For Sunnis, Dictator’s Degrading End Signals Ominous Dawn for the New Iraq
BAGHDAD, Dec. 31 — For Sunni Arabs here, the ugly reality of the new Iraq seemed to crystallize in a two-minute segment of Saddam Hussein’s hanging, filmed surreptitiously on a cellphone.Justice middle east style?
The video featured excited taunting of Mr. Hussein by hooded Shiite guards. Passed around from cellphone to cellphone on Sunday, the images had echoes of the videos Sunni militants take of beheadings.
“Yes, he was a dictator, but he was killed by a death squad,” said a Sunni Arab woman in western Baghdad who was too afraid to give her name. “What’s the difference between him and them?”
It was supposed to be a formal and solemn proceeding carried out by a dispassionate state. But the grainy recording of the execution’s cruel theater summed up what has become increasingly clear on the streets of the capital: that the Shiite-led government that assumed power in the American effort here is running the state under an undisguised sectarian banner.George W. Bush and the denizens of neocon "think" tanks are fighting for their reputations and existence. Iraq is rapidly descending into chaos and very few are still buying their delusions. As a result we are about to see "stay the course" with a surge. Outside of the McCain/Lieberman camp few are in favor of Bush's surge.
The hanging was hasty. Laws governing its timing were bypassed, and the guards charged with keeping order in the chamber instead disrupted it, shouting Shiite militia slogans.
A 'Surge' Faces Trouble In the Senate
Sen. John McCain, leading a blue-ribbon congressional delegation to Baghdad before Christmas, collected evidence that a "surge" of more U.S. troops is needed in Iraq. But not all his colleagues who accompanied him were convinced. What's more, he will find himself among a dwindling minority inside the Senate Republican caucus when Congress reconvenes this week.But surge we will. Bush still has a losing had but he will bet it all one more time but fewer and fewer are saying go for it.
President Bush and McCain, the front-runner for the party's 2008 presidential nomination, will have trouble finding support from more than 12 of the 49 Republican senators when pressing for a surge of 30,000 troops. "It's Alice in Wonderland," Sen. Chuck Hagel, second-ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, told me in describing the proposal. "I'm absolutely opposed to sending any more troops to Iraq. It is folly."
Over at The Washington Monthly Steve Benen points out that not even right wing hack Kate O'Beirne is still drinking the Bush/Iraq kool-aide even if right wing hack William Safire is.