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Tuesday, December 23, 2003
Musing on the Capture of Sadaam

I have been reading through the archives of newspapers that I stopped reading around Thanksgiving and have finally come to Haaretz, the leftist Israeli newspaper. An interesting article appeared on 16 Decemeber 2003 regarding the American capture of Sadaam.

In this article, the author forwards three propositions, all of which I think should be commented on by the larger reading public: 1. The US depicition of the humbled dictator was humiliating for the Arab, 2. the Arab elites, while most likely ageeing with the prevalent emotion on the Arab street--disappointment--, issued noncontrovesial or irrelevant opinions in an effort to avoid commentary, and 3. the caputure provides new oppurtunity for Washington-Tehran diplomacy.

The first proposition was interesting. Among the members in my coed fraternity, there was jubilation (and even some laughing at the beard) and some "I wonder what this means in the larger context of the war." The notes of sadness came from the House-alum email list regarding the upcoming election: "Sauron (Bush) grows stronger. It will be hard to defeat him in the next election." My own thoughts were: "Well, they have Sadaam. What will be the next move?" I do not believe that anyone suggested that this may be humiliating for the Arab population at large. Comments?

The second proposition is unsuprising. Given the number of the unelected/ autocratic regimes in the Middle East, why would the current elites celebrate the capture of the most obstinate member of their obsidian clan? According to this Israeli newspaper, the Arab street viewed Sadaam as a freedom fighter who resisted American power. (I believe that 'attempted to resist' would be the better term.) If this information is true, then who should try Sadaam? I am reluctant to hand him over to an international court who will use the sensationalism behind the event to legitimize its authority. An American or British court will never be seen as fair. An Arab court would not hear the Israeli charges against him. This a very complicated subject. Thoughts?

As two parting notes, it saddens me that the body count ranges from 7900-9700 and I shall address the questions raised vis a vis my earlier post soon.