The Difference It Makes
For the first time since World War II, the free world has caught the monster
itself. Instead of delirious fantasies of glorious Saddam holding out against the oppressive forces of the west in a moodily lit cave, we have been shown the reality of a cranky old fugitive from justice hiding in a hole. That reality adjustment will certainly not slow the passionately delusional from calling foul at every imagined slight, but it does have some benefits for those who live in the real world.
First and foremost, the real Saddam loyalists have just gained a new focus. Instead of trying to hurt Americans and Iraqis who would be free, they have an obligation to discover Saddam's location and free him. As of right now, the criminals using terrorism to obtain control in Iraq have a substantial split in their ranks. The people just in it for racist violence will continue to attack our troops, but many of their local experts will be looking to other activities. How well the foreign fascists will do without the full support of indigenous fascists remains to be seen. The fissure this causes is only an opportunity, but Coalition forces have shown great enterprise when presented opportunities.
Next, this provides the fledgling government of Iraq a method of legitimizing the coming democracy in Iraq. The trial of Saddam Hussein will provide a solid foundation for a government by systematically analyzing the crimes of its predecessor. In exactly the same way that the Declaration of Independence denounced the failures of George III and the Constitution denounced the Articles of Confederation, this trail can put to rest the failures of the past and point a nation to a desired future.
The proof of the systemic atrocities committed with the complicity of those opposed to the United States and the Coalition will change how things are done going forward. Those opposed to the war will be forced to contend with the reality of the monster they supported or forever wander in denial and irrelevance. Chirac will have to explain away his pandering to Hussein. Schroeder will have to explain his pandering to Chirac. The Hollywood image factory will be working full time to sustain their tenuous political relevance once imagination is held accountable. It will be difficult to maintain that Halliburton overpricing is high drama during the trial of real genocidal fascist.
Finally, the accounting of the genocidal purges inflicted to keep Saddam in power could be the end of the legitimacy of the anti-war movement. Since the end of the horrors of trench warfare stalemate in WWI, the anti-war position has held the moral dominance of being more humane. The brilliant success of the Coalition forces has shown that wars fought decisively with the best troops and most precise weapons can be safer for an invaded people than their own leadership. It is extremely difficult to have moral reservations about attacking a country when you know that application of military force is much better for the people in question than leaving them in the hands of genocidal fascists. In many ways the abandonment of moral legitimacy has already happened with the rise of Stalinist A.N.S.W.E.R.
to anti-war organization dominance. Now decent people will have to re-examine their prejudices or accept being stooges for a failed political position.
This is the difference it makes that Saddam Hussein is in custody. Bringing the monster to justice is something we were denied by Hitler's suicide. Stalin was never brought to trial and Fidel still holds on to power. Kim Jong Il has to know that hiding in a hole only lasts so long. Today the world knows that we can chain the beast. This is a great day.