The Left is Gripping
One of the great things about the living for years in the same room with more than thirty people where the toilets occasionally explode is that you gain tremendous stress management skills. Behaviors and events that would cause many to run screaming from the space barely cause you to lift your eyebrow. After I got out of the Navy I ran science fiction conventions and wore business suits. At first, strange people would try to "freak the mundane"; until it was rather conclusively proven that almost nobody could by being weird. They couldn't make me grip.
The term we used on my first ship often used to describe people who were not composed was "gripping". If your way of handling a situation was to take a death grip on anything solid and hold for dear life, you were gripping. People who had been afloat successfully for a number of years knew that the way you dealt with a fluid world was to stay mobile. The term was used to describe any kind of situation where excessive attachment to one particular was wasted effort and an imposition on those around you.
After 9/11, much of the Left is gripping. One of the things they are gripping to is the failed Presidency of Geo. Bush & Co., and all the rest of their world view circa September 10, 2001. Another thing they are gripping to: the notion that it is still acceptable to say out loud, "â€¦by any means necessary." With their world crumbling around them, they grip tight to anything they can hold, even if what or who they have attached themselves to is falling into the abyss.
I suppose this is a predictable form of behavior, not limited to Western intellectuals. It still doesn't make it pleasant to watch or be around. It's not the kind of thing you want to happen to your friends or family. It certainly is not the behavior you want in a leader, as I can tell you from too much experience. You can say what you want about Geo. Bush & Co., but you can't say that they are gripping.
In the Spirit of the Holidays: EVIL!
Every morning I get up, pick the paper off the porch, and look at a summary of the important events happening around the world. Bad things happen all the time, but I am only exposed to a heavily edited and brief summary of them. I really don't see a lot of things that I can do about them, and I rarely see anything hideous that I might possibly be capable of.
Every morning, George W. Bush gets up and hell comes off the porch to visit him. The kinds of photos that no responsible editor would allow published are on his desk every morning. As much detail as he can stand is put into the reports he sees. Thousands of important things are presented for him to do and he can maybe glance at a tenth of them. Every day he sees horrors that he could reproduce, for a while, with the easy stroke of a pen.
It doesn't really bother me that George W. Bush uses the word "evil" to describe that which is abhorrent. A situation my detached perspective might see as shades of gray, his unfiltered view probably has to measure by the surrounding light it absorbs because it is so black. My friends and I who support the overthrow of fascists like Saddam talk about the existence of wood chippers and rape rooms. George W. Bush has access to videos of the real things in use and other horrors beyond our comprehension. What is more, George W. Bush has the capability to make those things happen here. If using the word "evil" helps him distance himself from the behavior that causes those atrocities, let him say it a thousand times a day. If using the word "evil" helps him eliminate the actual horrors, let him say it a million times.
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.