to Hannah Arendt) is that Saddam is being sent to the gallows for 148 deaths while there have been more than 45,000* civilian deaths since the US invasion. Who is going to hang for those deaths? (I can only hope it will be people like Andrew Sullivan who supported the illegal and immoral invasion in the first place.)

If you’re American, remember to vote (for the lesser of two evils) tomorrow.

* CORRECTION: The latest estimate of civilian deaths in Iraq since the US invasion is closer to 150,000.


  1. I found it a bit odd, to find an almost jubilant MSN new report confirming Saddam's sentance.

    Sure he was a terrible man, but I was still unnerved by the fact people were rejoicing over his death.

    That we as human beings (or perhaps more specifcally Americans) still enjoy killing, is more frightening to me than anything Saddam ever pulled during his reign.

  2. Silly rabbit. It has never been about keeping the U.S. or the world safe from any goddamn thing. Let's face it--we love to kill. GW took the oath of office the first time with a visible hard-on for going to war and 9/11 gave him an excuse to play commander-in-chief (cuz Saddam tried to kill his Dad, ya know). What's that line from that play Tuna Christmas?--"if we can't kill it, it's immortal." And as I write this I can picture the rolling of the eyes from my family members and friends who think I'm an overly cynical secular liberal who doesn't understand that the only way to eradicate evil is to put it in prison, criminalize it, hang it, electrocute it, shoot it or inject it. And then watch it die. And then act surprised when it amazingly ressurects.



    p.s. I voted a couple of weeks ago. Colorado is about to constitutionalize (is that a word?) bigotry. My home.

  3. And hopefully I'll be able to resurrect my spelling ability.