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The Real Significance of the Capture of Saddam

David Cogswell

Today the New York Times is telling us that "analysts", those mysterious seers in business suits, are saying that the apprehension of that old friend of the Bush family and Halliburton, will give Bush a "political lift" that is "huge," "enormous" or "profound." One Prof. Allan J. Lichtman, a historian at American University and the author of Keys to the White House, has gone so far as to say that digging the old brute out of a hole means "you might as well call off the election."

These are the kinds of stories that periodically come along that make me question for a moment my own sanity, or that of the Times and the culture it represents. Let's see if I have this right: the capturing of the dictator so supported and enabled by the Reagan and Bush administrations, supported in his gassing of Iranians and Iraq-based Kurds to the extent that the U.S. provided him the poison, who was left in power after the Gulf War for the same reasons he was put there and supported in the first place -- because he was our sonofabitch, is now the reason the U.S. might as well call off the election of 2004 (like it did in 2000?).

Why? What is the reasoning behind this conclusion? Is this from someone who would like to call off the election anyway? What is the sentiment behind calling off elections? A lot of people on the right are floating that suggestion lately. If your man is so powerful, it would seem you would be eager to demonstrate it with an election. I find the suggestion of calling off elections for any reason extremely foul.

Not that Herr Lichtman is presented as a Bush advocate, but it's hard to read that statement without leaning toward that conclusion. Why would finding Saddam Hussein be so important? Because it's the bare minimum of what would have been expected from Bush's ill-founded enterprise in Iraq? Because Osama bin Laden, the alleged perpetrator of the 911 attacks which the U.S. was somehow allegedly avenging by attacking Iraq, remains still conspicuously on the loose?

The only way you can take seriously such a conclusion is if you buy the whole fantasy tale spun by Fox news and its brethren, which centers the whole conquest of Iraq and all the incumbent death and destruction around this one objective: the apprehension of the evil dictator (theirs, not ours, just to be clear).

This is part of the whole house of cards that presumes that the attacks on Americans in Iraq just represents the sentiments of isolated pockets of "Saddam loyalists", as if everyone else, every decent Iraqi, is pleased as punch to have the U.S. occupying its country and having its way with everything while it prepares to dictate its future and siphons the oil out of the country for Bush's oil industry cohorts.

You can be sure that this latest news will get trumpeted loudly and relentlessly as long as it works as a bludgeon to brainbatter the population into dumb subservience. It's hard to imagine it will hold any vitality as a symbol for very long. But I guess we'll see. All this great "economic good news" hasn't done Bush much good, no matter how hard it is pounded into people, because it hasn't affected most people in terms of their own lives. The "mission accomplished" PR campaign fell flat as a microchip and I suspect this will too, when it becomes clear it makes almost no difference in anything.

Bush still lied blatantly to set up a pretext for his invasion and occupation of Iraq. The war is still a quagmire and going to remain so for a very long time as long as the Bushie's original real reason for going in remains the same, signaled by their behavior regarding the control of Iraq and its oil and the refusal to allow any kind of international influence over the occupation of Iraq. None of the other problems of the Bush administration, the catastrophic handling of the economy for example, will be changed one whit by this latest good news. I think Prof. Licht is only telling us what he wishes will happen.

It will be interesting to see how the Bush administration, which loves secrecy more than anything else, will handle the information that comes from Saddam, if there is a trial and if any of that information gets out to the world. It won't likely get as far as to penetrate the U.S. mainstream media, but for those looking beyond it, some interesting things may emerge regarding the decades-old relationship between Saddam and all the Bush cronies.
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