Saddam Hussein, who is very much one of God’s beloved, fallible children (just like the rest of us) met his death with dignity and courage.
If all such world leaders who wreak ill-conceived, reckless, needless mayhem, who destroy innocent lives in their ambitious pursuit of influence and power, deserve such grisly ends, then some of our current world leaders ought to be feeling a bit queasy just about now.
A fully-functioning Department of Peace (see www.thepeacealliance.org ) would do much to make such dismal futures less likely for all.
There is a lot of irony in the sad fact that we’ve spent hundreds of billions of hard-earned and greatly-needed tax dollars to kill off one violent despotic regime in Iraq, simply in order to install another one equally unpopular and equally dependent upon maintaining its power via the same undemocratic brutish means—armies and secret prisons and assassinations and torture. Why else would we need to send ever more armies into Iraq to prop them up?
The Bush administration sold us their disastrously costly war by drumming up American fears of an evil madman imminently threatening U.S. citizens, yet not only could we not find such weapons, we couldn’t even pull off a demonstrably “democratic” (i.e., fair) trial convincingly proving that Saddam Hussein indeed deserved death by hanging for even one single alleged killing spree.
The west is absolutely accountable for forcibly creating a country called “Iraq” from out of many original tribes, and for supporting their own preferred despot, Saddam Hussein, with only a single aim: to keep cheap oil pumping west. When Saddam later thumbed his nose in the direction of his original kingmakers (Rumsfeld/Cheney et.al.) they were so incensed that they were willing to do anything and everything to depose and replace him with yet another (hopefully more loyal) crony—regardless of how despotic and evil—again with their sole goal of keeping cheap oil pumping west. (The Bush administration recently reclassified all their original distasteful and disgraceful historical machinations with Saddam Hussein in order to cover up their bloody incestuous tracks.) What a grievous waste in every sense—human, material, political, financial, spiritual—this terrible war has been.
And to think that all we ever had to do was humbly stand in line to pay for oil at the market price, just like every other country.
The “war-for-democracy-and-for-love-of-Iraqis” notion came up briefly only when the American public (and, probably, our still-innocent and idealistic president) could no longer stomach the evil-Saddam-imminent-weapons-fear-thing. Rather than admit that this had always been a war about oil, Cheney/Rumsfeld used Rice to convince Bush (and the public) that continuing the war in order to spread democracy and save Iraqis (at least the ones who weren’t currently shooting at us) was important and necessary. Now they’re finally admitting, at least to one another and to a few others, that this war is indeed a smarmy geopolitical struggle for power, money, resources, and influence; that admission, however, doesn’t make the war any more wise or moral.
Democracy cannot be spread by war, just as peace can only arise from peace. We aging hippies used to say in the 60’s that fighting for peace is like fucking for chastity….
We need to begin acting like Americans again. We need to generously support peaceful leaders everywhere, and use our power and influence in ways that demonstrate our highest, most deeply American ideals. We need to stop acting like big bullies, and rebuild international good will with generosity and acceptance and statesmanship and diplomacy. We need to build up our economy ethically, and base our businesses and long-term trade partnerships on mutual advantage, not unbridled greed, power, and indifference. Peace on earth will come only when each of us learns to offer peace. And yes, we need to be the ones to go first, to take the first step, because we are still the most powerful, most envied, most influential nation on earth.
We can still use multilateral international police forces well-trained in non-violent intervention as necessary to lock up and re-educate violent criminals of all stripes. But we must simultaneously teach our next generation (every child on this small blue planet) to live peacefully with one another, to share, to love our mother earth, and to live and work morally, generously, and sustainably. (Again, please consider the beautiful Department of Peace proposed legislation already supported by 75+ congressional leaders, at www.thepeacealliance.org ).
The world of the future will not be one of vengeance and anger, but one of reconciliation and forgiveness (if it is to be, at all.) Human beings—we ourselves, as well as Saddam Hussein, George Bush, all those we love and all those we fear–each of us–will always make mistakes. Of course we should be held accountable. Of course we should see the grief we have caused others, and learn to regret our mistakes and make amends. But just as I would rather not be condemned or tortured or killed or thrown in prison forever for the harm I’ve done in my life (frankly, I’d really rather be forgiven, and supported in doing better) so too do I hope that in this new year and in all the coming new years, we will all learn to live and love and forgive others their trespasses, as we would have others forgive us our own, and then move on to build a new world, together, with love.
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