Mixed reactions to killing Saddam’s…

Mixed reactions to killing Saddam’s sons?

From Atrios, who is spot-on correct

My reaction isn’t mixed.

I think killing Saddam’s sons was hog stupid.

First, it’s entirely possible that they were valuable sources of intelligence. Perhaps they knew which rosebushes the rest of the centrigures were under! Second, it would be more effective to display them as captives. Imperial Rome knew this when they paraded captives through the streets in triumph. The Peruvians knew this when they captured Shining Path leader Guzman and displayed him in a cage on national TV. Legends grow around martyrs, not captives.

But the stupidity goes even deeper. Let’s look at 11 words in Bush’s State of the Union speech that are a real scandal:

    One by one the terrorists are learning the meaning of American justice.

Parsing this, what Bush means by “American Justice” is finding the “bad guys” and killing them. (Rather like Operation Phoenix in Viet Nam. And we all know how well that adventure went.)

Funny thing! I thought American justice was about The Constitution, the Bill of Rights, trial by jury, and the rule of law.

At best, killing Saddam’s sons was a missed opportunity. At worst, it’s the tip of the iceberg of a policy of targeted assassination that perverts the notion of American justice, and will lead to blowback just as certainly as funding Afghan jihaadists did.

And there is not even the glimmer of a chance that killing Saddam’s sons will stop the guerilla attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq. These attacks are coming from the people, people tired of no electricity and potable water, people tired of having their homes ransacked by US troops. This is the nation who fought off the Brits 80 years when they invaded.

Will we ever learn that imposing “Democracy” on a country by thuggish means won’t lead them to Democracy but will invariably cause them to revolt? (If “Democracy” ever was the actual intent, something which is highly debatable)

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