December 19, 2003


Saddam Hussein, like Adolf Hitler, will live on for millions of people (ROBERT FISK, 12/17/03, Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

In the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq this year, we journalists -- and all praise to Paul Wood of the BBC for his part in this -- got our hands on videos of some of the most pornographic violence any of us would be able to stomach. For 45 minutes, Saddam's security police whipped and beat half-naked Shiite prisoners in the courtyard of their "Mukhabarat" headquarters.

They are covered in blood, screaming and whimpering. They are kicked and their testicles crushed and pieces of wood forced between their teeth as they are pushed into sewers and clubbed on the face.

The videos show that there were spectators, uniformed Baathists, even a Mercedes parked in the background under the shade of a silver birch tree.

I showed a few seconds of these films at lectures in Ireland and the United States this summer and some members of the audience left, nauseated by the evidence of Saddam's perverted nature. Who, after all, were these videos made for? For Saddam? Or for the victims' families to watch, so that they may suffer again the torture of their loved ones?

It's easy, looking at these images of Saddam's sadism, to have expected Iraqis to be grateful to us this week. We have captured Saddam. We have destroyed the beast. The nightmare years are over. If only we could have got rid of this man 15 years ago -- 20 years ago -- how warm would be our welcome in Iraq today. But we didn't. And that is why his capture will not save U.S. soldiers. He lives on. Just as Hitler lives on today in the memories and fears of millions. It is in the nature of such terrible regimes to replicate themselves in the mind.

Which U.S. soldiers are at risk from this imagined living Hitler and who fears him today? Even when Mr. Fisks makes a bit of sense he's nuts.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 19, 2003 7:56 AM

And of course France, Germany, the UN, the international left and Mr. Fisk would have strongly supported invading Iraq fifteen or twenty years ago.

Posted by: Peter B at December 19, 2003 8:57 AM

Precisely. Mr. Fisk has opposed any action that would have resulted in Saddam being deposed, and now he faults us for not having done it sooner. The man is disturbed. One can easily imagine that he would have opposed any preemptive measures against Hitler as well. Something about violence never solving anything.

Posted by: Eric Timmons at December 19, 2003 10:00 AM

I wish I could remember the blog that commented something like "We have captured Saddam? We have captured the beast? What's this 'we', kemosabe?"

Posted by: scott h. at December 20, 2003 7:27 PM

scott, that was (quoted at least) on Instapundit, and he was, ahem, a bit more graphic.

Posted by: Chris at December 22, 2003 12:50 AM