The disgusting video of Saddam Hussein's last moments on the planet is more than a reminder of the inescapable barbarity of capital punishment and of the intelligible and conventional reasons why it should always be opposed. The zoolike scenes in that dank, filthy shed (it seems that those attending were not even asked to turn off their cell phones or forbidden to use them to record souvenir film) were more like a lynching than an execution. At one point, one of the attending magistrates can be heard appealing for decency and calm, but otherwise the fact must be faced: In spite of his mad invective against "the Persians" and other traitors, the only character with a rag of dignity in the whole scene is the father of all hangmen, Saddam Hussein himself.How, indeed? It's almost as if Hitchens has forgotten his role cheering this war, defending those prosecuting it in spite of Himalayan-scale incompetence. Now, they manage to lynch a guilty man -- I, too, thought it was impossible -- in such a way that one of the world's worst people ends up looking sympathetic to his own victims.
How could it have come to this?
Hitchens no doubt thought his pretty little war would have a different climax. Problem is, he and his side spent the last 4 years agitating for this war, sliming the Democrats who called for competence, and denigrating anyone who called for a measure of Jus in Bello.
Hitchens, well, hitched his wagon to this train. It takes some real gall to wake up out of his bourbon-induced stupor, look around, and say "But it wasn't supposed to be like this! Why is a chimp driving this thing?"
And Hitch seems to have decided he's not so wild about the Iraqi democrats-to-be, after all:
The shabby, tawdry scene of Muqtada Sadr's riffraff taunting their defenseless former tyrant evokes exactly this quality of hysterical falsity and bravado. While Saddam Hussein was alive, they cringed. Now, they find their lost courage, and meanwhile take the drill and the razor blade and the blowtorch to their fellow Iraqis.How could it have come to this? Who could possibly have predicted that toppling Hussein would unleash sectarian hatred? Why were those people ignored?
Oh, that's right. There were ignored because Christopher-goddam-Hitchens was on CNN, MSNBC, or Fox News every other day.